‘X’ Marks the Spot!

‘X’ Marks the Spot!

I read a brilliant quote recently around engaging services and with Stratus being a service business, delivering business communications skills to both groups and 1:1s, this resonated perfectly.

“If you think it’s expensive to hire a professional, wait until you hire an amateur.”

It is astonishing how folk imagine that because you are only on their premises for eight hours, this is the only contribution you provide. In fact – and I’m sure most businesses engaged in training provision would also testify to – the delivery day is merely the culmination.

Most of the real work is done beforehand in the research, design, planning, preparation and production of materials. And that’s before we even factor in the many years of experience needed to be able to do any of this effectively. Yet some potential clients still suck their teeth in and shake their heads mournfully when presented with our daily rate as if they were Del Boy kicking the tyres of a dodgy motor.

Part of the problem is the way that consultants are hired nowadays. Often, a company has become accustomed to making expensive employees redundant one week, then hiring them back as an ‘outside consultant’ the next. The person rehired is so humbly grateful to still have an income that they offer a baseline price. Of course, he/she can afford to do this because they have been given all their training and experience for free whilst working for said company – and because they are currently working out of the back of their car with an iPad and an M&S prawn butty, therefore having no overheads. Inevitably this will drive down the average cost, even though it is neither realistic nor sustainable.

Part of the problem is that sometimes we consultants don’t recognise our own worth; it’s very much part of ‘Brit Culture’ to play down your talents but this self-effacing approach cuts no ice in the dog-eat-dog world of business.

It reminds me of the tale of the retired engineer who bucked this trend. It’s been doing the rounds again lately but well worth another airing. His old company was having a seemingly impossible problem with one of their multi-million pound machines. They had wasted much time and money trying to fix it. So they called in their long-lost employee, who reluctantly took on the challenge. After spending a day examining the machine, he finally marked a chalk ‘x’ on one particular component, telling them that this was where the problem lay. The part was replaced and the machine once again worked perfectly. Their ex-engineer then sent the company a bill for £50,000, whereupon they immediately demanded an itemised breakdown of his charges. The engineer responded briefly:

“One chalk mark £1 – knowing where to put it £49,999!”

So a huge thanks to all our clients past and present, who do value the services we provide at Stratus and discover that once they take the leap of faith to hire us, we turn out to be excellent value for money.

Your Reaction: If you want to engage a training provider that knows where to put the chalk mark and who can give you the skills to make a difference when communicating with clients, colleagues and the wider world, contact us for additional information or to arrange a chat with one of the Stratus team