When you work with clients do you ask them, "What do you need me to do?" or are you saying, "Here's what I think we should be doing?"
I touch on this in the Being a Starving Artist Sucks book - it's the difference between being an order taker who asks, "What should I do now?" versus a consultant who guides the client by saying, "Based on what we've talked about, I am recommending we do ____________ now."
Consultants guide their clients, look for opportunities and have their client's best interests at heart, and produce results while order takers just wait for instructions. Consultants rely on their expertise, order takers rely on the client's. And finally...and most importantly, if you are perceived as a consultant you can easily charge double, triple or quadruple what order takers are charging, and client WILL be happy to pay for your services and expertise.
So which are you, a consultant or an order taker?
PS - (Friday, 8:30 MST) Wanted to add a quick note and thanks to Jill, she just emailed me this, "...48 hours after studying your products, I was able to get a client who usually takes weeks to get back to me to not only respond immediately, but enthusiastically. I successfully turned it into an upsell at the same time! I am definitely much more aware of how clearly my e-mails can be worded and used the techniques in Verbal Kung Fu for Freelancers and From Zero to Graphic Design Hero to help him transform from unsure about the upcoming project to enthusiastic." Rock on Jill, rock on!