What business are we, Web Developers, in?
What a client is buying from us what is he actually buy.
I am still not grasping this idea.
In his book the E-Myth, Michael Gerber says something like:
Revlon commodity in cosmetics but products is hope.
Chanel commodity is perfume and product is Fantasy.
Can someone shed a light on this subject?
I guess it depends on how you look at it. The way I see it personally is that I'm in the business of decisively solving problems in a timely manner by figuring out the right—most suitable for the product—solutions and communicating my knowledge to clients so they can make informed decisions. My clients are buying information and service, and my time. I suppose you could also look at it like at the end of the day you are delivering a product. Time and talent are valuable commodities.
You are right that Time and talent are valuable commodities. But what is the product here?
For example web hosting commodity is a hosting space but the product is security and safe hosting and may be peace of mind.
There is not clear cut here but we are close.
Any more ideas?
The products we produce as developers? Well, whatever the customer is paying you to produce.
Building a website for a client? The website is the product. Doing maintenance on an application for the customer? The maintenance is the product.
Time and talent are commodities used to produce those products. But generally the customer 'ends up' with some kind of thing that you've made for him. That's the product.
Clients aren't buying websites, maintenance, or your time or talent. They are buying outcomes and results. What Gerber is talking about are the emotional, intangible results your client gets from the website you produce. The website is just a means to an end. What is the end-result he wants? Find that out, and you have your answer.
Here's the rub: it will be different for every person you meet. One person may want to build his business to retire early. Another may want to open more locations. Another may want to send his kids to college. Another may simply want the prestige of owning a successful company.
Your job as a consultant is to ask the right questions, find out what your prospect really wants, then show him how you're the one to help him get it.
This article might help:
Sell Dreams, Not Products (Or Services)
I sell sleep.
When people hire me to handle their projects, they sleep well at night
Along a similar vein, here's a story from someone who taught me a great deal:
In 1998 I closed a $40,000 engagement at a bank. The CFO gave me the typical reasons his bank wanted to hire us, but, when we finally got the conversation to the bottom line, he said, “I’m tired of missing my son’s evening ballgames to manage this project.” Once I learned that was a bottom-line issue for him, I assured him that, if he hired us, I’d be the one working evenings, and he’d have time to watch his son play ball. (I even put that as an objective in the proposal I sent him to sign.)
When the CEO learned that ours was the highest bid submitted, he told the CFO to fire us and pick someone cheaper. I found out on the first day of the engagement that the CFO refused to do so and spent four hours arguing his point, until the CEO gave in. When I asked him why he fought so hard to keep us on the project, he said, “Because you’re the only one who promised me I’d make my son’s games.” I addressed his bottom line.
I'm a designer, I don't have own business, just woking as freelancer
Lol, I like the way you think.
I think people are often buying 'peace of mind' when it comes to web development.
I sell future. I am in the construction machinery field. We tear down the past and build the new. With our machines, we build a better and more convenient life for you. As someone said:top companies sell brand, second-rate companies sell service and third-rate companies just sell products.
Top companies not only sell their brans but their promise to make everything better.
Which 80's book did you steal that from? oh wait, any of them
I help company optimize their websites. Currently work more like a seoer, but not an experinced one. Still fumble through the way.
@ johntabita #7
I like your story.
Now, should we say that when people buy a website development, they buy peace of mind?
Sorry for confusion. I mean that I liked the story mentioned by johntabita in post #7 above.
It's too generic and it doesn't apply across the board. Every prospect will have a different reason to buy. One of my clients showed the owner and their business adviser the site I built. When the business adviser said I did a great job, my client got to say, "I'm the one who hired the person who did it." So I made him look good in front of his boss.
Another client was a 100-year-old real estate development company. They didn't care about "peace of mind." They wanted a site that reflected their well-established local brand.
People buy for both tangible and intangible reasons. Someone may tell you they want to sell their products nationally, so you ask "why?" and he says that his competition is doing it and he's losing market share. That's the tangible.
But then you ask, "What would it mean to you personally if we could accomplish that?" That's the intangible: getting home for my son's ball games, retiring early, sending my kids to college, hiring a general manger so can I play more golf. Get the picture?
The bottom line is, you're in the business of selling whatever result the client is buying. You just have to discover what that is, on a case-by-case basis.
I am dealing with sugar product and i am trading as seller's mandate. For this business field, a lot of fake buyers and sellers who just stay at home and they told me that i am a real buyer. I sent a lot of email and asking them to provide real documents but they created all fake documents. Actually it seemed to be very professional. So dealing via internet for this business having many risks
We are in the business of integrity.
We provide many valuable commodities to each of our individually unique projects. Still, we never alter our sales or service techniques to pacify a specific client's "bottom line" directly.
- We provide efficient, well commented and thoroughly considered web development from expert programmers with indelible versatility and problem solving skills.
- We provide effectively simple, trendy but classy, detail-oriented interface design and branding that is memorable and captivating to the intended audiences.
- We provide result-driven, experienced and very profitable eCommerce (including NetSuite) with an incredibly high average ROI.
- We provide cutting-edge, enterprise quality web hosting and content delivery to clients lacking an enterprise budget.
- We provide irreproachably advanced and professional web application security auditing including vulnerability assessments, penetration testing and patch management.
- We provide superior free and open-source software for not only our clients but all of mankind to leverage for the benefit of the Internet.
Most would consider the bold items in the above list to be the products that we offer. In fact, if you were to examine our public information it will in many ways portray these items as products. When you break things down to the lowest level though the actual product that we offer is integrity. Whether it be honest and open communication or fair pricing, our goal from the onset has been to set a new standard of service in the industry.
Rather than continuing to reinvent the wheel I'll just reference my own prior writings on the subject to further convey my message:
There was a time when integrity in business was the norm, a handshake or a conversation over lunch was as good as a signed and notarized contract. The snake oil salesman was always there throughout time, but he was the anomaly. Not so today. This is evident everywhere we look. Today everything is marketing to make us feel good and comfort us into a sort of mind control or create a sense of urgency and need to have something we most likely don't need at all.
We are tricked into price increases by buying products at the same price as last month, but the container has been transformed to carve out 15% of the product. We are promised the moon by a salesperson only to find out post-contract that everything is not nearly as glorious as the presentation. We are held hostage by proprietary systems and duped by disclaimers and cleverly crafted legal jargon. I hate to spew corny old adages such as "Money is the root of all evil", but alas, 'tis true. It seems business is now governed by a race to get the most money by whatever means necessary.
It seems to me that resorting to less than integral means in conducting business undermines the income potential a business needs. Integrity fosters trust and confidence with your clients that ensures a good reputation and repeat business. What does business integrity consist of? Allow me to expound:
First and foremost, make your products and/or services the best they can be.[/B] Doing good business is good for business. Hold every member of your team accountable for that same integrity in their function of the company.
Simply put, tell the truth.[/B] Carefully develop marketing materials to be sure they are clear and there is no misrepresentation. As long as I am throwing old adages around allow me to quote Mark Twain: "If you tell the truth, you never have to remember anything."
[B]Replace quick money thinking with long-term steady growth strategies.[/B] The desire to make a quick buck puts one in a position to make questionable decisions that may be regretted later.
[B]Everyone makes mistakes. Make every attempt to address any complaints or issues a client has and do so quickly.[/B] Any delay in responding could do damage to your reputation. As Henry Ford said, "You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do". It takes a long time to build trust but only a moment to compromise it. Rebuilding lost trust results in a waste of time and money.
[B]Treat everyone with respect regardless of age, education, position, etc.[/B] Treat everyone with dignity and professionalism.
[B]Instill integrity throughout all layers of your company, not just surface appearance.[/B] In so doing, integrity will become ingrained and define your company steadfastly throughout all levels therefore establishing your company culture. People will be able to sense that without a big marketing campaign to convince them of it.
We offer many services and commodities to clients but the product pervasive throughout all of them is integrity.
I really like your message of integrity in business. Sadly, it can really make you stand out and if you can build a reputation for integrity it will emerge as a differentiator. My own business is largely based on the trust that I have built up with clients over the years, or our willingness to conduct ethical business.
One part of your writing, though, stuck out to me:
I wonder if this is really true. It seems that every generation feels that past generations had some higher standards of ethic, honor, or whatever. But, historically I don't think it's true. Even with unethical practices as common as they are today, I wonder if things were worse 50, 100, 200 years ago when there were virtually no regulations or protective structures for people to conduct business.
A handshake might have been good in the past, but there is good reason that we have signed agreements and notarized contracts now that we have reasonably functional courts to enforce those contracts.
But yea, love the message of integrity!
I agree with your whole ideas....