As you may know I’m loosely involved with the CRM system Infusionsoft.
One of Infusionsoft’s ‘big pushes’ at the moment is to improve their marketplace of apps and service providers. The marketplace is essentially a directory of plugins and services that extend the core CRM system.
The marketplace system has always worked well for app developers. There has been a big push this year to get more service providers to list their products in the marketplace. Things like copywriting, marketing strategy, pay per click services, marketing automation support have started to appear.
I have a listing in the Infusionsoft marketplace. I’ve been told multiple times that if I were to list my services at a standard rate or fixed price I would generate more leads. Various people have told me that ‘people don’t want diagnosis, they want solutions.’
“People want products and packages,” I am told. “You should get with the programme and give them what they want.”
I’m actually not in the business of selling people what they want if I think it isn’t actually what they need. Which is where the marketplace system starts to fall apart.
Many marketing agencies have packaged up their services into convenient ‘bronze’, ‘silver’ and ‘gold’ packages. Maybe the ‘platinum’ package includes a lead magnet, twenty follow-up emails, a direct mail campaign, five remarketing banners and a massage.
The specifics of the package make it feel like uncertainty has been eliminated. Like what you are buying is a proven solution that delivers the exact same outcome under any circumstances.
The people who sell you these packages have a vested interest in selling you the package, not seeing you succeed with it. When you speak to them they will state with confidence that their package works in 100% of situations, normally with no work at all on your part.
Pause for a moment and breathe in slowly through your nose. Do you catch that faint whiff of magical thinking?
Packaged products are GREAT if you are selling:
- Information (books, courses etc)
- Training or events
- Technical solutions to clearly defined problems (apps, plugins etc)
If you’re a service provider you should sell some packages. You should package up your knowledge. You should be selling books, courses and events at fixed package prices. But selling done-for-you professional services as packages means that too few questions are asked in the race to sell a solution.
Many marketing agencies are like electronic jigsaw puzzle-solvers, with only one piece of the puzzle. They run around trying to force their piece into as many spaces as they can find, regardless of the shape of the space.
If you sell something more expensive than a wrist watch, offering prescriptions without first carrying out a diagnosis is usually malpractice.
It is easier to prey on people’s uncertainty and sell packages, but ultimately it causes a load of headaches later on when everybody discovers the puzzle-piece was never meant to go in the space.
There us a tremendous amount of uncertainty among business owners as to the best ways to promote your business. Going to an agency and buying a package does not solve the uncertainty. It simplifies and ignores it.
So what is the solution?
The answer is to avoid over-exposing yourself to risk. More on this tomorrow.