Is your sale being disrupted?

By the internet, it’s disruptive in nature, like a plague but more beneficial.

It has the habit of automating your product or service, making it cheaper, removing all the add-ons and creating a commodity that’s automated and distinguished by price only.

This happened to someone on one of my workshops recently. I was helping some new business owners to market and sell themselves in the boom economy we’re presently enjoying.

Let me tell you the story and see if this has any parallels with you.

She was marketing a suite of services for other small business owners such as website design, accounting services and google optimisation. She showed me a tariff of charges which resembled a menu from a restaurant with prices. Her question was should she advertise these on her website with prices.

I thought for a moment and figured that she had inadvertently created a suite of commodities. Book keeping is book keeping. Search engine optimisation is…well…search engine optimisation. I know the providers of such a thing would say they’re not, but I’m afraid they are.

She was heading for a downward price conscious spiral so we thought of a way to add value not sell a commodity.

And we came up with the idea of a membership. She can now have clients and not customers, a great way to distinguish commodity and valued service. Each client pays a monthly retainer and can use her for all or any of the services she provides. In addition she can give them personal service and advice because she limits the number of clients she handles and you can only have her value if you are referred by other clients. Appointments by referral only. We got that from Bernie Madoff.

Another client of mine does this. Their main product, they sell to small businesses, is absolutely a commodity so they’ve packaged it around a suite of member benefits which ensure value is given not a price.

So what about you? Is your sale a commodity? Will the internet disrupt you in the near future? Chances are, if you have customers, then you’ll be disrupted. The internet will create algorithms and robotic creations to take over the vast majority of straightforward services that we provide right now.

I’ve changed my business model over the last two years. I used to provide commodities in the form of standard training workshops and products. The recession commoditised them and YouTube helped too. I now immerse myself in client’s businesses and bring my expertise to bear by providing tailored coaching, training and consultancy to their unique situations. The gravy train of standard training delivery is drying up.

Have you heard of Bernie Madoff?