Why are products easier to sell than services?
Why are products easier to sell than services? And how does this relate to finding prospects on the Internet?
Your typical product is easy to recognize. You can touch it, feel it, or take a picture of it. It is very easy for somebody a long way away to understand each aspect of what you’re selling. And, when they are searching, it’s very easy for them to describe what they want, like a “Ford 5610 clutch cable”. There are not too many different ways to describe it. (Hint: That’s because, as a product, it describes itself. It has a color, size, brand, model number, and so on.) Some services are just as easy to sell. I think of them as “impersonal” services. These would include things like having your car serviced, having your lawn maintained, having your roof waterproofed, or having a blocked toilet cleaned. (Having raised a bunch of children, I became so familiar with this last service that I am godfather to the children of three local plumbers.)
The reason this impersonal kind of service is easy to sell is that the problem tells us about itself. It is a light on the dashboard, or losing a daughter in the bush covering your acre, sleeping in a cold shower, or finding that nuclear submarine navigating the depths. The problem defines itself, and most sentient beings know what group of people to call for help in each case. We can also easily describe the problem. And we all “know” what the end result should be. This work doesn’t have a high emotional content, and we don’t often care who does it for us, as long as the car doesn’t stop 40 km from Riviersonderend over the Easter weekend. “Personal” services, on the other hand, are much harder to sell. These are services like consulting, training, mentoring and the like. Most of us do not know we need them. Just as we do not call a GP until that small sniffle becomes the Yellow River, or call a lawyer until that minor business setback becomes a stack of summonses.
Firstly, in its early stages most of us don’t even know that we have a problem. Even if we did, we don’t easily articulate how our business is struggling, or why we feel happier with tinfoil covering our heads. We want to use the web to research this issue, but we struggle to find useful information. We find no shortage of unconvincing people telling us that they can fix it, and if their solution doesn’t work on the tinfoil, it sure will do a great job cleaning the car.
For these kinds of personal services, we – the buyers – need to know that our supplier (consultant) clearly understands our problem, and is competent to help. This cannot be done in a four line Google advert. Nor can it be done on a website. “Personal”, in this context, means “face-to-face”. People at this level need much more relationship than John Farmer buying a clutch cable for his Ford 5610 tractor.
But how you build that relationship online? Like a better-looking Dr Phil. You start talking about the problem online – ideally in a space where people can see you or hear you. (Think relationship.) You give away the problem gratis. You discuss the problem from every angle, every which-way, and in doing so you show that you know the subject backwards and people get to know your style. As long as you are sharing the problem with lots of people, you will have no shortage of them having “AHA” moments. This is where, for a moment, they resonate with you. It doesn’t take too many of these before they “know” you. Basically, you have to make your personal service as tangible as a product. In the absence of anything else, you are that product. This is a good thing, because you are unique, unlike a Ford 5610. And once people are at ease with you, they are far more likely to pay for your services.
On the Internet, this is a two-stage sale. Rather than advertising you solution, you advertise the problem. Maybe inviting them to a gratis webinar, or offering your free PDF on the subject. Then using that intro to explain your take on their problems in as much depth as they need. You will talk to many more people than will buy. But the key is that you’re going to talk to more people than you are talking to right now. These new people are your future clients. To do all of this, at least online, you need a wide toolbox of skills. How to present webinars, how to create PDFs, how to deliver all of it automatically, how to save your material for reuse, how to automate follow-up e-mails, and a bunch more.
We will be doing all of this in the mentorship project starting March 27. It’s not just for those folk wanting to live online. It’s for folk with off-line businesses wanting to use “online” to get more clients.
Please grab your gratis ‘seat’ here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/484183129 (Yes, we will be recording it.)
All the best
A couple of my favorite ways of explaining this question are :