Men are from Mars. Women prefer Saturn dealerships – or they did.
Saturns were boring. And they weren’t even a good deal – financially speaking. Emotionally speaking, they were a great deal. It didn’t matter what the person at the dealership said; you were never being manipulated and you didn’t have to worry about making a negotiating mistake with someone who negotiates for a living. Actually you were being manipulated – to buy add-ons. And credit. But these add-ons were also fixed-price. No negotiation, no stress, no doubt about making a huge mistake.
You can make your customers feel the same with (a) publishing your prices and (b) productizing your services. Or at least some of your prices. Now take it a step further – what if you buy those products in a self-service fashion?
Large-inventory business-to-consumer ecommerce has a fundamental flaw that hasn’t yet been fixed: browsability. By the way, this is one of several reasons that public libraries with an organization system such as Dewey Decimal are irreplaceable knowledge resources. The Internet will never displace libraries – though it makes an excellent companion. Same for the print version of the OED and the Encyclopedia Brittanica. Libraries are expert-curated and browseable, Google.com is not.
But for a niche B2B solutions provider, your products are also browseable – because you’ll never have that many of them. You should have between 3 and 4, with options and add-ons for each.
Last December, I wrote a four-part series about how niche B2B solutions providers can productize services (one two three four). But one of several things I left out was expert curation. It might be less work to productize services than it is to design and launch a SaaS app – but it takes just as much expertise. Things that don’t work without expertise: custom consulting engagements, SaaS software, and productized services. Without expertise, it’s pointless to even think about marketing these types of solutions.
But if you have the expertise, why not use it?