In The Age Of The Customer, Relevance Trumps Competitiveness

Customer prospects are narrowing their vendor options based on how relevant they seem, not just how competitive they are.

For 10,000 years, customers refined their search for products and services down to a couple of semi-finalist sellers based almost entirely on the classic competitive value proposition: price, product, availability, service, etc. I’ve termed this period the Age of the Seller.

That was a nice trip down memory lane, wasn’t it?

The new prime differentiator today is no longer the competitive model, but rather a customer’s appraisal of how relevant a seller is to them, often before they even know if a seller is competitive. So, does this mean that sellers no longer have to be competitive?

Not at all – no one will pay you more for less. But consider three new marketplace truths:

With value now presumed, customers expect to find what they want, at a price they want to pay, from more than one seller. Before a seller’s competitive position has even been established, they are being ruled in or out by customers based on how they present themselves online. Prospects are narrowing their vendor options down to two or three – maybe just one – based on how relevant they seem before your business even knows the prospect exists.

That last point is perhaps the most breathtakingly disruptive development in the shift from the Age of the Seller to what I’ve named The Age of the Customer®.

So, what do you have to do to prove your relevance in order to

Keep reading this article on Forbes Small Business.

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