Selling services is very different from selling products.
Which of course means that your sales, marketing and business strategies, as a service-based business, are going to be different from that of a product-based business.
However, this is where many people trip up … as whilst there are nuances between the two, they don’t need to be completely different.
When selling, they share a common principle:
The most powerful selling messages focus on the client. It’s all about what the client is buying, and what they will gain from doing so.
It’s never, for example, about the process of manufacture … or the story behind the product’s conception….
Product sales focus on the PRODUCT. They focus on WHAT they offer. They are focused on their BUYER.
Whereas many people, when selling services, focus on the service rather than the SOLUTION that their service provides.
They focus on themselves… they focus inwardly – on what THEY are able to do, and how they provide that service – rather than on what their client is going to receive.
Typical product selling messages sound like this: “This produce is awesome … and here’s how it’ll make your life better …”
Typical service selling messages, on the other hand, too often sound like this: “I offer “this” service … I’m qualified and am great at it, and lots of clients say these nice things about me.” (I exaggerate, but you get the point.)
And this inward focus is, for the most part, the main issue behind the five most common mistakes people make when selling their services.
So, what are those mistakes, and how can you overcome them?
1. Selling your services, instead of offering what they’re buying
People don’t (typically!) buy a service just because it’s a “great service”.
They buy a service because they NEED it. Because they need help … they want help … they have a problem that needs solving.
Your services are how you deliver that help, but your service, in itself, isn’t interesting to your clients. The end result is.
Think about it – no-one is interested in how a plumber fixes a burst pipe. They just care that they can….
Many people sell their services by focusing on what THEY are able to do: what their service is, how they do it, where they learnt it and what it entails.
And in doing so, they forget to focus on what the CLIENT is getting … what their service will actually mean to that end user.
Selling your services by focusing on the end product … on what benefits and solutions your service will provide … means you’re not only promoting and marketing EXACTLY what those prospective clients are out looking for, because of their existing need….
You’re also promoting and marketing something that other potential clients may not have realised they need yet….
Something that, had you only focused on selling yourself, they’d never have paid attention to. But upon seeing the results, the outcomes, the benefits that your service offers, may just realise that this is some help that they could do with, too….
2. Selling services based on time, instead of charging for the VALUE the client receives
Pricing and selling your services according to the time it takes you – to put it simply – means you’re capping your potential.
There are only so many hours in a day, in a week, in a month … which means there is a ceiling on your income potential.
You need to work more to earn more.
And you need to justify why you consider your time to be worth £X.
Both of which usually lead to you charging less than you’re worth … and working more than you wanted or envisaged.
Charging for your time usually means you can’t reach the financial security or the freedom that inspired you to become self-employed in the first place.
So instead, focus on the VALUE – the impact – you bring to your client, and charge for THAT.
Clients want results faster, not slower … so charge for the RESULTS. And charge even more for the results that are delivered faster.
Don’t charge for the time it takes you to get those results….
Businesses who have realised that the VALUE of the end result is what people are prepared to pay for … the quality, the impact, and what it means to them … are those who reach their first “F” – Financial Security – much faster.
Because selling your services based on their value, removes the limit of what you can earn in an hour….
Just as a product is priced according to its tangible quality and the value it provides its buyer … a service should be too. How long it takes to “make” it is inconsequential.
3. Relying on your qualifications to establish your credibility instead of demonstrating HOW you help
Qualifications are useful … they give you the skills and knowledge on how to deliver what your clients need.
But once again, that’s not what matters to the client … they don’t care so much about the qualifications you have as they do the fact that you CAN GIVE THEM what they need….
A prospect that doesn’t need your service won’t buy from you, simple as that.
So whilst qualifications are a nice bit of back up, showing the skills and training that have got you where you are … don’t expect those qualifications alone to sell your services for you.
Instead, simply understand your clients’ needs, and offer to help them.
And show them that you CAN help, by showing them WHAT they’ll get.
Don’t rely on clients hopefully being impressed by the theory of what you might be able to do with your knowledge and training.
Get out there and SHOW them exactly what your knowledge means you’re able to do.
4. Looking for immediate buyers instead of building a relevant audience
All businesses want clients … or, I should say, NEED clients.
Which means things can get noisy! You and your competitors, all selling your services … all shouting to be heard the loudest … “Buy MY service!”
But most of the people who WILL become your clients, DON’T want to be shouted at….
And more to the point, YOU don’t want to have to spend your days shouting. It’s hard work, it’s tiring, and it’s rarely as fruitful as one would hope.
Your business is for the long-term, so you need to plan for the long-term.
Build an audience. Take the time to create a following … share your thoughts, your insights, your knowledge … let people get to know you. Let people get to know that you are an expert in your field. Let people get to know HOW you can HELP them.
Be the person who’s helpful, and you’ll be creating a ready pool of clients. “Watchers” want to be impressed, but “buyers” want tangible help … and they will buy that help from people they know and trust can deliver it….
Building an audience takes time, but it’s an asset.
And it’ll save YEARS of effort in the long-term.
Because with an audience, “selling your services” happens naturally … as the buyers come straight to you.
5. Believing people will want YOUR service
To be blunt, no-one is very interested in you.
They don’t want “your programme” … they don’t care about your academic record … they aren’t really even interested in how good you are.
They ARE, however, interested in themselves – in their own world … in their own problems … in their own frustrations….
And they ARE interested in how YOU might be able to impact THEIR world … how you might be able to HELP with those problems and frustrations.
So, make it all about them.
Sell your services by showing them you understand their problem.
Offer to help them.
And demonstrate what THEY can have – what they stand to gain – IF they work with you.
Make it about them and they’ll be far more likely to sit up and listen.