The non-salesy guide to selling a service

Sell without feeling like a salesman

What image do you conjure up when you think of someone trying to sell you something?  Is it the over enthusiastic sales assistant who pounces on you the moment you step through the shop door?

You know the type I mean.  The type of chap who’s memorised all the latest “must have” offers for the month, will follow you around the store and won’t let you leave you until you’ve bought something.  Anything!

Is it the door to door salesman with the gift of the gab AND his foot wedged in your front door?

Or is it someone like dodgy Del Boy from “Only Fools and Horses”, who’d sell you 2 for the price of 3 if he could get away with it!

Does the idea of selling have such negative connotations for you personally, that you feel uncomfortable doing it?

In which case, could that be having an adverse effect on your business?  After all, if you’re not selling effectively, you’re not getting the clients nor the profits that you deserve.


The challenge of selling a service

It’s so much easier to sell something tangible isn’t it?  Something that you can feel, hold in your hands, look at, show to someone else – at least they can see what they’re buying.

The challenge of selling a service is that it doesn’t seem tangible.  You’re selling your expertise, in other words, you – and it’s difficult to think of yourself as something you can sell.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could figuratively carve off appropriately labelled chunks of yourself, and sell those instead!

Well you can!

The trick is to learn how to turn your expertise into easily identifiable products or packages.  Once you’ve done that, you can decide how best to sell them.

Or if you really hate the word sell, think of the word offer instead (with a price tag)!


Create service packages

Have you ever decided to treat the kids to a pizza and when you’re ordering your meal, the assistant asks if you want to “go large”?  They always do!  And the price to upgrade is often so slight, it almost seems daft NOT to go large.  It’s such a clever ploy, I’d hazard a guess that almost everyone does!

I’m not suggesting you need a ploy to get your clients to upgrade.  But you should always offer them a variety of services so that they can upgrade if they want to.

You do this by identifying the varying needs of your clients and then package different products to cater for those needs.

An example of this might be offering starter to more comprehensive types of packages, or the classic bronze, silver, gold, where each package offers something slightly more than the previous one.

Whatever you choose to call your packages is up to you.  What’s important is that you identify the varying degrees of services that your clients might need, and cater for them accordingly.

You could do this by asking yourself the following:

  • What are your clients’ needs?
  • Are there different segments you need to cater for?  For example, a package for start-ups will differ to a package for growing businesses.
  • What are your clients priorities?  This might be a standard service versus an urgent or overnight one.  Or might some need ongoing support?
  • What’s the competition (not) offering, and what can you offer to add greater value?

Not only will asking these sorts of questions help you to cater for their varying needs, it will help you to appeal to different budgets too.

Incidentally, if you’re not entirely sure what type of packages to create, don’t be afraid to ask.  Asking your clients how they would like you to better serve them is singularly the best way to create new products for them.


Turn your service into identifiable products

Whatever service you provide, there’s the practical aspect of doing the job itself and then there’s the theory, the knowledge you need to do that job.

So let’s take freelance writing as an example.  You could simply focus on providing the writing itself.  And that’s fair enough.  It’s enjoyable, it pays and your clients love you!

But you could also turn your knowledge of how to write into a product. Many products in fact.

Suppose you sat yourself down and decided you could come up with 1001 tips on how to write great web content.  How could you package those tips into identifiable products?  Here are just a few off the top of my head:

  • Tip Sheets/Worksheets/Guides
  • Print books
  • eBooks
  • Courses
  • Webinars
  • Consulting
  • Mentoring/Coaching
  • Speaking Engagements
  • Mastermind Groups
  • Local workshops

I’m sure there are many more, but you get the point. You have your core service of providing a writing service, but you also have other products that you an offer alongside it


So take a closer look at the service you provide and see if you can either create service packages, package your expertise into identifiable products, or better still, both!

When you use this approach to offering a fantastic range of products to your clients, the many possibilities opened up to you become quite exciting.

Selling doesn’t seem quite so daunting now, does it!




I’m Mary Cummings, a ghostwriter, collaborator and all round word doctor. I help business owners write and publish business books; I'm also passionate about helping creative freelancers find work that they love - their work sweet spot with work on their terms, projects they love and clients who are a dream to work for.

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