How to sell a service

Is it different from selling a product? YES!

, How to sell a service

How important is it that your services are easy to sell? Wouldn’t it be even better if they were easy to buy?

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 service.

  • The element of trust: It’s never possible to know exactly what will be received until the service has been given
  • The 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 different.

So, how can you make the process of selling a service that much more effective? Here are a few quick ideas for you to experiment with, adapt and adopt

1. Make the Intangible Tangible: Services are intangible–you can’t see them, touch them, take them out of the box or demonstrate them. Yet this is exactly what you need to do to make them easier for your customers to buy them. So how do you accomplish this?

The answer is to “productize” your service. Make it tangible. Think like a product manager. Here are four different techniques you can use to package your service to act more like a product:

  • Turn your service into a product.
  • Package your different service levels.
  • Combine your services and create a new offering.
  • Package your process.

Each of these techniques will help you create a distinct (tangible) advantage over other service providers and make your services easier to buy.

2. Use 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.

3. Make your service offering  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.

4. Don’t 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.

What all these techniques have in common is the opportunity for you to present all the value you deliver. Often, we make assumptions that our customers understand everything we do for them. But this just isn’t the case: You need to pull out every piece of value you provide over the course of a project and present that to the client in order for them to completely understand what a terrific job you’re doing for them.

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  1. Amanda 25th May 2010 at 07:40

    Hi Ian
    Once again you’ve delivery useful content in an easily accessible format.
    My only problem with this entry is that you haven’t made it easy for me to share. Don’t worry, I’m going to share it anyway.


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