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Most business owners think that what they sell is their business, and what they do is what they sell. They even go so far as to categorize themselves solely by the product or service they sell.

For example:

“I’m in financial services.”

“I sell cars.”

“I own a grocery store.”

The problem with this is that you instantly become commoditized when you label yourself by what you sell. And when you’re commoditized, you’re squeezed on price because that’s the only thing customers have to go on when they’re making a buying decision. You also risk being judged against other businesses based only on what you sell, because your customers don’t know how you are different (and every independent business is unique!).

So, if you’ve been making what you sell your business, you’re not playing the right game of business.

As an independently owned business, your focus must be on the value you create and the solutions you provide. What you sell is simply the vehicle to deliver this value 

Do this by:

  • Identifying what you already know about your customers or clients
  • Asking questions to find out their needs and see how you can serve better
  • Offering a solution to their needs
  • Helping them make effective buying decisions

 

Effective Buying Decisions

Your customers need your help when it comes to making an effective buying decision. They typically don’t know what questions to ask, and they aren’t the expert in the solution you provide (you are!). Therefore, it’s your responsibility to educate and inform them on the best solution for their needs. Otherwise, what’s the only thing they have to base their decision on?

Price.

And therein continues the painful commoditization cycle.

When you focus on solutions, the sales will follow. So, make your business about SOLUTIONS and stop making it about what you sell. 

To do this, learn what your clients need and want. Whether it’s deliveries, a new or evolved service offering, or a creative way to connect with your community. A solutions-based approach will make your business more profitable, more sustainable, and way more fun. 

 

Productizing Your Processes

You can also productize the valuable process of helping your clients make an effective buying decision. 

Below are three examples of productizing your process so you can consider how to do this in your own business. 

Example #1

A business owner with a commercial flooring business packaged his appraisals as an official process complete with recommendations and charged $750 for it. He found that, typically, clients would invite him to submit an RFP (Request for Proposal); however, in some cases, the client wouldn’t know what they wanted.His process added massive value and provided expertise so the client could make an effective buying decision. 

As part of his product offering, he would analyze needs, budget, and requests, and his completed report would then be used to educate and solidify his business as the topmost expert in his field. 

Example #2

Another entrepreneur owns a motorcycle store and is passionate about helping people find the perfect helmet fit. However, he found that people would come to his store in person, get fitted, then buy their helmet online to save a few dollars. He packaged his “Save a Life Helmet Fitting” process and charged for it. Then he would offer a coupon for the same amount towards purchasing a helmet in the store. This is a unique solution that only a brick and mortar can offer. 

 

Example #3

A friend of mine recently went into a hardware store to buy a shelf. The young clerk at the store asked him what kind of wall he was looking to hang it on and what he planned on putting on it, then made a recommendation for a shelf that would secure properly onto drywall and hold the weight of the items he planned to set upon it. Although this process of helping the customer wasn’t “productized” and didn’t technically cost anything, the help the clerk offered led to my friend purchasing an $85 shelf instead of the $25 one he had his eye on. 

He happily paid more than he expected, was educated on why it was the best choice, and left with the proper solution in-hand. Had he purchased the $25 shelf, it likely wouldn’t have been suited for the job. If the shelf had fallen off the wall, my friend may have questioned the quality of the product or the store itself, not his own buying decision. This is only natural since he would have had no way of knowing whether his buying decision was effective or not. 

The truth is, most people don’t know what they need or want. 

And they don’t know what they don’t know about how you can help. Helping your customer make an effective buying decision is part of your business, and if you don’t see it as that, your customers won’t either. 

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