Many service professionals and service-based business owners go into business for themselves because they are fed up with working for someone else or they want a more flexible lifestyle.
They are usually very knowledgeable about their service, but don’t understand that, first and foremost, they need to be salespeople. If you do not learn to talk up your business, you risk stagnating or closing shop. Talking up your business isn’t as hard as it sounds, as we’ll see shortly…
You need to believe in your business and the value you deliver to your customers. This is what keeps you motivated. Otherwise the lure of the salary will win. You must learn to sell your services.
The key to selling services is to sell yourself first, then transfer your feeling to your customers and prospects. If you’re convinced deep down that your services will make a difference in the life of your customer or client, talking up your business becomes easy.
The other side to this is to put a magical blend of love and brightness into every aspect of your work. This is “selling without selling” and it creates a magnetic attraction around your business. Others will be mysteriously drawn to you and after doing business with you they will want to come back again and again to do even more business with you.
When you can pull this off, this makes it an enjoyable wonderful experience for people to give you their money.
And like we saw in marketing by attraction, customers start seeking you out, and giving you referrals. We’ll see how you can do that shortly…
In his book, Secrets of Closing the Sale, Zig Ziglar tells the story of one of his associates, Bill, who was a salesman selling cookware sets. This story highlights what Zig Ziglar means when he says that “selling is the transference of feeling”.
Bill was “starving to death” according to Zig Ziglar. Bill had been selling cooking pots for five years but hadn’t bought any himself because there was always a more pressing use for his money. So when his prospects said they didn’t think it was the right time to buy, Bill sympathized.
After a while Bill realized the impact on his sales of not having any of the cookware. He bought a set of pots. The additional sales he made the following week paid for his pots.
So, why do you think Bill was able to sell more pots the following week? Having experienced the benefits first-hand that the cookware made in his own life, he could very easily transfer the enthusiasm he felt in believing that this cookware set would make his customers’ lives better!
Every Service Professional MUST be in the Relationship Business
Many service professionals starting up in business make the mistake of thinking that customers will buy their services simply because they’re very good at what they do; that the customer is buying their expertise, or the quality of the service.
Nothing could be further from the truth! In Selling the Invisible, Harry Beckwith argues that services customers don’t buy into your expertise, they buy into your relationship skills – that service marketing is a popularity contest!
“Most [service professionals] think their clients are buying expertise. Most of your prospects cannot evaluate your expertise. They can't identify a good tax return or a great diagnosis. They can tell if the relationship is good. Clients know if they feel valued. Your professional expertise is assumed – you’re selling a relationship. Before you try to satisfy ‘the client,’ understand and satisfy the person.”
A simple way to build great relationships with your customers/clients is to leverage the Law of Reciprocation – by infusing your service delivery with love and brightness. We’ll see how to do it shortly but first, let’s see how the law of reciprocation works…
The law of reciprocation (or reciprocity) says that “first you must give, then you’ll receive”. Joe Vitale, in The Greatest Money-Making Secret in History, says that this law is, well, the greatest money-making secret!
“One of the most powerful engines behind giving is the Law of Reciprocity. It’s human nature to want to give back when you receive something for free… It seems paradoxical, but if you give without any expectation, you’ll receive MORE because you never did expect anything in return.” ~ Joe Vitale
How to Leverage the Law of Reciprocity to Boost Service Sales
Tim Ferris in his book Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines and Habits of Billionaires, Icons and World-Class Performers says that the one thing that most of these people he interviewed had in common was that “More than 80% of the interviewees have some form of daily mindfulness or meditation practice.”
According to Tim Ferriss, this is “a ‘meta-skill’ that improves everything else.”
And if Tim Ferriss is that enthusiastic about something you better sit up and listen! You should read about how he became the first American, no, the first non-Chinese to win the national Chinese kickboxing (Sanshou) championship.
He’s someone who thrives on finding shortcuts and loopholes. He didn’t win by being good – far from it. He won by reading the rules and finding some loopholes that enabled him to win all his fights by technical knockout – and quite quickly. One of his other books (where he recounts winning the Sanshou gold medal) is The 4-Hour Work Week.
This daily ritual below that we recommend for any business owner is something along those lines of the meta-skill…
When you start your workday, take a moment and visualize yourself, your product, your business, your advertising, your communications, everything being surrounded in your most loving, caring, warm, nurturing light.
Say a little prayer that you want to truly give of your heart and soul on this day. Ask that the people who need your gift be shown the way to you so that you can bless them with your love and talents.
Remind yourself that you are going to lovingly fulfill someone's unmet needs and they will gladly pay you for having done so. Send that joyful intention out to lead you throughout your workday. Let love magnetize your work throughout every stage, from creation to sales.
Don’t dismiss this simple ritual before you try it out! We’re not doing this exercise so that our customers love us back… by the law of reciprocation, this loving we’re giving out will come back to us via some other routes – the law never fails, so the “Universe” will reward you in some way.
Maybe you start loving what you do lots more. When that happens, your customers will get more from your services, through a transference of feeling. When they’re getting more from your services, they’re happy to give you referrals.
Just do it and have faith that the loving and brightness you’re infusing into your work and transferring to your customers/clients will come back to you in some form that grows your business and helps you to realize your dreams to be financially independent, emotionally and socially fulfilled, and happy.
Tim Ferriss who we saw above teaches something similar, in Tools of Titans, what he has called the “loving-kindness” ritual, or exercise.
“…In many of my public talks, I guide a very simple 10-second exercise. I tell the audience members to each identify two human beings in the room and just think, “I wish for this person to be happy, and I wish for that person to be happy.” That is it. I remind them to not do or say anything, just think – this is an entirely thinking exercise.
“The entire exercise is just 10 seconds’ worth of thinking. Everybody emerges from this exercise smiling, happier than 10 seconds before. This is the joy of loving-kindness. It turns out that being on the giving end of a kind thought is rewarding in and of itself.
“All other things being equal, to increase your happiness, all you have to do is randomly wish for somebody else to be happy. That is all. It basically takes no time and no effort.”
That’s the law of reciprocity at work. Don’t underestimate its power!
Talk up your Business and Ask for Referrals When the Opportunity Comes your Way
For many service businesses, repeat sales and referrals are the best way of building your business. But most service professionals do not actively seek referrals, saying it seems pushy or that it makes them look desperate for business. The thing is though, that if you make asking for referrals part of your normal business practice, that stigma quickly vanishes.
You need to understand that giving referrals is something we’re all hard-wired to want to do. Almost everybody likes to recommend good products and services to their friends and colleagues, so if you truly deliver good services, you’re actually doing your customers a favor by asking them to give you referrals.
They may already have considered doing it, but people have their own problems, so maybe someone thought about it but then life intervened. Ask them and remind them if needed! And here’s a good way to do just that…
Business success tip… Always make it a point to listen to your resistance. It has meaning. When you resist something – say marketing, or asking for referrals – your resistance means something. Don't just assume that you're a lazy so-and-so and give yourself a lot of negative labels.
Instead, take a pen and a piece of paper, find a quiet spot, and ask yourself these questions below:
- Why aren't I (doing whatever it is that you're resisting)?
- What am I afraid of?
- What do I really want?
- What should I do next?
You will get answers. Then get to work and fix the cracks, fix your attitudes, or build your capacity, get the skills you lack – whatever.
Stay in Touch With Existing Customers and with Your Prospects
Here’s the thing… even if your business has a good relationship with your customers, you risk losing them if you drop out of sight for too long. A busy customer may well accept a new deal from a competitor, or perhaps he’s just one of those Butterfly Customers we saw in another post!
A simple technique to boost repeat sales and customer retention is to make contact with customers and prospects at least once every few weeks – some businesses do it more often than that! Customers actually love it when they hear from you, especially when you’ve been consistent in reaching out to them to keep the relationship alive.
Email makes this easy today, but that’s not the only way to reach out. You could also use the phone, or postcards or a thank you note, or you can reach them through their social media accounts.
Finally, remember that whatever sales methods you use, the key to successful service sales and customer retention is being persistent and consistent. It pays off big time.
If you’re doing a good job delivering your services, chances are you’ll be getting a few referrals already. Now get very good at converting these referrals into fans of your business. We show you how to do this, how to “clone” your best customers, in How to Convert Referrals into Buyers & Fans of Your Services Business.
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