I guess this is more a social and cultural phenomenon. I'm a webmaster/coder/editor and many things. I used to sell products and services. I notice the market now wants efficiency and results. I would say that's what I've been doing but that's not it. Today what most people in the market want are guarantees. Not the same (and not actually fair but the market is what it is). What I want to address is divided in 2 chapters.
Example on results/guarantees VS services and products: Jenny opens a small store selling cakes, she invest on the (1) location (2) furniture, (3) chef, (4) kitchen, (5) Inventory and POS software, (6) letter signs etc and (7) a website. All of that from 1 to 7 are expenses AND investment. Yet at certain point she actually demands what she paid for the website turns into profit, as if that's a rule, she desperately seeks a formula like "I invested US$300 on the website, I want US$500 per month, at least". We can argue about that but I guess you see my point (the point), she can have terrible location, terrible service but she puts too much weight on the website and my services).
Building a website is difficult (a small one is not) but a large one with constant updates demands photography work, video production, etc I do all of that. But the pressure of "I want results results results!" has increased over time in what seems to me unrealistic basis. Let's say the website, photos and video production costs US$300 in total just for the sake of the example. That opened a door to more work, YES, but also questions and also demands on results constantly. Let's compare that to building the furniture (I also work on wood), costs of that: (let's say) US$450 one time, a short period of questions and actually a picture to choose solves it all. You will never get your client complaining about sales, marketing or ROI, sounds to me smarter work compared to what I've been doing. Let's add this: everyone coming to the store will see the furniture.
Selling promises and lies. Someone walks in and says "for a budget of US$400 I can build a social media campaign on Facebook and make this business profitable". (I can already see you raising your eyebrows). Such things are really arguable and most times laughable. Yes I had experiences on social media, surprisingly with my own wood products and yes you can sell, but is the same: there are no guarantees. Yet such salesmen are selling guarantees.
Usually the first result (regarding my experience) is the client turns to you and starts asking and wondering about guarantees. This usually means a clash of opinions where if you are honest, you have to fight with honesty and truth against the lies of a salesman (quite difficult) more if you consider most clients don't understand about this. Most clients will get greedy or desperate and go the salesman way. An easy loss? to me: YES. If you are thinking we should give a fight I would say yes, I did so in the past, but I now avoid it and often I let the client go and play with children toys, why?
A. - Such battles are not fair (what is fair in this world?) but this is simple, the client wants guarantees, you can't have that, not even investing on adwords, FB advertising, etc, there is no such thing.
B. - Giving a fight mostly means opening your mouth and explaining why such things are cheap magic that doesn't work, and doing so also means exposing a lot of knowledge to do such explaining, it also means FREE COURSES, free training. This can turn into you and your-client or meetings to discuss strategies along with the new person. I gave a fight sometimes until I listened to myself, no free training, period, no long explanations on why such things don't work or what works and how much to invest.
My findings. With such experiences I had honest clients coming back saying "that was all a lie, it doesn't work, what we built with you really had measurable results". Others keep paying the other person for a while and then their online business stalls. Others (mostly) shutdown eventually and the business is lost (for the client).
I can't stress enough the always valid truths about content being king. I keep several of my websites still making money today, while many of the clients I meet today have goals, "plans" but most of them no content at all (at-all!) and still they want to sell, just like cooking a cake and putting it on a table expecting it to sell itself with no pictures, no content, no description, no nutritional data, etc, most clients don't have a plan. Would that be a business? (building content for them?) Oh yes, there is a lot of work there, but that's like telling your client how to dress properly. It's also a lot of waste of time.
If I managed to describe the situation correctly, I now battle selling services and products against people selling lies. And OMG a lot of people get on the boat and buy from them. Sometimes clients ask me about guarantees and just like most things in the market: sirs,there are no guarantees.