Inertia

Many businesses, especially larges ones, work on the premise that customers suffer inertia.

This is particularly true of insurance, mobile phone companies and so on, where there is an annual contract or longer and it just repeats month after month. Most of us have more important and exciting things to do than check our contracts and charges constantly. So the money keeps rolling out.

Then we become aware either by chance or we discover it, that there are much better deals available.

You could say well it is up to us as consumers to check and why is it the companies fault. Partly this is true.

However, when you find out that you’ve been paying more than you needed to for a year or longer and the company stayed silent you tend not to feel too warm towards the company and often, at the first opportunity, we go elsewhere.

Smart businesses aim to keep communication going with the customers. More importantly, from the outset, they adopt the right values and staying silent and hoping your customers don’t notice, is not one of them.

Customers are people to be valued always, it’s a long-term relationship, not a relationship based on using inertia as a strategy and hoping they don’t spot better options elsewhere.

The race to the bottom

If your business model relies on third-party Internet-based brokers, then you have two choices.

One carry on with that model, paying larger and larger commissions to ever more powerful brokers, who will ultimately hold you to ransom as their percentage of your sales increases and in return, you get low-value price-sensitive customers who have zero loyalty. It’s a winner for the brokers but strangely not for you or your customers.

The second option is much tougher, it requires you to walk away from the low hanging fruit that is online brokered sales leads. It requires you to build your own audience and that is hard.

The second option requires patience, it requires you to master the art of attracting people to your story, to your vision and it requires you to build something that is special.

It requires a great deal of bravery too, as you will need to step away from the crowd, to be different and to be a true leader.

The rewards for option two are what matters though, you’ll get customers who care about what you do, advocates and evangelists of your mission. They will love what you do and will not be driven by price.

It’s a choice that we all face, take the shortcut now and suffer later, or put in the craft and work now and slowly build something much better that will last.

Third party brokerage models are an easily replicable, short-term race to the bottom without any winners.