How does time correlate with value?

If someone listens to your situation and what you are trying to accomplish, does that minimize their value when they distill their wisdom, skill and experience and offer you a strategy that gives you the best chance of success in a short amount of time?


Two anecdotes come to mind. One is the patient who is in the dentist’s chair and complains of pain in their mouth. The dentist takes a look and determines the issue. The patient asks how much the procedure will cost, and the dentist reports back $1,500. The patient then inquires “how long will it take?” The dentist replies that once they are prepped, it should only be about 30 minutes. The patient replies, “that’s a lot of money for 30 minutes of work!” The dentist calmly says, “If the time is a problem, I can make it take as long as you want.”

Or the story of a black-tie event for 1,000 people at a hotel that is about to start, and the water to the hotel stops working. The manager frantically calls a plumber. After arriving on the scene, they analyze the situation and tap on a pipe. Like magic, the water starts flowing immediately, and the crisis is averted. The manager then asks the plumber what their fee is, which is $1,000. The manager is appalled and asks how it can cost $1,000 to tap a pipe. The plumber responds by saying their fee is $10 to tap the pipe and $990 to know where to tap!

Maybe value has absolutely nothing to do with time.

This is one of the most fascinating things to me about reading a book. I share this amazement with Halston, so it doesn’t get lost on her. Someone can spend a year, five or 10 years researching, conducting interviews, synthesizing material, writing and editing a book, and we have the luxury of reading that material over the course of 5-10 hours. All for the cost of a book!

When you are working with someone that charges by the hour, you want them to work as quickly as possible. What about when someone is selling their home, and they don’t have a trusted real estate adviser to hire? Does that seller go through the painful process of hosting a beauty pageant and a parade of agents who talk about how special they are while flaunting their statistics, glossy brochures and postcards with recipes? Blah, blah, blah. After the 3rd agent finishes regurgitating on them, the client realizes they all sound the same. They have the same marketing plan and make the same promises of what the process will look like and how amazing the outcome will be. They somehow aren’t transparent, and never discuss the challenges and blind curves that lie ahead, for fear they may not sound as good as the other agents interviewed.

Would it be of lesser value if they find an agent with so much skill and integrity that they can determine what is important to that seller, expertly understand what home preparation should or shouldn’t be done, and come up with an effective pricing strategy, during a short conversation?

How do you ascertain someone’s value when their expertise allows them to review and summarize the situation in a short amount of time? Does a short amount of time spent mean that it was easy and they added no value? Or did they add a tremendous amount of value and simply provide it in a short amount of time?

What kind of experiences does this make you think of?