Monday, December 13, 2010

If You Sell a Service, You Don't Sell a Service

"If you're selling a service, you're selling a relationship," wrote Harry Beckwith in Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing.

He's right, of course:
Most companies in expert services -- such as lawyers, doctors, and accountants -- think that their clients are buying expertise. But most prospects for these complex services cannot evaluate expertise; they cannot tell a really good tax return, a clever motion, or a perceptive diagnosis. But they can tell if the relationship is good and if phone calls are returned. Clients are experts at knowing if they feel valued.
 In most professional services, you are not really selling expertise -- because your expertise is assumed .... Instead, you are selling a relationship. And in most cases, that is where you need the most work.
Where do you need the most work in selling your relationship -- to prospects and clients?

Would it help you to:
  • Change your voicemail greeting to something warm and personal, instead of cold and corporate?
  • Return phone calls within 90 minutes ... and even say so on your voicemail greeting? (I did it for years and won at least one new sale every year from someone who actually timed my callbacks.)
  • Learn one interesting, personal fact about your prospect and bring it up on your next call? The answers are out there. (I always try to remark about a person's college degree, hobbies, associations or other data on their LinkedIn profiles. It breaks the ice -- every time.)
  • Make your intangible service tangible ... by meeting for coffee this week, mailing a thank-you note, or introducing your client to a prospect (or vice-versa)?

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