R. Sam Bowers, Jr. Presents Smith Lecture

May 10, 2010


Be ready to set aside business as usual if you plan to be successful in the future, says R. Sam Bowers, Jr., presenting the Smith Lecture at Mount Union College on April 8.




We are currently in a cycle as historically significant as the industrial revolution according to Bowers, president and founder of the Service Sales Institute.

"You can make more money and have more fun, as we move from a world where things are sold to a world where things are bought," said Bowers, "The buyers are getting smarter and smarter, and many businesses are in denial."

The Internet has allowed buyers to become more informed. Today's buyers don't necessarily want interaction with a salesperson. Bowers says that many people who studied business in the early ?90s don't grasp these fundamental changes.

"Most of the successful companies of the early ?90s are now going broke," said Bowers. " "The number one thing that will kill you in business is forming a relationship."

The money that companies formerly invested in developing relationships, through salespeople, should now be directed at productivity according to Bowers. And he sees the focus of the future of business shifting from selling to marketing.

"Get ready to be a commodity," said Bowers. "Make your fixed costs variable, and ask yourself what is the minimum you have to do. Marketing is important. Successful branding will get you on the commodity list of potential buyers."

To illustrate this point, Bowers referred to the success of Southwest Airlines. The airline does not aim to offer more than the customer expects or any of the typical "value added" perks. By doing so, they are able to offer lower rates on airline tickets. This strategy has proven to be very successful.

"Today, the customer is not going to buy until they have at least two options, which is easy to do over the Internet," says Bowers. "The business with the lowest price will win the customer."

The Smith Lectureship in Business was established in 2001 by C. Richard Smith, a 1953 graduate of Mount Union College. The purpose of this Lectureship is to bring business professionals to the Mount Union College campus to share their knowledge and experience with business students, faculty and others from the campus and local community.

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