VOL. 129 | NO. 94 | Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Is Your Service Square?
MICHAEL GANDA | Special to The Daily News
Point blank, the easiest way to sell a product is to make something everyone wants.
Manufacturers go to great lengths testing and perfecting their products before going to market. Aligning products with what the target audience desires is called product-market fit, which means making sure the product fits a need the market wants.
Too often this concept is not translated into the service industry, leaving a gap between the service offering and the audience demand. As a result, marketing and sales are more difficult.
Successful marketing starts with creating a service people will want and can be easily differentiated from competitors’ services.
It can difficult to tell if a service is out of alignment with the market. Sometimes it shows up in stagnant sales figures or below-average closing rates. These aspects, along with other telltale signs, are often hard to directly tie to misalignment.
So, here are two easy questions a company can ask to tell if their service is in alignment with their target market.
Are potential clients falling out of the sales cycle?
Every consumer has set expectations leading into a potential purchase or hire. Your outside advertising may have succeeded in getting the lead in the door, but if the subsequent messaging and delivery does not address their expectations you will most likely lose the sale.
Successful advertising ends in sales, period.
It is important to establish an early marketing process for identifying expectations and developing a sales system that is flexible enough to address these concerns in an effective manner. This process and messaging should then be extended out to your advertising and public-facing channels, such as your company website and promotions.
Do potential clients ask questions you are not prepared to answer?
I’m not referring to having a prepared statement that deflects the question. I mean, does your company have a process or operational response for the question? If you constantly find your company deflecting questions or diverting them back to your comfortable sales process, you are most likely missing an important aspect and may have a service that is out of alignment with client demands.
If you find yourself saying phrases like “we don’t focus on that …” or “others may do that but we …” during your sales process, then your company may want to evaluate how to better align your service with the market.
Achieving proper service-market fit can be challenging, but in the end your sales process will move more consistently and offer more results. Usually once a company realizes their service is out of alignment, it is a matter of making a few adjustments to achieve service-market success.
Michael Ganda is partner of strategic influence who specializes in brand development at Paradigm Marketing & Creative.