Archives for August 2018

Why You Should Productize Your Services

You’re offering a bespoke and unique service.

You’re a craftsperson, and you pay attention to all the details that matter.

So why does service productization matter?

Because your customers want a choice.

Imagine you’re the client, and you’re shopping around for your options. Sure, you want someone who’s skilled and who can do the job perfectly the first time.

But at the same time, you’re taking a risk when you hire someone. You want to know what you’re getting and approximately what budget you’re going to have to spend to get it.

What is Service Productization?

Say you’re an artist. You sell portraits where your clients sit in front of you for hours while you paint portrait of them.

You have different packages based on the size of the portraits.

Instead of having to explain to each new customer that different portraits have different sizes, you can explain it easily if you can simply hand them a menu of options.

Your customers can still come back with questions — sure. But it will be obvious to them on first look how the pricing works.

Productization makes it clear what services you offer.

Productization removes uncertainty

When you create a productized service, you’re standardizing your offerings. In no way are you taking away the custom aspect of it. In fact, you’re able to better describe your offerings because things are well defined.

Customers want to know what to expect when they buy something. There’s nothing more uncertain when purchasing a service because innately, every service provider is different.

Productization makes it easier to buy from you

When your offering is clear and up front, customers can decide if you’re the right person for the job.

Hiding behind a “Contact Me” form makes it hard for customers to decide, and, in fact, makes it more likely the customers will leave and never come back.

You can productize only a subset of your services

Super custom work can still happen, but not everything requires a level of custom quotes and such.

There are many simpler service offerings that don’t require that “custom quote” process and where the purchase can simply happen. These are perfect candidates for productizations because it removes all the back and forth emailing that should only be reserved for larger contracts.

Think about productization next time

Productization isn’t commoditization. It’s a better way to market your offerings and to ensure clients who come through have a clear idea of what they want. Consider it as you expand your services — whether you’re a freelancer or a consultant.

Figuring Out Your Sales Cycle

If you sell anything for a living, you need to figure out what your sales cycle looks like.

This includes most of us who are doing business on the internet.

First off…

What is a Sales Cycle?

The sales cycle is the process that companies undergo when selling a product to a customer. It encompasses all activities associated with closing sale. Many companies have different steps and activities in their sales cycle, depending on how they define it. (Source: https://trackmaven.com/marketing-dictionary/sales-cycle/)

You can think of the sales cycle as the length of time it takes for you to introduce your solution (product or service) to a customer to the time when the customer purchases from you.

During this time, you may be educating the customer, having back and forth emails, and a whole bunch of other interactions with the prospect.

So, why is this important?

Knowing whether you have a long or short sales cycle allows you to understand what kinds of efforts you can expect before getting a sale.

Some products have intrinsically lengthy sales cycle.

Think products and services that you might be selling to governments. It would likely involve multiple rounds of bidding between competitors and further negotiations.

Compare that to selling groceries where consumers purchase food on a fairly regular schedule.

So do I have a long or short sales cycle?

Different businesses have different sales cycle.

Lengthier sales cycle tend to involve higher purchase prices. If you think about it, this makes perfect sense.

If you were purchasing a car, it’s likely you will spend several weeks researching. You’ll compare cars in the same price range. You’ll browse reviews online and in Consumer Reports. You’ll also likely head to the dealership to do a few test drives… sometimes more than once.

If you’re a seasoned car salesperson, you’ll already understand that when a customer comes in that a sale might not happen just yet.

Much of whether the customer is ready to buy depends on what stage of the sales cycle she is in.

The later the stage of the sales cycle, the higher likelihood a purchase will be made.

The Importance of Follow Up

Following up with customers is a tedious task, but it’s also one where it can return a high yield on the time invested.

As a customer heads further and further down the sales cycle (or funnel, as some might call it), she becomes increasingly ready to buy.

You certainly don’t want to be losing your customer to a competitor at this point.

The salesperson who understands this will send the right emails to nudge the customer to return.

Making The Purchase Easy

When the customer returns to you, it’s imperative that you make the purchase as easy as possible.

Again, returning to the car purchasing example, once the salesperson has gotten you to say “Yes, I’ll buy”, you’re sent off to a dedicated contract person to quickly review and have you sign the contract.

Selling online is not so different.

You want to be able to get your customers to efficiently move through your sales cycle process and land on where they will inevitably enter their credit card.

Do You Sell Services Online?

Whether you’re a freelancer, a consultant, or just someone who provides casual services (in real life or online), you can create a FREE order page and checkout so your customers can complete their purchases.

Don’t let your customers wait for you to send them an invoice. People are used to paying with a checkout process online as it provides the convenience they need.

Take a look at https://app.workorder.io and create your own order and checkout page.

Why I created Workorder

It seems like there are a zillion shopping carts out there.

Once every couple of weeks, I hear about a new piece of online software that allows sellers to sell online.

So why did I go ahead and created Workorder when there were so many solutions that already existed?

When I looked at what was generally available, I realized how heavy weight existing solutions were. Stripe and PayPal already offered 90% of what we — as online business persons — needed to get paid.

Invoicing is a solved problem.

Creating a landing page and a website is already solved too.

What I wanted to have, however, was a page that I could just forward to my clients and have them tell me what they want, and complete the entire purchase without having to email me.

I wanted to productize my freelancing services as much as possible.

What I also liked was how Fiverr allowed service providers to offer extras and addons. If you talk to marketers, they refer these addons as upsells. I don’t like the word very much (even though I used it on Workorder’s website).

But these addons provides tremendous value to both the buyer and the seller.

For the buyer, it raises awareness that certain “extras” cost money. It defines clearly what the rates are and what’s included (and what’s not).

For the seller, listing these extras can increase revenue when it’s appropriate to charge.

Workorder is how I like to sell my freelancing services. It’s a simple, one-page checkout where my clients can order what they want, a la carte.

I hope you find it useful as I have.