The High Value of (Faster) Answers

In the movie Molly’s Game the principal character, Molly, (Played by Jessica Chastain) was a hopeful Olympic mogul skier before she tripped on a stick during trials. Her life evolves (or devolves, depending on your point of view) to becoming the creator of a high stakes poker game for the rich and famous in LA and then later in New York. While running her game in New York, the now “it” poker game attracts some unsavory characters. Law enforcement jumps in and pressures Molly to give up secrets on her players or face a long jail sentence.

Molly’s estranged Father shows up right before her trial and proceeds to have a short, direct and life-altering conversation with her.

Her Father, a well-respected Psychiatrist, tells her, since she is in this moment of pure peril, that he is going to do what therapy patients have wished their therapists would do for decades, just give her the answers. In fact, he promises three years of therapy in 3 minutes (It is, after all, a movie).

Armed with all he knows about her past, he proceeds to explain what compelled her to run card games, why she incorrectly thinks her Father liked her the least and why her failure at skiing was not the failure she made it be (It was simply a fluke that she tripped on a stick that meant nothing else).

His direct answers create a breakthrough and her Father closes the scene by saying… “See how much you can accomplish when you do not charge by the hour?”  You can watch the scene here (And I hope you take the time do so).

People want answers.

What does this have to do with your business? Think about your sales process and how you deliver your service?  If the length of time you are taking to deliver your value is slowed because you will make more money by having a drawn-out process then you are cheating your client and yourself. The industries that follow a model that creates more revenue by going slower are many. The clients that want you to go slower and charge them more are few (To none).

When I start working with a client, there is a certain amount I need to know about a business, its owner, their competitors and their industry before I can give them a practical strategy (answers) that will fix whatever is holding them back.  However long that takes it how long it should take. Dragging it out for any longer or waiting for my client to figure it out on their own (Like a therapist who keeps asking, “What do you think the reason you are like this might be?” when they know the answer) diminishes the experience for everyone.

While getting to the answers matters, how quickly you can get there is just as important.  A striptease is great in certain circumstances (And I will leave you to figure out when) but not when it comes to delivering answers or results that will change peoples lives, businesses or both.

You know the famous quote by Henry Ford about how if he had asked his customers what they wanted they would have told him a faster horse?  The quote is used to show how customers have no idea what they want but that misses the bigger point.  Customers did know what they wanted, they wanted to get where they wanted to go faster.  Henry Ford’s solution was an automobile.  People want answers, as quickly as possible.

What if you could create more value in getting people answers and/or results faster than everyone else?

This is your opportunity to stop presenting your version of the same process your competitors offer.

  • What if you could do the discovery, strategy, design and launch of a web site in 4-6 weeks vs 4-6 months?
  • What if you were the lawyer that had a way to conclude a divorce in 6 weeks instead of the usual 1-2 years?
  • What if you designed a process that allowed a business deal to close in weeks instead of months?
  • What if your business coaching process took 3 months instead of hoping it lasts for years?
  • What if you were a therapist that, after learning enough information, just gave your patients the answers to their problems?

You might charge less (Although I would argue you could charge more) but will create the capacity to handle many more clients, projects and transactions with the same number of people. You would also have a different story to tell that would attract clients that are sick and tired of endless projects and engagements that cost them too much. Word of mouth would be off the charts.

If you have high expertise in what you do (And always looking to increase the mastery of your craft) you know most of the answers or how to get to them quickly.

You know the information you need to deliver great work for your clients.  I am willing to bet, with some effort, you could figure out ways to get the results much faster than you do today.

Nobody wants to spend years in therapy, they just think that is the only way it works.

Until someone decides to change their expectations.

So, for the people you sell to, what are the expectations (In time and money) for getting the results they want?

How could you give them the answers in half of the time and turn that into your competitive advantage?  What could you do if you stopped connecting your value to time?

Speed to the right answer is a winning strategy, seldom used.