It can feel tricky to find the right way to talk about services as a salesperson or a marketer, especially if you have previous experience selling physical products. If you’re new to selling in a service industry, never fear. While there are definite differences in the approach to selling services and, often a longer sales cycle, once you hit on the right message and approach, we know you’ll see success. In episode 3 of the We Talk. You Win. podcast, Dustin and Nick discuss their personal experiences with service industry sales and how it compares to roles they’ve held in the past.
In the podcast, Nick shares his insights from his sales experience selling mobile phones, a Software as a Service (SaaS) product, and selling agency services at B&Y. Throughout the conversation, Nick boils down the two main differences he’s noticed between selling products like phones and selling a service.
Difference 1: Services are more relational
Nick noticed that building a genuine relationship with prospects is critical when selling services. Many of his closed deals with B&Y originated from personal networking. When he was selling SaaS products, the focus was on hitting goal numbers: send so many emails, make so many calls, get the right number of touchpoints.
Selling services is much more personal and requires more of what might be considered “old fashioned networking.” This includes having meaningful conversations with a smaller group of more targeted prospects and going the extra mile by taking them out to lunch or talking shop over a round of golf.
Difference 2: Services have a longer sales cycle
Nick comments that when he sold software, his sales cycle typically lasted only a month, from first touchpoint to onboarding. Now, selling marketing agency services, he sometimes nurtures prospects for as long as two years. Which makes sense when you think about the different levels of decision making that are taking place.
Buying a tangible object is a quick exchange — you make a decision and then it’s done. When you’re purchasing a service, it’s a much longer transaction. At B&Y, for example, we have clients that we work with for short engagements, but often we build partnerships with brands and work closely together for many years. If you’re a marketing director, committing to a potential long-term partnership is going to take much more thought than deciding which SaaS is right for your team.
Does a strategic partnership sound like what you’ve been looking for? Let’s talk!