Thursday, February 7, 2013

"The Hammerblow is Free": The Real Value of Knowledge.

The Real Value Of Knowledge.
This is the story of a man who had a freight company. He had two ships in his fleet and with them, he could barely keep up with the high demand of their services.

Everyday, the company received shipping orders to different countries, some closer than others, and business was running smooth for our character. The story says that years passed by and this man continued driving a thriving business, made a lot of money and had loyal customers.

One morning, he got a phone call telling him that one of his ships had suddenly stopped working. They couldn’t start it up. For some unknown reason, the engines were dead and now there was a thud, but very persistent sound no one knew where it was coming from. None of the technicians and engineers working in the company, had an idea of which could be the problem.

Our guy was desperate, distressed, because for every minute the boat was shut down, he was losing millions and he didn’t like that at all.

A day went by and assistance or a specialist who could help them solve their problem couldn’t be found throughout the city, or cities nearby, until finally, a friend of our guy called him and said:

"Call Mr. Peterson. This is his number. I understand he is a specialist in ships like yours. The only one available around "

Of course, the call occurred immediately. Our friend called Mr. Peterson and explained him his problem. Peterson said he could help resolve it and then both agreed to meet the next day.

When he arrived at the company, Mr. Peterson was very kindly received by our guy, who explained the anguish felt because of the whole situation, by the ignorance of his employees, how having the ship shutdown was affecting his business, and above all, by that strange noise, deaf and tormenting, now being heard throughout the ship.

Mr. Peterson spent a couple of hours talking with the engineers and technicians from the company. Then two more hours walking around the boat. A couple more walking by internal corridors. He auscultated inside walls. Outside walls as well, until he finally said:

"Voila. Here it is. "- Pulled a piece of chalk from his pocket, made a circle of about ten centimeters in diameter in one wall and said -" Here's the problem "

All people remain silent during such situation. Mr. Peterson took a hammer from his bag, rolled up his sleeves and, using all his strength gave a hard, dry blow right in the center of the circle he had drawn, and told the ship's officer. "Try to start the engines now"

The engineer went to the engine room and, with doubts and still surprised, pushed the button to turn the engines on, and to everyone’s surprise, including the company’s owner, the engines started to run without a problem and the deafening noise that had tortured them for days, was completely gone.

Everyone cheered, jumped excited congratulating each other and praising the work Mr. Peterson had done. Our guy was not behind in their joy and warmly thanked Mr. Peterson for having solved this strange problem.

Mr. Peterson then said: "Give me a second to prepare the bill for my services" - then took a notebook from his bag and scribbled for a few minutes to then deliver his invoice in the hands of our character, the owner of the company.

When he read it, his face grew pale, his eyes widened as his mouth and couldn’t utter a word. He stammered:

"¿What???? ...... ¿¿Two million???? ...... ¿¿For a circle of chalk and a hammer blow???"

Mr. Peterson, who hadn’t lost his composure, replied:

"The hammer blow is for free. I’m charging you because I knew exactly the right place to deliver the blow and solve your problem "

Moral of this story:

"Not only charge customers for your time. Charge also for knowing how to use your time effectively to solve their problems."

NOTICE: This story isn’t mine. I have read it several times over the years on sales training seminars and sessions, and keep it as a reference everytime I come across a debate on “The value of knowledge”.

Related Post: Working For Free? When, How and for How Long.

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