A frustrated homeowner was trying to fix a leaky pipe. He had spent days working on the pipe himself, searched tutorials online, and even asked friends and family to take a look. Nothing worked.
Finally, the homeowner called a wise old plumber for help. Upon entering the home, the plumber listened to the homeowner explain the situation, spent 30 seconds examining the pipe, pulled out his hammer, and banged three times on different locations.
Miraculously, the pipe began working like new. As he holstered his hammer, the plumber turned to the homeowner: “That’ll be $200.”
“$200?! That’s crazy - all you did was bang on the pipe. Anyone could have done that!”
The plumber grinned and explained to the man: “The standard hourly labor rate is $25. The $175 is for knowing where to hit the pipe!”
What does plumbing have to do with marketing services and process consulting? The distinction between the two is illustrated in the above story: Selling the use of plumbing supplies is like selling marketing services, while selling your knowledge of where to hit the pipe is like selling a strategy.
Defining each of the two
Marketing services - These are actions taken to achieve a marketing goal. They commonly include writing blog posts, graphic design, and managing social media. Like plumbing work, marketing services are valuable and important - but they are a commodity. You can find them anywhere and everywhere.
Process consulting - The process defines WHY a blog post is written, or a logo is created, or a pipe is hit with a hammer. It’s a way to deploy people (writers, designers, plumbers) and tools (blog posts, social media, hammers) to achieve a specific result.
Are you starting to see why process consulting is a higher value sale? Services are highly replaceable - but with experience and knowledge of processes, you can provide a unique offering that few people - if any - are able to duplicate.
Can you do both?
Absolutely! Many agencies can and do sell both process consulting (an initial strategy session or plan), as well as marketing services (the implementation of that plan or strategy).
The key thing to remember is that you must always lead with the process or strategy, because it’s exponentially more valuable. If you try to jump into only selling services like blog posts, social media management, or design, you’ll find your business trapped into the commoditized “race to the bottom” that many agencies are currently fighting against.
Assuming they have the same exact set of tools and equipment, what separates a seasoned plumber from an average homeowner? When you understand that, you’ll understand the difference between selling services and selling a process. [CTA to learn more about CMB process].