No More Smoke & Mirrors

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” -Mark Twain, Author

Which of the following two sales pitches would be more effective in generating your interest and confidence:

a) We can conjure up something and see if we can make it work for you

b) We have an established product that is designed specifically for your needs

It is pretty obvious that the better approach is b). But what you might not realize is that when you sell the service that you do, you sound a lot like a). So how do we fix that?…

If you provide a service like a banker, consultant or house painter and not a product like a manufacturer or retail store you are essentially selling the invisible. And when selling the invisible you come across like an amateur magician using smoke and mirrors.

Indeed, a service is not a visible, tangible thing and the selling and buying does not involve the transfer of ownership. A product on the other hand is tangible, can be transferred and stored and used. The big challenge, then, we have in selling a service, is to make the service feel real like a tangible product- something we can feel, use and trust in. And how do we do that?…

We can make a service feel real by productizing the service. Let’s use an example: Let’s say you provide virtual assistant services to your clients.  You can market your services as virtual assistant services and list the tasks that you can handle such as office correspondence, file creation and maintenance, managing calendars and appointments, arranging travel and controlling petty cash. This is the typical activity-centric approach to marketing a service. Here’s who I am and what I do and we’ll try to figure out what might work for you. But there is another way and that is to Productize your Service. What is productizing a service?…

In the example above we could productize the virtual assistant services by packaging services in a bundle rather than offering them ala carte. In bundling we would want to combine components of our service that fit a particular need of the target market. For example we could design a service bundle branded the “Solo- Entrepreneur Survival Kit” which includes 6 months of appointment setting, lead tracking and prospect / client correspondence support that the start-up entrepreneur invariably needs to get revenue in the door. This bundle would be value priced and would be executed using proven processes and tools. Other bundles, could be created to address differing needs at different price points. In this case perhaps another bundle could address the customer service and project management needs of the entrepreneur as she moves beyond survival and into first stage business growth.

Productizing a service is a simple but very effective strategy. In the Solo-Entrepreneur Survival Kit product we have a service that now feels real. It is tailored to its market, it is branded with a name, it has a fixed assembly of components, it is made consistent with standard processes and tools and has an established price. In addition to feeling real to the client, the productized service simplifies the selling effort for you. Selling a productized service does not require the haggling and negotiating of a traditional service – there is a fixed deliverable at a fixed price. In addition, as we know, selling is dependent upon building a case of value built upon trust. That trust level is so much easier to reach when your prospect/client gets a feeling of the tangible nature of your offer.

Do you as a consumer sometimes wish you could touch the product before you buy it? Are you put off by the seller who seems to be hiding something or does not put it all out there for you to see? Do you ever find yourself struggling to get to credibility and trust when selling your service? If so, try productizing your service. A productized service embodies ‘real’ in that it is named or branded and has design, components, packaging, set price and established process. No smoke and mirrors, nothing invisible – just a well-constructed service packaged and sold as a product. The real deal…You can sell that and you don’t need magic to do it!

Patrick Leask
Tampa, FL
Award Winning Business Strategist and Coach.
Helping Professional Service & Project Based Businesses Accelerate Growth.
Click HERE for your free coaching session with me.