Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Learning:Insightful questions inspire right actions

"Good morning Prasna.*"
"Ha, I thought you had forgotten me. You are busy wasting time on Facebook."
"Prasna, don't be so old fashioned. Any way I need some help. I want to talk to you."
"What is this about?"
"It is a about a new way of working with clients."
"What is new?"
"Can I explain the concept first?"
"No. Just tell me about this new way of working with clients."
"This is about my fees."
"What about your fees?"
"I am leaving it to the clients to decide."
"Does this mean you will not quote any fees?"
"Right. Client decides what he wishes to pay."
"What is new about this? The clients always paid what they wished to pay. Tell me about one instance where a client paid an amount against his wishes."
"May be once or twice."
"Did the clients come back?"
"There you are. So, what is new about clients deciding the fees then?"
"It is true that the clients always have the final say. But this one is different."
"There is no negotiation of any sort. Client pays what he wishes, I just accept it. No arguments, no negotiation, no discussion."
"How does this help the client?"
"My mind is fully on their issues, their work. I don't worry about my fees."
"What happens if they pay you less?"
"Less than what?"
"Less than what you are used to?"
"Well that is his decision. I just accept it."
"You won't be disappointed? Peeved?"
"What happens if they do not pay you anything?"
"It is an extreme example. Well, I will just accept that too."
"Why are you doing this? What is in it for you?"
"I am doing this because it makes tremendous sense to me. It will make tremendous sense to clients too. I believe it will change the quality of the relationships with clients. It will be about working together to make things happen, not transactions. "
"I must admit, albeit grudgingly, this sounds rather good ; I still have my reservations. Have you spoken to anyone?"
"Yes, a couple of friends."
"What do they say?"
"One felt that it may not work well, because different clients have different value perceptions. Therefore my fees may not be consistent."
"What do you think?"
"I agree that the fees may not be consistent. But then why should it be consistent, because all my projects are different."
"Have you tried this with anyone?"
"Yes, with two clients, over the last few years."
"Did it work? Were the clients happy? Did it work for you?"
"It worked very well for clients. It worked well for me as well."
"So why did you not do this for everyone?"
"Because I thought that the two cases were exceptions."
"Now you want to make the exception the rule?"
"That is right"
"You seem to have made up your mind. What help do you need from me? What are you looking for?"
"I just wanted this conversation with you. Your questions always help me."
"Go ahead, just make the exception the rule. Happy New Year."
*Prasna is my friend, philosopher and guide. He appears wherever, whenever. He asks questions that are sharp and piercing. He clears my mind every time - R Sridhar

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