5 Ways To Package Your Service Business
You have found your service company has probably joined many more as being the worst hit by the pandemic. This includes every business from contractors to IT and business consultants suffering during this time. To avoid human contact for safety and conserve cash, consumers and businesses have made expense cuts on services. We must acknowledge that consumers and businesses also focus on short-term survival as versus long term projects. They may also cut out their service providers out of loyalty to full time employees over contractors and outside consultants. Yet, products are still purchased that meet an immediate need:
- Rather than purchasing open-ended consulting services, we are now buying strategic online training products. (Consider the rise of Zoom shares, which have largely doubled since January 2020.)
- Rather than hiring personal training type services, we are now buying products that allow us to exercise at home. (For example, in March 2020, Italians purchased 236% MORE home gym equipment from Amazon than they did during the SAME period last year!)
If your business is largely that of a service provider, it can be extremely difficult to separate the service from the provider. Your customers might demand you, which means you cannot scale your business beyond the number of hours you are willing to work.
In the absence of a point of differentiation, offering generic services leads consumers to evaluate the people doing the work. Referring to your service in a generic way e.g. “graphic design services”, or “lawn care services”, means you are lumping yourself in with the other providers of the same service. A quick scan of your LinkedIn profile will reveal that you are likely an expert in your industry which means prospective customers will often demand you, rather than other employees in your company.
The secret to overcoming this dilemma is to “productize” your service. This involves marketing your service as is if it were a thing. When people start buying the thing, rather than the people providing it, you can grow well beyond the hours in your day. In simple terms, you may not have a tangible service, yet if you are a lawn care service provider, you will look at your business as though the services themselves are tangible and sort them into weekly, bi-weekly and monthly packages services. One way to really think deeper is consider that Proctor & Gamble is the classic example of product marketing, so grab a tube of Crest toothpaste and follow their process for productizing your service:
Crest is the brand name and it is always written in the same font. Having a consistent name avoids the generic, commoditized category label of “toothpaste.” Do you have a catchy name for your service?
Write Instructions For Use
Crest gives customers instructions for best teeth cleaning results. If you want your service to feel more like a product, include instructions for getting the most out of your service.
Provide A Caution
The Crest bottle tells you that the product is “harmful if swallowed.” Provide a caution label or a set of “terms and conditions” to explain things to avoid when using your service.
The bar-code includes pricing information. Publishing a price and being consistent will make your service seem more like a product.
P&G includes a very small symbol on its bottle to make it clear the company is protecting its ideas. Do you Trademark the terms you use to describe your service?
Productizing your service is the first step to separating your service from its provider and the key to getting your service company to run without you.
You will want to make sure your service offerings are teachable to employees and valuable to your customers who have a recurring need. It may help to get to your white board or even a simple blank sheet of paper and make a list of ALL the services you offer in your business:
- Then score each service on a scale of 1-to-10 on the degree to which you can teach employees to offer the service and how valuable are these services and how frequently your customer will need your services.
- Pick the service that scores the very highest and go to Step 3. You can always return to this step if you want to consider multiple products.
- Be clear about the problem that your product solves for your customers. This is most critical!
Remember, that with a service you are hiring a person, yet with a product you are selling a ‘thing!’ A thing has a brand. Service businesses typically customize their services in a unique proposal for every prospect, yet product companies list their ingredients. What are the ingredients in your service? Could you create different levels of your services by recurring frequency of required maintenance or use? Provide each service level or package plan with a set price, as a thing has a set price. Congrats! You can Productize It!
If you are looking for something more tailored to your business, consider us to be your personal guide and accountability partner as you recreate your business into something much more valuable than the one you had before the pandemic. We will work with you together as you recreate the most valuable parts of your business and make critical changes required to create a more durable and ultimately a much more valuable company!