When do you learn to swim, when it’s sunny or when the flood waters are approaching your second-story windows? Why, then, do you wait for the storm clouds to fill the skies? Because like most people, you don’t think it will ever be THAT bad.
There are times when being an optimist is perfectly reasonable, but this isn’t one of them. Now it’s all about realism. It’s time to open the blinds and take a long, hard look outside. The Industrial Age is gone. So are land lines, televisions with tuning dials maxed out at the number “13”, and 8-track tapes. We are now in the Internet Age, where consumers are armed with more information about not only brands, but also their representatives, than can be printed on a direct-mail newsletter. Where does all of this information come from? Transparent sharing by real human beings in and between an infinite number of online communities. “Dirty little secrets” can’t stay secure forever. Inside information may be protected legally, but common-knowledge across-the-board “perks” of most industries will likely not fall in that category.
What happens when the proverbial cat is out of the bag? How do you explain to customers the REAL reason for calling them repeatedly when they aren’t expecting it? They’re going to find out. The legacy generation that has provided a solid income stream for the last three decades probably knows, but they no longer care. They are nearing the end of their buying cycle for your products and services. Unless they are independently wealthy, the likelihood of them needing more than they already have is slim. What many fail to realize is that every generation of consumer that follows is going to have access to exponentially more information shared transparently across infinitely more platforms than their Industrial Age elders. No longer are they going to lie down in a sales appointment. In fact, there won’t be a “sales appointment”. It will be a “validation meeting”. They will meet to confirm that you are a real human being, matching your face to that of your online avatar, then to verify that the solution they quoted on their mobile device has identical features and pricing on your brand’s platform.
Are you prepared to deal with that reality?