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Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing Hardcover – March 1, 1997
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The transformation from a manufacturing-based economy to one that's all about service has been well documented. Today it's estimated that nearly 75 percent of Americans work in the service sector. Instead of producing tangibles--automobiles, clothes, and tools--more and more of us are in the business of providing intangibles--health care, entertainment, tourism, legal services, and so on. However, according to Harry Beckwith, most of these intangibles are still being marketed like products were 20 years ago.
In Selling the Invisible, Beckwith argues that what consumers are primarily interested in today are not features, but relationships. Even companies who think that they sell only tangible products should rethink their approach to product development and marketing and sales. For example, when a customer buys a Saturn automobile, what they're really buying is not the car, but the way that Saturn does business. Beckwith provides an excellent forum for thinking differently about the nature of services and how they can be effectively marketed. If you're at all involved in marketing or sales, then Selling the Invisible is definitely worth a look.
From Library Journal
"Don't sell the steak. Sell the sizzle." In today's service business, author Beckwith suggests this old marketing adage is likely to guarantee failure. In this timely addition to the management genre, Beckwith summarizes key points about selling services learned from experience with his own advertising and marketing firm and when he worked with Fortune 500 companies. The focus here is on the core of service marketing: improving the service, which no amount of clever marketing can make up for if not accomplished. Other key concepts emphasize listening to the customer, selling the long-term relationship, identifying what a business is really selling, recognizing clues about a business that may be conveyed to customers, focusing on the single most important message about the business, and other practical strategies relevant to any service business. Actor Jeffrey Jones's narration professionally conveys these excellent ideas appropriate for public libraries.?Dale Farris, Groves, Tex.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Learn to leverage the less obvious points of selling by finding your customers' true needs and closing the gaps providing effective solutions to their issues.
Easy read and widely-applicable.
It is actually a huge collection of essays on marketing. They are short, well written and very insightful. It would be difficult not to pick up 10 to 15 things that you could do immediately to improve your marketing.
The book was written in 1997, so some specific companies he talks about have changed dramatically. However the principles have not changed. These principles will still be valid 50 years from now.
One thing that most service providers have trouble with is pricing their services. They are afraid to charge too much. Beckwith does a great job of explaining why you cannot compete on price.
He tells a little story about Picasso. He was sketching at a sidewalk cafe in Paris when a woman strolling along the street saw him and asked if he would do a sketch of her. He obliged and when finished, she asked how much she owed him. Five thousand francs was the reply. She protested that it had only taken three minutes. Picasso corrected her by saying, "No. It took me all my life." When you are selling services you are not selling your time but your experience. A lesson most in the service business really do not understand.
The book is a pleasure to read.
The author talks about the Fallacy of Planning in a business setting. He ranks plans in this order:
1. Very Good
Why is Good ahead of Best? Simple, to arrive at Best takes orders of magnitude more planning than Good. Also, who defines Best? How much time is spent creating the Best plan? Will Best stand the test of time? Can everyone agree on Best? Would Good work just as well as Best in the real world? Is Best satisfying the client's need better than a Good plan?
Choosing the "Best" plan leads to Paralysis by Analysis. Good plans allow for quick action and constant improvement. The most successful people in the world have acted on Good plans that they have refined over time. An actionable plan is more successful than a plan that never leaves the drawing board!
Personally, I've fallen into the Best trap many times. There is no such thing as a "Best" plan. Going forward the "Best" plan will be the "Good" plan that I can put into action and refine over time!
A lightbulb went off in my head when I got this concept. Thank you Harry for this valuable lesson.