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How to find an add-on that works for your business

by | Aug 15, 2020

Hey, I’m Michael Eckstein 👋, and this is ‘Ordinary & Necessary’, a weekly newsletter about the boring business topics that don’t get enough traction on the web, but will help you manage and grow your business. You signed up on my website. If you’d like to unsubscribe, just click the link at the bottom of this email. No harm, no foul, I’d love to have you back sometime.

Month’s theme: add-on products or services

The hardest part about offering an add-on is figuring out what it’ll be. (I would know. I struggled with it for ages.) You’re so in the business, delivering your services, and taking care of clients that you can’t see the forest for the trees. You can’t tell what clients may need help with because, in your mind, you’re already helping them with everything. But, before you can worry about implementation, pricing, and whether they’ll even buy it, you need to figure out what problem you’ll be fixing.

How to pick an add-on idea:

Talk to your clients: Honestly, I hate receiving this advice, but it’s true. Your current customers, that already know, like, trust, and buy from you, know what else they would like to buy from you. Pick your best clients, call them (or shoot them an email), and ask what risks/concerns related to your services they wished you could fix.

Client complaints/fears: Your clients are already communicating their fears and complaining about past experiences with your industry. Those minor fears and complaints would be great material for an add-on because, more often than not, people will buy something to avoid pain than they will to gain something. For example, I prepare tax returns, everyone is scared of getting audited, so I offer an audit protection add-on. The clients that buy audit protection want to avoid the pain of an audit.

Industry research: First, ask your colleagues what they’re doing, how they’re pricing, and if they have any add-on services. Some of the best pricing advice I ever got was from colleagues at networking events. Then, look for your industry’s gurus. They’re always selling the next great way to get more clients and bill more. Sometimes, it’s all bullshit. But, sometimes, they do have a great idea. The first time I heard about audit protection plans was from a tax industry guru.

While you’re brainstorming, remember that an add-on can be just about any format. Just because you sell a service, doesn’t mean your add-on needs to be a service. Your add-on could be a physical product (like a book), something intangible (like a detailed video series explaining everything they need to know), or something more custom. For example, a graphic designer I know designs menus for local, small-town restaurants. He designs the menu from start to finish and the restaurant just needs to take the finished files to a printer. He started offering an add-on where (for an additional fee) he takes the designs to a trusted printer and makes sure everything is printed correctly.


ACTION ITEM: Talk to your clients. Pick three of your best clients and call them this week.

Need help figuring out your add-on? Let me know and I’ll help you brainstorm a few ideas!


Have a great weekend and stay safe!
Michael Eckstein

P.S. My internet is back! Yaaay! 🎉

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