When I bought my Galaxy three years ago, I wasn't comfortable purchasing electronics online. I hit Best Buy, Staples and a few other retailers. I ultimately bought my tablet for about $500 after shopping at three stores with multiple salespeople. Monday I pulled the trigger with one click on Amazon after checking out reviews and an article titled "best tablets under $200 in 2017". That's evolution. And if you're a customer-facing professional i.e. fundraiser, salesperson, realize that my story isn't unique.
Beyond purchasing comparable technology for less than half, what's amazing to me is that there was no human interaction throughout this entire process. The difference here was TRUST. My limit in trust has been mitigated by the value of my time and saving a few bucks. The value I use to PERCEIVE from working with a live person hasn't just diminished - it's gone!
Maybe you're thinking what's the big deal? Everyone shops like this now for technology and other non-complex sales. True but it's only a matter of time before this evolution moves to what you do whether you're in professional sales or the nonprofit arena. Whether you sell high-dollar products or services or solicit major donors, someone is figuring out how to make those transactions happen without you.
We can't stop evolution. But hopefully this story gets you thinking about your opportunity to change the equation I described above. Add enough value that partnering with you means much more than saving a few dollars or a few minutes on their calendar. Here are a few ideas to keep you from becoming the next Palm Pilot (or fill in something that was once perceived as the latest and greatest)
1) Go beyond being an expert: Sure I could tell you to be up on the latest in your field. That's a given. But what's around the corner that nobody's talking about yet? If you work in peer-to-peer fundraising, what's the next biggie after third-party and Do-It-Yourself? Know where we are and where we're heading.
2) Do some shopping: What's it like to work with you and your organization? What's it like to work with your competitors? You can learn a ton by putting yourself in the place of your customers, donors and volunteers. Reach out to you and your organization as well as some of your competitors or other organizations in your space. How easy are you to reach? How quickly do you receive a call back? Who would you rather work with?
3) Make the changes that are necessary: Don't talk about change, Change. I know that's very easy to say but hit the pause button and prioritize changes what will keep you ahead of the game. What can you do to be sure that you're truly adding value and not becoming a commodity? Start with your top 3 and work from there...