Companies that sell services often need to take a different approach than those that sell physical products. Those techniques also vary depending on whether the business is selling in person or on the internet. If your service-based business is struggling to make sales, it may be time to rethink your current methods. Here are some tips to help you improve your online and face-to-face sales figures.
Use Reviews to Boost Online Sales
When people visit your bricks-and-mortar business, odds are high that they’re already planning on purchasing your service, or at least strongly considering it. Even if they’re not sold yet, selling to someone in person is often much easier and more effective than selling online, as you can answer questions immediately, cater your pitch to the individual, and provide proof of past successes. On the internet, however, you’re often dealing with faceless consumers, leaving you little to work with.
These days, one of the best ways to gain new clients is to provide positive reviews for prospects to view. Consumers tend to trust other consumers over businesses, and that makes perfect sense. After providing a service for a client, politely let them know that reviews go a long way in helping your business. You can even incentivize them by offering a discount on their next purchase in exchange for an honest review. When interested people read positive reviews, they may be more comfortable spending their money. Buying a service carries considerably more risk than buying a product, as it’s impossible to gauge the true value of the service until its already been rendered.
Improve Your Media Content
One of the best ways for service-based businesses to attract new clients is to be transparent about what the client will receive. Excellent website and social media copy goes a long way in convincing prospects, but sometimes words just aren’t enough. Create high-quality videos and photos to showcase your services. For example, if you offer a dog-walking service, you could create a short time-lapse video showing you walking your route, petting some happy pups, and talking about your skills and experiences with animals. Not only does this give the prospect a much better idea of what to expect, it also adds a level of professionalism to your business. Add new content regularly so viewers get a well-rounded view of what exactly it is that you bring to the table.
The great thing about creating high-quality videos and photos is that you can use them in person too. They say that a picture is worth 1,000 words, and that’s especially true during a sales pitch. You can talk and talk about how your service yields incredible results, but showing a picture of those results or a video of you in action goes a long way in gaining the trust of potential clients. At the end of a pitch, if they’re still not convinced, you can direct them to your website or social media pages so they can do more research later. Populating your online outlets with professional content can turn a maybe into a definitely.
Find Your Niche
Grow your service business by standing out from your competition. One of the most effective ways to stand out is to hone a specific niche. For example, instead of offering generic catering services, you could market your business specifically for weddings, corporate events, and other upscale affairs. Whether you’re selling your service online or from a bricks-and-mortar location, someone who is looking for food for their wedding ceremony is more likely to contact you than the other local caterer who only advertises delicious food.
Once you’ve decided on a niche, you can use online tools to market to your target audience. Social media outlets make it easy to find people who appreciate the services you offer, and then you can create sponsored ads and relevant hashtags to connect with them. It may be tempting to try to reach as broad an audience as possible, but you can sell more effectively to a small-but-relevant group than a large one with a majority that doesn’t care about your service. Instead of fishing the entire ocean, choose a type of fish, and use the right bait.
Offer a Freebie
Offering a free trial of your services can be a great way to gain repeat, long-term clients. Of course, there is risk involved, as you never know when someone might be taking advantage of the freebie with no intention of returning for the paid version. Try to find a way to give them a taste of what you have to offer, while still enticing them to come back for the full package. Using the previous catering service example, you could offer the bride and groom a free meal. They’re probably not going to bother unless they’re genuinely interested, and getting the gig would definitely be worth the minor loss of money and time. Because buyers can’t examine a service and make an informed decision like they can with a physical product, it’s up to you to provide that reassurance that their money is going to be well spent.
Establish Your Brand as an Authority
It takes time, but the best way to market your service business is to simply be the best at it. That goes beyond just the act of performing the service. You should be the go-to resource when people have questions about your industry. Write blog posts, give talks, and reach out to your community. Eventually, your reputation will proceed you, and selling your service won’t be such a hurdle. Stay focused on the big picture, and remain passionate. Whether you’re selling online or off, establishing trust among other like-minded enthusiasts is the key to longevity in any industry.