6 strategies for marketing & selling a service

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sometimes it seems like there is an abundance of information out there for people who are selling handmade products, who are wholesaling products or who have product based businesses. so in honour of the fabulous businesses who are selling a service, this post is for you.

(ps if you can find a way to sell a product AND a service, even better!)

demonstrate your expertise – build trust and loyalty

social media and the internet is the ideal place to demonstrate your expertise. facebook pages, blogs and email newsletters can all be used to share a taste of what you know, what you can do and how you can solve your client’s problems.

many biz owners are afraid of giving away their expertise for free, but this can actually help you gain clients and make more money in the long run. you become the ‘go to’ person in your niche, people love your free stuff so much they buy whatever you have on offer, and they become loyal to you because of how much you have helped them!

  • this post with 15 inspiring blog examples has many that are run by service businesses. check them out for ideas and inspiration (and if you don’t have a blog you can use these same types of posts on your facebook page or newsletter.)
  • the case for free has more info on why it’s ok to offer a taste of what you do for free
  • use your blog to help me out again offers ideas of how you can demonstrate your expertise, and again you can adapt these ideas to your facebook page or newsletter

reduce risk – offer a tester or sample of your service

along the same lines of sharing some of your expertise for free, another strategy is to offer a tester or a sample of your service. the idea here is that people can see for themselves how well they work with you, how well you help them solve their problems, and how awesome your service is.

perhaps you could offer the first class or session for free, or one free mini-consultation, or a free phone call to get to know you. be creative and offer some sort of sample that will allow people to trust what you have to offer.

  • catherine caine of cash & joy is an example of someone who offers a sample of her service for free. you can get a free 30 minute marketing check up with her via skype and then once you see how much she can help you, you will be wanting to sign up for full sessions! she talks more about this idea in this post on generosity marketing.

address objections – make it easy for people to overcome their fears and purchase your service

a free sample is just one way to address objections such as the fear that people have that you won’t be the right person to help them out. try to think of what other objections people might have to purchasing your service and then find away to address that objection.

you could write a guide to getting started in your area of service and offer it as a free download, write a blog post addressing each fear, or have simple information in your marketing materials that clears up any objection people might have.

for instance can you share how much money the client will save by hiring you? break it down for them. or can you show them how to save money in other areas of their life so they can add your service to their budget? can you break down your service into components so they can see how much value they get for their dollar?

perhaps money is not the objection, it could be the guilt of not wanting to treat themselves or not wanting to hire someone to do something they feel they should/could be doing themselves. try to make it easy for people to overcome these feelings.

  • this post mentions some common objections that customers may have and ways you can address them.

set up a referral program – get your best clients to help you find more best clients

chances are you already have awesome clients that love what you offer and whom you love to work with. these fabulous people probably know lots of similar people who will love you just as much. why not get them to do some of your marketing & promotion for you? make it easy for them to pass your name on and reward them for the clients they send your way.

you could give them individualized cards to pass out to their friends and then reward them when those friends hire you using that card. or you could offer them two for the price of one service to encourage them to invite a friend. or you could offer a VIP rate just for friends of favorite clients as a way of thanking both the existing client and the new referral.

here is some more reading on referral programs:

offer a variety of options to suit differing budgets and levels of need

if you are like most biz builders you have probably spent a huge amount of time creating your service package and figuring out how to price it. and you probably have one ideal client in mind as the perfect recipient of your expertise. but there may be a number of other excellent clients that you can help that don’t need that full package or have the budget to hire you.

one way of expanding your business and growing your clients base it to have a wider variety of service packages on offer. most people go for the middle package so if your ideal package is to work one-on-one with your client over a number of sessions, you could have a 10 session one-on-one package as your middle offering. then come up with some lower-end offerings like a group session, a mini-consultation, or a modified service and also come up with some higher end services like a year-long package or a deluxe, specialized version of what you usually do.

another thing you can do is create an information product (ebook, guide, course etc.) that you can sell in addition to offering personal services; these products appeal to people who want your expertise but also want to DIY.

partner up with businesses selling complimentary products & with the same target market

another way to expand your client base is to find a complimentary business with the same target market as you. you can combine forces and double your customers without either of you doing a lot more work! brainstorm some products that will complement the service you provide and approach those businesses about doing some cross promotion, banner sharing, package creation, product/service reviews and more.

for instance if you are a personal trainer you could find a business that sells workout clothes, organic homemade protein bars or healthy menus, recipes and food plans. if you are a massage therapist or do beauty/hair services you could partner up with someone that makes all natural lotions and oils, makeup or other beauty products.

the best partners are ones that are in the same general stage of biz as you (just starting out, well established etc.) have the same target audience as you, and who are complimentary without being direct competition.

here is some helpful info on partnering up with other businesses:

these are just a few ways that you can market your business and sell your service. what strategies are you using for your service based business? please add a comment, i would love to hear from you!