Productized Services vs Intensives vs VIP Days

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In my sessions with 1:1 consulting clients, we typically end up talking a lot about business models, modalities, and pricing structures.

What do pricing and business models have to do with digital marketing? A whole lot actually!

You see, when you get crystal clear about the transformation you facilitate and, ultimately, your mission and values, what you’re doing in terms of actual nuts and bolts business practices often ends up misaligned and infringing on your brand integrity.

As a result, that means that our clients have to really do some rethinking that challenges the (this is a good thing!). And, some of the newer, more innovative ways of working come up. This is because what they realize is that they need to create more spaces for “brain work,” that is the thinking and creative untangling you need to do to really make an impact. The three the come up the most are as follows:

  • Productized Services
  • Intensives
  • VIP Days

What are these three modalities of delivery? Let’s dive in!

Productized Services are a scalable, repeatable service with a rapid sales process.

There are lots of nuances here, but the concept is pretty simple: you create a solution for a big pain point for your audience, develop systems around it, and sell it over and over again. Both our website program and SEO program are productized services. You’re not tracking time, you’re tracking outcomes. In my opinion, this means that you need to be pretty savvy about what you promise, and be continually evaluating your program.

Some examples of productized services I’ve encountered:

Think of this like [Service] in a Box. While it’s not one size fits all, it’s one size fits quite a few!

The biggest benefit is that you can eliminate custom proposals, RFP responses, and even long discovery calls (I recommend replacing them with a “right fit” chat, which you can do in a traditional way or even using an app like Voxer).

If productizing services appeals to you, ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s a common need many of your clients or potential clients have?
  • How can you reduce fussiness and complexity from your process?
  • What documents can you create to make this even more streamlined and increase your profit margins?
  • Can we train others to take our clients through this same process? (This is how it’s scalable.)

Ready to get serious about Scaling?

Take the first step—create your three-part asset inventory!

Intensives are time blocked services (anything from half a day to a week or even a month) typically focused exclusively on a single client.

If you have a decent sized team, it’s possible that you can run multiple intensives simultaneously, so it is scalable, but less so than productized services. I argue that shorter intensives (a day or maybe a week) are more scalable and sustainable (because they allow for “life happens” situations unlike longer intensives), and that’s what I’m going to focus on here.

You may really enjoy this way of working if you’re a super focused person who enjoys digging deeply into a single project.

It can also be a way to do custom work without getting stuck in the never-ending project trap. This is because the client has your attention for a time-specific period and the deliverables or outcome will vary—there’s no guarantee of specific work (that’s a productized service).

I often recommend this to clients who are escaping the freelancer mentality trap of tying every minute to a dollar (or euro/pound/etc) amount. It’s a baby step in the right direction. The biggest struggle I see folks have is communicating that the results are variable. My other concern is that it can easily slide into feeling like an employee model, which is enabling, not empowering, for all parties. (Being an employee is fine, but feeling like you’re an employee when you are a business owner can mess with your head!)

Want to learn more about pricing? Click here to read all about pricing strategies for consultants. If you’d like to read more about packaging consulting services, click here. And, get on the path to simplifying your consulting business with these tips, and these canned emails.

Some great examples I’ve seen of Intensives are:

  • Fractional CMO (chief marketing officer) or CFO (chief financial officer) services
  • Financial planning
  • Web development
  • Weekend-long business coaching 1:1 retreats
  • Copywriting or copyediting

If this type of model appeals to you, ask yourself:

  • What are the services that have the most variation in deliverables?
  • How long can I honestly work 1:1 with the same client?
  • Do I need to do some work to educate my audience about progress vs perfection?
  • Do I have the physical and mental bandwidth to be that deeply working for extended time periods?

What about VIP Days, Day Rates, and all those other things you’ve heard about?

VIP days, day rates and similar are all basically “intensive” models. The logistics may vary but the core remains the same.

Now, here’s something that really blows my clients’ minds: you can combine these models with productized services AND you can even wrap the whole thing into a recurring program as well!

For example, we have a productized service that—for the client—feels like a single day intensive. Now, we do a lot of work in advance, but the container of the single day feels so much less overwhelming and achievable for our audience.

You can also take, say, a one-day intensive (aka Day Rate) and put that on a recurring schedule. So, if you’re a fractional CFO, you can get your clients on a monthly schedule, so they have the same day of your time every month and perhaps have access to a Slack or Voxer for those in between days. Cool, right?

Productized Services Quick Start

Are you using any of these models? Drop a note in the comments and share what’s worked for you!

Looking to level up your consulting business? Dive into these resources next!

Disclosure: Please note that some links on this website are affiliate links, which generates a small amount of revenue to support the free content we provide.

4 Responses

  1. Thank you for all the great posts! I’m interested in the affiliate link above for bookkeeping, but it just goes to a Loom video. Could you send the correct link? Thanks!

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