You have an invisible business! What you sell is not tangible. You can’t drive it home, wear it, sleep on it or consume it. As a coach you are in the Service Industry. The service industry has many unique attributes that differentiate it from the product industry.

There are both positive and negative differentiators to a service industry. How you optimise the positives and mitigate the negatives impacts on the effectiveness and success of your business. And it impacts dramatically.

This article will provide you with some strategies to optimise your services in order to stand out from your competitors. The strategies will include: information products; establishing your credibility; Post Purchase Reassurance and; low delivery costs.

Information Products

Information products are a very powerful tool. They can be used in many leveraged ways. In the context of this module, information products are one of your best means to build trust, rapport and credibility.

They are one of the best mechanisms to overcome low credibility and high perceived risk in the early stages of your client relationship. They can be used as a very low barrier to entry device to allow clients to ‘test drive’ your service.

In the initial stages of your relationship with your prospect there is a significant Credibility Gap. This the gap that exists between the level of credibility you need to sell your prospects into your higher priced service, and the actual credibility you have with them. Information Products allow you to demonstrate to prospects the value you can provide them.

For example, let’s say your core product is a 6 month, $500 per month ($3,000) 1-to-1 coaching program. This may initially pose a significant barrier to your prospects.

To bridge the Credibility Gap and promote your service, you speak at an Association meeting for your niche (Information Product 1). Due to time constraints, you’re allocated 30-minutes.

Whilst your content may be compelling, it’s most likely the 30-minutes of content will not be enough to bridge the Credibility Gap. But you came prepared.

At the seminar you used a Green Sheet technique (Information Product 2). At a critical point in your speech you channel people’s attention to a green A4 page containing incredibly important information.

You say something like: “If you’d like more information on this, I have a free resource guide that I can send you.” Hold up the green sheet and continue: “If you want a free copy, just write “GS” for “green sheet” on your business card and hand it to me after the presentation.”

When you do this, you’ll be swarmed by prospects eager for more information. In return you capture their names, addresses and emails. By giving more information you bridge the Credibility Gap a little more. And now you have their contacts, you can continue to nurture them (Information Product 3, 4, 5) until your credibility reaches the point they are willing to invest in your higher priced services.

This example is just one of an infinite combination you could use.

Establish Your Credibility

As a service professional it’s crucial you establish your credibility. Most product businesses establish their credibility through their brand. For instance, Nike has immediate credibility. As does Porsche. You know what you’ll get for your money.

These brands have so much credibility it becomes a shortcut to decision making. Their brands have so much credibility that prospects do not need to consciously consider or validate the value of the proposition.

But as a service professional, do you have the same? Anthony Robbins does. Jay Abraham does. As do many others. What are you doing to establish your credibility?

Post Purchase Reassurance

You must have a system in place to reinforce your clients buying decision. Once your client has overcome the mental hurdle to commit to buying your service they are immediately seeking validation of their choice.

In a service business your client has no tangible product to look to as validation. You must therefore nurture them, particularly in the honeymoon stage. This will improve your client relationships, make your client feel positive about their choice, and also improve referral.

Low Delivery Costs

A significant benefit for service businesses is their shorter development timelines, lower development and delivery costs and higher profit margins. If you use these attributes to your advantage you can gain considerable upside advantage.

These features allow you to create multiple services to utilise in your sales process and sales funnel. You can create services with very low perceived risk as incentives into the top of your funnel, then incrementally more valuable services to sell as you demonstrate and increase your credibility. You can offer services as value-adds to your sales proposition in place of discounting.

As you have much greater net margin, your risk of loss on returns is significantly lesser. As such an extremely powerful psychological tool to use as a conversion inducement is a risk-reversal or guarantee.

You remove the risk to your prospect of losing their money but giving them a fully refundable guarantee. In this way, the risk is reversed from your client to yourself.