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Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing

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A treasury of hundreds of quick, practical, and easy-to-read strategies - few are more than a page long - Selling the Invisible will open your eyes to new ideas in this crucial branch of marketing including why focus groups, value-price positioning, discount pricing, and being the best usually fail; the critical emotion that most influences your prospects - and how to deal A treasury of hundreds of quick, practical, and easy-to-read strategies - few are more than a page long - Selling the Invisible will open your eyes to new ideas in this crucial branch of marketing including why focus groups, value-price positioning, discount pricing, and being the best usually fail; the critical emotion that most influences your prospects - and how to deal with it; the vital role of vividness, focus, "anchors, " and stereotypes; the importance of Halo, Cocktail Party, and Lake Wobegon Effects; marketing lessons from black holes, grocery lists, the Hearsay Rule, and the fame of Pikes Peak; dozens of proven yet consistently over-looked ideas for research, presentations, publicity, advertising, and client retention...and much more.


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A treasury of hundreds of quick, practical, and easy-to-read strategies - few are more than a page long - Selling the Invisible will open your eyes to new ideas in this crucial branch of marketing including why focus groups, value-price positioning, discount pricing, and being the best usually fail; the critical emotion that most influences your prospects - and how to deal A treasury of hundreds of quick, practical, and easy-to-read strategies - few are more than a page long - Selling the Invisible will open your eyes to new ideas in this crucial branch of marketing including why focus groups, value-price positioning, discount pricing, and being the best usually fail; the critical emotion that most influences your prospects - and how to deal with it; the vital role of vividness, focus, "anchors, " and stereotypes; the importance of Halo, Cocktail Party, and Lake Wobegon Effects; marketing lessons from black holes, grocery lists, the Hearsay Rule, and the fame of Pikes Peak; dozens of proven yet consistently over-looked ideas for research, presentations, publicity, advertising, and client retention...and much more.

30 review for Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing

  1. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    Sound bytes on how to sell services, which is drastically different than selling a product. Key points, borrowed from others reviews: 1) Simplify access to your work! [Learn how to create executive summaries, tables of contents, hyper-links, etc.--don't assume that everyone knows your value and is willing to spend time digging into your work.] 2) Quality, speed, and price are *not* in competition, they must be offered simulaneously and at full value. 3) What is your promise or value proposition? Sound bytes on how to sell services, which is drastically different than selling a product. Key points, borrowed from others reviews: 1) Simplify access to your work! [Learn how to create executive summaries, tables of contents, hyper-links, etc.--don't assume that everyone knows your value and is willing to spend time digging into your work.] 2) Quality, speed, and price are *not* in competition, they must be offered simulaneously and at full value. 3) What is your promise or value proposition? Are you just showing up, or does every day offer a chance for you to show your value in a specific way? 4) Don't just be the best in your given vocation, *change it* for the better and redefine what "best" means! 5) Sell your relationship (and your understanding of the other person's needs), not just your expertise in isolation. Your boss or client has three choices and you are the last: to do nothing, to do it themselves, or to use you. Focus on being the first choice every time. 6) Execute with passion--and if you are a super-geek or nerd that does not have a high social IQ, form a partnership with a super-popular person and put them in front.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chad Warner

    Powerful, practical advice on marketing and selling services and intangibles. Overall, one of the best books I’ve read on sales and marketing. The short lessons are easy to read, yet thought-provoking and entertaining. Most lessons contain examples from the sales and marketing efforts of companies, or anecdotes from the author’s experience. The examples and stories work well for illustrating his points, but I prefer to see claims backed by broader research and statistical evidence. Some of my Powerful, practical advice on marketing and selling services and intangibles. Overall, one of the best books I’ve read on sales and marketing. The short lessons are easy to read, yet thought-provoking and entertaining. Most lessons contain examples from the sales and marketing efforts of companies, or anecdotes from the author’s experience. The examples and stories work well for illustrating his points, but I prefer to see claims backed by broader research and statistical evidence. Some of my favorite parts were about selling relationships rather than expertise. I also liked the advice about making your brand known and your services comfortable, because people buy what they’re familiar with. I’m a huge fan of value-based pricing over hourly pricing, so I enjoyed the lessons on pricing based on experience rather than time. There are several tips for maintaining client relations, and I liked the point about telling your clients what you’ve done for them. I really liked the point that you don’t win people with service quality, but with the merchandising of your service quality. I can’t wait to use this book’s lessons in marketing and selling services for my web design company, OptimWise, which sells web design, site maintenance, and consulting services. I read this because it was recommended on BizCraft Episode 6 – All about pricing. Later, a friend who runs a successful IT services company recommended it. I wish I had read it a year ago when I first heard about it. Here are my notes. The quotes are straight from the book. Getting Started • “The core of service marketing is the service itself.” • “Create the possible service; don’t just create what the market needs or wants. Create what it would love.” Surveying and Research • “Have a third party do your surveys” because clients won’t tell you their true feelings. • Conduct oral surveys rather than written ones because people say more and you can hear tone of voice. Marketing is Not a Department • “In planning your marketing, don’t just think of your business. Think of your skills.” • “In most professional services, you are not really selling expertise - because your expertise is assumed, and because your prospect cannot intelligently evaluate your expertise anyway. Instead, you are selling a relationship.” • Most clients aren’t choosing between you and your competitors; they’re choosing whether to use any service at all rather than do it themselves or do nothing. • “Be professional - but, more importantly, be personable.” Anchors, Warts, and American Express • “Familiarity breeds business. Spread your word however you can.” People choose services based on familiarity, not objective attributes. • “Take advantage of the Recency Effect [bias towards most recent data]. Follow up brilliantly.” • “Forget looking like the superior choice. Make yourself an excellent choice. Then eliminate anything that might make you a bad choice.” • “[People don’t] choose a good experience; they [choose] to minimize the risk of a bad experience.” “Yes, build the quality into your service - but make it less risky, too.” • Eliminate fear by offering a trial period or test project. • “Rather than hide your weaknesses, admit them.” Being honest and trustworthy increases conversion rate. Positioning and Focus • Position yourself as an expert in the hardest task in your industry, and it will imply that you can also handle simpler tasks. • Take advantage of the Halo Effect. “Say one positive thing, and you will become associated with many.” Ugly Cats, Boat Shoes, and Overpriced Jewelry • The Picasso Principle: “Don’t charge by the hour. Charge by the years.” When a woman objected to Picasso’s price, claiming that a painting only took him three minutes, he replied, “No, it took me all my life.” • The Carpenter Corollary to the Picasso Principle: “Charge for knowing where.” A carpenter charged $2 for hammering and $43 for knowing where to hammer. Monogram Your Shirts, Not Your Company • “In service marketing, almost nothing beats a brand.” • “A service is a promise, and building a brand builds your promise.” Benefits of having a brand • Word of mouth spreads easier and farther. • More clients convert because they’re comfortable with brand names. • Branded services spend less time and money in the selling process (there’s less effort required in following up). • “Give your prospects a shortcut. Give them a brand.” • “Your greatest competition is not your competition. It is indifference.” • “Say one thing.” “Saying many things usually communicates nothing.” • “Prospects do not buy how good you are at what you do. They buy how good you are at who you are.” When asked to rank criteria, clients put trust and relationship above performance. • “People will trust their eyes far before they will ever trust your words.” “What do your visibles say about the invisible thing you are trying to sell?” • “Offer quality without creating that perception of quality and you have failed the client, and yourself.” • “Advertising is publicity.” Advertising can be as effective as (or more than) word-of-mouth for raising awareness. • “Don’t sell your service. Sell your prospect.” Find out what they want, what they need, and who they are. Nurturing and Keeping Clients • When you think you’ve earned a client’s business, they think you’ve only earned the right to earn their business. • “Failures are obvious but most successes are invisible…[so] advertise your successes. Show your client what you have done. If you beat the deadline...make sure the client knows. If you came under the estimate...make sure the client knows. If you are especially proud of something you did, make sure the client knows.” • “Create a feeling of satisfaction by showing the client how you are satisfying others. Communicate your successes: new clients, new successes, new awards, new recognitions, new testimonials, growth in staff and revenues.” Summing Up Think of staying in a hotel. “We do not see the quality; we see the symbols of quality that say ‘clean room.’ It is not the hotel’s service quality that wins us; it is the hotel’s merchandising of its quality.”

  3. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Cullinan

    What I enjoyed most about this book was the idea that services should be viewed as something to sell, just like a product. I found I wanted to hand it to several local businesses and even some larger corporations, because if more people behaved like this, we'd all enjoy our business interactions so much more. My only complaint is that in business terms, it's been awhile since it's been written. I'd love to see it revised and include a chapter on the internet. Though, to be fair, I got my copy What I enjoyed most about this book was the idea that services should be viewed as something to sell, just like a product. I found I wanted to hand it to several local businesses and even some larger corporations, because if more people behaved like this, we'd all enjoy our business interactions so much more. My only complaint is that in business terms, it's been awhile since it's been written. I'd love to see it revised and include a chapter on the internet. Though, to be fair, I got my copy from the library, and this may exist but I don't know it. I'll add that I am in no way a marketing type; I read this for research for a character I'm writing. So I'll add that this book is very accessible for a layman.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Jill

    BEST BUSINESS BOOK I'VE READ YET. All you wedding industry business owners - put this on your must-read list. It's packed full of good stuff. Not to mention it's written with us in mind. Take the title: "Selling the Invisible." Those of us who are selling a service are doing just that - selling something that, at the time it is purchased, is invisible. I love how Beckwith starts the book: "So as a service marketer...you face prospects almost shaking with worry, and sensitive to any mistake you BEST BUSINESS BOOK I'VE READ YET. All you wedding industry business owners - put this on your must-read list. It's packed full of good stuff. Not to mention it's written with us in mind. Take the title: "Selling the Invisible." Those of us who are selling a service are doing just that - selling something that, at the time it is purchased, is invisible. I love how Beckwith starts the book: "So as a service marketer...you face prospects almost shaking with worry, and sensitive to any mistake you might make. That is where your marketing must start: with a clear understanding of that worried soul." Recognizing how the potential client who walks into my office must feel -- they want to remember the most amazing day of their lives and are willing to spend thousands of dollars to do so but there are no guarantees -- really humbles me and makes me want to do whatever I can to help eliminate their fears and uncertainty. Over and over again while I read this book, my belief in the power of blogging was confirmed. Blogging is so powerful because it helps form a connection with potential clients that can grow trust within their hearts and eliminate the fears and uncertainty they are faced with when hiring a wedding photographer. Blogs give the business owner the opportunity to demonstrate integrity and consistency which are foundational if we are going to ask clients to trust us. As Beckwith says, "A service is a promise....What you really are selling is your honesty." I can't tell you how many times I've been hired by couples without even meeting them or how many times they have walked into my office already sold because my blog has removed all obstacles for them already. They feel they can trust me. What an honor. I really take that seriously. And it makes me want to do whatever I can to continue to build trust in them throughout the course of our working relationship through amazing customer service. Beckwith explores so many different areas of marketing -- getting customer feedback, knowing your client & what you are selling, positioning and focus, pricing, naming and branding, communicating and selling -- all with the service industry in mind. His chapters are short and to the point with the point literally spelled out in bold faced type at the end of each one. There is just a wealth of information in this book and it really inspired me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Aria von Dimple

    Don't charge by the hour. Charge by the years. My first impression of the book? If there is a book that says the word "service" couple million times, it's "Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing". At one point it started to be so ridiculous that I was beyond annoyed – I was certain that English language simply must have other words that could be suitably used instead of "service". Thesaurus gives me 32 synonyms and not all of them are equivalent but I felt like Mr. Beckman was Don't charge by the hour. Charge by the years. My first impression of the book? If there is a book that says the word "service" couple million times, it's "Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing". At one point it started to be so ridiculous that I was beyond annoyed – I was certain that English language simply must have other words that could be suitably used instead of "service". Thesaurus gives me 32 synonyms and not all of them are equivalent but I felt like Mr. Beckman was purposely trying to make me hate the word. I even felt sorry for the poor narrator, Jeffrey Jones, who probably still goes to therapy because of this word-abuse. But let's focus a bit more on the other aspects of the book now. I started reading listening "Selling the Invisible" because I know next to nothing about marketing and it came up when I was scanning Amazon for "Best Books about Marketing / Selling" (I know, my googling skills are off the charts). So I thought I'd give it a try. And it left me with some mixed feelings. There's little point in killing an idea by saying it might fail. Any idea might fail. If you're doing anything worthwhile at all, you'll suffer a dozen failures. Start failing so you can start succeeding. First of all, it's a very short book (the audiobook is less than 2 hours long) and therefore it doesn't have the luxury to beat around the bush. The chapters / subchapters are usually very short and try to get to the point very fast. Often so fast, that I didn't even register that the chapter was over and this subject is done and closed now. Which was okay at times but more than one occasion I was left with a feeling that I wish it went more in-depth and explored some ideas further. Building your brand doesn't take millions. It takes imagination. Secondly, as you may have figured out already, "Selling the Invisible" tries to be the kind of book that gives out short pointers to people who are already in the business and try to think outside the box. Bear in mind, that I'm not an economy nor business major (although my family is very business-oriented) and while I'm in the business, I cannot consider myself an expert. Nevertheless, I found very little new information from "Selling the Invisible". Yes, there were some interesting pointers and some sentences were formed nicely into slogans that one could print on a poster or shout from rooftops. But it wasn't revolutionary. And while it tried to be innovative and push you to step further, I wasn't left with a rush of inspiration nor motivation after finishing this book. I didn't feel like my way with dealing with customers changed. No, what I felt was more in the lines of "Great, I still have to figure this shit out myself." I can't figure out which baffles me more: that it's a best-seller or that is marketed as "an eye-opener". Yes, I, too, had hopes that maybe, just maybe it actually holds valuable and even life-altering information. In a way, it does (I mean, in a way every book does) but it didn't really leave with a lasting impression. I've already forgotten most that was discussed in "Selling the Invisible" and some bits that have stayed with me still have to face the endless battles of the real world business. Do they stay relevant? Are they really that universal? Overall, I hope there's a better book on marketing / selling out there. Forever the optimist.

  6. 5 out of 5

    James Christensen

    I've read this thing probably 5 times. As is often the case though you need to re-read these things from time to time. It's one of the first marketing books I read that specifically addresses the challenges of a 'service' business. Marketing a service is a unique challenge given the intangible nature of what you're dealing with. This is a quick read, and while not as entertaining as other authors it Beckwith does impart some important tips and ideas.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    This is probably the easiest book I've ever read. The chapters are divided into sections that are incredibly small, which makes it a breeze to get through. But I think that's also its biggest weakness: you feel like you're being hit with so much that there's no way you could take it all in. And so no matter what you do take from this book, you feel as though it's not enough. Nevertheless, there was a lot of useful info in here. It's a good example of how marketing, due to human behavior, is not This is probably the easiest book I've ever read. The chapters are divided into sections that are incredibly small, which makes it a breeze to get through. But I think that's also its biggest weakness: you feel like you're being hit with so much that there's no way you could take it all in. And so no matter what you do take from this book, you feel as though it's not enough. Nevertheless, there was a lot of useful info in here. It's a good example of how marketing, due to human behavior, is not just common sense. Overall, this is a good book to introduce someone to marketing.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Andy McIlwain

    Work in marketing? Read this book. Work in customer service? Read this book. Work in sales? Read this book. Starting your own business? Read this book! (Borrowed a copy from our CEO, read it cover to cover, then bought a copy for myself.)

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sotiris Makrygiannis

    4 starts because I wanted more but this book is designed to deliver sound bites and is rather good one. Straight to the point with the confidence of an expert reminds old and new in service business the basics of marketing.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    Quite a few years old now, this book still has plenty of relevance and tips for service marketers. I keep it handy on the shelf and full of Post-it flags!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Loy Machedo

    Loy Machedo’s Book Review – Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith Harry Beckwith is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Standford University, the author of books which have sold over 1.2 Million Copies in 24 languages and among the World’s Five Best Speakers on Sales and Marketing as per a 2009 Poll of 13,000. Among the books he has authored, • Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing • You, Inc.: The Art of Selling Yourself • What Clients Love: A Field Guide to Growing Your Business Loy Machedo’s Book Review – Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith Harry Beckwith is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Standford University, the author of books which have sold over 1.2 Million Copies in 24 languages and among the World’s Five Best Speakers on Sales and Marketing as per a 2009 Poll of 13,000. Among the books he has authored, • Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing • You, Inc.: The Art of Selling Yourself • What Clients Love: A Field Guide to Growing Your Business • Unthinking: The Surprising Forces Behind What We Buy • The Invisible Touch: The Four Keys to Modern Marketing I have read two. You, Inc. and now this one Selling the Invisible. Beckwith's style of writing is essentially mini-essays ranging from half a page to maybe a couple of pages. In all his books, his standard is the same - The language is simple, straightforward and each little piece contains a nugget of marketing truth. Selling the Invisible focuses on the core problem of Service Marketing – Service Quality. It suggests how to learn what you must improve, with examples of techniques that work. There are not many examples and anecdotes in the book, however the ones that are mentioned – McDonald’s Super-Fast Service, Standard Processes, Super-Clean Environment & World Class Experience; FedEx’s Supremacy in Logistic and the Disneyland Experience of Magic does drive home the point very effectively. The one question that Harry did ask and which stopped my whole world dead on its tracks was when he stated ‘Define the Business You Really Are In’. That question by itself opened the flood gates of reality and made me really think. It was more like paraphrasing the age of question ‘Who are you?” Divided into eleven sections with multiple one- to three-page chapters in each section, Beckwith’s book gives bite-sized lessons on what clients and prospects (that is, potential clients) want, expect, and find persuasive. Highlights These are the highlights of the Nuggets Beckwith parts with. Regarding Your Basic Service 1. Assume your service is bad. It can't hurt, and it will force you to improve. 2. Let your clients set your standards. 3. Ignore your industry's benchmarks, and copy Disney's. 4. Big mistakes are big opportunities. 5. Don't just think better. Think different. 6. The first rule of marketing planning - always start at zero. 7. Create the possible service; don't just create what the market needs or wants. Create what it would love. Regarding Market Research 1. Always have a third party conduct quality satisfaction surveys. 2. Survey, survey, survey. 3. Beware of written surveys; it's far better to conduct oral surveys, as you have a chance to clarify any misunderstandings. 4. Beware of focus groups - they often reveal more about group dynamics than about how individuals think. Regarding Marketing 1. Every act is a marketing act. Make every employee a marketing employee. 2. "In most professional services, you are not really selling expertise - because your expertise is assumed, and because your prospect cannot intelligently evaluate your expertise anyway. Instead you are selling a relationship." 3. Before you try to satisfy "the client", understand and satisfy the person. 4. Often, your client will face the choice of having you perform the service, or doing it themselves. Therefore, often your biggest competitors are your prospects. 5. Make technology a key part of every marketing plan. 6. Study each point of contact with your client - your receptionist, your business card, your building, your brochure, your web site, your invoices. Then improve each one significantly. 7. Be professional - but, more importantly, be personable. Regarding Planning 1. You'll never know the future, so don't assume that you should. Plan for several possible futures. (p.59) 2. In successful companies, tactics drive strategy as much or more than strategy drives tactics. Do anything. 3. Execute passionately. Marginal tactics executed passionately almost always outperform brilliant tactics executed marginally. 4. Do it now. The business obituary pages are filled with planners who waited. 5. Have a healthy distrust of what experience has taught you. 6. Don't let perfect ruin good. How Prospects Think 1. Appeal only to a prospect's reason and you may have no appeal at all. 2. Familiarity breeds business. Spread your word however you can. 3. Take advantage of the Recency Effect. Follow up brilliantly. 4. The best thing you can do for a prospect is eliminate their fear. Offer a trial period or test project. Positioning and Focus 1. Stand for one distinctive thing that will give you a competitive advantage. 2. To broaden your appeal, narrow your position. 3. In your service, what's the hardest task? Position yourself as the expert in this task and you'll have lesser logic (the idea that if you can do the hardest thing well, you must be able to do everything well) in your corner. 4. Don't start by positioning your service. Instead, leverage the position you have. 5. Positioning statements should address the following six points: • who • what • for whom • against whom • what's different • so...? (p. 114) 6. Choose a position that will reposition your competitors; then move a step back toward the middle that will cinch the sale. 7. In positioning, don't try to hide your small size. Make it work by stressing its advantages such as responsiveness and individual attention. Pricing 1. Setting your price is like setting a screw: a little resistance is a good sign. 2. Beware the deadly middle. If you price in the middle, what you are saying is "We're not the best, and neither is our price, but both our service and price are pretty good." Not a very compelling message. 3. Don't charge by the hour. Charge by the years (of experience). 4. In services, value is a given. And givens are not viable competitive positions. If good value is your best position, improve your service. Naming 1. Give your service a name, not a monogram. 2. Generic names encourage generic business. 3. Never choose a name that describes something that everyone expects from the service. The name will be generic, forgettable and meaningless. 4. Be distinctive - and sound it. 5. In service marketing, almost nothing beats a brand. 6. A service is a promise, and building a brand builds a promise. 7. Invest in and religiously build, integrity. It is the heart of your brand. 8. A brand is money. 9. Give your prospects a shortcut. Give them a brand. Communicating and Selling 1. Your first competitor is indifference. 2. Say one thing. 3. After you say one thing, repeat it again and again. 4. Don't use adjectives. Use stories. 5. Attack your first weakness: the stereotype the prospect has about you. 6. Create the evidence of your service quality. Then communicate it. 7. Seeing is believing. Example: even when people know the tricks used by the grocery industry to make ripe oranges appear orange, they still are buy fruit with the most orange-looking peel exterior. Check your peel. 1. If you are selling something complex, simplify it with a metaphor. 2. You don't listen to clichés. Your clients won't either. 3. In presentations, get to the point or you will never get to the close. 4. Tell people - in a single compelling sentence - why they should buy from you instead of someone else. 5. You cannot bore someone into buying your product. 6. If you want publicity, advertise. 7. Make your service easy to buy. 8. Above all, sell hope. Nurturing and Keeping Clients 1. Watch your relationship balance sheet; assume it is worse than it is, and fix it. 2. Don't raise expectations you cannot meet. 3. To manage satisfaction, you must carefully manage your customer's expectations. 4. Keep thanking your clients. 5. Out of sight is out of mind. Unlike books Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Ram Charan, Built to Last from authors like Jim Collins and Influence by Robert Caildini; the only drawback if you are seeking to find any is that there are no statistics or no research to back what the author states. But that having been said, does not dilute the impact this book has in all its entirety. Overall Summary So the moment of truth. If you are looking for a simple yet interesting read, profound reflection and easy to understand language, this book has them all. I liked the book and I believe if the author did ever come with another book, given his reputation in my eyes, I would surely be among the many who would go and subscribe to his wisdom. Overall Rating 7 out of 10. Loy Machedo Loymachedo.com

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pablitomix Online

    This book is most interesting in the world

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alan Wang

    Customers usually can’t “sense” (see, smell, hear, touch) a service before buying, unlike a product In the future service marketing will only grow in importance as manufacturing products become commoditized so only way for product company to compete is 1) cut costs or 2) add value (which often means services - i.e. personalized Levi jeans, Amazon cloud, Apple iTunes) The core of service marketing is the service itself Most services offered in the market are really bad (putting callers on hold, Customers usually can’t “sense” (see, smell, hear, touch) a service before buying, unlike a product In the future service marketing will only grow in importance as manufacturing products become commoditized so only way for product company to compete is 1) cut costs or 2) add value (which often means services - i.e. personalized Levi jeans, Amazon cloud, Apple iTunes) The core of service marketing is the service itself Most services offered in the market are really bad (putting callers on hold, delivering later than promised) Assume your service is bad. It can’t hurt, and it will force you to improve. Often what a service provider is good isn’t actually useful for customer (architects like complex, winded buildings that aren’t actually convenient). Who is setting your standards? Your ego, your industry, or your clients? Remember that most services suck, so your “industry standards” are probably below client expectations View mistakes as opportunities to demonstrate your commitment to customer Highest level of service - surprising the customer (positively) If your marketing is bad, your clients won’t tell you. They’ll just not buy. How to know what to improve? Ask Don’t ask your clients, “what don’t you like about us?” Don’t want them to start thinking negatives and regretting their decision. Ask “how can we improve” Every act is a marketing act. Every employee is a marketing person. Many clients do not have the expertise to tell the relative quality of your service. So when you are selling a service, you are selling a relationship. Your prospects have three options: using your service, using a competitor’s service, or doing it themselves/not doing it at all. And often, it’s easiest to choose the third option. So your competitors are not only other companies, they also include your prospects themselves Make technology a key component of your marketing plan. Adapt. Study each point of contact your company has with the client/prospect. And improve each one significantly Business is like high school. It is a popularity contest. Be professional, but more importantly, be personable Execute passionately. Marginal tactics executed with passion will always beat outstanding tactics without passion. Do it now. The graveyard of business are full of planners who waited Don’t focus on being the superior choice. Be a good enough choice, then eliminate any negatives (not applicable to all industries imo) Tell the truth. Even if it hurts, it will help because you will be seen as more sincere The similar the services, the more important the differences become Sometimes to broaden your appeal, you must narrow your position. Don’t be afraid of sacrifice In your service, what is the hard stuff task? Position yourself as the expert in this task and you will naturally be seen as capable at lesser tasks One positive thing will be associated with many; don’t be afraid to focus Every service is different. If you can not discern the differences, look harder Your prospects establish your position. You can only establish your position statement. Take small steps to narrow gap between your position and position statement (customers will not believe it if you try big step) Take a position (maybe extreme or new) that repositions your competitors (as dull, uninspired, too corporate, etc) then move back toward the middle (alleviating customer’s fears) to cinch the sale A clear focus will better allow your customers and employees to spread the word, because they know what makes you special When setting price, you want about 20% of prospects to be resistant to it. Half of those would have been resistant no matter what. The other half shows you’re not lowballing yourself. If 25%+ are complaining, then consider scaling back In pricing, beware of the deadly middle. Either high price to be premium or low price to mass appeal Beware of rock bottom. No matter how low you go, your prospects can likely find a cheaper option (or do it themselves). You can be low price, but don’t adopt a low cost penny-pinching mentality Picasso principle - “$10,000?! But it only took you three minutes to draw that!” “No, it took me all my life.” Similarly: A handyman charges $2 for hammering and $98 for knowing where to hammer. Charge for knowing where Good Value is not a position. It is presupposed Monograms (like IBM) are not memorable. Give your service a distinctive name, not a monogram or generic dribble The strength of a service brand is in its integrity to fulfill the service promise. It is not artful packaging, slick advertising, or branded merchandise. Communication Say one thing. Saying many things is equivalent to saying nothing. Address your market’s first need; give it one good reason Favorite song principle - say one thing, then say it over and over again Use stories, not adjectives Attack the stereotype people have of your industry (your company doesn’t fall into it) If you think your promotional material is silly or unprofessional, it probably is. But keep in mind who is target demographic Clients don’t buy how good you are at what you do. They buy how good you are at who you are. Sometimes it’s better to understate. Say little as opposed to too much People trust what they see over what you say. Think about what image you’re presenting. If you have no visual cues then you have no place in client’s mind Get to the point or you will never get to close. Tell people in one compelling sentence why they should buy from you Be vivid in your marketing. Come up with new terms and descriptions because they arouse curiosity. Avoid cliches If you want editors to write about you, then give them something interesting. Give them a story. Not just why your services are good Talk about him, not about you Above all, sell hope Manage client satisfaction by managing expectations Keep thanking clients Make sure the client how good you did. Because by themselves, they can’t easily tell how good they have it but can easily tell when something goes wrong To sell a service you must risk yourself. You risk sounding pushy, you risk getting rejected, but it must be done to sell effectively

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jon Barr

    Takeaways: Ignore your industry's benchmarks, and copy Disney's. (p. 9) In most professional services, you are not really selling expertise - because your expertise is assumed, and because your prospect cannot intelligently evaluate your expertise anyway. Instead you are selling a relationship. (p. 42) Often, your client will face the choice of having you perform the service, or doing it themselves. Therefore, often you biggest competitors are you prospects. (p.45) The best thing you can do for a Takeaways: Ignore your industry's benchmarks, and copy Disney's. (p. 9) In most professional services, you are not really selling expertise - because your expertise is assumed, and because your prospect cannot intelligently evaluate your expertise anyway. Instead you are selling a relationship. (p. 42) Often, your client will face the choice of having you perform the service, or doing it themselves. Therefore, often you biggest competitors are you prospects. (p.45) The best thing you can do for a prospect is eliminate their fear. Offer a trial period or test project. (p.98) Beware the deadly middle. If you price in the middle, what you are saying is "We're not the best, and neither is our price, but both our service and our price are pretty good." Not a very compelling message. (p.134) Say one thing. (p. 171) After you say one thing, repeat it again and again. (p.175) Tell people - in a single compelling sentence - why they should buy from you instead of someone else. (p. 199)

  15. 5 out of 5

    LeikHong Leow

    Selling something invisible like services are very different from selling a physical product. This book illustrated from the branding, marketing and selling points of view on how a service product should be positioned and sell it in the end. A simple great reference book which i enjoy reading.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    The dust jacket calls this "the best thing ever written on the subject," and "the best book on business ever written." I agree. Don't miss it!

  17. 4 out of 5

    thioacetone

    Typical marketing book, offers a lot of useful advices but nothing spectacular.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael Thomas

    ebook: https://goo.gl/JlmRMC Goodreads: https://goo.gl/YtZ4NS ---------------------------------------------- ---Preface, Intro & Getting Started--- Services are just promises that somebody will do something. Core problem of services marketing: service quality. Services are not products, and service marketing is not product marketing. "Product" marketers typically have two choices: reduce cost or add value. Recognize the powerful influence of perceptions. Nothing works more powerfully than ebook: https://goo.gl/JlmRMC Goodreads: https://goo.gl/YtZ4NS ---------------------------------------------- ---Preface, Intro & Getting Started--- Services are just promises that somebody will do something. Core problem of services marketing: service quality. Services are not products, and service marketing is not product marketing. "Product" marketers typically have two choices: reduce cost or add value. Recognize the powerful influence of perceptions. Nothing works more powerfully than simplicity. The core of service marketing is the service itself. First, before you write an ad, rent a list, dash off a press release - fix your service! The average American this he isn't. Assume your service is bad. It can't hurt, and it will force you to improve. Remember the Butterfly Effect. Tiny cause, huge effect. To err is an opportunity. Outstanding service does not mean zero defects. Take the hit and fix the problem in a way that says, "You really matter to us, and we will get this right for you." ---------------------------------------------- ---Surviving and Research--- People won't tell you what you're doing wrong. Your prospects won't tell you. Your clients won't tell you. Sometimes, even your spouse won't tell you. So what do you do to improve your service? Ask. Even your best friends won't tell you. But they will talk about you behind your back. Have a third party do your surveys. Have you clients send their completed surveys to a third party. Have the third party assure your clients that they can leave their names out, and that their names won't be revealed. Your clients will give you far more candid answers. Your customers will appreciate it. Marketing is not a department. It IS your business. Don't open a shop unless you know how to smile. Every act is a marketing act. Make every employee a marketing person. McDonald's figured out that people weren't buying hamburgers. People were buying an experience. Find out what your clients are really buying. If you are selling a service, you're selling a relationship. Experts think that their clients are buying expertise. But most prospects for these complex services cannot evaluate expertise; they cannot tell a really good tax return, a clever motion, or a perceptive diagnosis. But they can tell if the relationship is good and if phone calls are returned. Clients are experts at knowing if they feel valued. In most professional services, you are not really selling expertise - because your expertise is assumed, and because your prospect cannot intelligently evaluate your expertise anyway. Instead, you are selling a relationship. And in most cases, that is where you need the most work. Before you try to satisfy "the client", understand and satisfy the person. In the service industry technology creates the adapter's edge. The adapters become more proficient sooner, work out the bugs, and quickly recognize the benefits of the technology. The adapters learn and turn that learning into a great competitive advantage. Make technology a key part of every marketing plan. Study every point at which your company makes contact with a prospect. What are we doing to make a phenomenal impression at every point? The competent and likable solo consultant will attract far more business than the brilliant but socially deficient expert. In large part, marketing is a popularity contest. Winning is a matter of feelings, and feelings are about personalities. Be professional, but more importantly, be personable. 18 Fallacies #1 Fallacy: You can know what's ahead. You never know. So don't assume that you should. Plan for several possible future. #2 Fallacy: You can know what you want. Accept the limitations of planning. The greatest value of the plan is the process, the thinking that went into it. Don't plan your future, plan your people. #3 Fallacy: Strategy is king. Ready, fire, aim. Lead, take a shot, listen, respond, lead again. Do anything. #4 Fallacy: Build a better mousetrap. Execute passionately. Marginal tactics executed passionately almost always will outperform brilliant tactics executed marginally. #5 Fallacy: There'll be a perfect time. Do it NOW. #6 Fallacy: Patience is a virtue. Moving organizations tend to keep moving. Dormant ones tend to run out of air and die. Not-moving begets more not-moving. Act like a shark, keep moving. #7 Fallacy: Think smart. Highly intelligent people are the world's foremost experts at squashing good ideas. Think dumb. #8 Fallacy: Fallacy of Science and data. Don't approach planning as a precise science. Planning is an imprecise art. #9 Fallacy: Focus groups Beware of focus groups, they focus only on today. Planning is about tomorrow. #10 Fallacy: Memory Beware of what you think you remember. #11 Fallacy: Experience When we infer things we tend to overgeneralize. Have a healthy distrust of what experience has taught you. #12 Fallacy: Confidence Careful to leap on any evidence that supports your opinion and ignoring all contrary evidence. We are wrong far more often that we know. Do not be overwhelmed by other people's total confidence. Beware of the overconfidence bias. #13 Fallacy: Perfection is perfection. Getting to best usually gets complicated. Will all that excellence really benefit the person for whom it is intended? Will the prospects care? Will it be worth the cost? The planning process tends to attract perfection. Don't let perfect ruin good. #14 Fallacy: Failure is failure. Any idea might fail. Start failing so you can start succeeding. #15 Fallacy: Expertise. Don't look to experts for all your answers. There are no answers, only informed opinions. #16 Fallacy: Authority. Question authority. #17 Fallacy: Common sense. Common sense will only get you so far. For inspiring results, you'll need inspiration. #18 Fallacy: Fate You gotta believe. Appeal only to a prospect's reason, and you may have no appeal at all. We tend to choose the one we hear the most about. You need to make yourself familiar to your prospects. You need to get out there. Familiarity breeds business. Spread your word however you can. Do everything possible to be the last company to present. The essential point is that you should always take advantage of this effect, with a follow-up that is as well conceived and powerful as anything in your presentation. Take advantage of the recency effect. Follow up brilliantly. People do not look to make the superior choice, they want to avoid making a bad choice. Forget looking like the superior choice. Make yourself an excellent choice. Then eliminate anything that might make you a bad choice. People do not simply form impressions. They get anchored to them. They are more apt to make first impressions as snap judgments, and then base all their later decisions on them. First impressions have never been more critical - they take hold very quickly, and they become the anchors to which you and your success are tied. Identify and polish your anchors. They remember the first and the last items but forget the middle. They were not looking for the service they wanted most but the one they feared the least. They did not choose a good experience; they chose to minimize the risk of a bad experience. Yes, build quality into your service - but make it less risky, too. Instead of asking for the business, ask for a project. One free review of their retirement plan. If it is a big account, ask for a tiny slice. The best thing you can do for a prospect is eliminate her fear. Offer a trial period or a test project. Research concluded that the criticism of a person made the praises seem more believable; and that makes the person look like a stronger candidate. Showing a person's warts actually helps. Rather than hide your weaknesses, admit them. Tell the truth. Even if it hurts, it will help. With meaningful differences to find, prospects look for signals in seemingly trivial differences: the decor of the lobby, the color of the business card, the heft of the brochure, even the smell of the salesperson's cologne. Accentuate the trivial. Fanatical Focus 1. You must position yourself in your prospect's mind. 2. Your position should be singular: one simple message. 3. Your position must set you apart from your competitors. 4. You must sacrifice. You cannot be all things to all people; you must focus on one thing. Stand for one distinctive thing that will give you a competitive advantage. To broaden your appeal, narrow your position. Say one positive thing, and you will become associated with many. Every service is different, and creating and communicating differences is central to effective marketing. In positioning, don't try to hide your small size. Make it work by stressing its advantages, such as responsiveness and individual attention. Invest in and religiously preach integrity. It is the heart of your brand. Make the service visible. Your first competitor is indifference. People cannot process two conversations at once. Say one thing. Saying many things usually communicates nothing. What makes you so different that I should do business with you? Give me one good reason why? After you say one thing, repeat it again and again. One story beats a dozen adjectives. Most nonfiction writers begin their articles with an illustrative story. Our primary form of entertainment is still the dramatic narrative- the story. Attack your first weakness: the stereotype the prospect has about you. If you think your promotional idea might seem silly or unprofessional, it is. Marketers are are wrong to emphasize superiority. You can accomplish just as much by convincing a prospect that your service is "positively good". It is far better to say too little than too much. People will trust their eyes far before they will ever trust your words Look at your business card. Your lobby. Your shoes. What do your visibles say about the invisible thing you are try to sell? Watch what you show. Potential buyers are hesitant to consider things they cannot see. So they emphasize what they can see. Watch, and perfect, the visual clues you send. Give your marketing a human face. If you're selling something complex, simplify it with a metaphor. Tell people - in a single compelling sentence - why they should buy from you instead of someone else. If you want more publicity, do more advertising. Above all, sell hope. Don't raise expectations you cannot meet. A customer's satisfaction is the gap between what the customer expects and what she gets. Few things feel more gratifying than gratitude. Send twice as many thank you notes this year. Keep thanking. Stay present. Advertising and publicity reminds clients of your service and assures them that you are around , viable and successful. Communicate your successes. Out of sight is out of mind. Say P.M. Deliver A.M.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Master Of Puppets

    A person has spent most of their life believing that reading business/marketing books is a waste of time because the ones they came in contact with were full of fluff, pep talk and the usual myriad of seemingly obvious information that everyone should already be familiar with. That person is me, and this is not that type of book. Since your time is valuable, i will not bore with an unnecessarily long review, instead i will list a few ideas mentioned within the book: (view spoiler)[ In the A person has spent most of their life believing that reading business/marketing books is a waste of time because the ones they came in contact with were full of fluff, pep talk and the usual myriad of seemingly obvious information that everyone should already be familiar with. That person is me, and this is not that type of book. Since your time is valuable, i will not bore with an unnecessarily long review, instead i will list a few ideas mentioned within the book: (view spoiler)[ ■ In the service industry, mistakes are often taken more personally because of the direct contact the service provider has with the client ■ Appeal only to the prospects reason, and you may have no appeal at all. ■ In positioning don't try to hide your small size. Make it work by by stressing it's advantages like responsiveness and individual attention. ■ In services, value is a given, and givens are not a viable competitive positions. ■ People are interested in other people, and stories are about people. Our primary form of entertainment is still the dramatic narrative - the story. Don't use adjectives, use compelling stories. ■ Brands are decision making shortcuts in a busy world. ■ Words can change, shape and even create reality. A prime example of this is the genius advertising idea by a car rental service company: "We're number two, we try harder" (hide spoiler)]

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joel Hassan

    If you want to gain a better understanding of service marketing, the book provides that. Are there better books out there on the subject? I don't know, but my guess would be yes. What the book does do is cover some ideas on a surface level, occasionally backing them up with case studies. What it doesn't do is provide depth. If you're looking for something that explores nuances, then this book will leave you disappointed. The 'planning - the 18 fallacies' part was probably the most useful and If you want to gain a better understanding of service marketing, the book provides that. Are there better books out there on the subject? I don't know, but my guess would be yes. What the book does do is cover some ideas on a surface level, occasionally backing them up with case studies. What it doesn't do is provide depth. If you're looking for something that explores nuances, then this book will leave you disappointed. The 'planning - the 18 fallacies' part was probably the most useful and generally-relevant section of the book given that we all plan and are pretty bad at it. The linking of other behavioral ideas to marketing, such as the anchoring principle and the halo effect, were also great inclusions. Plus, the advice on positioning & focus was interesting enough to keep me reading until the end. The downside to the book was that it was somewhat repetitive (as these types of books tend to be these days), and the fact that there simply wasn't much to get excited over. Don't expect paradigm-shifting ideas/action plans. All in all, I'd recommend it to anyone completely clueless about marketing just because of its brevity. It's a short read but, IMO, one that's worthwhile. I don't think you need to be a marketer/business owner to gain from it - many of the ideas are about understanding people and are thus widely-applicable.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ziyad

    The book is about service marketing and its main ideas are as follow : • Fix your service first (impress customers). • Ask for feedback from your customers (third-party preferred) and improve accordingly. • Your first level to highest level employees are your marketers invest in their trainings . • Your marketing strategy is from employees to branding; every part is included. It gave real examples on services from companies such as FedEx, American Express, Disney and McDonald's. In addition , the The book is about service marketing and its main ideas are as follow : • Fix your service first (impress customers). • Ask for feedback from your customers (third-party preferred) and improve accordingly. • Your first level to highest level employees are your marketers invest in their trainings . • Your marketing strategy is from employees to branding; every part is included. It gave real examples on services from companies such as FedEx, American Express, Disney and McDonald's. In addition , the book has also covered some concepts in marketing research , planning , pricing , communication and positioning . The book is insightful however there are concepts being repeated throughout the book. Also , the book talked about a lot of concepts and how important they are to the business , but didn't elaborate on how it can be achieved . For example , it encouraged to follow Disney's footsteps but didn't touch on how Disney achieved such a level of service quality . I would highly recommend reading this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    Even though the book is now getting a bit dated the principles are timeless when it comes to providing services. This is a must read for everyone working in a service economy business or an organization or division of one that doesn't create or sell a product. The basic premise is that services are invisible. Typically you can't judge services before you buy. Too many organizations today are struggling because their service-economy businesses continue to follow product-marketing models. Selling a Even though the book is now getting a bit dated the principles are timeless when it comes to providing services. This is a must read for everyone working in a service economy business or an organization or division of one that doesn't create or sell a product. The basic premise is that services are invisible. Typically you can't judge services before you buy. Too many organizations today are struggling because their service-economy businesses continue to follow product-marketing models. Selling a haircut or legal advice is not like selling a smartphone. When you sell a product, you are selling something that people can judge with their five senses. You can put it before them or let them try it. Then they can decide if they like it, need it, and can afford it. When you sell a service, you sell a promise. Your clients cannot immediately evaluate what you are giving them; only time and overall performance will tell.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lucia

    Selling the Invisible is one of those books that makes you think about the basic things you encounter every day and for that it is invaluable. It is very easy to read and all the interesting little stories from author's experiences make is such an enjoyable read. There are many truths behind the facade of sales and marketing that we see and yet don't register them. How do you really decide about what to buy? How do you feel about the company? Will you make an informed or intuitive decision? On a Selling the Invisible is one of those books that makes you think about the basic things you encounter every day and for that it is invaluable. It is very easy to read and all the interesting little stories from author's experiences make is such an enjoyable read. There are many truths behind the facade of sales and marketing that we see and yet don't register them. How do you really decide about what to buy? How do you feel about the company? Will you make an informed or intuitive decision? On a downside, I would say some of the points repeated over a few many times. I understand that repetition makes you register and understand, but personally I could do without. Overall a great book, if it does not make you reflect on your own or your business' strategies and decisions you have not read it properly.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Marketing advice for those with low attention spans. On the one hand, lots of business books are just a single idea repeated over and over again, and at least I wouldn't accuse this book of being one of those. On the other hand, this book had so many superficial ideas that I don't think I'll remember any of it in a few weeks. Worse, I also don't think I encountered something I hadn't heard already. I might recommend this to someone who has never read a book about marketing before and suddenly Marketing advice for those with low attention spans. On the one hand, lots of business books are just a single idea repeated over and over again, and at least I wouldn't accuse this book of being one of those. On the other hand, this book had so many superficial ideas that I don't think I'll remember any of it in a few weeks. Worse, I also don't think I encountered something I hadn't heard already. I might recommend this to someone who has never read a book about marketing before and suddenly ends up in a marketing role. But that's a pretty low bar...

  25. 4 out of 5

    Todd Dashley

    I actually read this book when it was first published in the 90s and have used it as a field training book since then. This recent purchase was for one of my client's personnel. I purchased a copy for the leaders of the firm, administrative staff, operational staff, and sales staff. They are in a very sensitive service industry and this is always the book I start with in establishing what the owner really wants his firm to be recognized as opposed to his competitors. This book along with The I actually read this book when it was first published in the 90s and have used it as a field training book since then. This recent purchase was for one of my client's personnel. I purchased a copy for the leaders of the firm, administrative staff, operational staff, and sales staff. They are in a very sensitive service industry and this is always the book I start with in establishing what the owner really wants his firm to be recognized as opposed to his competitors. This book along with The Experience Economy are musts in every owners arsenal when establishing a proper culture.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Abdulrahman

    It is an easy book to read and it has large amount of advices for service marketing. I think it is extremely useful for those who are working in services industry. I would suggest adding more real life examples to clarify some concepts to make them easier for the reader to understand and link them to the examples. I will be keeping this book for my reference and future use. Again, I highly recommend this book to anyone involved in services industry

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hung

    When I was in university, most of the marketing books were about products, not services. This is one of the good books that I would recommend, especially for startups. For new marketers, this book brings you lot of useful information. For the company owners, you will get ideas to promote your services in this digital world. For people like me, self-learning by doing business, it would very beneficial too, when it summarizes and reminds me what I might forget.

  28. 5 out of 5

    RJ Taylor

    Selling the Invisible is packed full of golden keys to relational selling. Consider it a pocket guide. If you are looking for a business/marketing/selling book that will give you tangible steps to take today, Beckwith has delivered a home run for you. Favorite quote: "The most compelling selling message you can deliver in any medium is not that you have something wonderful to sell - it is I UNDERSTAND what you need."

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jen Bruggeman

    Selling services-which can mean b2b, or end user experiences. 1. Make sure your service is the best it can be, then market it. If it's too hard to market, it's wrong. 2. Assume nothing and start at zero. 3. Ask people for feedback, but not about what they didn't like. You will make them question if their decision to purchase was a good idea and people don't like to be wrong.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Not the best business book I’ve read but there are some good tips, as evidenced by my sticky notes. The book is short little sections, not chapters, broken up by topic. A bit unusual. It wasn’t dry but it wasn’t super interesting either. Thankfully it wasn’t too long. This all sounds negative but it was more just neutral. Not excellent but not bad either.

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