All The Same…? Part I

commodity and price

So, a while back I attended a mini-seminar by an expert (consultant) on the internet, and it’s effect on turning your product or service into a commodity… whatever it may be.

Yes, he said… you are no different than anyone else in your industry… and all he had to do to prove it was to go online and spend eighteen and one half seconds on google. There are twenty-nine million others just like you, he said… and you better be on page one, or your done.


Yup… and all that matters to your customers is lowest price… you can do nothing to add anything of value to the relationship, or the transaction.

Further, he went on… your rock-bottom offer, as well as your margins and expenses and everything else a prospect might need to make a decision, must be listed on your website. For according to this expert, the customer of today wants no interaction with you of any kind. Instead… they will make a go or no-go decision on the spot, based only on what they find at your site. Yes, he said… the days of relationship-based sales are over.

Interesting (not).

Oh, and by the way… since no prospects are willing to attend trade shows, seminars, or meet with you in person, you should fire your entire sales team and put the savings into reducing your price. No need for marketing here… customer experience is dead, he proclaimed… pick the space you want to play in… and be the low price, or you’ll soon be history.

Uhh… right.  And the proof?

Well, of course… this undeniable truth can be found in the way the world now orders hotel rooms. That’s right… the prospective traveller, he said, goes online to a discount travel service, picks the amenities and star rating that they want… and then they choose the lowest price in that market segment… every time.

So, his argument went… if you’re not the lowest price in that niche… your hotel is empty, the housekeepers go home early, and your children get oatmeal for supper… again.

It’s just that simple.


Or is it?

Just in case you may be tempted to fall for this… over the next day or two, we’ll look at a few real-life examples of the importance of relationships and great customer experiences… beginning with his hotel traveller theory. In the meantime, please consider this:

First, consultants often get paid based on their ability to sell you something that you’ve never thought of before. It doesn’t mean they’re right.

Second, he argued that in the internet age, offering live seminars or seeking personal interactions are a complete waste of time. Here he was, doing a live presentation about how live presentations don’t work. “No one will go to them!” he told the packed conference room.

Third, after the seminar, I googled his name… then his company’s name… and guess what? If he has a website… it is hosted on a server on another planet… because it certainly isn’t available on the world wide web. That’s right… at the very moment he was preaching internet-only transactions… he didn’t have his own website. Now… that… is really interesting.


I look forward to hearing from you.


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