Getting Your Services Used
Every day I talk with professional service providers who do great work, have a valuable service that really helps people and struggle to get their services used as much as theyd like.
They get a lukewarm response after an initial conversation while networking, the referrals come in but dont convert to real business as often as theyd like, and they cant seem to get prospects to see them as that much better than other professionals offering similar services.
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Or they may get some attention from prospects as a result of an ad, published article, or speech but then the early attention kind of fizzles into phone tag and no real client, in the end.
So whats the problem? In most cases, theyre not getting far enough with the prospect to reveal the quality of their work so its not about their professional work. And some professionals DO have decent positioning and credibility-building things in place like client testimonials and case studies on their websites (although the latter — done effectively is rare, unfortunately).
There are a lot of things that can go wrong in the marketing and sales process. But in most cases, the key thing I see missing is a decent approach to packaging your professional services. Part of successfully packaging your services means putting what you offer into a variety of formats and “packages” that your clients need, at prices theyll pay.
Networking and asking for referrals are a waste of time (or are a lot harder), if you dont have something for prospects to easily buy a choice of easy “yes’s” in the form of thoughtfully packaged versions of your services.
Real Life Examples that Work
Here are some examples to illustrate what I mean. These are simple ways to repackage what typically is only offered as consulting services (whatever your specialty may be). Each format offers your clients a different level of commitment, time, and money increasing the chances that youll find the right fit for their needs:
* Weekly Coaching to Get & Stay On Track: Good for prospects who hesitate to take that first step or just need a little encouragement to start small. Great for people who need the structure and discipline of a regular meeting (telephone or in person) to keep on track.
* Multi-Hour Strategy Session: Particularly useful if you sell to other businesses. A quick, affordable way for prospects to get specific feedback and new ideas on their existing approach to what you offer.
* 1-Day Jump-Start Retreat: A more in-depth version of the idea above. Especially useful if you bring a management team together.
* Multiple-Day or Monthly Workshop or Clinic: A different way to impart your expertise and help your clients “learn to fish for themselves.”
* Quick Audit: An affordable, finite commitment to let a prospect get a small sample of your approach. Can often develop into a longer engagement.
* Strategy + Action Planning: A safe way for prospects to get real value, without buying the whole nine yards. Again, this is a finite engagement that produces a blueprint for future work.
* Implementation Services: This is typically the primary service professional service firms offer. To make this more “buyable,” break it into phases and smaller, incremental commitments.
* The Round Table: Collaborate with trusted peers to provide a multi-faceted approach to helping your clients.
How do I know that these approaches motivate prospects to become clients? Because I use all of them in my practice and they all get results. My business model represents a mix of revenue streams, none of which is tied completely to a traditional consulting model.
For more tips on how to get your services used by offering options through creative packaging, keep reading…
Give your prospects choices and youll increase the odds they more quickly turn into paying clients. Heres how:
1. Package your services to offer clients have a variety of ways they can work with you. Think small, then incrementally add steps in larger sizes. Before you know it, youll have a range of ways to help your clients.
2. Give each service a catchy title thats all about how your client will benefit. For example, I offer the “More Clients Than You Ever Thought Possible!” Marketing Clinic and the “Maximize Your Online Strategy” Website Audit. Make the title about your clients, not you.
3. “Productize” your services to generate passive income. Record your public talks and sell them as tapes on your website. Combine sets of articles and sell them as mini-books. These are fairly easy, low-cost things to do.
4. Go back to current and past clients with your new range of services and/or product-based solutions. Just because they bought one type of service from you in the past, doesnt mean they wouldnt be interested in new ways you can help them.
5. Make sure your pricing structure offers prospects a range of choices. Make it easy for them to take the first step by offering something small and relatively inexpensive. There’s a lot that can be said about pricing, which I’ll cover in a future issue of this newsletter.
6. Don’t be afraid to spell out your range of services in your marketing materials and on your website. Demystify what you do by offering lots of information, including details of what your clients can expect in terms of deliverables, timeframes, targeted results, and what they need to do to ensure success.
7. The bottom line is to use client-centered descriptions and language. Even though this is about your services, it’s not. It’s about how your clients will succeed and what problems they’ll solve by choosing a particular service. I just can’t emphasize this enough!
Experiment with a number of packages and see what works and what doesn’t. Play with the variables: title, size, price, description, deliverables, and so on. You’ve got nothing to lose, but future clients.