One of the tools I’m successfully employing right now is packaging.
Now, for many Presidents, CEOs, and Business Owners, the idea of packaging is limited to boxes and bows. But in a service oriented business, packaging is all about how you package ideas, concepts and principles in ways that define your core difference, methodology and brand.
Here’s the thing I’ve discovered for certain as I’m on this journey – effective packaging of your particular form of service is the path to far greater profits.
I’ll use some examples from my company to shed light on the various opportunities behind this concept of packaging for service oriented businesses.
The name of my company was not always Indispensable Marketing, but I chose that name as the foundation for my “strategy-first and educational” approach to installing a small to midsize business marketing process. Even the concept of installing marketing created a new package for how to think about marketing.
My brand then inherited some of the mostly positive associations that people already had developed around all things indispensable (Seth Godin – Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?) and that further enhanced the idea that what I was doing was unique.
Point of View
Another crucial element to this idea of packaging is what I call your “point of view.” I developed 7 foundational principles that the Indispensable Marketing process is built upon and each of these steps became the building blocks for creating a consistent and persistent message for how my approach to marketing is unique. (Here’s theebook that outlines those 7 steps if you’re interested.)
The point of view runs through almost every element of content for awareness, education, trust building, conversion and follow-up. It’s the basis of ebooks, workshops and paid consulting.
When you create and nurture a meaningful package of principles you also start to build a common language that your community, can begin to understand, share and extend.
While our point of view helps tell the story that attracts potential clients, it’s our working method that helps us stand out and deliver results. We have 7 stages, all named and communicated, that each client goes through on the way to creating and implementing their unique marketing action plan and process.
When providing a service it’s essential that you are able to both demonstrate the tangible deliverables that are coming down the path and orient the client as to where they have been, are now and are going in the process.
Every one of our stages breaks down into a series of named and branded deliverables. This tightly packaged approach has lots of flexibility but it also keeps the level of consulting consistent in a way that it can be duplicated in the hands of others.
Again, this provides a highly detailed road map for what many might consider an intangible. Packaging like this allows you to turn intangibles into tangibles consequently making them much easier to sell.
We’ve created a set of about forty tools that we employ in various ways with most engagements. Again, these tools have names, many are client facing and most are used to educate as much as help in the delivery of a consistent end product. (Here’s an example we call The Verbal Logo #5)
Tools handle the routine so we can focus on the creative and tools can be used over and over again creating a much more effective and efficient way to work. (These tools are also used heavily in the lead conversion process.)
My final and perhaps most important aspect of why I’m going down this packaging thinking has to do with pricing. I’ve noticed most service firms sell their time and are often assessed by the “going rate” in the industry.
My focus is on selling a package because then I’m selling on result based work. Which is another way of saying it no longer matters how long it takes you to get a result, the evaluation is based on the elements of the package and the total perceived value.
A sale of a seemingly intangible thing comes down to “here’s what I’m going to do, here’s what you’re going to do, here are the results we can expect and, by the way, here’s what it costs.” This is the value of a highly developed and fully packaged service.
The end goal here is to develop an long-term asset that makes your way “the way.”