How do you market a service company
Selling services is not easy. Especially when it is not a matter of standard services (e.g. car wash), but rather knowledge-intensive services that require explanation, such as management consulting.
Marketing works according to different rules than classic product marketing. I have put together some ideas for marketing in this post.
What is special about service marketing?
Customers never really know in advance what they are getting for their money. You cannot physically grasp, view or test the services in advance.
In addition, once a service has been provided, one cannot simply return or exchange it, as is the case with a product.
So the customer has to give the service provider trustthat he performs as promised.
Another problem is the fact that the value of a service is usually not immediately comprehensible to the customer.
In addition, many service providers in the B2B environment offer complex services that require explanation that are difficult to summarize in one sentence and that the potential customer may not even know he needs.
Awareness and trust as important building blocks
The job of marketing is therefore to deliver the performance first tangible to make, explain and visualize them.
Next must be targeted communication attention to be awakened. This includes not only the sheer awareness, but possibly also that Generation of a need for your own performance.
Another important building block 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 that he performs as agreed.
Possible measures - 5 ideas
1. References, recommendations and reviews
The recommendation of other, well-known or even well-known buyers minimizes your own risk of a bad buy and thus promotes the purchase decision. In addition, they create trust because they suggest that the services have been tried and tested and that the necessary skills are available to provide the service.
For this reason, references, recommendations, success stories and reports in the service sector are essential.
References can look very different:
- Mentioning the customer and presenting the customer's logo on your own website or in print media as a simple message: This is my customer
- Words of praise from enthusiastic customers in the form of quotes presented in our own publications (online & offline)
- Comprehensive case studies or success stories in which a customer reports in detail about the performance or project and explains why he is satisfied
- Classic advertising: The customer is available for joint advertising
- Joint reference visits with the customer to interested parties and other customers (that's the supreme discipline!)
- Success stories that are prepared and communicated as press releases
- Customer recommendations through a "like" or positive rating on a rating portal
- and much more
No matter which form of presentation you choose: Remember to always use the Obtain approval from the customerbefore you name it for 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. Technical articles
Draw attention to yourself and your company by publishing specialist 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 specialist know-how and expertise of the consultant, trainer or service provider.
In addition, specialist articles offer the opportunity to place or explain a topic and, on the other hand, to place hotly contested keywords online and thus increase visibility in search engines.
Be aware that writing good quality articles takes time and therefore money.
A good technical article should include:
- Show actual expert knowledge and be thoroughly researched
- Be of high quality and free from defects
- Offer the reader a (functional and / or emotional) added value
- Meet the reader's expectations, be at eye level
- Ideally, occupy a topic that is not already circulating hundreds of times on the Internet
- Do not have an advertising effect, but still do not lose touch with the company
- Be enriched with image material (do not forget references)
- Appear in the correct shunts
3. Knowledge samples at trade fairs, congresses or YouTube
Similar to specialist contributions, you present your knowledge in specialist lectures. This can be done at trade fairs, congresses and events, but also online in the form of audio or video recordings.
This form of presentation is particularly interesting for trainers or consultants, because through the sound / 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 and whether he is free, for example and can tell grippingly.
Free webinars (online-based seminars) can also be a great means of attracting attention, placing topics and presenting the target group with a sample of knowledge that makes them want more.
In addition to the advantages already mentioned, such as building trust, proof of competence and topic placement, webinars are also ideal for generating leads, because registration is usually required to participate in a webinar. This registration results in the participant automatically disclosing their contact details.
5. Social Selling
The cold acquisition of new customers turns out to be difficult, especially when selling services that require explanation. In principle, you never call at the right moment, you have to explain a lot and the potential customer will probably perceive you as a disruptive factor rather than a problem solver.
Social selling aims to enter into a conversation at the right moment and offer solutions through targeted observation of the voices on the social web. Carefully and helpfully phrased, the contact in this case is perceived as less promotional or annoying, the cold acquisition becomes easier and the sales opportunities increase.
Potential customers today reveal a lot on the social web: They ask questions in forums, discuss in communities, write articles or state interests. Those who actively listen (e.g. using monitoring tools) can identify problems and offer suitable solutions in the form of services.
What steps do you take to sell services successfully? Share it by comment!
Rita Löschke is an expert in strategic marketing and managing director of SinnWert Marketing GmbH.
Marketing has been her livelihood and passion for more than 17 years. She trains, advises and supports SME marketers and managing directors in marketing matters. www.sinnwert-marketing.de
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