Making Your Services Easier to Buy – Part Two
Making Your Services Easier to Buy: Part 2
By: Tara Clark
I’ve already told you of my woes trying to buy fabric and the business that missed out on a shoe-in sale because they were making too difficult for their customer to buy. I’m often asked if I can suggest ways businesses can increase their sales. Should they offer discounts? Start a referral program? Sell online? Most of the time my answer is simple…
Before you ask how you can easily sell more, ask yourself, “How easy is it for my customers to buy?”
As a service provider, regardless of what you’re selling, your prospect carries a degree of risk. Even if this risk is really only perception, it’s very real to them. When it comes to service industries like dry cleaning, customers don’t have a tangible product that they can see and feel, or return if they’re dissatisfied. They have no way of knowing if they’re going to get value for their money until after the sale and, for them, this is a very real risk. Your prospects need something tangible to focus on and this usually becomes price. All services are the same, right? Therefore the best price means the best deal for me, the customer, right? As service providers we know that nothing is further from the truth, and that when you compete on price no one wins, so how do you make your intangible services tangible? How do you take the customer’s focus off price and on value?
One of my favorite made up words at the moment is productize. It’s a word created to verbalize how service based industries have turned their services into pseudo products, making them tangible and easier to buy. Financial industries do it. Telcos do it. Here’s how:
Creating service packages – packaging your services at different levels makes it easier for customers to compare, therefore evaluate, therefore choose – therefore buy! You need to be clear about what each level of service involves so that your customer can compare each with their needs. Have you ever been asked by your customer “But what’s the actual difference between a deluxe dry clean and a regular dry clean?” If they can’t see what the difference is, why would they opt for the more expensive service? If they have to ask, you’re not making it easy enough for them to buy. Think like a Telco. What’s the difference between the $39.90/month phone plan and the $59.90/month plan? It’s usually the phone model and the service inclusions, and all this information is readily available for customers to evaluate.
Creating a new product – combining your already available services to create a new product gives you an edge over your competition. Every dry cleaner dry cleans. Many will pick up or deliver. Some will make minor repairs. If you do them all, perhaps there’s an opportunity for you to combine these services to create a product that no other dry cleaner sells.
Defining the process – most consumers have very little idea what dry cleaning actually is so, to them, a dry cleaner is a dry cleaner is a dry cleaner, right? We all know that’s not the case, but if you can’t define your process for your customer you make it harder for them to choose you over your competitor. As a GreenEarth dry cleaner you know that your process is very different to that of many of your competitors, but how many of your customers know that? Or know exactly how and why? Make defining your processes a priority for your customers and you’ll see just how easy you’ve made it for them to buy from you.
We can’t take it for granted that because we have something to sell people will simply buy it, and even less so if what we have to sell is something that can’t be seen or touched. If we want people to buy more from us the quickest way to do this is to make it easier for them to do so.