Wisdom vs Certainty

We want to treat the people we engage with like thinkers not robots – give them wisdom in the form of choices

  • Should you productize your services?
  • If so, just one product or many – a “product ladder”?

I really don’t know. People I respect have wildly different approaches to this.

Which is the “right” approach? For you, for your clients? Both options above seem good and I think it depends which is best. Pia’s model is probably better if you’re:

  • newer to consulting or content-creation
  • risk-tolerant
  • relish brand-building
  • have a smaller audience or network
  • less meticulous
  • less given to a publishing practice

Whereas Jonathan’s logic’n’discipline approach might work better if you have been consulting for 10 years or more, are super-organized, and have a big mailing list.

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But forget about how. or whether, to package your services into products for a minute; that’s not the larger point I want to make.

The point is related to this rule from Venkatesh Rao: “Offer choices, not recommendations“.

A specific recommendation can be an illusory comfort. Thus, a consultant offers wisdom, instead of certainty, in the form of two or more great choices.

Part of this approach’s value proposition is that the client gets to contrast smart choices offered, like those of Pia and Jonathan.

This compare and contrast process may lead your clients to make valuable self-recommendations. More importantly, it may lead them to think more effectively about the right areas of their business.

You don’t always get to do this, though. Some of your work might still look like providing specific recommendations (ie deliverables). So look for your opportunities.

When’s the next time you will have the chance to offer wise choices instead of a certain recommendation? How will you frame your choices as strategies to consider, not deliverables to revise? And will you resist the urge to push your pet favorite?

Enjoy that challenge (: