How to Sell Outrageous Amounts of Technology Services in Three Simple Steps – Guaranteed
Selling technology services is no picnic. Actually, selling ANY service is tough. Though, in my book, technology services are the toughest. After all, they’re complex, confusing and generally difficult to present to clients. And like all intangibles, services don’t really exist at all. At least not in the literal sense, like a “thing.” Instead, services exist solely in the imaginations – and written contracts – of their creators.
Ahhh, but products…
Products on the other hand, have substance and form. They can be seen, touched, and held. With products, little is left to the imagination. Because of this products far easier and less risky than services to present, sell and buy.
Services vs. Product Paradox
For many technology companies services deliver greater profits than products. But they’re tough to sell. Products are easy to sell … but they’re less profitable. What a dilemma.
But what if …
What if it were somehow possible to transform a service into a product? Then you’d have the best of both worlds. You’d have something highly profitable AND easy to sell! Well, in fact, it is possible to productize any service. And I’ll show you exactly how to do it. In essence we’ll transform our intangible service into something tangible, real, and easy for clients to buy.
One everyday example of a productized service
We’re all familiar with insurance. A life insurance policy, for example, is a service product. The agent delivers your policy documents in an elaborate presentation case with the policyholder’s name inscribed on the cover. The overall presentation reinforces the sale and adds genuine value and confidence in the mind of the buyer. Generally, the more tangible you make a service offering (the more product-like), the easier it is for both salespeople to sell and customers to buy. Clients want to know exactly what they’ll receive when they buy your service. Plus they need to recognize the value of the service deliverables to their business. Until you’ve demonstrated these two things your client won’t commit to buying your service.
3 Steps to productize any service
Turning any service into an easy-to-sell product really comes down to these three steps.
Step 1: Determine what problem your service REALLY solves. Be very specific here. Make sure you’re solving a problem that your clients really care about. This is also really a benefit statement of how you will help the client. Think how you’ll make his or her life easier, save/make money or improve business operations, etc. And this is no time to fool yourself with “faux benefits” that aren’t really benefits at all. Your list of benefits should embody the ultimate value the client can hope to receive by buying and using your service. Now is also the time to think about what makes your service unique. In other words, how does your service/product solve the client’s problem better than any competitive one? A Unique Selling Proposition (USP) can be proprietary delivery methods or methodologies, proprietary software or tools or highly trained personnel.
Step 2: What will the clients get from your service? What are the specific and tangible deliverables?
Every service has a deliverable, right? When packaging a service into a product the deliverable should ideally be tangible. The more tangible you make the service and the deliverables the easier it will be to sell. Examples of tangible service deliverables include: printed findings reports, documentation, Audios and video, websites, analyses and recommendations. The goal is to be able to leave something behind as evidence that something was done and that the client received value. In my experience printed reports are excellent “service delivery artifacts.” Here’s why. People will often leave them on their desk for a long time. So as a side-benefit you also end up with an advertising billboard for your service.
Step 3: Create marketing, sales and training materials.
These materials serve two purposes. They give additional substance to your service product, making it “feel” tangible. Part of these materials should be pricing guidelines for the main product as well as any add-ons. Your materials are also tools for your sales force to present the product and ultimately close business. Effective marketing materials are brochures, Service Product Descriptions, websites and samples of any physical deliverables.
One Hidden Benefit of Productizing Services
Try this if you’ve ever pondered whether a new service will be successful. Prototype the new service on paper first. Here’s what I mean. Go through the process we just discussed above with the service your contemplating. In every step PRETEND the product is real and available now. At the end of the process you’ll have materials to test the viability of the service. Just create a direct mail letter to existing customers and prospects announcing a new service to be available very soon. Feedback from the mailings should help determine if the service makes sense to proceed with. This approach is clearly less risky than taking a “build it and they will come” approach. Agreed?
Turning your technology (or any other) service into an easy to sell product takes only 3 steps. And this process also serves as a risk-free testing group for services you consider to offer too.
Using this process could be your secret weapon to services selling success.