Showing Your Product or Service
Let’s bring back the three examples from the last chapter: the camel bag, the health coach, and the cookie recipe.
You’ve landed on a web page offering the item you are looking for (either the bag, the coach, or the recipe). You’ve decided, based on some quick assumptions like the ones from Chapter 7, that you ARE in the right place.
What now? Another question of course! Once you know that you are in the right place, the next thing you want to know is:
Another deviously simple question, because it’s really a million little questions in one.
How so? Let’s zoom in:
If it’s the bag you’re looking for, and you find one you like, what you really need to know in order to answer the question, “Do they have what I want?” is:
- What size is the bag? (You need it to be at least 14×20 to fit your laptop.)
- How quickly does it ship? (You’re traveling in two weeks and would love to take it with you.)
- How and where is it made? (You prefer to buy locally made but will settle for sustainably produced items from elsewhere.)
If you’re looking for the coach, you might need to know:
- How long are the sessions?
- How much?
- How long has the coach been coaching?
And if you’re looking for the recipe, you might need to know:
- Are the cookies dairy free?
- Have others had success with the recipe?
- How many cookies does it make?
Where might your VBV find the answers to those questions, and ultimately to, “Do they have what I want?”?
In the product or service descriptions, of course!
Let’s take a closer look.
A clear, concise description of your product is something that you should have already done in the product development phase of starting your business. At this point, you hopefully have a list of the specifics about your product or service. If you do not have this information, don’t worry! The first exercise below will help you get started.
For those of you who do have lists full of this information already, now is a nice time to revisit – but from a distance. Don’t look at the information you already have; instead, answer these questions off the top of your head, thinking in terms of that one-to-one conversation as you write down your answers.
A Word of Warning about Product Descriptions
While doing this exercise, please remember: What’s common sense to you is NOT information your VBV has, until you give it to them! Whatever you’re offering, YOU already know what your VBV is going to get – physically, tangibly, emotionally, or via air mail.
But your VBV does not.
DO NOT MAKE YOUR VBV DO THE WORK. You need to do the work beforehand and give your VBV all the information they need. Be thorough. Write everything down. For most purchases, you VBV will happily wade through lots of specific information, as long as the specific questions they have are answered.
Not everyone will have the same questions, but you should aim as wide as possible (within reason!) to give more information rather than less. Keep in mind that even if you are EXCEPTIONALLY detailed, there will still be people who email or call to ask questions without looking at your site first. It is frustrating, but reality. Be prepared! The more thorough you are, the fewer emails (or dreaded phone calls) you’ll have to field.
THE GOODS: Exercises
Following this page are three more exercises, some of which may feel redundant. Do the ones that feel right for you and your service/product. Grab your computer and go get the Google Doc (rubyreddesignstudio.com/POW-method-worksheets) with the prompts or take notes from the lists below.
Product and Service Ws and H (25 minutes)
Here come those Ws and H again! Pull out a piece of paper and write the name of ONE of your products or services at the top. Next, list the 5 Ws and 1 H down the left-hand side like so:
The great thing about the Ws and H is that each of those single words is a question in and of itself. But they can also be expanded on! Answer the short versions, or if you need a little prompting, look at the longer versions below.
Repeat the Ws and H list for each one of your products or services that is significantly different.
For PRODUCTS, your questions might look something like this:
Who is it for? Describe the type of person who might want to purchase this product, or the person to whom this might be gifted.
What is it? Write down the physical details of the product. What size is it? Does it come in different colors? What materials is it made from? Etc…
Where can it be used? Are there any limitations on the product? If you eat off of it, is it dishwasher safe? If you wear it, can it go in the washing machine? Can it be used indoors? Is it waterproof? Think about where your VBV might want to use it and if it CAN be used that way.
Why would someone want it? Is it a collector’s item? Is it a good gift? Is it a natural alternative to a mass-produced product? Is it handmade? Is it made locally? In the why category, think about WHY someone would choose your item over one that they could purchase at Wal-Mart. (or maybe they can’t and that’s why it’s so good!)
When will they get it? What are your shipping policies? Do you have a return policy? Is it ready-to-ship or made to order?
How will they use it? List the standard ways to use the product – and throw in any wacky alternatives if you’ve got’em!
For SERVICES, your questions might look something like this:
Who is it for? Describe the type of person who might purchase this service. Are they a consumer or a business owner? What kind of “help” do they need? Could this service be gifted?
What is it? Write down the details of what is included. How many sessions? How long? Are there any supplies included?
Where will a session be held? Online? Over the phone? In person? At a studio? At the person’s home?
Why would someone want it? What problems might your service solve for your VBV?
When will it take place? Is it every second Tuesday? Scheduled individually?
How will they use it? How will this service be used outside of the service? How will it make your VBVs life different or better?
20 Questions (15 minutes)
1. Are you selling a service or a product?
2. Describe your service or product.
3. How will subscribing/buying from you change their life?
4. What physical or digital things does someone GET when they subscribe or buy?
5. Why should they buy?
6. What reason would a VBV give for buying or subscribing?
7. Can your product or service be photographed?
8. Are there any prerequisites for buying your product/service?
9. Are your visitors mostly NEW people looking to buy your product or service or current clients looking for something?
10. For new visitors, what is the number one most important thing that they should know?
11. For new visitors, what are the top 3 things that they might be looking for?
12. For new visitors, what are the top 3 questions they might have?
13. For current clients, what are the top 3 things they might be looking for?
14. Is there anything that will need to be changed often? Once a month, twice a month, more?
15. What are the top 3 things YOU really want people to know about your service or product that they might not think to ask?
16. Have you won any awards or been featured anywhere?
17. Do you have testimonials from current clients?
18. Do you offer any free trials or special offers for new buyers/subscribers?
19. What’s your best advice, in 2 sentences or less?
20. Who are you and why should they buy from YOU?
The WHY Chain (15 minutes)
Have you ever babysat a 3-4-5-year-old? If yes, you have probably run into The WHY Chain. The WHY Chain goes something like this:
Why is the sky blue?
Until you get exasperated and say, “Because I said so!” You never want to to get exasperated with your VBV, so we’re going to play The WHY Chain now. Why your VBVs are buying is the most important magic wand you have.
Why would your VBV want to buy/subscribe?
But why? (How would it make sense in their lives or business?)
But why? (What meaning would it have for them?)
But why? (What would it make them feel?)
But why? (Why do they WANT it?)
5 why’s are usually enough to get to the bottom of the issue. Think simple, direct, conversationally, and emotionally. These are good places to start with descriptors for your product or service. If the words or phrases aren’t scrolling across the brain of your VBV, then those words and phrases should NOT show up on your website.
The Interrogation (15 minutes)
Do you have a person in your life who questions everything? Channel them here. The questions that follow are ones that an investor or someone close to your VBV might have. They’re good ones too – if a little, well…boxed in. Some people like to make decisions based on a feeling, and others want to check all of the boxes on their list. It’s best to try and appease both types, since most people rely on a combination of the two to make decisions.
The Interrogator: Does this person have the skills to do the work?
TI: Has this person done work like mine?
TI: Who is actually going to do the work? Will it be contracted out?
TI: Will they listen to my needs and treat me like an equal?
TI: Will I enjoy working with this person?
TI: How good are they with deadlines? Will the work get done on time?
TI: How much will this cost me? Are payment plans available?
TI: What’s the quality? Will it stand up over time, or will I need to have it redone or repurchase in 6 months?
TI: How much is this going to cost me? Are payment plans available?
TI: How big is it? Is it going to fit in my space? Will it look good?
TI: Is the color going to work for me?
TI: What if I don’t like it?
TI: What’s it made of?
TI: What’s the quality? Will it stand up over time, or will I need to repurchase in 6 months?
Add any other questions specific to your product or service that pop into your head to the list above, and answer them.
You’re two-thirds through Part 2!
Let’s move on to: THE CHECKOUT: How Do I Get it? Making It Easy to Make a Purchase.