Making Your Service Easier To Sell
Wanna know how to better sell your service? Package and position it like a product--these marketing experts show you how.
How important is it that your services be easy to sell?Wouldn't it be even better if they were easy to buy?Imagine the possibilities if each time you spoke with a prospect,they said, "I get it! How do we get started?" Remember,the easier you make it for customers to buy your services, thefaster you'll close deals--and the more money you'll seehit your bottom line.
Regardless of the type of service you sell, your prospect carries ahigh degree of risk and worry when buying. They really don'tknow what they'll get from you until after they spend theirmoney and actually experience the service. During the salesprocess, all their buying is a promise that you'll do somethingfor them.
But your prospects need something more tangible to help themjustify their purchase decision because they need to make surethey're not going to feel buyer's remorse. And what is itthey focus on? Price. It's the one tangible factor they canpoint to that helps them differentiate one service from another.The problem is that when you compete on price, no one really wins.So how do you win their confidence--and the sale?
Make the IntangibleTangible
Services are intangible--you can't see them, touch them, takethem out of the box or demonstrate them. Yet this is exactly whatyou 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 ittangible. Think like a product manager. Here are four differenttechniques you can use to package your service to act more like aproduct:
- 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 yourservices easier to buy. And whether you sell only services or yousell services as part of a product sale, one of the followingtechniques is sure to help you increase your serviceprofitability.
1. Turn your service into a product. This is one of theeasiest places to start--it allows you to create a passive revenuestream, reach a larger audience than you could delivering yourservices directly, and "prove" your expertise.
Frequently called "Your Service Name" in a Box or"Your Service Name" Toolkit, for this method, you'llcreate tip sheets, templates, worksheets and supporting educationalpieces that share your expertise at a fraction of the cost ofhaving you consult directly. You would package these in a binder,on CD or in a box, and sell them on your website, at tradeshows andat speaking engagements.
Examples might include "Writing a Business Plan,""Creating a PR Program" and "Developing a MarketingPlan."
2. Package your different service levels. If you presentall your services a la carte at varying price points, you run therisk of confusing your customers. And if you expect your customersto proactively buy your services, you run the risk of leaving moneyon the table.
By creating packages that are easy to buy and that cater to yourcustomers' varying needs and budgets, you can sell moreservices and keep your customers engaged in the process of doingbusiness with you.
For instance, let's say you sell cars and offer pre-paidmaintenance plans. Then you might create a high-end package thatincludes:
- Picking up the car for service
- Providing a loaner car for the day
- Changing the oil
- Changing the wipers
- Washing the car and cleaning the interior
- Checking hoses, pumps and other moving parts
And then a lower-end, prepaid package that includes:
- A reminder phone call for service
- An oil change
- Wiper blade adjustment
Each of these packages caters to a different segment of yourmarket but gives your clients a choice. When you package servicelevels, you typically would want to create three product offerings.Often, you'll see these presented as gold, silver and bronzelevels (but please, be more creative!).
Begin the process by:
- Looking at what your competition is offering,
- Documenting the value you deliver to a client,
- Talking to customers to assess their needs, expectations andpriorities, and
- Creating logical groups of offerings.
Two important points to consider when it comes to creatingservice packages: These are not options in the quality of serviceyou offer nor are they just price adjustments to the same service.These levels are differences in the actual deliverables and thetotal value.
Additional examples of service packages include customer supportservices for software or hardware products and consulting servicesfor a large business vs. a small one.
3. Combine services to create a new offering. When buyersbegin to see little difference between you and your competitors andstart to focus on price, reposition your service by creating a new,more valuable service offering. This approach means you'll takeseveral services that you and your alliance partners offer andcombine them into one offering that's more robust. Forinstance, as a marketing consultant, you could join forces with acopywriter, a graphic designer and a website developer to create a"Business Startup Success" package that providesmarketing, branding and website assistance.
Before you create a new offering, start by listening to whatyour customers are asking for and paying closer attention to theirbuying patterns. Make note of the times you're selling them twoservices or when you're having to bring in partners to helpserve your customer needs. These instances offer you theopportunity to combine individual services into more profitable,valuable offerings.
A business consultant, for example, could create a complete"Business Assessment" package that includes expertofferings from HR, sales, accounting and technologyconsultants.
Other examples include offering a complete turnkey newsletterpackage if you're a freelance writer or editor, providing anupgrade service for your software company clients that helps themtake advantage of new releases, and selling project managementservices as part of your architectural firm's offerings.
4. Package a process. When it seems impossible to packagewhat you deliver, differentiate your company and increase yourperceived value by packaging how you deliver. Start bynaming the process, then document each of the steps, create adetailed project plan, identify decision points, formalize yourdeliverables from each step, and put it all together in a binder oron a CD.
For instance, if you run a web design firm, you'll want todocument your end-to-end design capabilities and your developmentprocess. And if you run a networking or software company,you'll want to package the implementation and rolloutprocess.
This approach shows prospective customers you know whatyou're doing and you follow a logical approach, and it showswhere they're involved. It also increases the perception thatyou're established, professional and capable.
What all these techniques have in common is the opportunity foryou to present all the value you deliver. Often, we makeassumptions that our customers understand everything we do forthem. But this just isn't the case: You need to pull out everypiece of value you provide over the course of a project and presentthat to the client in order for them to completely understand whata terrific job you're doing for them.
Then, not only will you have clearly differentiated your companyfrom your competition, you'll have provided all the informationthe prospect needs to make it easy for them to buy from you. Sostart thinking like a product manager and watch your sales effortsdecrease as your profits soar.
Susan LaPlante-Dube and Maureen O'Grady Condon areprincipals of Precision Marketing Group in Framingham,Massachusetts, where they focus on creating customized marketingsolutions that deliver solid business results for organizationsranging from solo practitioners to Fortune 500 companies. To signup for their "Matters of Marketing" newsletter, or tolearn more, visit www.precisionmarketinggroup.com.