What Can You Sell on A Web Site?

I know that some consultants feel that selling products is somehow beneath them or “impure.” I’ve found that valuable products-and we must always assume highest quality-are a boom to a consultant’s practice because they:

  • Provide for passive income
  • Diversify income, important in roiling economies
  • Create and enhance brands
  • Draw people to a web site
  • Produce spin-off business in other areas
  • Create an aura of expertise and authority

If that’s not enough inducement, then read no farther. But if it is, then think about these options to create or enhance a product and services line for your practice, primarily through your web site.

  1. Coaching. No matter what your specialty or niche, is there the potential for remote coaching, via phone, fax, correspondence, email, etc.? After all, you probably coach now by phone with people involved in your projects or as follow-up demands. Why not offer it to markets you wouldn’t otherwise reach (small business, entrepreneurs, educators, etc.) in an inexpensive remote format? When my books on consulting became popular and people began calling and writing for advice, I created both a formal Mentor Program and an hourly coaching offering. Both services has skyrocketed. I don’t know of a consulting expertise that can’t be tailored to also provide remote coaching.
  2. Booklets. If you can codify your expertise in the form of a 50-100 page booklet which you self-publish, you can sell them for anywhere from $5 to $15, or give them away as marketing tools when appropriate. Some companies will order 20 or more at a time to use in training classes, which provides you with both income and a lead for other work. Amazon.com orders hundreds of my booklets every year. That distribution gives me still further visibility. Have these printed-don’t run them off your computer-with four-color covers, ISBN numbers, bar codes, and so forth.
  3. Newsletters. While newsletters are often free (as is my “Balancing Act” but not the one you’re reading), those that provide significant value to a given community can demand fair prices. You may choose to offer an electronic or hard copy newsletter to a market segment which would respond favorably to a focused newsletter on its particular issues, e.g., expert witness, six sigma, telemarketing, etc.
  4. Manuals and Guides. I’ve seen excellent, brief, but value-packed guides on everything from proper dress and etiquette to office organization and priority setting. Many subjects can readily be self-taught with the use of effective aids. Is it possible to assemble your expertise in the form of techniques supported by “how to” and checklists and templates? These, too, should be professionally published.
  5. Teleconferences. These are wildly popular today, much more so than web seminars or “e-learning.” They are inexpensive to administer, and appeal to people who can only afford to take a limited time from their week for self-development. I’ve had people attend my teleconferences from Australia and Europe. All you have to do is deliver your expertise for about an hour in a conversational manner which includes clear steps for immediate application. Teleconferences are far more effective when they are pragmatic and not abstract.

There is a raft of further things to consider, including audio cassettes, CD, DVD, and albums combining several of the above elements. The keys, in my view, to effective sales on your web site are:

  • Acceptance of all major credit cards.
  • A secure site, where credit cards can be used confidently.
  • Proper search engine positioning.
  • Ease of navigation to the “store” when people visit the site.
  • A “shopping cart” to make purchasing easier.
  • Testimonials for the products from purchasers.
  • Rapid delivery (even if you’re on the road).

Consulting is an engine to produce financial resources to enhance your life (not the other way around!) Why not add some additional power to that engine?