4 ways to sell a service

Selling a service can be harder than selling an actual item that potential customers can see and touch – and selling something intangible needs different tactics.

After all, when you’re selling a service you’re selling something conceptual – the promise of work to be done at some point in the future.

So, how do you go about selling the promise of work being done?

Here are four ways to do it.


1. Paint the picture (and the benefits)


Because a customer can’t actually see a service, it’s up to you to paint a picture of what your service will look like.

The best way to do this is to focus on the pain point your service will solve, rather than the process you’ll use to solve that pain point.

When consumers bring in their car to the mechanics, for example, they’re not paying for a mechanic to undertake a 100-point safety check and spend hours testing all the various components of the car.

Instead, they’re paying for the mechanic to make sure their car is running smoothly — so focus on that.

A great way of doing this is through the use of case studies and testimonials.

READ: 6 tips for getting testimonials 

Having customers explain in their own words how you helped them solve their pain point is an extremely powerful way to get prospective customers to visualise you solving that problem for them.


2. Turn the intangible into the tangible


The use of tangible promotional items can help your customer remember your service, beyond the vagueness of memory.

For example, leaving a fact sheet about your service can be a lot more effective than simply telling your prospective client about your services.

Promotional products are also great in this way – if the product is in some way related to what you’re trying to sell.

For example, a calculator for a mortgage broker or accountant, a t-shirt for a personal trainer to give to clients and a calendar for a life coach.

Another idea to consider as a ‘tangible’ could be offering a membership card or folder of information that stays with the customer as a reminder of what they have paid for.


3. Can they try before they buy?


If you really want to be sure of a physical object’s value you can, in certain circumstances, give it a spin.

You can test drive a car, eat a grape to see if you want to buy a bunch, or look at a TV in the showroom.

It helps make potential customers more sure of what they’re getting, and help gets them over the line.

You can use this method if you’re selling a service as well.

Ways you can do this is to offer a free consultation, a free training session, an example of your work such as a book or video, or a small percentage of the service for free as a sampler.


4. Communicate your difference


When you see two items on the shelf side by side, you can more often than not see the difference between them as plain as day.

But that can be tougher with services, particularly if both services are offering to solve the same pain point.

How do your potential customers make a choice out of the all of the options they have in your industry?

When buying a service, customers will want to know why they should buy from supplier B versus supplier A.

You need to help them make that decision by providing helpful information, such as the way you do things differently from others, while being careful not to focus too much on process.

If you don’t have a point of difference with a service, this can make it difficult for you to stand out from the crowd.

So spend some time working out how you’re different and how to communicate that difference.

It might be your values, the experience for the customer, your systems or another factor.