With people as their main assets, many service businesses as just selling hours, re-inventing themselves for every project. Customizing everything, if the people leave, there is no business. As a result, service businesses are tough to sell for anything more than a dreaded “earn out”.
If you want to sell your service business, you need to “productize” your service offer. By making your service look like a product, your business will appear more tangible, sustainable and less dependent on people.
Proctor & Gamble is arguably the granddaddy of product marketing, so I picked up a bottle of Tide before writing this post. To productize and package your service, follow the Tide formula:
Tide is the brand and is always written in the same font. Having a consistent name avoids the generic, commoditized category label of “laundry detergent.” Do you have a name for your service?
We use the “2 X Ultra” version of Tide, which is packaged in a unique bottle with two pour spouts. The depression knob spigot allows us to carefully measure out a dollop of Tide, whereas the twist cap provides quick flow. Do you have a consistent and unique way your customers interact with your service physically?
Write instructions for use.
Tide gives customers instructions for best washing results. If you want your service to feel more like a product, include instructions for getting the most out of your service.
Provide a caution.
My Tide bottle tells me that the product “may irritate eyes” and is “harmful if swallowed.” Provide a caution label or a set of “terms and conditions” to explain things to avoid when using your service.
The barcode includes pricing information. Publishing a price and being consistent will make your service seem more like a product.
P&G includes a very small ã symbol on its bottle to make it clear that the company is protecting its ideas.
What are you doing to make your service business less squishy?
* * * * *