Subscribe to my newsletter EDM News
Too many choices? That’s why you need a consultant
13 February 2013, by , in Executive, 4 comments

In the book “Switch” by Chip and Dan Heath, they tell the story of a jam sale conducted by gourmet food store. One day, the store put out six types of jam. The next, they put out 24 types of jam. The display of 24 jams attracts a lot more customers, but the display of only six types of jams actually sold ten times as much as the larger display. The Heath brothers blame this on decision paralysis. When we have too many choices, we choose nothing at all. Choosing from six was much easier than choosing from 24.

I’ve written about this concept of too many choices in the past, in the context of not sending an RFP to too many AMS vendors.

But one of the greatest values an experienced consultant (like me) can bring to an association is the ability to cull the list of choices down to a reasonable number, so that you can make a choice and not be affected by decision paralysis. After all, there are more than 40 vendors in the market providing membership management software. Obviously not all of them are going to be even a potentially good fit for your organization. A knowledgeable consultant can help ensure that you talk to only those vendors that would be the best potential fit for your organization.

 

About author:
  • Wes,

    Well said. From the partner side I can tell you that we do not respond to RFP’s when the RFP is sent to more than 4-6 partners. Having a consultant use their industry knowledge to pare the list to 3-4 is a very prudent thing to do. Sending an RFQ is also helpful in narrowing the list of potential partners.

    At NimbleUser we look at a number of factors in determining if we respond to an RFP including:
    1. Fit. Is our solution a good fit for the association?
    2. Is the timeline outlined in the RFP reasonable and can we meet it?
    3. Is budget clearly stated and can we meet the budget with our solution?
    4. Do we have a good chance of winning this RFP?

    RFP’s from a knowledgeable consultant can really help us to answer the above questions as well as helping the association to make the correct decision.

    -Sig

    • Sig, good thoughts. A question for you: What do you do if a potential client hasn’t or can’t clearly state a budget?

  • Kristin Kornyacki

    Wes, writing a blog telling people they need a consultant is not compelling. Kindly show us case studies where you have reduced costs for the association. Show us how you have displaced products. Convince us why your costs are justified. Thia blog doesn’t educate anyone, it is a commercial.

    • Wes Trochlil

      Kristin (which I assume is NOT your real name), if you find this blog doesn’t educate, why are you here?

      As for case studies, see these: http://effectivedatabase.com/success-stories

      Unlike your screenname, none of these stories are fictional.

Archives

Sign-up for EDM News

 

 

Testimonials

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

“We came to Wes because we were very frustrated with our existing AMS and we wanted to improve our capabilities as soon as practicable. Wes very quickly helped us through a process of identifying our needs, identifying potential vendors, and selecting a new system that we’ll be able to move into very quickly. I especially appreciated Wes’s candor about our processes as well as the systems we were looking at. He was a great resource to have in a period of high anxiety for our organization. I would highly recommend Wes for any similar project.”

Jack Chiasson, CMP Executive Director
National Association of Life Brokerage Agencies

“Wes was able to come in and offer tangible, relevant advice that made us more productive immediately. I value his understanding of databases but more so, his understanding of how nonprofits work. There was no lost time educating him about how membership organizations are “different.” Wes recommended changes in processes as well as tips and tricks that were easy to implement made an immediate positive impact.”

Mary Pat Paris, Executive Director
International Registration Plan

Mary Pat Paris
International Registration Plan

“This is the second database implementation we’ve done since I have been at Western Arts Alliance (WAA). The first I did on my own. This time we engaged Wes Trochlil as our database planning consultant. Let me tell you, this process is a whole lot easier having Wes on your team! For a small association like WAA, it’s tempting for board and EDs to question the justification and expense of a database planning consultant. But it’s the small associations that need Effective Database Management the most. Wes strengthened our planning process, clarified our needs requirements, helped us steer around solutions that couldn’t meet our objectives, and saved us money in the long haul.”

Tim Wilson, Executive Director
Western Arts Alliance

Tim Wilson
Western Arts Alliance
%d bloggers like this: