There has been a philosophical switch. We went from having to worry about paying too little to having to worry about paying too much. To a large extent, this change is a reflection of the marketplace. Quality is better today than ever; however, we are more distanced from the people we do business with. The nationalization of businesses removes us from knowing who we are doing business with. Who are we doing business with when we shop at Home Depot or WalMart? Even the funeral home business, which was once almost exclusively locally owned, has been merged by a few key players. These large businesses do little to court our loyalty. They focus on point-of-sale customer satisfaction and differentiate only by price. We are less familiar with the people we do business with. Sellers at all levels are more interested in being competitive than they are in being consultative.
Retailers that sell tires, electronics, automobiles, furniture, and appliances go through great effort to guarantee they have the lowest price but do little to help the buyer make the best choice in what to purchase. They don't want you to pay too much, but could care less about what you purchase. Stockbrokers nearly insist on discounting their fees to match the online brokers, but are offering less and less advice.
These sellers believe this is the only way to compete. They believe the customer will take their free consultative advice and then buy the product or service from the cheapest seller. They believe their best hope for competing is to lower their price and work off greater volume. And so the street vernacular becomes, "You may be paying too much."
If we want to succeed as business owners, entrepreneurs, and professionals in developing loyal customers for our enterprises, we need to offer our customers a difference. We need to develop differentiators so they'll have a reason to be loyal. The only difference we truly bring to the marketplace is ourselves.