As a seller of products, services, ideas, and value, your clients need you to be more than a peddler. They need you to be more than a partner. They need you to be a trusted advisor in every sense of that term. Someone they can turn to for insight, guidance, and structure. And perhaps even someone to hold them accountable to themselves.

The best way you can do that is also one of the simplest ways: Give your clients deadlines.

There are four primary benefits to starting this habit with your current clients, new clients, and even your prospects.

1. They will see you are serious and intentional with your actions.

2. They will better perceive you as the professional you are.

3. Although rarely will they make their appointed deadlines, they’ll appreciate your concern for their progress.

4. They want to see that you provide not only the content but also the structure for their success.

Let’s spend a moment on each one of these benefits.

1. They will see you are serious and intentional with your actions. A deadline conveys a commitment. A commitment conveys caring. And one sales truth that has stood the test of time is “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” A deadline shows your dedication to getting things done for your client and making things happen. At the end of the day, THAT is what they’re paying you for.

2. They will better perceive you as the professional you are. Amateurs don’t care when things get done. Now. Later. Tomorrow. Next week. Doesn’t matter. Professionals care a great deal. Amateurs take their time. Professionals know that speed costs — and that solving problems FAST is worth a lot more than solving problems slowly. Or not at all. Step up to the big leagues by showing your client your true professionalism and putting deadlines in front of them to motivate action, outcomes, and results.

3.  Although rarely will they make their appointed deadlines, they’ll appreciate your concern for their progress. Nobody likes a taskmaster. Everyone loves an encourager. Yes, your clients will miss deadlines. But they would miss a whole lot more of them if you didn’t have deadlines to shoot for! When clients miss a deadline, don’t beat them up about it — that’s not the point. The point is that you’re there to coach them through to success — one deadline at a time.

4. They want to see that you provide not only the content but also the structure for their success. If you sell insurance, insurance is not your product. If you sell paper, paper supplies are not your product. If you sell engineering, engineering services are not your product. We sell the results (both tangible and intangible) of what our products and services do. No deadlines, no action. No structure for action, no results.

So deadlines are not calendar devices; they are results devices. Deadlines and milestones (even highly adjustable ones) ensure your client crosses the finish line over into results. The sooner they do — and the more you help them get there — the more you’ll earn their business, their referrals, and their trust.

Give your clients deadlines, people – and make Marvelous happen!