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The 1000% ROI phone call

Vikrant Duggal
Vikrant Duggal
• 2 min read

"What?" he almost laughed.

Yesterday I connected with a friend and he shared with me that friend of his needed some finance help in preparation for board call. I didn't get all the details, but I took away that the work sounded important, really imporant.

"So," he says, "how would you price it? It's about 2-3 days worth of work. I'm thinking $750." All of a sudden the outcome didn't sound so important, so I asked a few questions.

"Isn't this like really, really important work?"

"Yes," he says.

"How bad is it if he doesn't get this done?" I asked.

"Well, he won't have board approval for his budget and some important things he wants to do."

I thought. "If he hires some fractional, or part-time CFO could they do it better than you?"

"No."

"Well, wouldn't someone like that charge around $200k a year?"

"At least," he said.

"Is he aware how critical this stuff is?" I asked.

"Yes."

"You should price yourself at $10,000 minimum," I said.

"What?" he almost laughed.

"Dude, I've been doing this high profile work for three years. You know this. And I'm teaching it. Do you trust me?"

"Yes, but I just want to be able to take [wife] to French Laundry for dinner."

"Charge the $10k and then fly me out there and take me to dinner too! Oh, and in the email be sure to summarize the problems he's facing, the outcome he wants and that you can help. Just say, 'I can help.' and let him know how much."

So later that day I get a text, then a phone call...

Outcome: Text message exchange with friend.

This is what consulting club is attempting to help more people do. Over the years I've had a number of conversations like this. Very few have this outcome, but when it happens, it happens fast.

The incentives here are strongly aligned:

  • my friend makes his true value (I'd argue he probably could have asked for $12k, or $15k)
  • he's incented to do great work in the shortest amount of time possible
  • his friend (a now client) will get an incredible outcome
  • his friend will now refer him to others
  • hopefully I get a first class flight to SF and dinner at French Laundry (I won't push it!)
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