Use productised services to stop writing proposals

Are you tired of writing proposals that don't lead to client work?

A good solution could be to productise your services.

Unlike customised services, which a lot of expertise-driven businesses provide, a productised service can be defined as an offering with a fixed project scope and price, and is more similar to a product (like the name suggests).

As each productised service has a fixed project scope, they are focused on solving a very specific client problem. It is essentially a service offering that has been packaged up in a way that makes it clear to understand and easy for your clients to make a buying decision.

One of the biggest benefits of productised services is that they completely remove the need to write proposals for each potential new client. And because the scope of the project is clearly defined, all of the service information (sometimes even the price) can be shown on a single web page.

This web page essentially acts as your proposal – but you only have to write it once. It’s worth noting that it's good to evolve and make edits to this page over time as you get more feedback and insight from the target market.

In contrast to proposals, where you would typically include unique information about each prospect's situation, your productised service web page won’t feature any details specific to a single potential client.

Instead, you must research the common characteristics of your ideal clients (ie the problems they are faced with, and the outcomes they are seeking) and use it to your advantage. Once you have a good grasp on this information and feature it on your productised service web page, it should seem like the content was personally written for any ideal client that reads it.

Another key benefit of productised services is that they reduce the barrier to entry for a new client to work with you.

By offering a productised service at a price point that is lower than your customised services, it minimises the risk on the clients’ part because it’s a smaller investment to make. This works in your favour in the long term because a client is much more likely to work with you again in the future if they have worked with you on a project before.

A third benefit of creating a productised service is that you can even get paid upfront for them – this is because the price is fixed like an actual product. This is a key advantage productised services have over customised ones. Not only is this great for your cash flow, but it removes any risk of a client paying late or not in full.

How do I create a productised service?

  1. Start with a potential service idea and an estimate price point.
  2. Determine who your ideal client for the service is, the core problem your service will help them solve, and the benefits they would receive. 
  3. Work backwards from the price point and think about what you could deliver to the buyer for that amount. 
  4. Write down the timeline of everything that would need to happen from the moment they pay to the project completion. Also make note of which party is responsible for each stage.
  5. Draft a website landing page that sells the productised service and feature a clear call to action to buy the offering.
  6. Find three suitable beta clients and deliver the productised service to them at no charge or at a very low cost. The purpose of this is solely to get feedback about the offering.
  7. At the end of each engagement, ask if they would pay [x price] for the service. Don't just ask them how much they would pay for it as this can be difficult for them to answer accurately. Giving them a price to evaluate is going to be more effective because you probably already have an idea about how much you want to charge, and the beta client will have a gut reaction to it and be able to respond with a yes, no, or maybe. It's also good to get their feedback on how the project is delivered and how well the website landing page content reflects the service they experienced. If they found the service to be valuable, ask them for a testimonial and provide some names for referrals for people who they think would benefit from the service.
  8. Finally update your website landing page to reflect the feedback from the beta clients and be sure to include the positive testimonials you have received.