I was in the jewelry business for many years. I owned a few stores and at one point decided to possibly bring in a consultant to help streamline my business and addess some problem areas. He was a very nice man who was very up-front about his large fee and the value of his service. One of his valuable offerngs was to send in a “prominent” marketing consultant to help us with promotion and advertising. “Greta” I thought; someone that can navigate the tricky and expensive world of New York City marketing and promotion.
The meeting did not get off to a promising start as this expert came in looking like he just left the flophouse. If you’re going to a meeting why not at least try to look sharp and presentable. Regardless of that we dove into the specifics of my store and my issues. He had quick answers and all of them were ridiculous. He obviously had done no research into my store, my market or New York City in general. He apparently thought that his charm and “reputation” would dazzle us and blind us to his banal information. There were two things at play as I saw them: either he thought I was stupid or he was. I don’t know which it was but as a result of that meeting we cancelled the whole project.
There are more than a few points to this story but the one I was thinking of when I started was this: I want to know what makes you tick before I walk in to meet with you. There is no such thing as one size fits all advice for business. I understand that, you certainly understand that and you should expect that if you’re seeking help the person offering that help should understand that.
The reason I was reminded of all this was that I still receive trade magazines from the jewelry business and this “expert” had a column advising on social media. As I read it and rolled my eyes at the banality I realized that many people can be content with thinking they are getting good advice if they think it sounds like good advice. Don’t be content. If you want help, demand the best. Trust Me.