By Andrew Sobel, Big4 Guest Blogger
Data and information are, by themselves, commodities. What matters is insight. And that’s why the live performance still reigns supreme.
I recently asked a lawyer to draft a contract document for me. In truth, I was tempted to cut corners, and find something on the Internet that I could adapt. Or, to ask a recent law school graduate to cobble something together for me. After all, basic legal document templates, such as wills and simple contracts, are a commodity.
The Beatles performing at Shea stadium in 1965. They built their reputation, in the early days, on their electric live performances at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. They were incredibly loud, raucous, entertaining, and engaging.
The truly valuable part of the process with my lawyer was the 30 minute conversation we had before she wrote the contract. She asked a number of questions that I hadn’t thought of, and helped me frame the major issues that might come up. It ended up taking her and her firm quite a few hours to create the required draft, but that’s not what I felt I was paying for: It was the live conversation to crystallize exactly what I needed and make me aware of the risks I might encounter.
If you want to distinguish your brand and fight the inevitable commoditization that all knowledge workers face, you should increase your face-to-face, live interactions with clients. That’s where you add enormous value. It’s not those PowerPoint slides—although they can be an important tool. It’s not all those ungrammatical emails you send out. It’s you and your client, face to face, brainstorming and hashing out the issues. In these conversations—ideally—you are:
- Asking thought-provoking questions
- Making sure your client is focused on the right issues to begin with
- Helping to frame, or reframe, the problem
- Identifying risks
- Adding value by sharing best practices, market information, and examples of how other, similar clients have addressed the same problems
- Challenging your client’s thinking and sharpening it
Look at the chart, below. Global sales of recorded music have steadily declined for a decade. Sales of tickets to live music events have steadily grown, however, and show no sign of stopping. The value of a CD or an MP3 recording, arguably, has gone down. The value of a great live performance—especially by a well-known artist—has gone up and up. Why? There are many reasons, but chief among them is the fact that there are many, many new substitutes for listening to recorded music (satellite radio, TV, the Internet, video games, etc.). But, there is really no substitute for an engaging, live performance.
How are your live performances? Are you spending too much time writing memos and sending emails, and too little time engaging your clients face-to-face?
These days, more than ever, if you want milk you have to get out of the house and walk out to the barn. You can’t just sit in your comfortable office, staring at your computer screen and checking the latest batch of emails.
What has helped you engage your clients and prospects more effectively? Leave a comment, below.
Anyone who buys a copy of my new book, Power Relationships, can download the free 90-page Planning Guide I’ve prepared at Power Relationships Planning Guide
I help companies and individuals develop winning marketplace strategies and build clients for life. My bestselling books include Power Relationships, Power Questions, All for One, and Clients for Life. I spent 14 years at Gemini Consulting, where I was a Senior Vice President and the Chief Executive of Gemini’s Italian subsidiary. For the last 17 years I’ve headed my own consulting firm, Andrew Sobel Advisors.
I’d like to hear from you. Contact me at www.andrewsobel.com.