Do you sell services or transformations?

If you were creating a new service offering, how would you package your expertise?

There are really just three ways to do this.

You can build an offering around…

  • the inputs (your time and activities)
  • the outputs (the deliverables you provide), or
  • the outcomes (client results)

We as consultants and expert service providers tend to put more emphasis on selling activities or deliverables rather than the outcomes we enable for clients.

But if you want to have better marketing and greater profitability, framing your service like this is not the most effective way to run your business.

To give you a simplified example, website designers typically focus their offering on a deliverable (supplying a client with a website) – but clients don't just want a new website for the sake of it.

They want a website because they think it will help them achieve the desired outcome of generating leads and making sales.

So knowing this, why do most website designers just promote the deliverable in their marketing?

This is a very common issue amongst all types of service providers.

I think this approach probably stems from the fact that most of our competitors are operating this way so selling deliverables is a safe bet.

When in reality, it’s much better for us to zoom out and look at the wider problem our ideal client is experiencing.

Because the deliverable we provide is usually just one piece of the puzzle.

So instead of focusing on activities or deliverables, it’s much better for us to take on more responsibility to solve the client’s wider problem.

Not only will this help you stand out from the competition (because few people are doing this), but you will be able to charge higher fees.

Other benefits include:

  • having greater impact
  • better evidence of results
  • happier clients
  • more referrals

So take a look at your offering and consider: “How can I frame this service as a mechanism for the client to achieve a specific outcome they value?”.

It’s all about the transformation

Another way to help build your offering around an outcome is to consider the client transformation.

It’s our job to take the client from having a problem to achieving the result they desire.

So think about the specific pain points and symptoms your target audience is experiencing before they hire you.

Once you are clear on this, there is a useful paper exercise you can do.

It involves mapping the process from the client problem to the solution.

Draw two circles – one on the left hand side of the page, and another on the right hand side.

Write the words ‘Ideal client problem’ in the circle on the left and write ‘Desired outcome’ in the one on the right.

Then break down the transformation into the key steps you would take to guide the client to the desired result.

It will look something like this:

Can you see how powerful this exercise is?

This map is essentially your blueprint for getting client results.

The best part is that most of your competitors aren’t thinking about their offering this way.

They probably just focus on a particular step in the transformation as opposed to the entire thing.

And clients only care about the desired outcome, so the service provider who can help them get there is going to stand out from the other options on the market.

As a side note, you could even have this transformation map branded up and use it as a tool in your sales process.

This would help you to communicate how you take clients from where they are now to their desired outcome.

It will also demonstrate your professionalism, so clients should be more confident that you wil be able to deliver this outcome.

Conclusion and action point

When it comes to selling services or transformations, it's essential to shift our focus from simply offering activities or deliverables to providing tangible outcomes for our clients.

While many service providers promote the deliverables they offer, such as website designers focusing on providing a new website, it is crucial to understand that clients seek these deliverables to achieve specific results or outcomes, such as generating leads and making sales.

By zooming out and examining the broader problem our ideal clients face, we can position ourselves as solution providers rather than simply deliverable providers.

This approach not only sets us apart from the competition but also enables us to charge higher fees, have a greater impact, provide better evidence of results, satisfy clients, and generate more referrals.

Your action point for today is to look at one of your existing services through the lens of your clients.

Can you package it up in a slightly different way to give clients more confidence that you will help them achieve the desired outcome?