Why service-based businesses struggle to articulate what’s good about them, and how to fix it.

If you follow me on LinkedIn you might know that one of my favourite places to work is the Volkswagen garage service waiting room. It’s very quiet, it’s very clean and they have great coffee.

While I’m there, working away, thinking about marketing, I often feel a sense of envy for the VW sales people who are also going about their business. Their job seems so simple compared to mine. Okay, selling cars is not easy, it’s a highly competitive business. And, okay, car sales people have a challenge building trust with buyers, thanks to the underhand tactics of a dodgy minority. But, what I envy about their job is how simple it is to sell the benefits of a car. It’s not challenging to show a potential customer a car and articulate what’s good about it.

“This VW Tiguan has ‘Park Assist’ – if you find parallel parking difficult, it can park itself!”, to quote my local VW dealer, as he showed me how the car could slickly pull up alongside a space and then, spin itself perfectly into a bay without the Austin Powers-style, 35 excruciating manoeuvres I usually have to work through. 

“Sold” I thought. Even though I still wasn’t quite sure of the price. [Readers, note, I’ve NEVER even used the Park Assist feature, and I’ve owned the car for 2 years, I must have just liked the security of potentially being able to use it in a bind].

Aaaaaanyway, my shoddy driving aside. The point is: product-based companies, like car dealerships, have a physical product that a customer can look at, feel, use or taste for themselves. Service-based companies have to work a heck of a lot harder to get prospects to understand what their service does, articulate what’s good, and then convince them that it is genuinely the thing they need to resolve their issue. 

Sometimes, as a service-provider, you get lucky – you are the only person your prospect knows that does what they need. In which case, your main task is to prove that you aren’t a total muppet, in order to get the gig. But, if you are competing against other similar service providers, how can you get potential clients to understand why they should choose you?

At The Marketing Architect, we have a ‘brilliance-extraction process’, to help our clients identify the key things that are special about what they do, and then share that with the world. 

Here’s a rough overview of the process we take our clients through, in case you want to do the same for yourself:

  1. Create a profile of the specific type of individuals or businesses you can help – your target market.
  2. Identify the problems that your target market is looking to resolve.
  3. Examine your service to work out what it is precisely about the way that you deliver it, that means it directly solves those problems.
  4. Identify what’s different about you as a service provider, and how you can prove that you are the most effective service-provider at solving those specific problems.
  5. Create a communication plan that showcases how you help and what is different about you compared to your competitors.

If you think you need help with this, in other words, you KNOW that what you offer is brilliant, but you struggle to articulate what’s good about your business, or to create web pages or content that concisely explain it to your prospects, we can help. Find out more about how we do this work by visiting our page about The Illumination Lab, this service encompasses the first 4 steps of the process above and brings total clarity so that you can start to get the message out there. Or, drop me a line to find out more, my email address is pip@marketingarchitect.co.uk

It’s so important to get this right, usually you only get one opportunity to share your brilliance – make sure it’s as easy to understand as a fancy car reversing itself into a parking space.