Service Development

How to Sell a Service Successfully

Selling a service is pretty different from selling a product. If you’re running a service-based business, YOU are the product. That means you need to sell yourself just as much as your service and you’ll need to educate your customers on both. You probably already know this, but people buy from those they know, like, and trust. So, after you find someone who has a problem, you have to convince them that you are the right person to help them. You’ll need to educate your prospective customer and build trust.

Use your website to produce valuable and useful content that educates your prospective client. You’ll also want share some of your best ideas via email or some other type of regular communication. Assuming the potential customer wants the service you are offering and has the money to pay for it, the only thing standing in the way of making the sale is trust. They need to believe that you are going to do the thing that you say you are. Make them understand that you provide high quality services and that they will be happy with the result using testimonials, success stories, and customer reviews.

How do you prepare to start selling?

Whether you are a writer, fitness instructor, photographer, or personal chef you need to show that you are worth your customers’ time and money by showcasing your best qualities, providing real value, and delivering on your every promise. Use the guidelines below to help yourself build a plan to start selling your services.

  • Decide how you will book your service
    • Online: Through your own website’s store, external partners like apps for similar professionals, eCommerce platforms

    • Phone: Do you have business phone number? Some platforms like Google Hangouts can provide a free phone number.

    • Email: Have you created a business email that you will check regularly?

  • Implement your sales plan
  • Attract customers and teach them about your services using your marketing plan
    • Promote your business through social media ads

    • Service-based businesses often operate within a specific region, so make local SEO critical

  • Decide how much you will/can sell
    • You’ll need to know exactly how much time you have available

    • Don’t forget to block off your calendar for vacation, birthdays, doctor appointments and any unavailable time blocks

  • Implement appropriate policies
    • If  your service won't work for some people, then you should state it.

    • Do you have a 100% money back guarantee? Or better still, a free offer with no strings attached?

    • Do you have a policy for no-shows/late clients?

  • Choose a payment model - how will customers pay? All at once or in installments, or in a recurring model?
    • Deposit now, full amount later: This can secure unrecoverable costs like traveling to a client and their not showing up

    • Net balance, or all at once

    • Monthly recurring charges, or a recurring model

  • Select a method of payment for your customers to complete a sale
    • Typical options: Cash, credit card, debit card

    • Newer methods: Venmo, Paypal, other mobile payment services

  • Identify what technologies, if any, you’ll need to actually process customer payments
    • If you are collecting card payments at the time of booking, you’ll need to have a payments processor to complete credit/debit card transactions

    • If you are collecting card payments at the time of service, use hardware equipment as a payments processor

  • Plan how you will deliver your service. Create a step-by-step list of everything needed


Why is planning to sell products important?

Ideas are great, but without sales to accompany them businesses will likely fail. As you can see, there are a lot of things that go into successfully selling services. The key is taking one step at a time and not skipping steps. No matter how you decide to design your website, you cannot build it and expect for people to come rushing in to check out what you are selling. You need to take the best marketing approach that will help you spread the word about your services, online and offline, and reach out to the right customers. Only then will you be able to actually sell your services and generate revenue.

Pro Tip

Customer service is a key to success for any service-based business. Invest time defining your target audience - it will define everything about how you craft your sales pitch, who you decide to sell to and how you sell to them. Take your time and do your research to create meaningful customer personas. Look at problems from your client’s perspective, and it'll become easier to persuade potential clients of your value.