If I Wanted a New House… (tips for product owners)

Product Business

Everyone wants more leads and sales, including product owners

Today I wanted to share some tips for product owners who are looking for more leads and more sales. That really should be every product owner out there, right?

To do that, I want to invite you to step into a metaphor with me for a second, because I think it will be helpful.

Let's say I wanted a new house….

If I wanted a new house…here's what I wouldn't do

I'm guessing that at some point in your life you may have been part of a home buying process. If so, you likely remember some of the steps.

These days you browse the internet looking at listings. Like in Zillow. Or you start reading about the market for specific areas (like I did when we moved to Sugar Land) on Redfin.

Then I have to go find a buyer's real estate agent, like my buddy Jesse.

He shows you houses. You pick one. Then you do paperwork. Wire some money.

Suddenly you have a new home.


But here's what I wouldn't do.

  • I wouldn't go buy a plot of land.
  • I wouldn't go buy a bunch of lumber (which is really expensive).
  • I wouldn't go buy an online floor plan.
  • I wouldn't start assembling my new home.

I know people out there that do this. But I'm not one of them.

I want the house. I don't want the home building process.

You get the metaphor, right?

Product owners often get stuck selling the tool. The ingredients. They sell, what I often refer to as, “the legos.” Then their content marketing is “the plans.”

Not all customers want to buy Beaver Builder so that they can build a beautiful layout. (Even though it can be used to create amazing layouts.)

Not all customers want to buy Ninja Forms so that they can build amazing calculators. (Even though it can be used to create cool ROI calculators.)

Sometimes they want the house. Not the home building tools and floor plans.

4 Tips for product owners

So given all that, here are four tips for product owners – all coming from this one paradigm.

First, offer documentation for non-developers

I see a lot of products that create tons of content for developers. API documentation. Feature documentation. But that's where it often ends. If I'm buying your product, it's because I want something more than your product, right?

I want your product to help me get to a destination. So I don't just want you to sell me your product. I want you to sell me the map.

If you've read my blog, you know I like AccessAlly for all sorts of membership and online course sites. They have a powerful gamification system, and they walk you thru how to create a leaderboard. This is the map.

Second, offer product enrichments

I don't know if you've ever checked out Formidable Forms. But when it comes to calculators, they don't just offer a form builder. They also offer a ton of templates that help you create those calculators.

[Tweet “When you eliminate work from the process, it brings the dream much closer. And that drives sales.”]

This approach moves customers much closer to what they want (and further away from the work they'd have to do with your product). When you eliminate work from the process, it brings the dream much closer. And that drives sales.

Third, offer productized configuration services

I know. You got into the product business to get out of services. I get that. But here's the reality. Sometimes your customer needs more than just a license key and a download. They want and need more. Like getting things configured.

[Tweet “Your customer needs more than just a license key and a download.”]

I'm not talking about you building a complete solution. But I am talking about getting your product set up so people can use it.

So many people buy a product, only to find it's like buying IKEA furniture. Bad directions, complicated set up. They just skip it and move on.

When you can offer a limited and scoped service, your customers can spend a bit more money and eliminate all the initial friction.

Fourth, create and offer the complete bundle

My last tip for product owners is about bundling. It is one of the most powerful ways to deliver “the house” to a customer instead of “the plans and ingredients.”

I talk to folks about membership sites every single week. And every conversation ends with one of two questions:

  • Do you know someone who can help me build this?
  • Do you know which solutions will work together to create what I want?

I bet your customers are asking similar questions – who can help them, and how do they make sure they're not choosing wrong (when it comes to ingredients).

This is why we recently created a WP QuickStart solution for Membership Sites. It's a bundle of solutions (hosting, theme, membership plugin, membership add-ons, other key plugins) that all work together to deliver the immediate value to a customer.

After all, they want the house, not the tools and floor plans.

The closer you get to customers, the more sales you'll see

Most of us product owners get stuck selling tools and floor plans. And there's no question that there is a particular kind of customer that digs it. But if you want more customers – more leads and more sales – then I strongly recommend you consider how to get closer to what they really want.

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