Anyone who tells you that selling services is the same thing as selling a product, probably hasn’t sold services before. When you’re selling a product you can rely on it’s features and benefits. However, when selling services there are other variables to take into consideration.
- Services are performed by individuals. Anything performed by an individual is not a commodity. If you see yourself as a commodity then as the seller you’ve created part of the problem.
- Services are focused on the results or outcome, not the product itself.
- The person selling services is often responsible for producing and delivering the service. Rarely is the person selling you a product responsible for production or delivery.
While keeping these differences in mind, here are some things you can do to make your service selling more successful.
First, it’s important to ask great questions. The way that your client will feel comfortable with you is not based on your capabilities, but rather how you understand their situation.
I’ve done research with 10,000 executives from around the world on how they make decisions about what services they will engage in. It comes down to these key questions:
- What problem does this service solve?
- Why do we need it?
- What is the likely outcome or result?
- What have you tried in the past?
- What’s worked and what hasn’t?
We have to help our clients by asking the right questions to discover the problem they are trying to solve, why they need to solve it, and what the likely outcome or result is if they engage you to help them solve their problem.
By getting the answers to these questions, you will be sure to have a full understanding of what your client needs, and not suggest something they have already tried in the past. We also want to make sure that we have the answers to these questions so we are clear on what outcome the client is looking for, or what success looks like to them.
If you don’t know, you may expend a lot of effort while not giving them what they were looking for. When this happens they will turn the blame on you and your business may suffer.
After we have engaged our client by asking brilliant questions, we need to clearly distinguish how what we do is different from what other people do. While I won’t go into detail here, we do this using The Client Vision Pyramid.
We use The Client Vision Pyramid to define the three different levels of service that people might be looking for in the industry, and help them determine whether or not they want that top-level that we perform, compared to everyone else.
Now the next time someone tries to tell you that selling services is the same as selling products, you’ll be ready to tell them to think again and explain how you know better.
If you have more questions, you can reach out to me here.