I’ve been on vacation, so instead of having our typical 8 a.m. conversations over coffee in the office lounge, Chris and I have been keeping up over the phone. During a call last week Chris said something that really caught my attention. We were talking about the glut of advisors and the lack of doers these days and he said “the talk bubble is about to pop.” This quote really caught me, and we thought it might be fun to write a pair of blog posts (here’s Chris’s) about our thoughts on this topic–so here’s my take.
I’m the guy that, among a few other duties, has to sell “Newfangled” each day. One thing I’ve always really enjoyed about my sales role is that I’m selling for a company that is hired for and delivers great advice, but also a company that delivers on that advice. I know that we’re smart enough to lead our clients and agency partners in the planning stages of their projects but we’re not above actually implementing that plan for them–far from it, actually. What we get from this is the opportunity to closely observe the connection between the advice we give how those ideas actually work in the real world. We also have the fantastic (and, from a sales perspective, quite necessary) opportunity to point to the very clear, data-driven results of our advice and work. Because we’re both advising and implementing, we’re able to improve quickly in both areas because we see how one affects the other.
We recently built a website for which the client had hired a consultant to draw up a site map for them prior to our involvement (they hadn’t yet met Newfangled at the time). We used that site map as the starting point, but after a few prototyping sessions it was all but completely unrecognizable. The original consultant wouldn’t be able to point to the site and legitimately say any of their work was responsible for the site’s success. This type of thing is typical when there is a disconnect between advising clients as to what they should do and actually helping them get it done.
Now, I’m not saying that there is no room in this world for consultants. I’d hate to see what Newfangled would look like without the advice we’ve received from David C. Baker and Blair Enns. Without those guys we may not have made it through these 15 years.
Consultants are a necessary good, but great ones are rare. Too many people these days want to advise and not do. In our business there are also plenty on the flip-side, who will take your PSD file and have a full working website back to you in 20 days or your money back–no thought included, thank you. I couldn’t successfully sell either of those sorts of companies, I just wouldn’t know how to.