How to sell a service
different from selling a product? YES!
Why is selling
a service so different from selling a product? In some ways, the principles
should be the same. The objective is to get the prospect to agree that
the way to solve their problem is to use your product or
are some differences between a product and a service (apart from being
able to drop a product on the prospect's foot!), which require different
element of trust: It's never possible to know exactly what will
be received until the service has been given
sales person as part of the service: The product sales person can
never be part of his or her product. The product has its own dimensions
and specifications which are self contained and unique. But a sales
person selling a service is often part of the 'package' - especially
if it is you, selling your own service.
- A service
can't be stored: You can't make it in advance and stock it for selling
later. And each time you deliver a service, it's going to be slightly
So, how can
you make the process of selling a service that much more effective. Here's
a few quick ideas for you to experiment with, adapt and adopt:
credentials and testimonials: These can be concrete evidence that
your service has worked for other people. And if your existing satisfied
customers don't volunteer testimonials, ask for them. You'll seldom
get a refusal.
be vague about your service: A service is by nature a series of
promises until the benefits have been delivered. So make your promises
as concrete as possible. Paint a 'Word Picture' . Sell both 'Promise
and Proof'. (There are articles on each of these in the Archive).
Be very, very clear about what you are offering.
free samples: If you like, this Web Site offers free samples in
the form of advice, which are useful enough to convince some people
(you, hopefully!) that our consultancy is worth hiring. But be careful
not to give too much away, or you'll have nothing to sell. Most of the
advice on this site can be made much more effective by using our consultancy
to guide your business through the process of improving its selling
and marketing. End of sales plug!
your service different: Product manufacturers try to make their
products different from their competitors. It's even more important
to show how your service offers something different. And make sure that
the differences are ones which are important to the prospect. Read the
Archive article on 'Selling Benefits'.
sell your time: If you are selling a time-based service, try not
to sell it on the basis of so many hours worked. Sell it on so much
per solution or project. This way, you remove the fear barrier that
you might be trying to spin the project out. And you'll be offering
a firm outcome for a fixed price. Sure, that's not always possible,
but try to make this type of offer to new prospects. Existing customers
may trust you enough to buy on a time-based proposal.
of your service as a product: This may seem a contradiction, after
saying that a service is different in important ways. But many of the
solid sales principles apply equally to a service as to a product. When
you are reading about sales and marketing methods which seem to apply
more to a product, try to adapt them to selling your service. Often,
they will work equally well.
are just a few brief pointers. We'd welcome any other ideas that you might
help on this topic...
find further help on this topic, or closely related issues,
in the side columns on this page..