Yesterday I was in the supermarket buying my pizza and twelve bottles of wine ("a typical man's shop" looking after my immediate needs and the tax on wine goes up today!)
I looked at the shopping of the customer in front of me at the checkout - grated cheese, grated carrot, washed lettuce... - and I was struck by how much weighting this lady gave to convenience.
I may not be a master-chef but grating cheese isn't beyond my culinary skills and these products are more expensive.
It is clear that people are prepared to swap money for time savings on even the simplest of activities and pay more for convenience.
My Questions To You
Where can you add a "done for you" element to your product or service?
What is your equivalent to grated cheese where you take away all the effort required by your customers?
If you can identify a new product/service offering with built in added convenience then two things can happen?
- Existing time pressed customers will grade up to your premium solution. They want what you offer to be quick, easy and as little effort as possible and if you don't offer this deluxe service, they may be tempted to stray.
- You may attract new customers who either buy from a competitor at the moment offering a service on a broad parity level to yours or you will attract new customers who like the idea of what you offer, know it makes sense but really can't be bothered.
It Works The Other Way Too
If you are already a premium service provider, then are there ways that you can take the costs out by transferring activities to your customers?
The flat-pack furniture market is built on this concept and it brought big stock-holding and transport savings with it as well.
Can You Bend The Time-Space Continuum?
Instead of delivering a service at a time and place convenient to you, can you find a way to make sure that your customer gets a great experience at their convenience?
I see this in the Internet marketing arena where high priced conferences are filmed and become lower priced DVD based home study programs for people who want the knowledge but don't have the time to attend.
Two current examples of this are:
- The Rich Schefren / Jay Abraham Maven Marketing Home Study (affiliate link)
- The John Carlton Copywriting Sweatshop 2 Home Study (affiliate link) (I recommend you take a look at the free videos if you have an interest in copywriting)
I also see it coming through in business coaching programs where the material is delivered in multi-media formats and teleseminars where you can either join in the group question and answer sessions or more passively listen to it at a time convenient to you.
Two examples are:
- Michael Port's Book Yourself Solid coaching program (affiliate link) for professional service providers
- Rich Schefren's Business Growth System Internet business coaching program (affiliate link)
Is this something you can do?
Can you find a way to make it much more convenient for your customer to use and gain the benefits from your product or service and therefore make it much more tempting to buy?
The Key Message - Make It Easy To Buy
Make sure that you don't restrict your sales by just focusing on one part of the "do it for yourself / done for you" continuum.
Offering a range of alternative solutions is the way you can cater for prospective customers who put different values on their time and have different skill levels and interests.
At the same time can you take the inconvenience of time or place restrictions away?
The customer focused entrepreneur (custompreneur) sells at the customer's convenience and reaps the rewards. If you remove the obstacles and make it easy for customers to buy and use your services, they are likely to buy much more.