Presentation: Transcending commoditization in professional services

By Ross Dawson on November 29, 2007 | Permalink

On December 5 I am giving a “View from the Top” online presentation to US and European members of the Association of Executive Search Consultants on Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships:The Key to Avoiding Commoditization.
There is no question that commoditization is one of the most powerful driving forces in the global economy. While this has been starkly obvious in product markets such as textiles and manufactured goods, commoditization is also fundamentally shaping professional service industries.
If clients believe that professional firms are replaceable, then they are commodities. Even if firms boast top talent and long-standing relationships, it is self-deception if you believe no-one else can do the work. The ‘black-box’ style of professonal services that relies purely on expertise is dated, and encourages clients to shop around. Ultimately the only thing that cannot be replicated and commoditized is a deep, collaborative, “knowledge-based” relationship. The field of competition for professional firms is increasingly the ability to build these high levels of engagement with their clients. This requires, among other capabilities, building effective networks to deliver value to their clients.
The slides for the AESC session are below (as usual, do not expect these to make complete sense without my accompanying presentation):

For more detail you can download chapters from Developing Knowledge-Based Client Relationships: Chapter 1 on the big picture of professional services and knowledge-based relationships, and Chapter 6 on implementing key client programs.