Perception is Reality When Selling Services

February 1st, 2007

If a furniture builder creates a beautiful chair, it’s easy to see the craftsmanship and to evaluate the purchase price. As a bill collector, you provide a value to your client which is harder to discern. Clients who utilize multiple agencies may assess performance strictly on a net-back basis and determine contracts strictly on price. If your clients work with you exclusively, over time, they may begin to question why they are paying you to collect on past due accounts.

Do your clients appreciate – or even realize – the true value you bring to their organizations? The unfortunate fact is this: unless you effectively communicate this value, your clients will focus on the aspects of your work that are tangible; your fees.

Harry Beckwith is the founder of Beckwith Advertising and Marketing and has worked with some of America’s best service companies. His book Selling the Invisible offers some powerful marketing tips to help you succeed. A few thoughts to keep in mind:

Your service is intangible, but your message isn’t

Every time a customer or potential client comes in contact with you or your firm, he or she receives a marketing message that builds their overall perception of you. Make sure your message is clear and consistent in every point of contact. Does your advertising message match the way your proposal looks, how you answer the phone, the demeanor of your billing department, the design of your business cards – even how your office is decorated?

Focus your message on what makes you special

If a client believes that all agencies offer the same service, the decision will come down to price. To distinguish yourself from the competition, make sure your client knows what you can deliver that nobody else can.

Services are seen as less urgent purchases

Often when you are selling a service, your prospects are not just evaluating you vs. the competition, but are also considering the option of not buying the service at all. Be sure you know what your client really wants, so you can become an indispensable part of the solution.

It really is a popularity contest

Often, the service company that gets the contract is not the best firm for the job, but the one that had the best rapport with the client. It’s human nature to make choices that appear to have less risk; so many clients “go with what they know.” Be sure to stay on “top of mind” and maintain relationships with your clients and prospects.

For more information, contact us at 301-907-0840 or by  email.

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