There is a continuous increase of information available nowadays and internet is contributing dramatically in giving a viable and easy access to every kind of information to almost everybody. This fact have an important influence in the consumer behavior and in our customer relationships. Especially in the B2B (Business to Business) environment the relationships are more complex than in the past. This is to say that despite general way of thinking I’m seriously convinced that more and more customers are not buying anymore products but services and expectations in B2B and B2C (Business to Consumer) segments. This is even more true if we are just selling products, objects, goods.
To confirm the statement let’s try do it using proof by contradiction. And let’s do it thinking about our behavior. Will you buy a product if you know that there is no service, no assistance, no manuals and not a real firm supporting it? The answer is yes for some kind of products, in general this is the approach to “low cost products” probably manufactured in the far east, in other words commodities. But for many other products the consumer approach is quite different. For example, will you buy an iPhone (at today price) if you know that this is going to be the last model of iPhone and there won’t be any evolution of the model or new products available from the same supplier in the future? Probably not, or at least not with the same determination. Will you choose as you future product supplier a company that has stopped to innovate on their products or that is not developing anything new? Probably not. Will you choose a supplier that is not giving you any assistance or is not giving support in the development and system integration of the products or that strategically is not considering you as an important customer? I think not. Will you buy an operative system that you know for sure will not have any further development or improvement? Probably you will try to choose another one.
The value of the products that we are going to buy (sell) is composed by several things. One is the product itself but this is only a part, and in many of the transactions mentioned we are going to pay an extra added value for all the rest: services, goodwill, brand loyalty, intangible things, etc… So as I said we are not selling just products but services and expectations. And in a society where the technology is taken for granted and evolving so fast the focus is more and more on the future expectations of the product (and the company) that we are choosing. We cannot say anymore that we are just selling a product.
This fact have outstanding implications. This means that the today choices in terms of strategy, business plans, investment in R&D, in marketing and so on that a company makes today have an important role in determining the value of the current products! Not only, even in the value of the already sold products and of course in the ones that we will develop in the future. We are in an era where we do not just make products, we are developing, creating and selling products, services and most important expectations. People (and not only stock markets) are giving a significant value to the services connected with a product and an increasing value to the expectations that these products represents.
The human resources skills involved in all these processes are inevitably part of the package and this means that with the products we are selling also employees potentials at all levels, from the workers and employers directly involved with the product to the top managers, shareholders, R&D, support, back-office and so on.
Stop thinking that you are just producing and selling products because the truth is that you are selling a full package of services and expectations and that the human factor involved in this process is one of the main factors determining the value of your products.