Many of the practical tips for retailers also relate to businesses who provide a service. The way you greet your customer is just as important, though in a service business you can become more personal by making an effort to call your customers by name. A good memory for names and faces is a definite asset – customers feel important if you remember them from previous visits.
Learning your customer’s wants
Unlike many retail customers, customers who approach your business usually know exactly what they want. If a customer rings a plumber, he or she normally has a plumbing problem. When customers go to motor vehicle repairers they usually want their cars serviced or repaired. Clients contact food caterers because they have a catering problem.
The keyword here is problem. Customers come to service-type businesses to have their problems solved. To sell your service you will have to assure them that you understand the task required and have the ability to do the job. You want to demonstrate competence and inspire confidence.
Occasionally, customers will shop around before choosing a service business for the task at hand. This is more likely to happen when there will be an on-going relationship between the service firm and the customer, eg a caterer.
Like the retailer, you should study your customers. Even though you can more easily determine their wants, people are different in their preferred method of delivery. Some customers are always in a hurry – attend to them quickly and efficiently. Others like to chat about their problem – your ‘bedroom manner’ will win and keep their business.
Demonstrate the service
This is not as simple as it is in retail. It is difficult to demonstrate a process rather than a product. What you can do is explain the service clearly placing particular emphasis on features such as promptness and reliability.
If you can, highlight your experience in this type of work. Refer to satisfied customers – some businesses frame their thank you letters for future customers to see! Your aim is to assure the customer that a future outcome will satisfy their need.
The image of your food outlet is important. If you are selling your service on the basis of promptness and efficiency, make sure your first contact with the customer demonstrates these points. Don’t keep customers waiting without explanation, don’t let telephones go unanswered and make sure your paperwork is organized.
Closing the sale
This is just as relevant for service businesses as it is in retail. Often customers will book the service without question. Others will require the closing question, phrased slightly differently:
If customers respond with objections, review the selling points you felt influenced them most. Then ask a closing question again – and shut up. Remember, most people have difficulty in saying no. Don’t let them off the hook!
Want to know more?
Why not download copies of