Selling Your Intangible Services

Most of your services are intangible!

Much of the selling (or attempted selling) done by sales people today in the disaster recovery industry involves offering an intangible service. Intangible in the sense that you are trying to get an agent or adjuster to refer you to the end-user (policyholder) when they have a disaster. Even the actual “benefits” of your service are often intangible as well, so that makes the challenge even greater.

Some of the intangible aspects:

  • The speed in which you get to the loss
  • Skill level of your technicians
  • How quickly you can get it dry
  • How great you “dry in place”
  • How little tear-out is done
  • How good you are a communication
  • How happy the policyholder will be
  • To name a few intangibles.

I continue to be amused at sales people calling on an agent bragging about company certifications, number of trucks or employees, the latest hotshot equipment, how much more they “care” about their clients, etc. Really people? This does NOT separate you from the other 25 – 50 contractors you are competing against in your market! It’s about being Different, not being all the Same!

Customers today are more concerned about the perceived value of the benefits than they are about the actual product itself. Even more interesting is that businesses today are spending far more effort on creating a perceived value to those benefits, concentrating less on the actual product or service. The better you are at that, the better your differentiation.

Remember, most sales people start their job in sales with little or no credibility and that makes it difficult to have early successes. By first asking precise and simple closed-end questions you can get your prospect comfortable interacting with you. Once you have succeeded there, it’s time to quickly get into the kinds of questions that can help solidify a more credible persona. Intangible services usually require you to become good at selling the intangible benefits to expand and enhance the relationship.

In one of my previous articles, I wrote about Differentiation – and how important it is to the sales process because of the massive number of products, services and businesses – all competing for the same customers. Every day, it becomes more and more important to identify and shout about what makes you different (and hopefully better) since customers are making emotional decisions based on that difference!

At the very least, sales people need to convey credibility and believability. Without these they aren’t generating trust, and without trust, people won’t buy! No trust – No sale.

I’ve also been preaching for years that it’s not about a “solution” to their problems. Your “solution” usually involves attempting to sell them something, and nobody wants to be sold something. Your service should enable them to solve their own problem, not force a “solution” on them where their only alternative is to buy your product or service.

A great differentiator is simply making your client “thirsty” or another way to say it is to make them “curious” about you, your services and your ability to help take away their “pain.”

The well-known TV commercial about “The Most Interesting Man in the World” (Jonathan Goldsmith) has enabled Dos Equis beer sales to be among the top three fastest growing beer sales in the US. I believe a major part of that success is simply that the marketers created curiosity! This curiosity has dramatically escalated the sales growth because we are all “curious” about the product. Their sales increased 22% while other beer sales dropped 4%! That’s a huge increase in a down beer market.

Imagine becoming good at asking engaging powerful questions to your prospects that created interest and curiosity. Suddenly, you have differentiated yourself, your company, your services, and elevated your credibility. With great believability and credibility comes trust – the vital ingredient you need to actually make the sale. As a salesperson, become “the most interesting person” for your industry. I am confident your sales will go up.

Author: Dick Wagner