«Selling the invisible» Harry Beckwith. Book №1 in services marketing (extended abstract) or How to sell the service?

I received this book as a gift to the finalists of the 10th All-Ukrainian Uniolimpiad 2013, which was held at PJSC “Ukrsotsbank”, UniCredit Bank ™. That was a present from head of the jury, Board Member, Finance Director of PJSC “UniCredit Bank” Vladislav Rashkovan. And everyone received the task with every book – to write extended abstracts and share it with others. So the effect would be like all of us have read 12 different books. So invisible and how to sell it :)



you can`t see it, so how can you sell it?..

Our feelings don’t tell us anything about the service. Very seldom the service has a specific price. To understand, when the service fails is much more difficult than when the goods fail: “Did the consultant give you good advice in crediting or not?.” Buying services, we have no guarantee – only increasing uncertainty. Obtained services are people with whom we met or spoke. And when a person does not fulfill promises, we take it personally. This book is kind of instruction how to think. Because when you think like a successful services seller – seeking a deeper understanding of the services and their potential customers – You can find and create dozens of ways to make your business successful!

Selling The Invisible

1. “The most important in services marketing is the service, and this is the first rule of services marketing “- says the author. Marketing will not help the worthless Think about the cases of high quality service. How much money have you left there ? How many people have you told about the quality of these services? Think about the cases of high quality service. How much money have you left there? How many people have you told about the quality of these services? How much money have they left there?You have to accept the fact that your market has already leaders (Apple, McDonald’s or Federal Express), forget about excuses, that you can not provide quality + speed + price (McDonald’s provides sales fries of high quality at 50 seconds and 80 cents) reject your own “ego” in the execution of orders (many architects adore facilities that are completely uncomfortable to those who will work there. But buildings are nice and high quality. performed and qualitatively.) to correct your mistakes (not to excuse or shift the blame on others, but to challenge yourself and to show the client how important it is for you – a big mistake opens to you great opportunities) think different (often such a plan sounds at the meeting: “let’s make this year everything 15% better than last year.” The problem is that there is a company that will do the same for 50%, 78%, 111% better than you. Stop thinking how to do something better. Think how to make it different.), start from scratch each time (marketers always ask themselves, “Well, how will we sell it ?” instead of asking themselves each time, “Is this product still competitive?Does the world need it today?)

Understand that only the first stage of the development of the industry is determined by the product – the companies offer its customers the acceptable product. In the second stage there are competitors, it is determined by the market – companies provide a desired product. Few companies reach the third stage – the customers do not have enough imagination for the new ideas, the company should make an unexpected move to surprise the customer. The author advises: “Create the possible service, do not stop on what the market demands. Create something that will charm it!”

2. When a company believes that sales and marketing are the problems only of the sales and marketing department, it will for sure suffer serious losses. Harry Beckwith notes, “Marketing is not a department. This is all your business. Harry Beckwith claims, “Marketing – is not a department. This is – all your business.” If it is hard to you to see the complete picture of your business – ask for assistance. Remember that your company growth opportunities often lie beyond the description of the business that you are involved in at the moment. Your true competitor is often on the other side of the counter, because your customer has three choices: use your services, do it himself or do nothing at all. Thus, you often do not compete with other companies , but with your own consumer. Customers can not say how well their tax rate is calculated, how well the contract is made or a disease is diagnosed. But they can appreciate a good attitude towards themselves and timely responses to phone calls. They are the real experts in the recognition of self-worth in the eyes of the servicing company. Examine each point of contact with potential customers: your secretary, business card, office, store, booklet, presentation, your publicity – that influences whether you get the order. In marketing and sales of services legitimate reasons only give you the opportunity to join a game while victory in the market is won by sentiments and feelings related to the appeal.

3. Always plan on the basis of several possible futures. Remember: planning is very limited, its main value is the process of research and discussion, don’t plan the future, but plan the people who will determine it – they will not follow the plan, but will take the right decision in changing situations. Bring your decisions with enthusiasm: insignificant tactical measures implemented with enthusiasm, are usually more effective than the brilliant tactical decisions made ​​in negligently. A good idea today is almost always better than a brilliant idea tomorrow: one who doubts too much, loses.

Don’t stay at the same place – always move. When people say they are for 100% sure in their opinion, they are only right for 85%. In most companies of the service sector the 15% mistake is critical. Deal with it. Head of the advertising agency Chiat Day Jay Chiat has always in his pocket reminder note in any discussion or debate, “Perhaps he is right.”

Perfectionism is the enemy of all good. How much time, resources, victims of speed will you need to achieve perfection? And does your client want this? If your plan is already good, don’t let it ruin by a perfectionist! Do not look for the expert answers to the question, everything you will get is a point of view of one person, even with significant experience and knowledge. Each situation is unique.


4. Referring only to the mind of the customer, you risk not to attract his attention. The best thing you can do for potential customers – to calm their fears. Suggest to set a trial period or test to perform the task. Do your services better, but try to make them not look risky.

5. What is the biggest challenge in your business? Position yourself as an  expert in solving this problem, and the logic of movement “from complex to simple” will play into your hands. Name one positive feature of your company and the people will ascribe you by the association: “We are the second, so it’s important to us to please our customers” – repeat ads of rolled car service Avis. Potential customers believed them and sales skyrocketed. Satisfy the most important market need: give him only one worthy cause.

6. Forming price, don’t define it in hours, spent on the order, but in the years, gained knowledge and experience. “Battering a nail – $2, knowing where it to batter – $43.”

7. Brand is the easiest, fastest and cheapest way of selling the services. It is dangerous to underestimate what weight your brand has. To create a new one is very difficult.

8. Don’t awaken the customer expectations that you can not satisfy. Few clients understand how lucky they are with you, but they immediately notice when something goes wrong.

Finally, the book is valuable because it gives practical advice on marketing services that can be actually used in various fields of business and in your life in general. And examples of positioning yourself, original solutions to difficult situations by international companies and small enterprises inspire you and expand your outlook. Therefore, regardless of the field you are working in, I recommend to read the book “Selling the invisible” by Harry Beckwith.

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Мар'яна Щегельська

Mariana Shchehelska (Kucheruk)

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