Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Selling Products VS Selling Services - What is the Difference?

Have you ever wondered what the difference is in selling products vs selling services on the internet? There are more differences than you realize. Even though this is probably common sense I really hadn’t articulated it to myself until I decided to write this article. I think I may diversify!!

Key Differences in Selling Products

When someone comes to your online store, they decide what to buy and are able to make a selection and order the item(s). You do not have any physical interaction with the buyer except under unusual circumstances. Your only concern is bringing them back for a second order.

The sale is finished once the order is processed, and the item shipped out. Proof of satisfaction is immediate – good product happy customer.

You don’t have to qualify a prospect or worry about payments – they either have the money to buy the item, or they don’t. The prices of the items are what they are, unless you are trying to entice the buyer by having a sale or special – there is no haggling – just straight-forward sales.

Because your primary goal is the sale of the items you do not have to worry if the prospect will become “a difficult” person to deal with.

When selling tangible products you know the cost of the item you are selling, you know the margin of profit you need to make money. Customers are buying an off-the-shelf item that is mass-produced and not tailored to specific needs.

In online shopping cart sales, the best way to move your product (besides getting visitors to your website) is through volume discounts – and pricing specials.

Key Differences in Selling Services

Services are usually sold by the person who will actually render the service. The service provider must build a personal relationship with the buyer, and must be able to connect with the client and have “good chemistry” otherwise the relationship will fail.

Getting a signed contract is just the first step. Clients must be sold and resold throughout the project. Having good communications skills and being able to present to a client is crucial.

Satisfaction is subjective – this is why service sellers must be sure and screen prospective buyers. Select only those prospects that seem a “good fit” with the seller’s personality and type of service.

A service provider should not pursue the sale of a “difficult” prospect. Why? Simply put, because he/she is also the one that will have to deal with this person while rendering the service.

The service business is very labor intensive. Having to calculate the estimated time and being accurate is something that can make or break the business providing the service.

Some service providers view visits and preparations of bid and proposals consulting work and do charge accordingly. Talking from experience it does take a great deal of time and effort to find out what the client wants and to come up with a written contract.

I personally do the initial consultation for free…

Clients view the service provider as a “consultant” or expert and their image of the service provider dependent largely on how well the business person performs in the initial meeting.

The customer is buying and expects to get a service that is tailored to their needs and sometimes highly customized. If you are not a people person than you are at a disadvantage and online sales may be better for you than selling a service.

Similarities between Service Sales and Product Sales

Not matter what type of website you own or are thinking to put up there is always the need to have interested visitors come by.

Having a professional, well thought out website is imperative so people know that you are a thriving professional business.

Similar search engine optimization and other internet marketing strategies are needed. Everything from having great keywords in your copy to making sure the titles on your page reflects different and important keyword associated with each individual page.

You need to build a data-base of people who have come by and showed interest in your website.

How do you do this?

By using an auto-responder to build a client list, providing something of value to a visitor (and I mean real value) is the only way you will be able to get someone to sign up.

The item can be information on how to do xyz, special coupons or anything you know your visitor will like, it is really up to you.

This applies to everyone who is striving to be successful.

Another really important piece of the puzzle is making sure the marketing materials and copy on your website solves a problem for your visitors.

People don't really buy products and services. They buy what the products or services can do for them. In both service businesses and product sales, people buy solutions to their problems. Realizing and grasping this concept will explode your business exponentially when used in your marketing process.

The problem can be an easy one to solve, or it can be a major problem the bottom-line?

'Marketing is helping people get what they want.'

Here is a simple two-step marketing solution to promoting products and services: Step 1: Attract people who are seeking the solution your product or service provides, capturing their contact information through use of an online auto-responder. These captures are your prospects. Using campaigns that are automated saves you time and time is money… Step 2: Follow up consistently with your list of prospects providing them with information that will be helpful to them, and information about how your product or service will help them solve their particular problem, giving them special discounts for being a part of your opt-in subscribers.

The first step helps you attract as many opportunities as possible, and the second step helps you convert leads into clients.

I know you are constantly barraged with razzel dazzle concepts and claims that you will make huge amounts of money overnight. Those that say you can do it overnight – do not know what they are talking about.

Remember if promises sound to good to be true –they are, and you are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.

Having a thriving business takes a lot of work. It really comes down to making a decision. What do you feel passionate about, what do you want to do?

The 3 simple things that a start up business will need to concentrate on are: Learning the ropes, find the right team of professionals to help build your business, and a lot of hard work…

However, once you get it off the ground. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing what you have dreamed about come to fruition…

If you need a consultant, project manager or website created call me lets talk - the initial consultation if FREE

Pamela Jacob - Artista Design