Stop Selling What You Do
9th July 2010
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Your customers and clients rarely buy what it is that you offer, especially if you are a service based business.  It doesn’t matter whether you are a coach, photographer or website designer – people don’t actually buy the coaching, photos or websites.


And this is why most service-based businesses fail.  The life coach who is trying hard to sell coaching sessions for working mothers gives up after 3 months of networking.


The photographer who is desperately trying to sell wedding photography at every wedding fair he goes to begins to wonder whether he made the right choice leaving his corporate job.


The website designer who offers a bargain basement offer for building a 5 page website starts to discount her fees even further as she panics about next month’s cashflow.


What do all these small business owners have in common?  They are trying to sell what it is that they do.  A common, yet costly mistake to make.


What your clients buy are the end results.  They buy the benefits and rewards to the product or service you deliver.


People don’t buy coaching – they buy the business idea or new career path they get from going through the coaching process.  


People don’t buy photos – they buy a gorgeous collection of memories, beautifully presented in leather-bound book that they just know the children they plan to have together will cherish sometime in the future.  


People don’t buy websites – they want to found on Page One of Google and have email enquiries flooding in to their inboxes.


It was Heather Gillam of FitBizTraining who inspired this article and it was her that I give credit to one of the best names given to a fitness programme I have come across.


10 days ago I was feeling rather desperate. My mummy tummy muffin-roll had gone beyond cute and cuddly as even my “fat” jeans where uncomfortably tight and the thought of getting in to a bikini on my summer hols was filling me with dread.


Then in popped an email in to my inbox from Heather Gillam.  “Would you be interested in a joining my “guaranteed drop-a-clothes-size-in-a-month bootcamp” starting in 2 weeks?”


What me – be able to guarantee to drop a dress size in a month? Absolutely yes!! 


Now, let’s go back to the context of this article.  What response do you think I would have had if Heather sent me an email on that same day and asked if I fancied joining her on a fitness programe?  I probably would have gone away and considered it.  But by packaging up her progamme as a “guaranteed drop-a-dress-size-in-a-month” programme, there was absolutely no room for any doubt on whether I should do this or not.  I even re-scheduled client appointments so I can make the twice weekly sessions.


So, how does this relate to you and your business?  Take a long hard look at what it is you are selling (and coaches – you are the worst culprits in this!).  Are you selling your service and products?  Or are you selling a dream?  A feeling?  A guaranteed result?  


Because if you are not selling a dream, a feeling or a guaranteed result, then you need to re-proposition your offer right now.  


Give your clients the results they want – and not what it is that you do!  


 © Karen Skidmore, 2010

"Karen Skidmore helps small business owners work smarter and use the right marketing tools so they can attract more of the right clients to their business. To subscribe to her free email newsletter and get access to practical advice and marketing ideas that will move your business forward, visit"  

About the Author

Nick T

Member since: 10th July 2012

I launched The Best of Richmond in 2005 and am passionate about supporting all things local. In particular, we work hard to showcase the best local businesses who give the borough its character and make...

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