Harry Beckwith‘s book Selling the invisible. A field guide to modern marketing is about the principles of building successful marketing in the service sector. The book contains 12 chapters, divided into small paragraphs, which provide practical advice on how to conduct a business of services. Each paragraph concludes with a summary conclusion.
Service marketing is different from product marketing.
The main difference is that services are invisible and intangible. Services are just a promise that someone will do a specific job.
The first step in service marketing is to have quality service. The author advises to always proceed from the fact that you serve poorly, so you need to improve the quality of your service. People won’t tell you what you’re doing wrong, so you should ask them about it. Surveying helps keep in touch with your customers.
According to the author, you can’t ask customers just a question about what they do not like in your company you are asking a person to admit that he made a mistake by choosing your company.
In the book, the author gives advice on relationships with prospects. Remember, when you sell a service, you sell an attitude to the customer. Always think about your client. In order to better know your potential client, study every point of contact with him. Then try to significantly improve each of them.
Try to make sure that your services do not look risky. You need to reassure your prospect, you can set a probation period or perform a test task. Do not give customers expectations that you cannot satisfy. In order to control customer satisfaction, you must clearly control their expectations.
Purchased goods constantly remind customers of their quality. You should do the same in the service sector. Advertising and publications in the press will remind your customers about the pleasure of your services.
Harry Beckwith also devoted separate chapters in his book to such important things in marketing as positioning and focus, pricing, naming and branding, advertising.
Regarding positioning and focus, the author advises to focus on one thing, on the distinctive quality of your service, which will give you a real competitive advantage. Defining these distinctive qualities and bringing them to the consumer is central to successful services marketing.
Do not confuse the position of the company with its positioning statement.
Harry Beckwith gives the following definitions of these concepts:
A position (or definition of a company’s position) is a cold business statement about how your company is perceived by the consciousness of prospects. This is your position in the market.
The positioning statement of a company, on the contrary, is an expression of what it would like to appear in the eyes of consumers.
In order for the opinion of prospects to change from how they already perceive you, to how you would like to appear in their eyes, it may take a certain push. The author advises don’t start with how to position your company. Instead, try to balance the position you already hold.
Regarding pricing, Harry Beckwith gives several pricing principles.
The resistance principle: the lack of resistance about the price from buyers means too low prices, and one hundred percent resistance – too high. A little resistance is a good sign. Avoid the dangerous middle.
The low-cost trap. Sellers of cheap goods and services are at risk from many sides. There is nothing about price competition that distinguishes you from others. Beware of the lower limit.
The author says that logical pricing is not always considered the most reasonable, since perhaps your favorable price instead of attracting customers, will make you in their eyes a low-grade company.
Regarding the naming of the company and branding, never choose a name that contains a description of what everyone expects from any service. Such a name will look too general, unmemorable. You need a special position and a special name. The human brain best remembers what is unique, standing out from the general mass.
A distinguished name implies a difference in the service offered, exactly the idea that the company should create about itself in the consumer.
In services marketing few things are more useful than a well-known brand. Service is always a promise, and a brand will add value to your promise.
The main thing in the brand is the honesty of the company and its employees. So the most attractive to the consumer are those service companies that keep their promises.
To speed up the process of transformation your name into a brand, try to avoid the influence of negative associations and choose a name that can’t be confused with anything.
Regarding the advertising of services, Harry Beckwith talks about two rules of the advertising of services: make your service more visible and make customers feel relaxed.
Very few people are really interested in what you can say. People are only interested in themselves. You need to talk about the customer and his needs, to show that you are willing to do for the consumer, it is necessary to speak the customer’s language, instead of speaking in your own language. After you have said one thing, repeat it again and again.
Do not use definitions. Use stories.
Make it so that people can see who you are. You must understand the importance of visual representation of invisible services. When deciding on the choice of a company, prospects are looking for visual evidence of its quality.
Therefore, present your customers with visible symbols of the services you provide. Your marketing should have a human face. In the intangible world of services, where little can be shown and almost everything has to be described, words are a powerful weapon. Use words and visual images to leave a vivid impression. Above all, be sellers of hope. Everywhere people buy happiness or hope for it.
Harry Beckwith’s book Selling the invisible. A field guide to modern marketing draws the reader’s attention to the features and distinctive features of service marketing. It must be remembered that you are selling a service, not a product, and therefore you sell your attitude to the customer.
Use the advice in this book in practice, be honest with your client and keep your promises, and your service marketing will reach a completely different level.
If you are a fan of great service, I am sure that you will love Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks book.