Are you a widget salesperson? Are products an important part of what you sell?
For anyone in the AV industry, widgets are a part of your life. Whether you specialize in permanent installation or live events, you use widgets all the time. Your customers may even call you specifically asking for a widget.
But widgets aren’t what sells.
Selling service — more than products — is a game changer. It’s a way to focus on the outcome, not the plan. And when your customers start to understand the benefits they’ll gain and the outcome they can expect from working with you, they’ll be much more likely to buy.
How to Turn Your Product into A Service
If you’re selling widgets, it’s time to reframe your products into a service for your customers. You want to sell what your product does for your customer, not the product itself.
My first opportunity to learn this came at age ten. My first job was simple, but horrible. Fortunately, I learned from it.
As a kid, I fell for the scam on the back of comic books and started my first job. There was a toy on the back of the magazine I really wanted… and I could get it if I just sold some flower seeds.
I assumed it would be easy. “Who wouldn’t want flowers?” I thought. I scraped together some quarters to mail to the company to get my seeds. They sent back a batch of flower seeds in different seasonal varieties. I was supposed to sell them door to door, send the money back to them, and get more flower seeds to sell… along with my army men.
Yes, this was a scam. But it still taught me three valuable lessons.
- I hate going door to door.
- I hate selling products.
- Any product can be turned into a service.
I missed a golden opportunity to sell a service when I sold those seeds. It’s natural for a 10-year-old to miss the chance to turn seed-selling into a lucrative business deal, but the 50+-year-old me understands something different about sales: If you can turn a product into a service, it’s much more valuable.
Think about this sales principle in terms of selling flower seeds. A lady answers her door and says, “That’s a lovely flower. I’d be happy to buy your flower seeds.” She’ll buy them, put them in the junk drawer, and nothing will ever grow. I didn’t sell her the seeds. I sold her the opportunity to be nice to the neighbor kid.
How could this become more valuable to both her and me? If I had turned the product into a service, the outcome would have been better for both of us.
Instead of saying, “Would you like to buy some flower seeds?” I could have said, “Isn’t the neighbor’s house beautiful, especially with their flower planters in front. Your house is beautiful. I was wondering why you don’t have flowers too? Would it be worth it to you to have flowers for every season that just magically appear in your flower bed?” Then, I could deliver both the seeds and my service to plant them.
That’s how you turn a product into a service — you prioritize the outcome.
She would have paid more, I would have earned more money, and she would have been happier with her results.
Sell the Outcome, Not the Plan
Yes, flower seeds are vital to accomplishing the goal of the flower bed. But it’s the vision of a blooming garden that really sells.
Likewise, widgets help you accomplish the end results, but widgets are not what captures a customer’s interest. Customers are interested in the outcome. Flower seeds are a plan. A beautiful garden is an outcome.
How can you do this in your business?
Can you cast a vision for the end results customers should expect when they work with you?
Can you help clients see the benefits of what you can do with your products (rather than push the products themselves)?
When you talk to your customers, focus on the outcome, not the plan. The end result will come because of the service you provide — not that product you sell.