By Matthew Kwan
Principal Consultant, Adams Company Limited
© Copyright. October 10, 2007
Many entrepreneurs I know are never short of business ideas. I am not exaggerating but they can literally come up with new product or service ideas everyday if not every minute! However, I think this is a frightening phenomenon as I see a lot of the ideas are very demanding for resources in order to develop market opportunities and they cannot leverage with each other at all.
One very basic theory I want to share here is products and services must synergize with each other in a same business in order to maximize your return on investments. Otherwise, you will have a big chance of wasting unnecessary resources (time, money and labor) and duplicating your effort to grow your products or services market(s). If you can really synergize your products and services, you may also experience an exponential rate of growth.
Below are some of very useful synergizing techniques on how to synergize your products and services that I learnt throughout my sales & marketing career:
- Door Opener Product
- Multiplying Effect
- Consumable & Repurchase
1. Door Opener Product – In order to lower the barrier of your customers’ buying action, you must choose a “Door Opener Product” among all of your products and services. This Door Opener Product must be very attractive both in terms of features and pricing. You have to be very aggressive about your pricing strategy of this product in order to win over your competition. As long as you are not loosing money in real term, do not worry too much about your profit, yet! You will be surprised on how much more of other business you can get through this Door Opener Product.
- Example: A not so famous Shanghais restaurant is offering $1 for half a dozen dumplings. People are queuing outside for a long time in order to eat in such restaurant and of course I was one of them. When I observed such interesting scene, nobody in the restaurant was actually ordering just $1 dumplings but a table full of food and I mean nobody! By now, you should get what I mean. Though the other food is just average, the Door Opener Dumplings are bringing huge Profit to the Shanghais restaurant.
- Comments: You must ensure the perceived value of the Door Opener Product is at high cost and it can achieve good customer satisfaction. Otherwise, the door will never be opened!
2. Multiplying Effect – When all of your products and services are inter-related or inter-dependent, your customers are likely to buy from you the second product/service than your neighboring shop in order to minimize risks and complication. Also, Convenience is a big governing factor for customer buying behavior. A supermarket is a very good example of convenience buying. You maybe buying a pack of gum in the beginning but you may end up buying a trolley of items! Therefore, even you maybe selling something with a small value in the beginning, the Multiplying Effect can be huge for potential or future sales from the same customer if you can build up the Trust. Trust is very important in business and it will eventually turn into “Brand Preference” or “Customer Loyalty”
- Example: Beauty and Hair Salons are often using such multiplying effect to increase their sales. You may originally ask for a simple treatment but you may end up spending a huge sum of money you would never thought of when you first walk into the shop!
- Comments: Multiplying Effect may only happen if products and services are related which can be “Cross-Selling”. Otherwise, the buying desire of your customers may not be so easily influenced as you would with the same product category.
3. Packaging – there are 2 ways of Packaging your products and services that you can consider. First, you can put different but related products to produce a Package for sale and sell for a higher value though it is still discounted. The advantage of this is that you are actually helping customers to mix and match ideas that they may not think of at the time of buying without the packages. Automatically, you are creating a Multiplying Effect. Second, you can Package the same raw materials to produce multiple combinations of products. The advantage of this is that you can ensure your raw materials will not be constraint by certain products when demands are not reaching their goals. In both cases, you can increase sales of the slow moving items as well as expand your overall sales per purchase.
- Example: Set lunches or set dinners are classic examples for Packaging in sales and marketing terms. Diners maybe given a couple of choices for appetizer and main entrée but they do not need to choose a la carte. The restaurant is actually selling more food at a lower price but sales amount is higher than just selling the main entrée!
- Example: A very popular dessert shop, there must be over 30 different kinds of drinks and sweet soaps they are selling. When I look carefully on their menu, no matter hot or cold, more than half of their offerings are merely different combinations of the same ingredients. This is a great example on how to Package your offerings!
- Comments: You have to be very creative when you come to do Packaging. You will be surprised by how much your customers may enjoy by your Packages! You just need to follow your own desire in imaging how would you like to see the Packages if you are a customer.
4. Consumables & Repurchase – Repeatable business is a key success model to many businesses. If you can make your products or services to become re-purchasable or with recurrence payments, this will bring you not only growth but compounded growth. The classic example is ink or toner for printers. The selling price for printers are decreasingly lower than the early days but ink and toners are still significantly expansive when compared with the price drop of printers. Other examples can be paper towel mops, staples & staplers, paid channels on Broadband TV services.
- Comments: Not every product and service may use this kind of synergizing technique. However, my recommendation is to be open to your business. Sometime, you just need to take a simple action in order to create your repeatable business.
Synergizing your products and services are very important if you want to grow your sales with highest Return On Investment (ROI). If you can master these techniques even you are a new comer to the market, you can still create a very competitive position for yourself! So, Get Synergized!