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“The total cost will be between $1200-1600,” my mechanic told me yesterday after explaining the myriad of repairs that are needed to repair my minivan’s oil leak.

“And I’m not sure if that’ll fix the problem,” he added.

Agh!!!

My mechanic is a good guy, and I trust him.  But when I get an open-ended bid like that it drives me batty.

He sells a service, and services are inherently messy.

I wish he sold a product.

I wish my mechanic would just say, “It’ll cost you $2,000, and your car will run like new!”

That would be a product.

Products have boundaries & rules. 

We understand products intuitively.

Humans don’t understand services, because services are messy.

We like to see a thing on the shelf and buy that thing.  It’s a clean transaction.

Web Design As a Product

There’s this great book that describes how to convert a service-based design agency into a product-based design agency.

But don’t read the book. 

It can be summed up in 3 simple steps:

  1. Define your product (boundaries, add-ons, etc.).
  2. Sell your product.
  3. And you never ever ever do any custom work ever again.  If it’s not included in your product, you don’t do it.

How I Turned a Messy Website Design Service Into a Product

I turned a previously very servicey thing – designing, building, and launching a new WordPress website  – into a $5,000 product.

Literally, everything you do for customers can and should be a product (or an add-on to a product).

How I Converted My RFP Response Into a Product

I turned the friggin RFP process into a product and sold multiples for cripes sake!

It went like this:

Customer: “I’d like you to build me a website.”

Me: “What’s the goal of your website?”

Customer: “I don’t know.”

Me: “No problem.  We have a product that helps you figure out how to make your website more valuable.  For $2k, you get…”

What I promised was an amazing RFP that’ll put them in a position to crush it.  (Unlike most RFPs, which put you in a position to be inundated with worthless responses.)

If I can do that, you can turn whatever you are doing into a product!

The advantages of products are many:

  • Clear boundaries (i.e. no scope creep).
  • Clear pricing.
  • Everything’s included! (i.e. if it’s not listed, they pay for that other product of yours!)
  • It’s calmer.

Side Note: Making your product add-ons more valuable than your core product can increase sales of your core product.

Further Reading:

Further Reading: