Productizing Services To Flip The Script

 

 

In October last year I made the decision to focus any new internet marketing client work solely on the ski niche, an industry that I had no connections in but a lot of customer insight and passion having done a season myself. I went to the biggest UK ski trade show and picked up my first ski clients by selling SEO (it was a b2c show but I managed to b2b them!). After a few months I had got myself back into the situation where I had no more personal capacity to take on additional clients and no time to do any content marketing or outbound sales to pick up any more. I had hit an income and stress ceiling which I didn’t know how to get out of.

That was until I first heard about the concept of productizing services and I created my first product page with pricing table on snowbistro.com. My understanding of how to add value and how to scale businesses completely changed.

So what are productised services?

A productized services business is one that sells and packages up a service as a product with a standardized list of features, a fixed price and delivered by a set date. So why would you want to start a productized service?

Freelancing is not scalable as you have a fixed number of hours you are trading for income. The agency model scales but as a business model it kinda sucks as you end up competing with others through writing proposals where the majority lose and every new client has different expectations to manage. Competition with agencies is not inherently a bad thing, but when the market is saturated with generic design and marketing agencies (as is the case in my home city of Norwich, UK) chasing after the same pitches then it’s often a race to the bottom. As Peter Thiel stated on the Tim Ferriss podcast, competition is actually the opposite of being capitalistic; Google makes so much money because it dominates the search and online advertising market. Find your niche and dominate it.

This is the approach I’ve taken with the UK ski industry. Through content marketing for my productized service business snowbistro.com, I had become an authority in the ski trade and the obvious choice to go to for inbound marketing as was the only one with visible products; everyone else just stated on a services page that they can do SEO, content, social, blog etc but didn’t give any prices. By making the implicit explicit you can dominate the competition (especially in opaque industries such as SEO agencies).

Benefits of productizing your consultancy business

  • No more clients from hell – as your product offering is fixed, so are expectations on both sides. The “client is always right relationship” becomes a true partnership where value is delivered to your customers.
  • No more writing client proposals – you set out your offering with a buy button to purchase
  • You can launch in a day – just put together a sales page and mail your list
  • Easier to sell – by offering a set solution with specific deliverables there’s far less friction to win customers
  • You get paid up front – this is what customers do – and you price on value (solving their problem) not cost. Plus a fixed price means no more clients trying to haggle or negotiate you down and no more chasing for payment.
  • Make more money – your income is not linked to how many pitches you win or the number of hours you or your team have in a day
  • Automate service delivery – products allow you to create standard operating procedures (SOPs) that can be delivered by others and improved upon with every new customer
  • Automate your marketing – standardizing services into products enables you to conduct automated outbound sales emails to prospects.
  • You’re building an income generating asset that you could sell –  as delivery and customer acquisition can be systematized and automated the business doesn’t need you as owner to succeed.

27 examples of productized service businesses

>> In a hurry? Download the 27 examples of productized service business below as a PDF along with a step by step checklist for productizing your service DOWNLOAD HERE <<

How To PRODUCTIZE

Start by picking the one service that is a combination of most in demand by clients (their biggest problem), most profitable for you and the easiest to deliver. This will have the best chance of that over-used phrase product/market fit and you will likely need to iterate your products & packages several times with each potential customer interaction. I’ve even changed the sales page and items in the pricing table whilst on the phone to a prospective client, upping or reducing the price based on how the conversation was going!

I started by offering ski companies ski content marketing products as I thought this would be the easiest to deliver as I would just have to take the money and then commission out the work to writers and worst case I could write the content myself. However it was ski SEO products which I had the most traction with splitting up on-site and off-site work into three different products, two being one-off payments and the other a rolling monthly setup.

There are buy now buttons in the pricing table which simply connects to paypal however for high ticket items an ‘enquire now’ button or even application process is best as we do with funnelengine.com

And with a productized service you can find prospects on LinkedIn or Twitter, put their names and emails into a mass personalised email software such as Quickmail and then when you get a reply put these leads into your CRM and begin your sales process.

If you want help in productizing your services I recommend the excellent productize course by Brian Casel.

 

  • http://www.linchpin.net/ Damian Thompson

    Great write-up and am an unabashed productized services fan! 😉

    • richardpatey

      Many thanks Damian, your podcast with Dan @TMBA has enabled me to finally think and act like a business owner. Productizing certainly makes it easier to market, sell and scale 🙂

  • http://martijnreintjes.com/ Martijn Reintjes

    Nice little explainer about the merrits of a productized service and great that you link to BoomBait!

    • richardpatey

      Many thanks Martijn, big fan of how you package up your products.

      • http://martijnreintjes.com/ Martijn Reintjes

        Testing.Agency is a new Productized Service which I help set up at the moment. You can check it out at http://testing.agency
        Any feedback is more then welcome.

  • richardpatey
  • http://twitter.com/lukekndy Luke Kennedy

    Great post, Richard – thanks for the shout-out to http://Kudu.io 🙂

    • http://www.richardpatey.com/productize Richard Patey

      No probs Luke, big fan of what you’re up to, just dropped you an email 🙂

  • http://undullify.com/ Sukey

    Interesting write-up of productized services (obviously I’m a fan!), and cheers for the shout out to http://undullify.com as well 🙂

    • http://www.richardpatey.com/productize Richard Patey

      Many thanks Sukey, really like your plans / pricing page, be interested in hearing which is the most popular / works best for you.

  • http://www.abroaders.com/ A.J. Dunn

    Hey Richard,

    Thanks for the shout to to Abroaders.com/premium Just checked analytics and saw a handful of people came over the check out Abroaders from your site. It’s my first time here and I’ll definitely be back (also just opted-in to your list). And HELL YES to “no more writing client proposals”. That may be my favorite benefit.

    Cheers,

    A.J.

    • http://www.richardpatey.com/productize Richard Patey

      Hey AJ, great you’re getting referral traffic, hope it converts! Just checked analytics too and pretty happy with the performance of this post, has pulled in over 200 new users from search over the last month. Thanks for subscribing too 🙂

  • Ka kei

    I wasn’t aware of so many people starting productized services and businesses. I started 8+ months ago, we turned freelance/consultation services into a product: Kapa99.com, So far it’s been great: customers love it and we love the advantages it provides from a business pov.

    • http://www.richardpatey.com/ Richard Patey

      Hey, Kapa looks a great biz and what a testimonial from JLD!

  • http://www.livechatninjas.com/ Praveen @ Livechatninjas.com

    Hey Richard,

    Great list! I followed the 7 Day Startup book by Dan Norris (founder of wpcurve.com) and created my own productized service here : Live Chat Ninjas (livechatninjas.com), would be great if you can add us in the list 🙂

  • Anf

    A productized service that productizes other people’s services. That’s clever!

  • http://brightvessel.com/ Judd Dunagan

    We recently productized our services at http://www.brightvessel.com/ which has been great in gaining more clients and the ability to offer lower rates with a clear scope of work.

    • Chris

      Having read the article and then looked at your website, I can’t see any productized services on your website.

      • http://www.funnelengine.com Richard Patey

        Hey Chris, productized services don’t necessarily need to have fixed and visible prices, the service itself can be standardized and then priced on value. Cheers!

      • http://brightvessel.com/ Judd Dunagan

        We stopped. One of the issues was scaling the services and staff to handle the small jobs.

    • http://www.funnelengine.com Richard Patey

      Hey Judd, missed this comment, that’s great the focus has helped you scale.

  • http://mengear.bg/ Kaloyan

    The biggest list on productized services, nice.

    I launched WooGuru.net – we’re a productized service for WooCommerce support.

  • http://item-9.com Jason Pelker

    Can we get an update on how much business your productized service has done and how much your average cost of sale is, etc?

    • http://www.funnelengine.com Richard Patey

      Hi Jason, which productized service and what do you mean by cost of sale? I make sure staff delivery cost of a service if 50% or less.

  • jeffcouret

    I started a white label (reseller) seo business for 1-2 person digital marketing companies who are selling website deals for ~$10k. Things are going pretty well! It’s called SEOak

  • Caitlin Brittain

    Awesome, and thanks for the list of businesses to explore. I can’t wait to buy Brian’s course. -Caitlin

    • http://www.funnelengine.com Richard Patey

      I and I’m sure Brian are happy to here that 🙂