Are you in the “Service Sector”? Unless you sell a physical product, produced consistently and sold to customer as is, I submit you are. As such your service must be marketed differently. If you cannot touch it, taste it or smell it then, you must describe it and validate it differently. Usually, when selling a service, the work product or outcome you are selling does not even exist. So the question is how do you sell your product? Especially if your “Product” is you. How do you define what good service is? How does your client know the quality of the service they are buying?
This is the essence of where to start your selling effort. Since there are few tangible ways to prove what a good service product is, you must start by removing any worry associated with the purchase of your services. In the Service Sector, clients do not often seek to purchase the best service available. They usually attempt to avoid a mistake by buying your service. The buyer will often go out of their way to avoid a bad decision. Again this is due to the fact that the quality of a service is hard to define. For example, how do you know if your tax return is of a high quality?
When it comes to selling services, make yourself into an excellent choice by eliminating all that would make you a bad choice. Therefore, first impressions are not only critical to the service business they are vital. Buyers of services become anchored to their first impressions of you and the company you represent. People “hear” what they see. Make sure they see you. Start taking a look at the anchors you leave behind. Are you dressed appropriately? Is there a quality and consistency to your brand? Is your positioning statement clear and concise, so your prospect knows exactly what they would be buying? Are you demonstrating the value you bring to the client? Are you validating your quality? Are you removing any concerns the owner has about you or your company or service?
A positioning statement will help you to clarify how you may be perceived in the eyes of a potential client and will leave behind an anchor that is clearly understood. This position statement will include:
Be clear in your focus. Less is more. The more you speak and the more detailed you become, the less the prospect will remember. Keep your discussion simple and focused on the needs of the prospect. The prospect is not interested in you. As a business owner, they are interested only in their own needs. The trick is to identify the need you are trying to fulfill, then, be clear in how your service will accomplish this. Use stories to clarify your services. Stories are remembered far more than facts and the trick is for you to be remembered. But not just remembered, remembered positively.
The service sector is all about relationships. People do business with those they like. You need to be likable, but so does everyone in your organization. It is not one person or department’s job to do marketing. In a service company it is everyone’s job to perform marketing. You do this every time a customer calls, an order is placed, or a problem arises. Every employee must understand that it is their everyday function to be the marketing arm of the company and to do so with everyone they come in contact with. To be successful everyone needs to be true to their word. To do what they say they will do and when they say they will do it. And most importantly, follow up and communicate clearly.
To be successful, all of us in the Service Sector need to be intentional about how we sell our services. More importantly, we need to define service excellence in the client terms. When you are selling an intangible product, only the client can decide if they are satisfied.