Even though I consider myself a “value buyer” who is willing to pay for something when it’s worth it, some of those close to me (ahem, wife) might accuse me of occasionally being a bit too cheap.
So, where does a cheapskate plan an April break family vacation? Washington, D.C. of course! The museums are free and we can drive there from Boston!
The reality is that having grown up outside the U.S., I missed any school trips and tours to D.C., so we thought a week in-and-around the museums and tours of the capital would be a lot of fun for the whole family, and we were right! That week, however, I did learn a valuable lesson about the value of paying for expertise.
We began the week, armed with a tour book, for a self-guided tour of the Jefferson library in the neighborhood behind the Capitol. We skipped any paid tours for our proudly self-guided walk-through, and it was “fine”.
We followed that up with a tour of the Capitol building. Now, the interesting thing about the Capitol tour is that you are forced to take a guided tour. There is no self-guided option.
So…we did. It was awesome. Our tour guide was engaging and informative, and it was a memorable overview of our seat of government. Our tour was filled with lots of interesting anecdotes and stories that just would not have been experienced in a self-guided tour. We gladly paid up for great tours the rest of the week.
Expertise Matters in Reaching Results
All this got me thinking. As much as self-tours saved a few dollars, they were far less memorable and a substantially sub-par relative experience. It was definitely good to learn this lesson early in the week, as opposed to on the last day.
Expertise matters. In our case, being forced to enlist the help of an expert guide taught me a lesson about the value of expertise in enriching our visit. We did that by calling on someone who knows the ins and outs of what works or doesn’t. Someone who has years of experience, and has walked the tour hundreds of times.
I think of this experience all the time in my personal life. But also as I watch customers struggle with decisions around going it alone with do-it-yourself solutions for pricing or commercial process transformation.
The lesson I’ve learned, not only on that vacation but also by working on hundreds of projects with customers, is that experience matters! Getting to results, and having an experienced guide is a necessary investment in helping you achieve your goals and avoiding costly mistakes.
They say “penny-wise, pound foolish”, but I see this every day in businesses trying to learn for the first time to do things that experienced professionals can do with ease.
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