Selling services is not easy. This is especially the case when it is not a standard service (e.g. car wash), but rather a knowledge-intensive service requiring explanation, such as management consulting. It is different than classic product marketing. I have listed some ideas for marketing in this article.
WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT SERVICE MARKETING?
Customers never really know in advance exactly what they will get for their money. They cannot physically touch, view or test the services. In addition, you cannot simply return or exchange a service after it has been provided, as is the case with a product. Therefore, the customer has to trust the service provider to perform the service as promised.
Another problem is the fact that the value of a service is usually not immediately comprehensible to the customer. In addition, many B2B service providers offer complex services that are difficult to summarize in one sentence and of which the potential customer may not even know that he needs them.
AWARENESS AND TRUST AS IMPORTANT PILLARS
The task of marketing is to first make the service tangible, explain it and visualise it. Secondly, attention must be grabbed through targeted communication. This includes not only pure brand awareness but also the generation of a demand for the service.
Another important component is the creation of credibility and trust. The customer must be able to trust the provider. On the one hand, that he has the necessary know-how and also that he provides the service as agreed.
5 IDEAS TO MARKET PROFESSIONAL SERVICES
1. References, Recommendations, and Reviews
As Daniel Priestley, Co-Founder of Dent Global would say: People don’t buy what others want to sell. They buy what others want to buy. The recommendation of others and especially well-known brands minimizes the own risk of a wrong purchase and create confidence, which makes the buying decision easier. For this reason, references, recommendations and success stories are essential for professional service marketing.
References can be very different:
- Placing the customer logo on your own website and in brochures
- Testimonials from enthusiastic customers in the form of quotations presented in own publications (online & offline)
- Comprehensive case studies or success stories in which a customer reports in detail about the service or project
- Joint reference visits with the customer to potential clients and partners (this is the ultimate discipline!)
- Customer recommendations through a “like” or positive rating on a portal
No matter which form you choose: Remember to always obtain the customer’s consent before naming him or her as a reference. Success stories can also be a great way to present the complete company portfolio and ultimately also to present services that require explanation in a tangible way.
2. Articles and Blog Posts
Draw attention to yourself and your company by publishing articles in online and/or offline media, such as industry publications, magazines or blogs. The expert knowledge presented in this way is proof of competence. Potential customers can convince themselves of the expertise of the consultant, trainer or service provider. In addition, specialist articles offer the opportunity to explain a topic and increase visibility in search engines.
Please note that writing high-quality articles costs time and money.
A good article should:
- Show real expert knowledge and be cleanly researched
- Offer the reader (functional and/or emotional) added value
- Meeting the expectations of the reader, being at eye level
- Not appear promotional
- Enriched with image material (do not forget to include source references)
3. Presentations at events or on YouTube
This form of presentation is particularly interesting for trainers or consultants because through the audio/video recording or the personal experience of the trainer, the potential customer can also get an idea of how the trainer works, how he communicates his knowledge
Webinars (online-based seminars) can also be a great way to grab attention and deliver added value to the target group. Webinars are suitable in addition to the already mentioned advantages such as trust-building, proof of competence and also lead generation because participation in a webinar usually requires registration so that you can capture contact data of prospects.
5. Social Selling
The cold acquisition of new customers turns out to be difficult, especially when selling services requiring explanation. In principle, you never call at the right moment, have to explain a lot and the potential customer probably takes you more as a disruptive factor than as a problem solver.
Social Selling aims to enter into a conversation at the right moment and offer solutions by monitoring conversations on the Social Web. Carefully and helpfully formulated, the contact, in this case, is perceived as less promotional or disruptive, the cold acquisition becomes easier and the sales opportunities increase. Potential customers today reveal a lot in the Social Web: They ask questions in forums, discuss in communities, write posts or indicate interests. Those who actively listen (e.g. using monitoring tools) can identify problems and offer suitable solutions in the form of services.