(Sales) Selling Services: The Key to Success


If you try to sell your services using marketing strategies that were designed for product-based businesses, you’re gonna end up pretty disappointed with the results. This is because selling services and doing marketing for a service-based business requires a very different approach than the standard advice, strategies, and tactics that are out there. Strategies and tactics that were designed primarily for selling products and that rarely translate well over to selling services. So if you wanna get more clients, grow your business, and sell more of your services, there are three things that you need to know.

Using Finish Line Language

First, you need to use the finish line language. Get this wrong and it doesn’t matter how great your services are, how much you care, or how smart, funny, and creative any of your sales or marketing materials are, they’re just not gonna work. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of this before, I’m gonna walk you through exactly what it means and how to use it in just a minute.

Focusing on the End Result

Next, you need to nail the feature-to-benefit ratio which will make everything you say in your marketing immediately more powerful and believable and will make the whole sales process about as close to effortless and automatic as possible. Lastly, you need to be using something called a CASE funnel. This is a simple but incredibly effective sales and marketing funnel for service businesses that’s been proven to turn leads into clients, and it will allow you to replace hoping and wishing in your sales and marketing with knowing, and the confidence of being able to generate new leads, new clients, and new sales anytime you want.

Shifting Focus from Deliverables to End Results

The biggest difference between selling services and selling products is the fact that services aren’t physical items, they’re intangible and your clients can’t see them, feel them, hold them, or do anything like that ahead of time before making a purchase. Sure you could offer trials or demonstrations, or show videos and graphical representations of what it’s like, but it’s still not the same as being able to pick something up and hold it in your hands before deciding to buy it. This is why one of the biggest mistakes service business owners make when describing their services is focusing too much on the service itself and all the deliverables that go along with it rather than what is important to the client. Because the fact is when it comes to selling and marketing services, the single most important thing is the result.

The key to selling more services is to focus almost obsessively on the end result and how the client will be better off after than they are right now. There’s a quote in marketing that’s commonly attributed to Theodore Levitt that goes, “People don’t want quarter-inch drill bits. They want quarter-inch holes.” Meaning your clients and customers don’t want the thing you’re selling. They want the benefits of what that thing is going to provide. They want the end result, the outcome. But we could take this a step further, and we should because people don’t want quarter-inch holes either. So what I’m thinking here is we just fill it with as many quarter-inch holes as possible. Yeah, that’s perfect. Rather, people want to hang a picture, a shelf, a guitar, or anything else that people hang on walls. And this is where finish line language comes in which is all about highlighting the end state. The result is the outcome of whatever service that you provide. Wow, will they be better, or healthier, or stronger, or wealthier, or whatever? You see, your potential clients all have some kind of pain, problem, fear, or frustration that you could help them with. They’re all at the starting line, suffering needlessly, and in desperate need of what you have to offer, but because they can’t see, or hold, or feel your services ahead of time, you need to show them what the finish line looks like and show them how it will feel when you guide them across it victoriously, like a winner.

Examples of Finish Line Language

If you’re a coach or consultant, then you’re not offering a package of four 60-minute consultations delivered in person or over the phone. What you’re selling is better performance, health, relationships, and showing them how their lives will be better once they get this taken care of. If you’re an agency, then you’re not giving clients social media, content, or video services, you’re offering the promise of more customers, more clients, and more sales and revenue, which in turn will give them a feeling of success, and pride, and safety knowing that their business is growing and in demand. If you’re a service professional, like say a landscaper, or lawn care specialist, where you show up at someone’s house and take care of their backyard for them, well, you’re not just offering a freshly cut lawn. You’re giving them back time, freedom, and the opportunity to spend their weekends doing what they want instead of baking under the hot sun, getting hit in the face with grass clippings. A photographer? You’re capturing memories and helping preserve someone’s legacy. Childcare services? You’re offering freedom, security, and peace of mind to parents. Meal preparation services? You’re selling convenience, time, and maybe health depending on what kind of food you cook. Think you get the point.

The Feature-to-Benefit Ratio

One of the biggest sales killers in all of service marketing comes down to failing to do one simple thing. And that simple thing is failing to communicate why your potential prospect or client should care about what you’re selling. That’s it. Because if they don’t care, they’re not going to buy. And this is where so many service businesses go so wrong spending way too much time on features and not enough on benefits.

Understanding Features and Benefits

The simplest and most clear way to put it is that a feature is what something does and a benefit is what something does for you. Or to put it another way, a feature is about the service, like how long it takes, what’s included, are there any guarantees, and things like that. And the benefit is about the client and how they’re going to be better off because of the feature, like how it’ll make them cooler, safer, smarter, or better off in some way. The feature is what enables the benefit, but it’s not the feature they care about, it’s the benefit, and the result they’re going to get by engaging with the feature.

Examples of Features and Benefits

A coffee cup has a handle. That’s a feature. The benefit is that you can hold a hot cup of coffee without burning your hands. A pen has a removable cap. That’s a feature. The benefit is that you don’t write all over yourself when you’re carrying it around. A baseball has stitches. That’s a feature. The fact that these stitches help you throw it further and faster, well, that’s the benefit.

The CASE Funnel

Now let’s get a little bit more practical, tactical, and a little bit mathematical. Because it’s time to break down one of the most effective service business sales and marketing funnels of all time, the CASE funnel. Just to make sure we’re all on the same page here, in case you’re not already familiar with a marketing funnel, it’s also known as a sales funnel and it’s just a visual representation of the steps that a prospect or potential client would need to take to go from having no idea who you are, all the way through to becoming a paying client.

The CASE funnel stands for coaches and consultants, agencies, service professionals, and experts.

1. Traffic

Every marketing funnel starts with some kind of traffic. This could be a social media post, a blog, a podcast, a video, an ad, pretty much anything. The key here, though, is to drive this traffic to the next stage of the funnel, which is the opt-in page. The opt-in page exists for one simple reason, to get someone to opt-in. What you wanna do here is offer something valuable, like a free downloadable cheat sheet, or a checklist, or a blueprint, or a guide, or some kind of downloadable training. And you’re doing this in exchange for your prospect’s name and email address so you can follow up with them later.

2. Authority Amplifier

Once they enter their name and email address and hit submit, they’re immediately taken to the next stage of the funnel which is the authority amplifier. It’s here in the authority amplifier stage that you want to provide value and establish your credibility and expertise. What works best here is to provide a short training, and ideally in video form, that helps your prospect with a problem that they have. Now, you don’t have to give everything away but try to provide a quick win, and then follow it up with an invitation to apply to your services by clicking a link somewhere on the page.

3. Application

Once they click the link to apply, they’re then directed to an application form which is the next stage of the funnel. Having an application form for your services is one of the most valuable things you can do, because it not only allows you to collect valuable and relevant information on your prospect and whether or not you can help them, but it also sets the frame that you are the expert and you’re not necessarily just going to work with anyone just ’cause they have the money. You can choose to review each application manually, or most online form software will allow you to automatically redirect depending on the quality of the application and take it to the next stage.

4. Calendar Booking

Here in the calendar booking stage, you can allow your prospect to choose from one of your available times to have a quick call with you to go over their application, discuss their goals, and decide together whether or not you’re a good fit to work together. All of which of course happens in the final stage, the sales call. If everything goes well up to this point, then your prospect is going to show up to the sales call interested, and informed, and with many of their questions already answered through the help of your authority amplifier. If you’re anything like me and you don’t particularly love sales calls, you’re not a pushy person and you just want to help people, then you’re gonna love this. By setting your funnel up in this way and providing so much value and information ahead of time, when your prospect does show up on the sales call, they’ve pretty much already decided whether they want to work with you or not. So now the choice is yours of whether you wanna work with them or not. No pressure, no persuasion, no hard sell tactics required. It’s a whole lot more fun, too.


Selling services requires a different approach than selling products. By using finish line language, focusing on the result, and implementing a CASE funnel, you can effectively market your services and attract more clients. Remember to highlight the benefits of your services and communicate why your potential clients should care. By understanding the feature-to-benefit ratio, you can make your marketing more powerful and believable. The CASE funnel provides a step-by-step guide to converting leads into clients. By following these strategies, you can grow your service-based business and achieve success.

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