The more businesses move to transactional models with no human interaction, the more human interaction is going to be a competitive advantage. When caring is absent, caring becomes a defining differentiator. If you have ever needed help from the company that sold you something to find that no one was available to help you, you understand the value of caring.
As more businesses chase a super-transactional model, believing that reducing friction (and price is a form of friction) is their competitive advantage, the more they will attract price sensitive buyers. Those who chase a super-relational model will attract the higher end of the market, and the more they will find clients and customers willing to pay for something better.
As automation becomes more prevalent, the more “by hand” is going to be something special. Mass production reduces the costs of manufacturing, making things available to the masses. “By hand” increases craftsmanship, the uniqueness of what one buys, and provides something truly special. One of a million is often something less than one of a kind.
When people are treated like a number, a data point, a record, or a file, those who treat people like an individual will create a special bond, and one that creates the feeling that they are unique and important. There are certain human needs that are so deeply ingrained that they aren’t easily lost. There are also human needs that, when violated, create a repulsion, and the lack of respect is a need of the first order.
When communication is automated, it isn’t personal, and it doesn’t create any feeling inside the recipient. Mostly people consider it spam. There is a difference in mass emailing and nurturing your dream clients. In one case, there is no connection because there is no real person behind the communication. In the other, the communication has a person’s fingerprints all over it. When something is created for you, it is special.
There are some who believe that everything is being commoditized, that there is no real differentiation possible, and so they race towards super-transactional approaches, not understanding that in a race to the bottom there are few winners, normally large, and almost always with the scale necessary to eliminate competitors who play their game. Those who pay attention to these kinds of things understand that playing your competitor’s game puts you at a disadvantage, and so they play a different game, moving in the opposite direction, creating greater value, providing greater care, ensuring a better overall experience, and better outcomes for their clients. They create relationships that allow them to create a market of those who want something more, something better, and something worth paying to obtain.
If you are in the middle, you have to pick a side.
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