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It's a race to the bottom! How low can you go?

Recently I finally had enough after three price increases within one year from my internet service provider. So I started shopping. When I called to cancel my current subscription lo' and behold they came back with a better offer. I couldn't help but feel even more insulted. This whole time my current internet service provider was sitting on better rates but was deliberately holding out simply to see how much they could continue getting away with bilking me for. Why wouldn't they be more proactive about their offerings with current customers? This boggled my mind.

In my own business I literally work against myself in an effort to provide value for the services I offer. That is to say that each year I do an annual review for my clients which includes shopping their insurance needs around to assess whether they may be offered more competitively priced insurance options. I shop so that they save. The more you save the less I make. This is why I'm always working against myself. In an effort to create value in the sale and servicing of such a highly commoditized product as insurance, I am forced to constantly look for ways to decrease my earnings so that the consumer's savings are increased. Conundrum much? Of course my hope is that I'm creating a value by always working to be proactive and forthright with my clients with this incessant search for ever more cheaper rates. In return maybe they might spread the word about myself and my services, thereby helping to increase the volume of clients being served by my business. The increased number of people and businesses being served would help compensate for the lost revenue.

But, there's a Catch 22 to this value driven approach. The insurance industry has done a fantastic job of creating a mindset that buying insurance is all a race to bottom with rates. That's the bottom line. No one cares how they get the cheap rates. All they care about is who is offering the cheapest. So, when I shop and offer a better insurance option to a client at renewal, they're programmed by the insurance industry to take that quote and shop it again themselves. The consumer then conveys the message to all the competing insurance agents that they find absolutely no value in proactive and honest service. They  could care less about service. It's all about being cheap

Which brings me back to my befuddlement over why wouldn't my internet service provider have worked to offer me a better deal before I threatened to cancel? The answer is because they know the consumer doesn't really value that kind of service. In fact it will have the adverse effect by training the consumer to expect such service, without any appreciation for it, and then give them an ever lowering baseline to force competitors to race towards.

In other words, my internet service provider doesn't want their business to turn into anything remotely akin to the insurance business. They don't want customers to expect superior customer service and cheap rates. Instead they recognize that it is best, for them, to treat the customer like scum and bilk that customer for all they can, while they can. 

Service creates Value is a farce!

We hear and read a lot from sales and marketing gurus about value driven services. They preach that the challenge is always to figure out ways of creating value for clients and prospects and return you garner loyal customers. Or so they say. I've had these same value driven types contact me like I was an order taker as opposed to a professional insurance adviser. While they may value themselves, when it comes to insurance, even the most ardent value driven sycophant is only interested in one thing: Cheap!

So, what to do?

I'm at a loss here. I'm the type of schmuck that took Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People to heart. I honestly thought that by taking a sincere interest in others and working to be of service to them I would create some kind of wonderful karmic cycle of abundance; and more importantly value. The reality is it's more like A Wolf on Wall Street

My first sales manager would say, "It is what it is." And so it is. Here's to a race to the bottom along the abyssal downward spiral toward cheapness

But , I will NEVER be the cheapest! Because there'll always be someone willing to go lower.

Posted 9:18 AM

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