Working in the service sector means many things. But for those of us running a business with a variable and concertina-like range of service, it can mean confusing and and unclear advertising/sales process. With that in mind, the natural progression for many of the consultants, coaches, and thought-based service providers I work with, is to […]
Working in the service sector means many things. But for those of us running a business with a variable and concertina-like range of service, it can mean confusing and and unclear advertising/sales process.
With that in mind, the natural progression for many of the consultants, coaches, and thought-based service providers I work with, is to evolve their business into a distinct offering.
What's in this headspace?
What is an offering?
Put simply, an offering is a breakdown of a product or service, usually delivered in a prescribed quantity, frequency, or order. They are able to create a number of benefits to the seller and the buyer, whilst simplifying communications for sales and marketing process.
When you buy a TV and Broadband package – that’s an offering, when you pay your window cleaner based on a visit instead of per window or per hour, that’s a service offering. It’s a way of condensing everything down to a simple and manageable product.
Benefits to the Service Offerings for the Seller
Making Things Tangible
Let’s say you’re a mid-level executive looking to take on some private executive coaching with a view of building up your leadership skills and moving from your current organisation. You’ve found a great coach and are ready to start. But the coach charges £220 per hour, and will be doing 90 minute sessions every 3 weeks until you both agree you’ve had enough. So is it worth it? An open-ended commitment to a coaching relationship with a logical billing structure which is still awkward to calculate.
However there’s the other great coach offering a Leadership Progression option. It’s a 6 month course for £4’000 with a monthly 1 hour session and a 30 minute call. The package shows half a dozen skills you’ll develop and a method for planning your future career path and a journal to record everything and give you future notice.
If we look at what the coach is taking per hour based on time with the client – the £4k package over double the hourly rate option. What’s more, there is every possibility that the client will end up with the same skillset and progress from either of the courses. Yet doesn’t the Leadership Progression package sound better? It’s finite, tangible, and gives a clear outline of what’s involved and what you walk away with.
In the Brand Coaching Programme we talk about putting the client as the hero of any advertising story we tell – it’s their life we want to be a part of, after all. With that in mind, how can we pitch our services?
Talking about our session rate, qualifications, experience and so on, is all about us – so push that aside. How about we talk about what outcomes our clients can expect? More confidence? Eased anxiety? Better life control? Higher pay, career progression? As coaches we can help out in almost endless ways – even within the spheres of influence we each reside. But without defining the coaching or consultancy as a precise package we can’t talk about what outcomes they can work towards?
But what about an Anxiety Tackling 10-week life-coaching course? Or maybe a monthly Business Financial Consult package to keep on track and in the black? These easily align with our client’s story of themselves and speak to what can be anticipated.
Whether you’ve given it sufficient attention, or not, your brand is one of the most important assets to your business! Building your packages to support your brand and your brand to support your packages allows you to build support, understanding, and recognition from your target audience! One of the best examples of this, is a coach I worked with who offer (with a minor tweak for privacy) the following brand and package:
Brand: Brad the Actor’s Business Coach Package: Business Coaching for Actors
Everything underscores the brand and package simultaneously. Now, it doesn’t need to be this on-the-nose of course. But if you’re an especially compassionate, emotions based, supportive life coach – your package names and descriptions can all support this. On the other end of the scale, perhaps you’re a political consultant who operates a no-bs approach – the same applies.
When we’re looking for a product or service, especially for ourselves, price is almost always one of the first things on our minds. Granted, if it’s a portion of chips on our shopping-list, we’re probably not concerned about cost as much as we might if it were a new house. But I bet when you find chips on the menu, your eyes still slide to the right where the numbers sit all the same?
When we know the price, the new question is “is it worth it?”. We know that our industry of coaching and consultancy finds it difficult to answer the question of worth, as each coaching approach is as unique as each coach. Yet we know that building a single service offering combined of multiple items (perhaps 6 weeks of career coaching, a strengths assessment and employment psychometric?) allows us to develop a basis of what the product is worth for us
This one’s a simple premise. When offered Small-Medium-Large, medium is the most popular option. So as a service provider, you can develop a series of packages for the same career-coaching or business-consulting etc, giving a choice to your clients to select from at the basic level.
The next choice is variety. Perhaps you can offer Dating Coaching, Relationship Coaching, and Divorce Coaching – it’s unlikely that people need more than one of these at a time, so just by filtering your love coaching into these three areas, you’ve offered a simple choice which enables you to better communicate to your client.
Upselling and Cross-Selling
When listing packages, it can be easier to introduce ways to upsell and cross-sell. Let’s say you’re listing the Small-Medium-Large style choice option from before – inviting the client to book the large programme of 12 months instead of the medium programme of 6 months for a 20% discount can be inviting. Perhaps your upsell incentive is a free tool, or special access instead of a discount. Regardless, the benefits of buying more are clear.
The same can be said for complimentary products. Selling your career development programme with an add on of interview coaching and practice, can be much easier than simply asking your client to buy 15 sessions instead of 12.
Unique Positioning (no comparison
If you’re in a busy field, like life coaching, you’ll be surrounded by competitors offering similar services at vastly different prices. Whilst our minds often equate premium rates with premium quality, we know that’s not necessarily how things play out! So whilst your competitors are arguing about the cost of their 1h sessions, with potentials adding up rates from all around you attempting to compare and contrast – pull yourself out of the race and offer a result instead.
Coaching for £10ph
Coaching for £80ph
Coaching for £75ph
Coaching for £90ph
Coaching for £80ph +VAT
Coaching for £97ph
The Anxiety Eliminating Package £400
Coaching for £70ph
Coaching for £80ph
Which do you want to be on their list?
Value Based Pricing
Many service industries have companies offer value based pricing. So what does this mean? Let’s take book cover design as an example. We have a professor about to publish their book and they want it picked up and enjoyed, so start meeting with a book cover designer. Instead of giving a rate of £xph or a project fee, this amazing award winning book cover designer, asks what it’s worth to the author. “If you think about the absolute perfect cover being on your book – the one that gets it picked up, assigned in university book lists, and submitted for awards, what’s that worth to you? If I had the cover design that could achieve all that for you in this briefcase here – what would you pay?” When the professor answers £10k, that’s what the designer says his fee is. Whilst there are pros and cons to this on both sides, the goal is for the client to receive the very best product they can and for the designer to receive the very best payment they can. No lowballing or half-efforts. Both give their all.
The second area of support for this approach, is what the client finds value in. If a client buys an hour of your time, it’s not to own you or reserve your attention for an hour! They want to find value in that time and a result of some kind. My clients don’t ever buy a session just to have me not doing something else for 90 minutes! When they buy a Brand Coaching Package they know they’re going to make progress on their brand not just have my attention. And I assure you, one is definitely FAR more valuable than the other.
I don’t feel that our worth as coaches is EVER demonstrated in our rates. If you’re every told to “charge what you’re worth” – turn and run. Your worth is not determined by a single service you provide – full stop. The value of our service comes from our results – not from our presence.
Building Your Service Offering
So how do you go about it? Well, whilst the nuance of it can be tailored in a million ways, the start of it is fairly simple. We bundle your expert service into what the clients need.
To help you achieve this, I’ve developed a free “Service Offering” worksheet. It’s simple, requires no secondary tools, and will have you putting together the perfect package within minutes!
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