When you’re trying to decide upon a course of action, to whom do you turn for advice and counsel? Let me ask it another way, do you seek out the advice of experts or just the opinion of others?
For years my wife and I were never quite satisfied with our backyard landscaping. Clearly, not an earth shattering dilemma but this is one of those projects that had been on our always too long to-do list for quite some time. We put in various trees and shrubs; some survived and some didn’t. We had some professional landscapers come out and even paid for design work but most wanted to go crazy with pathways, lots of plants to maintain and eliminating most of the grassy area (not something that would be very appealing to our eight year-old and his dog).
Finally, I met a true expert in his field, Jim Van Valkenburg of Sherwood’s Forest Nursery, Ballwin MO. Jim came up with a simple design that worked for me, my wife and eight year old which meant leaving the most of the grass in place for him and his dog while creating the feel of a small forest area back by the tree house. As soon as we saw his design we said yes and had the base plantings installed at the very end of last year. The result is that we start spring with a new look and new plantings that are starting to grow. Earlier this month, I surprised my wife by adding annuals. When she saw them, she said, “They look great but are you sure they are going to work back here?” “Of course”, I said, “I got them from Jim.” In about 10 minutes Jim showed me just a few options (not dozens) that he knew would work in our space and I was on my way.
Too often, people seek the opinion of others but what they really need is expert advice. In other cases, so called experts expand the number of options rather than narrowing them and helping the customer select from the handful of best choices. I can think of multiple examples like my landscaping story where I have been presented with a plethora of options to wade through on my own. To me, that’s not helpful. I want an expert who understands the universe of choices and focuses on just a few great options or even just their top pick and helping me understand why his or her recommendation is the best for me.
Over the years, I have found that the more people I know who are expert in a particular area, the fewer problems I have. If I know an expert, the problem can be quickly solved by some expert advice and the appropriate amount of money. Now, sometimes true experts who follow my philosophy can be hard to find and one has to wade through a number of people who seem to make the problem more difficult to solve rather than easier.
If you’re trying to solve a problem, to whom do you turn for advice? Do you try to find an expert who can quickly give you an answer or do you just seek the opinions of lots of people, whether they happen to be experts or not?
More importantly, what approach do you take with your customers? Whatever your product or service do you quickly get them to an answer that will solve their problem or do you take them through a dizzying array of options only to leave them no closer to an answer after they’ve spoke with you than before?
True experts, help people get to the solution most appropriate for the customer’s situation and take the stress out of decision making.
If your business could benefit from fractional CFO services, I would welcome the chance to speak with you. Please give me a call at (314) 863-6637 or send an email to [email protected] The archive of these monthly newsletters is posted at the Resources section of homza.com
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