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The Art of Professional Scarcity
2021-10-26 • 2 minute read

We all know how the dynamics of supply and demand work. The scarcer something is, the higher the value people place in acquiring it. The question is how you can put this immutable law to work in your business. I would ask you to start with your lexicon, because the words you use continually, matter.

For example, when a client or a strategic partner asks you, “are you looking for more clients?” Do you pounce on that? Or do you activate a counter-intuitive reaction by saying something like “We do have some capacity, but it’s never about who we’re looking for, but rather about who we’re suited for.” What does someone hear and how long does a statement like that resonate?

When you meet a prospective client for the first time, convey this: “Let’s use this meeting as an opportunity to vet each other, to see if there is an alignment and a good fit. Nobody has to make any decisions here today.” What do they hear? How about when you start deliberately shifting more attention to your very best clients? As part of the process, tell them, “We’ve actually started to grow our business down. At our peak, we had close to 400 relationships, but going forward we’re going to start being all things to some people, rather than some things to all people. Soon we’ll have closer to 200 relationships, so that we can go deeper as their needs become more complex and continue to evolve.

What do they hear when you repeatedly imprint that “we only accept new clients who were introduced to us?” How does it reflect on you when you remind your clients that there is “a very specific reason why we have second- and third-generation clients” - and to what extent do you amplify your professional contrast?

When you explain that, while others use a sales process trying to chase down new business, “we adamantly stick with stewardship to attract the clients whose needs and philosophy are in sync with us,” you activate a sense of belonging for existing relationships.

The right people will want to be a part of the elite small community that you’ve carefully created. They will also want to share that with the right people, essentially coming to the rescue for people they care about, the way advocates do.

Continued Success!

Contributed by: Duncan MacPherson

Pareto Systems
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