How To Craft Your Products & Services Suite
Figuring out the perfect offerings seems to be a constant struggle for many business owners. If you’re always second-guessing whether you have the best product & services suite I’m going to show you in this article how to:
- Map out your products in a way that encourages long term client growth and lower churn.
- Maximize your average client spend through an effective add-on and profit maximizer strategy.
- And the steps you need to take before you create your product or service to test whether or not people will actually buy it.
The Problem to Ultimate Dream Journey
First, we have to think about where our clients are now and where they want to be.
Because it’s easier to sell a product or service to a current client than it is to constantly find new clients, we want to think of our products & services suite as a journey. We want to make it crystal clear to our clients what they need to buy next in order to get them to their ultimate dream goal.
Here’s how I work through crafting this journey with my business coaching clients:
Step 1: Your Client’s Problematic Situation
In order to figure out where they want to go, we have to determine where they are right now. If your business is brand new this can be more difficult, however if you have some clients under your belt, and are looking at your products & services suite to lower churn or to maximize your average customer value, then you will have some more insight to work with.
If you have clients already, think back to your initial conversation with those clients.
What brought them to work with you?
What problem did they need solved?
What were they looking to make easier in their lives?
What did they complain about?
It’s also helpful to interview some of your current clients to ask them about what results and transformations they’ve received while working with you (this will give you insight into their starting points).
Take that answer and craft it into your potential client’s current ‘problematic’ situation and write that at the top of a piece of paper.
If your business is new you’ll need to do a bit more digging to figure out where people are right now and where they’re looking to go. The most dangerous thing you can do in business is to make assumptions – this needs to be data driven!
Here are a number of ways to collect this data:
- Scour forum and advice sites that are relevant in your industry and pay attention to what people are using, asking, or complaining about.
- Conduct a survey (Surveymonkey is a fantastic resource for this) to ask relevant questions around what would interest them or what problems they are currently experiencing.
- Approach complementary, but non-competing businesses and ask them what their clients struggle with and what products or services they feel would best suit their clients with regards to what you serve.
- Do keyword research and see what search terms people are using to find solutions to their problems. You’ll often be surprised. One of my clients sells flooring. Upon doing keyword research we discovered that the number one search in his area was not for “Hardwood Flooring” but for “Wooden Floors” and “Scratch-Resistant Flooring”. The way we named the products and the words we used in marketing shifted dramatically from this discovery.
Step 2: Your Client’s End Goal
Ok so at the top of the page we have your client’s problematic situation which will serve as the starting point for our mapping exercise. Before we can figure out the steps in between (which is what will define your product & services suite) we have to know what the end goal is that your client has in mind.
Again, we want to rely on data here. When I first started into coaching I assumed that everyone wanted to create a multi-million dollar business – but this simply isn’t the case. Many of the small-to-medium-sized businesses that I deal with don’t actually want large businesses – they only want to earn enough to feel comfortable without working too hard or overextending themselves.
The biggest problems for my potential clients were not ones of scale, they were problems related to the consistency of revenue and cash flow. Marketing, leads, and financials were more on their radar than huge launches and partnerships were. Once I took a step back and realized what my clients really wanted it became far easier to connect with them and serve them without spending a small fortune on advertising.
If you have a client base already the most important thing that you can do is to interview them using open-ended questions. Ensure that your questions are formed in such a way that they are empowered to give you the true answer.
If you are a personal trainer, instead of asking “so when we started I assume you wanted to lose weight. How is that going for you?” you could instead ask “I know that we often measure your progress in certain ways, but I want to ask you what is your ultimate end goal from our work together?”. This way you’re not leading them to give you the answer they think you want to hear.
If you are a Realtor you could ask them “What are your lifelong home ownership goals?” to uncover what the long-term potential for this client is. We don’t want to just think about this house today but for every home they’ll purchase up until they leave this earth. And even then – do they want to sell the home to fund retirement at some point or will it to their kids?
If you don’t already have a client base you will have to make some assumptions at first based on the data you collected in step one. Add to your sales call process a couple of questions asking them about their ultimate end goal and these assumptions may change.
Now that you have their ultimate dream goal, write it at the bottom of your paper.
Step 3: Solve the Incremental Journey
The next step is to divide your piece of paper so that there are an additional 4 spaces. These spaces represent the steps that your client needs to take in order to get from their current situation to the ultimate dream goal.
In the first space write down what your future client needs to do to bring them 20% of the way to their goal.
The next space represents 40% of the way to their goal. Then 60% and 80% in the two remaining spaces.
Your ultimate dream goal at the bottom of the page represents 100% completion to the goal.
Step 4: Insert Potential Products & Services
Now it becomes as simple as plugging in your potential products and services for each step of their journey!
Here is what this might look like for our personal trainer:
Problematic Situation: Overweight and most of all feeling exhausted. Having trouble keeping up with the kids and feeling like they’re losing out on parts of their lives.
20% Eliminate sugar and processed carbs from diet. Product: Low-carb sugar-free meal plan with shopping list.
40% Begin a workout routine 3X’s per week comprised of cardio and light weights. Product: Introductory Personal Training session where we create a personalized fitness plan for them to do on their own inside the gym.
60% Sticking to the diet and fitness routine on a regular basis (accountability). Product: Personal training package consisting of 3 sessions per week for 12 weeks and daily meal accountability tracking.
80% Develop more muscle to help keep the weight off long-term shifting training from high cardio to more weight work. Also adding more protein into the diet. Product: 6-month Personal Training package consisting of 5 shorter sessions per week plus weekly meal plans and shopping lists.
100% Being at a healthy weight (according to BMI calculations). Energy is at a 9 or a 10 out of 10 most days of the week. Able to play with the kids without being short of breath while still enjoying food that they love.
Add-Ons and Profit Maximizers
Now that you have a suite of products & services that will keep your current customers in your funnel and allow them to naturally flow from one buying decision to the next, I think that you can see the importance of selling to your current clients and how profitable that can be.
There’s one other way that we can capitalize on this: by creating an add-on and profit maximizer suite that complements the base products & services that we’ve just outlined.
Businesses that I’ve worked with have seen between 212% to 1140% lift in average customer spend just by adding profit maximizers and add-ons to their services suite.
Here’s a model that I find works very well for most businesses:
- Offer one product that is double the price that offers the benefit of speed. An example of this might be a more rigorous training package where you meet with your trainer 5X’s per week and have accountability to text pictures of each meal that you consume on a daily basis so that the trainer can make suggestions and changes to diet in real time.
- Offer one product that is 1.5 times the price which offers automation or makes it easier for the client to see success from your product or service. For example, let’s say your personal training package is $1,000 per month. For an additional $1,500 per month you might partner with a personal chef who prepares and delivers healthy pre-portioned dinners for the week to the client’s home.
- Offer one product that is ½ to ⅔ the price that is a complementary product to the one they are purchasing. An example of a complementary product for our personal trainer might be a new fitness wardrobe. It’s not directly related to what they do, but it’s complementary.
Testing Your Product & Services Suite
Some products & services take a lot of work, time, and money to develop. So before we begin developing and dumping money into our product & services suite we want to test it to make sure it has legs!
To do this we’re going to pre-sell our product or service.
Now often for my coaching clients this feels really scary – so you might be feeling the same way!
But trust me, it’s even more scary to dump time and money into a product that will never sell.
Here are some of the reasons why pre-selling your potential products and services is beneficial:
- It allows you to adjust the product and marketing material to the questions that you receive during the initial sales process.
- Testing enables you to move forward confidently with a marketing budget because you will be able to better understand what your expected ROI should be.
- When you pre-sell your products and services it can help you raise capital to produce those products! (Note: this may not be legal and is case-dependent. You may not be able to charge until the product is shipped. Be sure to do the appropriate research in your market).
- You can take deposits for services and develop a waiting list which will provide you a good solid perspective of future cash flow.
- Waiting to develop products and services until you have actual clients waiting for them allows you to involve the client in the process – ultimately resulting in a far more robust and attractive offering.
In order to test your product or service you will need:
- A one-page website with persuasive sales copy (I recommend a WordPress site because you own the property. You can build a site for free at WordPress.org. You’ll just have to purchase your domain and hosting which can run as little as $10 one-time plus $5 per month.)
- A Paypal account to create a “Buy” button
Don’t invest anything else at this point! A BIG mistake I see business owners make is to invest in fancy website design, email marketing software, CRM systems, and even staff before they have tested their idea. This is a recipe for disaster. Invest in ideas that have been tested and always follow your data (have I stressed that enough?).
Many tools and investments will surface as you develop your products and services and many of the things that you think you need to invest in today you’ll find are redundant or unnecessary. Save your cash for your marketing and growth strategy once your product is ready to fully roll out. This will be a far better investment.
Once you’ve set up your one-page simple website and buy button it’s time to start marketing! Begin marketing to the people hanging out in the spaces where you started your research above. If you found many people on forums and boards who were your ideal client, start marketing there. Do free word-of-mouth marketing. Get on social media.
80% of your time should be spent on marketing your first product or service (that’s the one that you identified as the 20% improvement). If the activity does not drive more eyes to that one-page website or allow you to have actual conversations with people where you can pitch your new product then you shouldn’t be doing it just yet!
If your product will be sold online, aim for about a 2-3% website conversion rate. This means that for every 100 unique web visitors you want to see 2-3 sales.
If your product will be sold through a retail location you can develop a similar process by creating an interest form or having people pre-purchase the product based on a display.
If your product is a service and will be delivered mostly in-person you’ll want to invite people into a 1:1 sales conversation and pre-sell your service in this manner.
As a final note on testing your product & services suite I’ll leave you with these important considerations:
- You need to set a minimum acceptable number of sales to satisfy the test. If you are selling a product or service that is under $200, I recommend setting that bar at 50 customers. If you are selling a higher-priced product that threshold might only be 10 customers.
- You don’t have a customer until you have the money in-hand. Many people will tell you that they would buy something but won’t ever follow through. You can always issue a refund if you decide not to run the product or service. But you can’t take back the time and money it takes to develop something if you base your testing success on promises instead of cash-in-hand.
- It’s so important during this development phase of your business not to get distracted and to remain vigilant in the pursuit of driving eyes to your offer. There is a TON of information out there that will encourage different marketing techniques, different product ideas, and otherwise pull you in so many directions. Don’t consider your marketing strategy too heavily right now. Just a lot of conversations on a daily basis will do! (And no, posting to your social media account doesn’t count as a couple hundred conversations… you’ll need to actually talk to people).
You could also invest $500 into pay-per-click advertising (through Google Adwords or Facebook Ads for example) to drive the traffic you want to your one-page website.
Whatever you decide to do, keep it simple and ensure that the strategy that you employ is a short-win marketing strategy. Content marketing, blogging, social media marketing (with the exception of pay-per-click ads) and brand-recognition based advertising like billboards are all longer plays when it comes to seeing your marketing ROI. These strategies will not serve you in this stage of your business.
Having a well-planned product & services suite in your business will absolutely promote a higher average customer value and will allow you to extend the effectiveness of your marketing dollars.
The key here is ‘well-planned’. I’ve seen countless cases of businesses going under or struggling with gaining consistent traction because they failed to do the research and testing necessary while setting up their offerings.
Putting the work in now will pay off in the long run.
Best of luck!