The 6 ‘P’s in Profit, #3 – ‘Produce’
Producing for Professionals
Talking about producing your product being third in line of your activities seems odd when you must surely have something to sell first to have any business.
However, recalling that the first ‘P’ was Planning you can see that actually deciding:
- what to sell,
- how to sell it and;
- how to get paid for it
…all have to be planned before you can set about actually producing it. You can’t fire up the machinery until you know what you are supposed to be making.
Similarly, the type of business you have planned or are already engaged in will dictate your approach to the products you create and your motivation for producing them.
Professional Service, Physical Product or Agency?
Your approach and reason for producing will vary depending on the nature of your business. But it’s important to realise that the fundamental structure of business is the same no matter what you are selling. Everything here applies to you and your business and there are no cop-outs of ‘That doesn’t apply to me/my business’.
Whether you are a professional sitting in a swish skyscraper office or a plumber cramped up underneath a kitchen sink or a marketer selling someone else’s products, the fundamentals still apply to you.
So let’s talk about professionals first. You might say that your product is the service that you provide. Only when people decide to buy your service do they become your customers. You need to make more sales by persuading more prospects to commit to buy but in this case, your problem is that you are setting the hurdle very high for your prospect to leap over to become your customer because the first offer you make to them is for your high priced, personal services.
They don’t know you, they don’t know if they like or can trust you – and the price of your labour is very high. So they have lots of questions buzzing around their head as they ponder whether or not to buy your services.
So, what’s the solution?
Everything that you deliver to your customers comes out of your head or the files of information you’ve got stuffed in all those filing cabinets in your office – or your ability to spend time researching, collating and organising information.
And that the point; what you deal with is information.
And apart from the last activity of using your accumulated knowledge to research, collate and organise much of your expertise lies in static information. Information that is both static and remains completely useless to you as long as it stays locked up inside your head or filing cabinet or office.
The Sales Funnel (which we will deal with shortly) requires that you provide a very low hurdle to entry for your prospects to begin with and then move them through the funnel with higher value products at each stage.
Of course, fewer prospects will buy into the higher value product at each stage but those that do are increasingly committed and very definitely will have come to know, like and trust you.
Professionals often attempt to overcome this problem by offering a free consultation before the prospect commits to their pricey services. This is a valiant attempt to overcome the ‘know, like and trust’ hurdle by making themselves available for a conversation.
However, it suffers from the problem of how many people are going to move through the complete ‘know, like and trust’ process within the 30 minutes or 1 hour of the free consultation while at the same time juggling the problems they are trying to deal with in their head and maintaining a conversation with you?
And, what’s more, that’s an hour of your time that you could have spent making real money with a committed customer.
The solution here is to take some time out to create ‘product’ that you can give away to prospects before you are obliged to give up your valuable time. In other words, take some of that static information and start making it work for you.
The old style solution in many professional offices is the rack of brochures and leaflets on display in reception. The only problem here is that it needs the prospect to visit your office to find them, pick them up and read them. So their real purpose is to reassure your customer that they have made the right decision by engaging your services after they have committed themselves rather than persuading them to do so while they are still a prospect searching online for a supplier.
So get those leaflets converted to .pdf documents and give them away online to demonstrate your expert status. Use the power of the internet to do this automatically without consuming any of your time while at the same time developing a relationship with your prospect.
Whether your product is print, audio, powerpoint or video doesn’t matter. What matters is that you create it once and use your time only once – but can provide that product multiple times to prospects and do so automatically instead of having to repeat the same information over and over in an introductory consultation with every prospect.
I’ve picked on just one format of professional services there but the principle holds good for all ‘professionals’ whatever your trade or specialisation.
By taking information out of your head, producing some form of product to give away in an automated process you can begin the ‘know, like and trust’ process in order to build your relationship with prospects but without taking up any of your time.
Of course, once you start this process and begin to determine the real interest of your prospect then you can begin to sell them information in the same way. Then you are making money from your expertise online – at the very same time that you are making money offline. Hey, now we’re cooking!
You think this isn’t you? Maybe you get your hands dirty making your living – or sell physical products of some description? Then look out for the next installment of ‘There are 6 ‘P’s in Profit’to find out how this applies to you too.
You might also find these articles about product creation and the Sales Funnel
- A Four-Step Guide to Generating Sales Leads from Your Blog (copyblogger.com)
- Optimizing your Customer Acquisition Funnel (forentrepreneurs.com)