Summary: Marketing your services using a marketing cycle to ensure consistent sales and profits. Plus download a free online assessment to find out the reason why you are not closing enough sales.
Services, unlike products, are not tangible.
You cannot see, taste or touch them but need to experience them to derive benefit from them.
This means that some of the conventional marketing tactics do not work as well with services as they do with products.
Fortunately, marketing services is simple in that it follows a systematic cycle of turning a lead into a prospect then converting the prospect to a client.
In addition, marketing is all about repetition, therefore once you have them as a client you can put them back in the cycle as a prospect for a different service or a referral source.
This cycle consists of four stages of marketing that follow a strategic sequence which leads to a sale.
Stage 1: Filling the Pipeline.
Collect all leads, referrals or contacts you have made through your marketing activities.
Unless your business depends on sales volumes, ensure that all the leads are qualified before putting them in the pipeline to avoid investing time on uninterested people.
Stage 2: Follow Up.
Get on the phone and acknowledge the prospect’s interest.
A lot of prospects are lost at this stage as entrepreneurs fail to follow up efficiently, or not at all.
Remember that this stage is not about you or your service rather about understanding the prospect’s problem, needs and desired outcome.
Stage 3: Sales Conversation.
Introduce your solution to the prospect’s problem and establish if there is a match between the two of you.
Your goal is to present your proposal, build credibility and trust, differentiate yourself from competition and address the prospect’s objections.
This stage may take a day, week or months depending on the type of clients you work with or the value of the sale.
Stage 4: Closing the Sale.
When the sales conversation has been concluded you should be ready to ask for business and not expect the prospect to offer it to you.
The reason for taking the prospect through the different stages is to close a sale therefore it is your responsibility to move them along to a closing.
Why then do entrepreneurs find it difficult to market their services?
Our blind spot is in failing to recognise that there is in fact a cycle that one needs to follow or skipping a step in the cycle out of desperation, closing a sale prematurely, resulting in prospects being confused and walking away.
Failing to follow these stages results in
a) putting an unqualified lead into the pipeline,
b) losing a potential client as a result of not following up,
c) failed sales conversations when prospects do not feel that their objections have been addressed and
d) losing a sale because you did not ask for business.
Following these stages helps in building relationships with your prospects as you engage them about their problem, needs and desired outcome.
During this process they get to know, like and trust you as you build rapport and a reputation with them. As a result, even if the prospect does not buy, they can still be a good referral partner.
The key to successful marketing is constantly moving prospects intentionally and purposefully through the stages of the marketing cycle. This ensures a constant stream of clients and a profitable business.