Adding Services To Your Products
I had a wonderful discussion with a lady yesterday who has a small business that sells products for home crafters. She sells mostly to women who have that knack for creating great personalized gifts.
We talked about the services that she’s been adding to her lineup, so I thought you might find something that could apply to your business as well.
You’re selling widgets. Wonderful, world-class widgets, I understand. But you’ve been beat up by internet sales and big box stores – they just don’t have the overhead of your business so they’re undercutting your prices at every turn. If you match the prices, you’ll destroy your profit. But with higher prices, you’re losing sales. It’s a no-win situation.
Perhaps one reason why customers are running to cheaper suppliers is because you’re selling nothing BUT those widgets. Certainly the widgets are being used in something larger, which can open up a whole realm of possibilities for services:
- Helping the customer to never waste one widget - by always having the right one, having it delivered just in time, by removing errors in the next step of the process
- Taking on the next step of the process as well, whether that’s customizing the widget, assembling it into a larger machine, or just packaging it for future sale
- Growing the market for everyone, by leading the effort to convince everyone on the planet that they need to have “a widget a day”
- Removing some of your customer’s expense, perhaps by taking part of their load for end customer support or managing their inventory
OK, this talk about generic “widgets” can get a bit dry. Let’s go back to a specific example.
If you’re selling craft supplies, suppose you expand that to deliver workshops for people who are looking for neat craft ideas and to build their skills. This can help your business in several ways:
- If you’re delivering real value, the workshops can themselves become an income stream for you.
- Attendees can see first-hand that you supply much more than just the few products they were aware of.
- You can sell your supplies in conjunction with the workshop – not only what’s used in the workshop itself, but a package of products that the person can take home for their NEXT few projects.
- You will differentiate your business from competitors, thus forming a more personal relationship with your customers.
We have to look at this objectively, though. An amazing amount of this kind of information is available for free on Youtube. It’s not trivial to deliver a workshop and claim that customers can’t get the information elsewhere. But they DO get a hands-on experience, one-on-one assistance, and relationships with you and other attendees.
Try getting THAT with an internet or big box supplier!
Small Fish Business Coaching Fort Collins