Book of the Week: Selling the Invisible3 min read

Selling the Invisible

The field guide to modern marketing

Harry Beckwith – 1997

Selling the Invisible begins with the core of service marketing which is the actual service itself. The book suggests how to learn what we must improve, with examples of what works. It covers service marketing fundamentals; defining what business you really are in and what people really are buying, positioning your service, understanding customers buying behaviour and ways of communicating.

Selling the Invisible is a field guide to modern marketing – in the words of Beckwith a “how-to-think-about book”, not necessarily a “how-to” book, “because if you think like these new marketers – if you think more broadly and deeply about services and their prospects – you will figure out dozens of better ways to grow your business”. Having this understanding gives you a clearer reality of how your service makes marketing easier, cheaper, and more profitable.

As this book describes how marketing is more than a way of doing; it is a way of thinking. It begins with an understanding of the distinctive characteristics of services – their invisibility and intangibility – and of the unique nature of service prospects and users – their fear, their limited time, their sometimes illogical ways of making decisions, and their most important drives and needs.”

Although the book is 250 pages the lessons are broken down into discussions of 1 to 3 pages that are easily digestible by even the most book-weary readers.

Now while this book as contains so many vital lessons that you will find incredible value from – I will just share just a few of my own that stood out for me.

Marketing is not a department it is your business – Get clear that everyone of your employees, if they come in any contact with the customer – they are in marketing.

Who is setting your standards – your industry, your ego, or your clients? Understand that the standard has been set for us all. I would be willing to bet that all of us have visited Disney World at one time or another. We know how clean, friendly and creative Disney’s service can be. Disney’s service jumps out at us as an experience that we never forget. Now remember that your customers have also visited Disney and are aware of these standards. So, no matter what industry you are in – Ignore the industry standards and copy Disney’s.

Some additional tag lines in the book that impacted me:

Before you try to satisfy “the client,” understand and satisfy the person.

Maybe your price, which makes you look like a good value, actually makes you look second rate.

Invest in and religiously preach integrity. It is the heart of your brand.

Make your service visible and make the prospect comfortable.

People will trust their eyes far before they trust your words.

Prospects do not buy how good you are at what you do. They buy how good you are at who you are.

In addition I have left you with a couple of the quotes below from the back of the hardcover edition that may give you some in-site of what to expect from this book.

“After just forty-eight pages I’d written ten pages of notes and had more ideas than I could implement in a year, Terrific.”

“Harry’s advice has saved me more time and money than I can count, and already this book is more dog-eared than any of the many outstanding books in my business library.”

Simply put, as a coach I highly recommend this book to everyone in business as there are way too many valuable lessons inside not to read it. I’ve shared a few of my own now it’s your job to go find the rest.