What does the customer need and how much is he willing to pay

This is my first article. I am sure that he described not the only effective algorithm. I would be grateful for the feedback that will help him optimize.

So, you have a letter from the customer in the mail. The letter contains a half-page of requirements and a request for an assessment.

Let's immediately determine that there is no collective customer. Saying: “We got a project from Microsoft”, in fact, we mean: “Gennady, who is now working at Microsoft, sent us a letter about a project that someone might need at Microsoft.” So, us in the mail a letter from Gennady.

At this point, please do not do anything that involves the participation of Gennady. No need to arrange a meeting. No need to write a letter with questions. Our task is to reduce the number of actions on his part. Why - below.

Also, please do not make a mockery on the forehead. Almost always, the budget of Gennady is limited. Almost always, the requirements are formulated with a margin and, literally judging them, you will fly beyond the expectations of Gennady. In the best case, he will tell you about it, and you will find yourself doing everything that is described below. Only now you have already taken the time to make a detailed outlook. In the worst case, you will be deemed too expensive and someone else will be chosen.

You need to independently estimate the range of project costs. The assessment will be inaccurate. The range is very wide. This is normal. The only requirement is that the final mark should fall into this range.

Give yourself an estimate strictly one hour. Recognize that no matter how wide the range is. Even if you just take the cheapest project in your memory as the lower boundary, and the most expensive as the upper, this will be enough, albeit with a stretch.

Formulate up to five questions to Gennady, having received answers to which, you will narrow your assessment range in the allotted hour. Now come up with the answers yourself so that the estimate is minimal - this is the lower limit of the range. Now imagine that the customer wants everything in the world - you got the upper limit.

If there is a chance to answer a question without the help of Gennady, be sure to do it. The time to find the answer to such questions is not included in the time allotted for the assessment. Compliance with this simple rule at all stages of the project is one of the key conditions for your mutual love with Gennady.

If you can come up with an answer to any question that you think Gennady could give, come up with an answer that simplifies your work, and consider this answer to be the answer of Gennady.

For example, you need to develop an Android application. Should it work on tablets? Let’s decide for Gennady that it shouldn’t, and this decision will be included in our list of assumptions. If you do a good job, it may happen that you do not have a single question for Gennady, only a list of suggestions.

Why are assumptions much better than questions? By asking Gennady a question, you:

  1. Make Gennady spend his time
  2. You can get a stupid decision and you will either have to put it into practice, or explain to Gennady that he is wrong, which is harmful for the relationship
  3. You get a stopper out of the blue - you can’t move on now, you need an answer from Gennady

Why should the number of questions to Gennady be minimized? Because for him, the ideal work with you looks like this:

  1. Get result

Neither sending claims, nor communicating with you, nor payment are included here. He needs only the result from you. Adding any element to this process reduces your value to Gennady. The question is such an element. The answer to any question is work. And Gennady pays the work for you. If you nevertheless ask a question, let it be possible to answer “yes” or “no”.

So, you have in your hands a range of assessment, a list of assumptions and questions, the answers to which are not obvious. If you have done a good job, there may not be any questions.

Check yourself again, remembering whether similar projects you know fall into the resulting range? If not, look for a mistake. If so, call Gennady.

His phone may be in the signature of the letter. Perhaps your colleagues know the phone. It is important to call. If you write a letter, and Gennady thinks that the letter is nonsense, this opinion will be strengthened in his head until he receives a refutation from you. Even if it is convincing, the sediment will remain.

During the call, first ask Gennady what the goal of the project is. Then speak with Gennady your assumptions and ask questions if they remain. Already at this stage, Gennady will be glad that you delved into it, and you may exclaim to yourself: “Ah, what they need!”

After receiving the answers, find out what is more important - to realize all the wishes or to meet the budget. If you keep within the budget, then what is the size of the budget. If Gennady bothers, he answers about the size of the budget non-specifically, inform him that based on the available data, the assessment range is such and such. Is he all comfortable for him?

This is your first conversation over. Now focus and compare the answer about the goal of the project with its image in your head. If they do not fit in any way, which is normal and happens, return to assessing the range with a new understanding and do it all over again. If they fit together, you're in luck.

By the way, a meeting is even better than a call.

At this point, in most cases, you will understand what Gennady really needs and how much he is willing to pay. You can write and coordinate FT, make a project plan and calculate the final cost.

By the way, when writing FT do not hesitate (always agreeing with Gennady) to violate his initial requirements if they contradict the stated goal. Also try to remove everything that does not bring it closer to it. If you save money to Gennady by helping to achieve goals, his position in the company will be strengthened, the company itself will develop, and you will receive more and more orders from him.

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