Before and after

Let’s think about before and after. That is, what was it like for clients before they used your services (or product) and what was life like afterwards?

Here’s a couple of examples.

Example 1: Business Accounts with Xero

Before Xero I used Quicken 2000. My accounting workflow was a mess. I’d manually enter invoices from Microsoft Word; expense claims in Excel; credits and debits from bank statements. VAT was knife and forked, then transferred onto HMRC forms.

After Xero things have changed, my accounting is very different now. Invoices are raised within Xero and emailed direct to clients; Expense receipts are scanned using my iPhone and added; Bank balances and transactions are automatically transferred. And – joy – VAT is just a couple of button pushes.

I’m saving time, but more importantly I now enjoy a process I previously avoided.

Example 2 – Sales Strategy & Mentoring with Clive (that’s me)

Before engaging me clients typically are doing okay with business development, but not great. They procrastinate and struggle initiating sales conversations, client decision making is a bit hit or miss, and they feel like a consulting proposal factory at times.

After working with me they’ve faced up to some hard truths. They have a clear strategy in place for getting the results they want. And a consistent approach for engaging clients; sales conversations; and facilitating decisions.

My clients are more focused and feel confident.

How to figure out ‘before and after’ for your clients

Begin by describing a ‘day-in-the life’ for a client – before they work with you. Make sure you think about the problems to solve; opportunities to exploit, and the capabilities needed. All from their perspective, not yours.

Next think through what life is like after working with you. Focus on what the client experiences now – in the ‘after state’ and how that is meaningful for them.

[One way to ‘farm’ this information is to look at what clients say about your work in their testimonials and recommendations. It’s usually all hidden away in there.]

One last thing. What about during? What needs to happen in the ‘during’ to move the client from the ‘before’ into the ‘after’.

Before. After. During.

PS I found this excellent example a day after writing this brief. Check out how informational it is.