How to sell your services without being pushy

Vincent Ninh
May 23, 2023
min read

You’re so good at your job that you could probably do it with your eyes closed. (You’ve just never tried 'cause you’re not a show-off).

But “selling” your services to customers is a whole other story — often an uncomfortable and unfamiliar one. You don’t want to annoy customers by being too “sales-y,” tarnishing your reputation in the process.

At the same time, you do want to land as many jobs as possible. And for that, you do need to self-promote a little. Finding this balance is a challenge for many businesses, but we’ve got some tips for you.

First, we’ll go over the mindset you need to have to promote your services without seeming like you’re trying to "sell" something. Then, we’ll provide specific tactics on how to apply this mindset to your marketing strategies and customer conversations.

Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes

Whenever you are pitching your services to customers — whether it’s through marketing or actual conversation — you want to explain how you are solving a problem or improving their lives. This is what customers care about and how they will justify spending their hard-earned money. 

Wait... That’s it? This mindset we’re talking about is just to… be mindful about your customer’s needs? “Ugh, I’m already doing that,” you’re probably thinking.

But though the concept is simple, it is a lot more challenging to execute it well and consistently. 

Too often, when promoting their services, companies focus too much on what they can do instead of how what they can do benefits the customer. It’s a subtle distinction, but an important one. Let us show you how you can apply this customer-first messaging to both your marketing campaigns and direct conversations with  customers.

Improving your marketing messaging

When it comes to marketing, the most compelling ads often focus on how a company or product can solve the customer’s needs or wants.

This principle can make any marketing strategy more effective, but matters even more when it comes to strategies designed to build organic customer relationships — such as content marketing and social media.

Let's take a look at how you can apply this principle to those two channels:

Content marketing

In the marketing world, content marketing is the poster child of “selling without selling.” The reason for that is that audiences tend to engage with content they find educational or entertaining, and tune out content that reads too much like an ad.

A tried and true strategy is to create content that educates your customers on subjects within your expertise, and to softly promote your business within that content (emphasis on “softly”). Learn more about this strategy — and much more — in our content marketing guide.

Social media

Social media is the perfect place to organically interact with your customers and show the human side of your business. Remember: when customers are scrolling through their feed, they are not looking for ads. Instead, they seek education, entertainment, and inspiration.

An effective social media strategy is to regularly publish before-and-after photos of your work. By doing that, you show prospects what they are missing out on and “selling” your services in the most organic way possible. (Btw, we’ve got a plan on how you can be successful on social media in only ~5 minutes a day.)

Promoting services during customer conversations

As we just went over, it’s essential to think from a customer's perspective when developing your marketing assets. The same is true when you’re talking to a customer in person (or over the phone) and trying to persuade them to complete a service.

To help you visualize things better, let's go over a hypothetical scenario.

In this scenario, you’re an HVAC company and it’s winter time. You’re doing a lot of furnace repairs and installs, and after each service, you want to promote your spring AC tuneups.

Now, you could advertise that it will help the AC system run more efficiently, or that it prevents needing more repairs down the line. But, to convey the value of your services even better, you need to paint a better picture of how you're improving their lives. Here are three types of value you could demonstrate:

Practical value

State a major and obvious benefit of your service. From a customer standpoint, what’s the best thing that will come out of it? Or what’s the most annoying thing they won’t have to deal with thanks to the service?

What to tell your customer (paraphrased): When unattended to, AC systems tend to break when it’s hottest outside (read: the worst time for someone not to have AC). A tuneup means this scenario is a lot less likely to play out.

Emotional value

So you’ve figured out the practical value of your service — and how to promote it. Now take it up another notch: How does your service benefit the customer on a deeper emotional level? 

What to tell your customer (paraphrased):  A more efficient AC system means they’ll breathe better — cleaner air is circulating throughout their house. Better air = healthier air = greater quality of life.

Monetary value

It’s been said many times before: Cash rules everything around us. Let customers know you can help them save money now or in the long run, and they'll be all ears.

What to tell your customer (paraphrased): A major repair is costly — a lot more costly than a yearly tuneup. Save the money for something else, like a vacation fund.

Convincing a customer to choose you

Once you’ve convinced a customer to get a service done, the next step is to ensure they choose you and not a competitor. And for that, you need to give them a good reason (or more).

What separates you from the competition? Price? Customer service? Quality of work? Warranty? Your crew is better-looking?

Figure out what's most important to your customers and use it to your advantage when talking to them, whether it be directly or via your marketing .

Here are a few marketing channels where you can differentiate yourself:

  • Google search ads: With paid search ads, your customer is already actively searching for a business like yours, so at this point they’re trying to figure out who to hire. Tell them why it should be you by mentioning your company's best attribute(s) in your ad.
  • Customer referral programs: Word-of-mouth recommendations are widely considered to be the most effective form of marketing because someone without any skin in the game is doing the talking for you — the ultimate form of organic promotion.
  • Customer reviews: In the same vein as customer referrals, customer reviews work on the principle of others spreading the word about you. Focus on building a foundation of positive reviews and you’ll boost your business’s reputation and credibility.

Financing: another way to solve customer problems

Everything we’ve mentioned in this article is centered around the importance of understanding customer needs and wants — and how to show that your business can resolve those. But once you’ve convinced them to employ your services, and it’s time to settle up, you need to keep that same mentality.

Many will be happy to pay in cash or via card, but others might prefer a more flexible payment option. How do you address this need? By offering a financing solution — such as Wisetack — and letting the customer choose how they want to pay. 

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