One of my favourite strategy books is Trade-Off by Kevin Maney.
In it, he talks about how all companies are in either the convenience or fidelity business.
The best ones go to the edges of either one. The ones who fail are stuck in the middle—neither convenient nor high-fidelity.
Convenience, as he describes, is ultimately the ease in which a customer can get a desired result.
That includes things like price, location, barriers to entry, etc. Think Planet Fitness, McDonalds, or your local convenience store.
Fidelity, on the other hand, is the total experience of something.
That includes things like aura, identity, and total enjoyment. Think rock concerts vs. MP3s, or theatres vs. home movies (remember those?).
With fidelity, price is not a factor. All that matters is the total experience of a thing.
You might wonder whether the consulting business is convenience or fidelity.
I wasn’t initially sure myself.
On the one hand, you help facilitate results for your clients, making it easier and faster to get an outcome.
But on the other hand, the experience of working with a consultant who genuinely transforms your business is one to behold. If you’ve ever experienced it from the client side, it’s magic.
So which one is consulting?
If you guessed that it’s the fidelity business, you are correct.
Consulting services are neither cheap nor easy to consume. It’s not convenient because you’re still navigating the rough turns and there are no guarantees.
But if you do it right, it’s akin to taking a helicopter over NYC during rush hour. The experience of having a trusted guide navigate you through the choppy waters far exceeds the cost of doing so—if you can afford it.
So when you’re building your advisory business, remember that you’re not in the convenience business, you’re in the experience business.
And in the experience business, cost is not a factor. All that matters is the total experience (which includes results).
Create the experience people want through the transformations you create and you’ll be able to charge whatever you like.