Selling Youself as a Service
Selling a service is like selling heroin...you need to get your customers rapturously hooked. Linkedin is the consummate example of this. When you think of your job search and how you present yourself, are you offering engagement with a set of services or are you presenting you, the product?
Seems to me that the more valuable course would be to present services to a company that they can partake of through a free advisor role, short term immediate consulting, or a longer term engagement. Thinking not about you the candidate to be hired as a product frees you to creatively present scenarios where engagement is win win for both you and the company.
The Product-Service Shift – Transforming Your Operating Model
by Geoffrey Moore (via Linkedin Pulse)
As digital devices, cloud computing, and smart phone apps permeate more and more of our interactions, the product-service shift is overtaking more and more of our economy. This is a good thing from the point of view of lowering barriers to adoption and delivery costs, but it is a real challenge for vendors to transform their operating models to leverage the new infrastructure.
A big part of the problem is simply getting our heads around the new paradigm. So much of the language of business is stuck in the old vocabulary, and that is causing us to make wrong choices without even knowing it. Let me show you what I mean.
Take the combined notions of product marketing and product management. In a product company, although we often argue whose job it is to do what, we know overall what scope of work is involved. You have to spec out a set of features customers want, work with engineering to get them built into the product, work with marketing to get the product promoted, work with sales to get it sold, and work with customer support to get it serviced (and to collect a set of enhancement request for the next spec). But that is not at all how a service business works. Service customers don’t want features, they want outcomes. They don’t trust marketing that is outside the service experience; they expect to learn, try, and buy from inside the service delivery envelope. They don’t expect to be sold to, nor do they expect to use customer support unless somehow the service fails to deliver, which is more likely simply to cause them to churn out.
So product marketing and management now equates to creating a completely contained environment within which both the prospective customer and the service vendor can experiment with each other across a digital interface to see if they have something of value to exchange. In this model there are no product releases. That is an obsolete notion that radically disrupts the low-latency give and take of a digital service engagement. Instead, the rhythm of that engagement is set by the spinning of four gears—Engage, Acquire, Enlist, and Monetize—all of which happen inside the service envelope. That means that engineering has to design and build the marketing directly into the service infrastructure, including whatever branding is needed. And the whole thing has to be built to evolve as A/B testing teaches us all what’s to, or not to, like.
And that brings us to the freemium business model, in which there are no free trials because that concept implies that, if you like the trial, you will buy the product. That is not how a service model works. If you like the product, you will continue to engage with it, for free! Only after you have engaged deeply enough to be interested in a greater level of service can monetization be introduced. Here again the product mentality creates the wrong mindset. Product thinking says withhold the really valuable features, or give people a thirty day window, or do some other semi-coercive tactic to give you leverage in a purchase negotiation. These are dumb moves in the world of digital services, where losing the lifeline of user engagement costs you much more than continuing to support free. You have to learn how to woo rather than to bargain.
And when it comes to purchasing, we think we want consumers to sign a license agreement, but that is a product concept designed to put power into the hands of the product vendor. What we want service customers to do instead is activate an account, something that keeps the power in their hands while creating a medium by which they can indeed spend money with us. The verb here is activate, not install, and our customer servicer outreach has to be structured accordingly.
Similarly, when it comes to training, there can be no training. That is a product concept. Instead we need to orchestrate an onboarding process, one in which the user is guided through an experience instead of explained the intricacies of an interface. That’s why the hot new job title is called user experience design, no longer user interface design.
And so it goes. All language is metaphorical to some degree. It is amazing how little it takes to put you in jail. Everywhere you turn it seems the legacy of a product-anchored vocabulary is insinuating itself into our thinking, leading us to make choices which are at best irrelevant and at worse self-defeating. So let me encourage you to engage your team in a language acid bath experiment, the goal of which is to root out as many product-centric phrases as you can and subject each one to a ruthless analysis of its implications, and then find a substitute phrase that will get everyone onto the right track. I think you will be shocked by what you find. Either way, I hope you report back.
That’s what I think. What do you think?
Geoffrey Moore | Crossing the Chasm | Geoffrey Moore Twitter | Geoffrey Moore YouTube
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