Packaging your service-based product


Hi, George Swift here from Bigger Brighter Bolder. Today I want to talk to you about the importance of the packaging of your service-based products.  

Now, first things first, it can be really hard to even conceive of a service-based offering as a product, I get that, for many business owners. However, what you need to do is productize that service, so it does fit in a box, and there's a reason why that's so important and that's what I'm going to share with you in this video.  

It is around niching, it’s a very specific part of niching. It's about making sure that you stand out to a specific audience so that you're not a generalist product basically appealing to nobody.  

So the analogy I want to share with you is you go to a supermarket and you're looking for a shampoo. Now you’ll have an idea of what sort of shampoo you want, or maybe you're just open to see what's available to you. As you start to look down the aisles - and potentially there are 20 different products and 10 different brands in there - the truth of the matter is if you are an also-ran product, you'd look like a generic shampoo sitting on that shelf. So the only way that a generic shampoo is really going to compete in the marketplace is by being generically priced - in other words, cheap.  

So if I'm going in there and I'm looking for a cheap product, I'm just looking for a cheap and cheerful shampoo, I'll go straight away and I'll ignore, you know, all the, really like luxurious looking brands, and I'll go straight to the, let's be honest, pretty boring looking bottles or boxes. And I'll start looking for one that maybe, you know, I like the smell of apple, or I don't like the smell of limes and it's one pound fifty or 99p, I’ll take that one, thank you very much.  

That's not actually the client that you want to work with as a small business owner, certainly as a start-up as well. You don't want to be working with clients that want a cheap product or a cheap and cheerful product, what you want is someone that's a discerning customer that really wants to work with someone that offers a high-quality product that really understands their personal needs and creates a high expectation in them, but also gives them a really valuable result.  

So for your audience, if you like, as an analogy here with the shampoo, you'd be much better off trying to create a luxurious brand that was high priced and had great margins in it - where you didn't have to sell thousands and thousands and thousands of them - than you would be trying to create a cheap and cheerful product to compete with the mass market.  

So the first thing you'd do is say, who is going to really value shampoo? Then you say, right, who's willing to actually pay really good money for that shampoo? The next question would be asking yourself, what are the specific problems that these people have? And the next question is, what specific outcomes do these people want? Is it the lather and how it feels - luxurious? Or is that just something that's expected but not where the main driver is? Is it because they've got dry hair, frizzy hair, they've got straight hair, they've got thin hair? And you're sitting there thinking, right okay, so my product is a luxurious product that takes people with thin hair, and it helps people with long, thin hair to create body, and it helps to create a perception of body and thickness to their hair and things like that.  

You're going to then go in there and say, right, but because of that, it's not generic shampoo, it's an expensive product. The truth of the matter is it doesn't cost that much more to make a high-end brand shampoo than it does to make a low-end shampoo. There really isn't that much in it. It's down to the packaging and it's down to the performance of the product to achieve a result that the individual who is buying it wants.  

So if we're looking at the person with long thin hair that looks a little bit lifeless, what you want to do is give these people what they've always dreamed of, right? Which is the feeling and the perception of a full body of vibrant thick hair. If your product can do that, and there's a market out there that wants that, they will already be expecting to pay decent money for that.  

You then have to wrap that in a box, the packaging that specifically screams and shouts out to that individual, because they're walking down the aisle, just like you do, and there are 20 different brands, maybe even more, and they can't see the wood for the trees. They’re looking at things, and in the end, they'll just plump for one that looks the best, for example, or a competitive product that has put the energy into their packaging. You're sitting next to them, and they'll go straight for the one, like magpies, we'll go for the shiny thing.  

So what you need to do when you're thinking about your packaging is use this as an analogy. Now your packaging as a service-based business is in terms of your social media content, it's in terms of your positioning in the marketplace, your value proposition, also your brand, obviously - how your brand looks, feels, how people interact with your brand, you yourself, the quality of service. That's all the wrapper - does this makes sense?  

And it needs to be simple. You can't go into, for example, on the back of the box, you'd have all the ingredients, but you wouldn't sell it to someone on the front, you won't get their attention by saying it has, I don't know, make up some word – hypo-nano-whatsit-dooby-thingy-bobby - that thickens hair. That's not what you put on the front of the box. That's not what you would put on the shelf. That's what you might put on once you've got their attention.  

Thin, lifeless hair - want full bodied, healthy looking hair? Right, got me straight away. Now I'll look closer. Then you go into your sales thing. This has this, it's that, it's purely organic, it's good for the world, it's good for the animals, we don't test it on that, it's great for your hair health, it's great for your scalp. It has no pH...  

All that is the extra material that is required to help someone to make that decision to buy the product. But fundamentally their attraction to that product is going to be very, very, subjective to the individual. And it's going to be very much like objectification, almost. Which is, I'm going to look at something and it's a beautiful bottle. I'm going to look at something in its beautiful packaging. I'm going to look at something and it just shouts at me what it is that I need. Quite superficial stuff.  

Then you get into the opportunity to really sell the product. And it's the same with you and your service-based business. You need to have that attention grab. You need to speak out, but you cannot be attention grabbing for the mass market. It's impossible. It's completely counter-intuitive. If you're trying to appeal to everyone, you’re actually appealing to no one.  

So what you want to do is pick out, who is it I want to work with? What are their specific needs? Make sure they've got the money, make sure that they want to spend money on the product you've got - they value what it is you've got. Make sure they're motivated to buy your product. So that's through pain and gain. Is there a problem they're trying to solve? And is there an opportunity they're trying to step into, to achieve? And if you can come in there and you can really position yourself really clearly, really obviously, without being complicated and complex - be really simple, we solve that problem - you'll get their attention.  

Once you've got their attention, then you can take the time to really break down the opportunity or take the time and the opportunity to break down the sales process, to really sell them on the product and your service, for example.  

So have a think about how that analogy would work for you with your product base, as a service-based business, whether you're just starting out - whether you're doing 30, 40, 50K, or maybe you've been around a little bit longer and you've got a successful business - it's always important to come back and say, right, am I appealing to anyone? Or am I failing to appeal to anyone because I'm secretly trying to not put anyone off, or I'm secretly trying to appeal to everyone?  

Of course, with shampoo, anyone could use your shampoo, but anyone will buy any of the other products that are out there. What you're looking for is a person that has a specific problem that you're the best at solving, and the person that’s willing to pay decent money to have that problem solved for them.  

Have a little think about that in your business. It’s a fundamental part of growing your business, is making sure that you're pricing at an opportunity to allow you to grow your business. And also that you're really proud of the products that you're putting out there in the market that you're not putting out a generic product and, you know, selling it at a generic price and feeling a little bit like you're being underutilized or undervalued.  

Equally, what we don't want to be doing, is giving them premium star service and charging them low-end prices because you don't stand out. People aren't understanding why you're so good, then you're not able to communicate why you're so important to them, and therefore you're doing an incredible job, but for generic pricing. It's a frustrating place to be, and more important than that probably, it does restrict your business's ability to grow.  

Packaging your service-based product check this article. 

Have a little think about how that analogy works for you and in your business, maybe where you need to start looking at being a little bit more selective with who it is you sell your services to. 


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