At Your Service

The best piece of advice I ever received on marketing services was one word from the head of an IT consulting firm, who said: “Productize.”

Products are tangible and services are intangible. Tangibles are easier to sell than intangibles. Therefore, the more you can make your service look like a product, the more tangible it will seem, and the easier it will be to sell.

If you are a consultant, don’t just sell “consulting,” which seems nebulous and open ended. Most likely, you consult on the same few problems. Package these as consulting products. For instance, one of my clients offers an IT retrospectives facilitation service, a technique used in IT project management. Instead of just offering “consulting,” which could include retrospectives or other services, he offers “IT retrospectives” as a specific product.

When you face the same problem, need or application repeatedly, you develop your own procedures for solving it. Package these as a product with both a clear title and a written description of what the service entails. This description, which you will use in email and other promotions, can be written as narrative paragraphs and/or in bullets.

Lead nurturing is an old concept with a new name. As a guideline, and this varies widely from marketer to marketer, 10 percent of the leads received will turn into sales after an initial response and perhaps a follow-up or two. By comparison, with ongoing nurturing of leads, 30 percent or more will turn into sales.

Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at or call (973) 263-0562.