... that people know the cost of everything, but the value of nothing. If this is the case, and you're in business development, you're not doing your job properly. I was reminded of this by my friend Chris yesterday.
Chris works for Avanade, a joint venture between Microsoft and Andersen Consulting. He's a true geek -- he oversees the installation and babysitting of huge computer systems, and buys gadgets for fun. Anyway, I talk to him a lot, and he called just as I was getting ready to kill my laptop.
I was sitting in my car on the roof of a parking garage in downtown San Francisco. I was in range of at least thirty wireless networks, and I couldn't get into any of them. Something had caused my wireless adapter drivers to start acting all wonky, and although I could "see" the networks, and everything was working fine, the devices themselves weren't doing their thing. I was not happy. I was on my way to a client, and this would mean I would have no internet access for the entire day, which would really stink.
So Chris calls, just to chat, and I start complaining. And he walks me through a solution, over the phone, while he's driving somewhere, in about ninety seconds. He totally solved the problem, immediately, with no effort.
Chris's usual billing rate is several hundred dollars per hour. And this is why. He's really good. He delivers real value.
The Wizard of Oz's position on transparency and openness is well known: "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!" However, by insisting that they ignore him, the Wizard is falling into our favorite old trap, mistaking a transaction for a relationship. In professional services marketing, this is suicide.
In a recent posting on the Marketing Playbook blog, this point is nicely made. http://www.geekfishing.net/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/1497
One of the oldest, tiredest, and truest sayings about business is the definition of insanity, which has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin. It states, basically, that insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results. Or, to put it a little more crudely, if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.
As a consultant, much of what I do is to make this same point over and over and over, in various ways to my clients. It’s the most basic of concepts, so simple that my six year-old could understand it. Yet, it’s the most difficult part of my work sometimes. Business, as they say, is simple, but not easy.