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The Internet remains an indispensable part of today’s business landscape, offering a wealth of opportunities for service-based businesses to grow and thrive.
- Reach a Wider Audience: The Internet allows you to expand your market beyond your immediate geographic location, enabling you to reach potential customers all over the world. It gives your business a global presence, which can be incredibly advantageous.
- 24/7 Accessibility: Unlike physical storefronts, online platforms are accessible round-the-clock. This means your business can essentially operate 24/7, providing services and information to clients whenever they need it.
- Cost-Effective Marketing: Traditional advertising can be costly, but online marketing offers cost-effective methods like SEO, content marketing, and social media advertising. These methods can reach larger audiences at lower costs.
- Personalisation and Targeted Marketing: With the data collected online, you can offer personalised content and services to your clients. You can also target your marketing efforts more accurately, reaching people who are more likely to need your services.
- Building Trust and Reputation: Having a professional online presence gives potential clients a positive impression of your business. Client testimonials, case studies, and informative blog posts can showcase your expertise and build trust with your audience.
- Improved Customer Service: The Internet allows for quick and efficient communication with clients. You can promptly respond to queries, provide support, and receive feedback, thus enhancing your customer service.
However, to leverage these benefits effectively, a more strategic and organised approach is necessary.
Merely having a website, sporadically blogging or posting on social media won’t cut it.
You need to:
- Understand your audience and what they need.
- Develop a robust online marketing strategy.
- Optimise your website for search engines.
- Consistently produce high-quality, valuable content.
- Regularly engage with your audience on social media.
- Track your efforts to see what’s working and what’s not.
In this guide, I am going to break down the 9 sequential steps you must take if you want to successfully and profitably use the Internet to sell professional services.
What are Professional Services?
Professional services, while a term familiar to many, can encompass a wide array of industries and disciplines.
For the sake of clarity, and to ensure we’re all on the same page for the rest of this blog post, let’s take a moment to define what we mean when we refer to ‘professional services’.
Professional services are typically offered by individuals or companies with a high level of expertise or training in a particular field.
They’re often knowledge-based and require a specific set of skills, certifications, or education.
This could range from legal services offered by solicitors, financial advice provided by accountants, consulting services given by business consultants, to medical services provided by healthcare professionals.
They often involve providing advice, solving complex problems, or delivering bespoke solutions tailored to a client’s particular needs.
Importantly, these services are built on trust and relationships, as clients often depend on these professionals’ expert judgement.
Understanding this broad definition will help us delve deeper into how these services can be effectively marketed and sold online, a topic we’ll explore in detail in the following sections.
Tangible Results Vs Intangible Results
The results of these services can be both tangible and intangible.
Tangible results are things you can see or touch, like a detailed financial report from an accountant.
Intangible results are a bit harder to grasp as they’re often experienced rather than seen.
For example, the peace of mind of knowing your business is abiding by tax laws, again thanks to that accountant’s services.
Now, when it comes to marketing your services online, it can be frustrating and overwhelming because business owners (B2B – Business to Business) are a tougher audience to reach than the everyday person (B2C – Business to Consumer).
Also, the decision-making process is often complex and may involve several stakeholders, which makes selling the service online a tough task.
Not to mention, there’s often more financial risk, so businesses take longer to decide on purchases, which can slow down the sales process.
How to Use The Internet to Market and Sell Your Services in 9 Steps
These are the 9 steps you need to follow to successfully market and sell your services online.
Step1: Define Your Ideal Client
Defining your ideal client is a foundational step in your marketing strategy.
For small business owners who offer services requiring a considerable financial investment, it’s vital to target the right audience.
Knowing exactly who you want to reach allows you to create messages that resonate with those individuals, which can significantly increase your chances of success in converting them into paying clients.
Failure to define your ideal client can lead to several challenges and inefficiencies:
- Wasted Resources: Without a clear understanding of your ideal client, your marketing efforts may become unfocused and scatter-shot. This lack of direction can lead to spending time and money on channels, messages, or offers that don’t resonate with the people most likely to buy your services. The inefficiency can be particularly painful for small businesses, where resources are often limited.
- Decreased Conversion Rates: If you’re communicating with a broad audience without consideration for the specific needs and desires of your ideal client, your messages may lack the appeal and relevance needed to convert prospects into customers. This leads to missed opportunities and can slow down the growth of your business.
- Dilution of Brand Identity: For service-based businesses targeting clients who are prepared to make a significant financial investment, building a strong and consistent brand is essential. Without a clear definition of your ideal client, your branding may become inconsistent or unclear, failing to resonate with the clients you aim to attract.
- Ineffective Service Development: Knowing your ideal client is essential for tailoring your services to meet their specific needs. Without this understanding, you may offer services that miss the mark in terms of what your potential clients truly need or value. This misalignment can lead to dissatisfaction and a lack of repeat business.
Defining your ideal client is not merely a preliminary phase but a pivotal aspect of your marketing strategy, particularly for small business owners of service-based and client-based businesses. Neglecting this step can lead to wasted resources, decreased conversion rates, diluted brand identity, and ineffective product offerings, all of which can hinder the success of your business.
Step 2: Define The Core Problem and Desired Result of Your Ideal Client
You can’t provide a solution unless you understand the problem. Knowing your client’s challenges and goals allows you to tailor your offerings to suit their needs, making your services more attractive.
This step is all about connecting with your clients and making sure what you’re offering is exactly what they need. Let’s break this down…
1. What’s the Problem, Anyway?
Your clients are not just looking for a solution; they’re seeking relief, satisfaction, peace of mind, or even joy.
These emotions are tied to the very problems they are facing, and your services are the bridge to those feelings.
Seeing Through Your Prospect’s Eyes
Imagine you’re offering a cutting-edge cybersecurity service to protect companies from cyber-attacks.
It’s not just a software solution; it’s peace of mind, safety, and integrity wrapped into one package.
But before you can sell that package, you’ve got to see the world through your ideal prospect’s eyes.
- What is the company CEO losing sleep over?
- Is it the fear of losing valuable data?
- The anxiety of a potential breach that could tarnish the company’s reputation?
The frustration of not having the in-house expertise to manage the ever-evolving threats?
Discovering the Core Problem and Emotion
The core problem might not simply be a lack of cybersecurity measures.
It’s deeper than that.
It could be the fear of exposure, the anxiety of losing control, or the embarrassment of being ill-prepared.
Let’s take Jane, the CEO of a thriving e-commerce company.
Her business relies heavily on customer trust, and any breach could not only lead to financial loss but also a loss of that hard-earned trust.
- Core Problem: Lack of comprehensive cybersecurity measures that align with the ever-growing online threats.
- Core Emotion: Fear of losing customer trust, which has been the bedrock of her business.
When you can connect with Jane on that level and show her that your cybersecurity service is not just about putting up firewalls and monitoring systems but about preserving trust, maintaining reputation, and alleviating those very fears, then you’ve nailed it.
Your marketing messages, sales pitches, and even your service delivery should all be tailored to address those emotions. Speak to Jane’s fear, show her the path to relief, and present your service as the solution that restores not only security but peace of mind.
By identifying the core problem and the emotion tied to it, you can craft your offerings and communication in a way that resonates on a human level.
It’s not just about solving a problem; it’s about understanding a need, addressing an emotion, and providing a path to positive transformation.
Whether it’s fear, frustration, anxiety, or any other emotion, your service becomes the bridge from problem to relief, and that’s a connection worth nurturing.
2. What Do They Want to Achieve?
Seeing the world through your ideal prospect’s eyes is like tuning into a radio frequency that only they understand.
It’s not enough to know what problem they have; you need to dive deeper and understand what they’re dreaming of achieving.
Often, this desire is tied to a core emotion, something fundamental that drives them.
Let’s unravel this a bit more with an example…
Understanding the Desired Result
Imagine your client is the owner of a growing company, and they’re feeling the pressure of managing everything.
They know they need to invest in new software to streamline their operations, but they’re hesitant because of the cost.
Now, what they really want isn’t just software.
What they’re truly after is peace of mind, more free time, and the confidence that things are running smoothly even when they’re not watching every detail.
That’s the result they’re longing for, and it’s tied to a core emotion of wanting control and stability in their chaotic business life.
A Relevant Example: Tailoring a Solution for a Growing Business
Let’s say you’re offering an all-in-one business management software solution.
It’s not a small investment, but it’s precisely what this business owner needs.
You know they’re not just buying software; they’re buying a way to regain control of their life.
They want to leave work at a reasonable hour, spend time with family, and maybe even take that holiday they’ve been dreaming of for years.
So, instead of marketing your service as just a software package, you focus on the result they’re seeking.
Your marketing must talk about how your solution gives them back control, smooths out their workday, and frees up time.
You might share a story of another client who, after investing in your solution, finally took a two-week holiday without checking their emails, something they hadn’t done in years.
Or perhaps you show them a testimonial from a satisfied client who talks about how they now leave the office on time and have dinner with their family.
By focusing on these emotional goals, you connect with your clients on a deeper level, and that’s where the real magic happens building trust and making the sale. If you can show them that your service is the bridge to their desired future, you’ll have won more than just a client; you’ll have earned a believer in what you offer.
Step 3: Create a Magnetic Marketing Message aka A Million-Dollar Message
This is your unique selling proposition (USP).
It should clearly communicate why your services are unique and beneficial, aiming to attract and retain the attention of potential clients.
Your job is to craft a message that speaks to your customers in a way that is both attractive and powerful.
This isn’t just a normal message; it’s a one-of-a-kind statement that makes your services stand out from the crowd.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Identify What Makes You Different: Look closely at your services and figure out what sets you apart from the competition. Is it better quality? Faster service? More personalised care? Once you know what makes you unique, you can use it to your advantage.
- Speak Directly to Your Customer’s Needs: Think about what your customers want and need. What problems are they facing that you can solve? By addressing these issues directly, you can show potential clients that you understand them and can offer a solution to their problems.
- Keep It Simple and Clear: You want your message to be easily understood. Use plain, straightforward language. Avoid jargon and complicated words that might confuse people. The goal is to communicate your unique benefits clearly and simply.
- Use Strong and Engaging Language: Your message should grab attention. Use powerful words that evoke emotion and prompt action. Words like ‘transform’, ‘unleash’, or ’empower’ can make your message more engaging.
- Be Honest and Genuine: Don’t exaggerate or make promises you can’t keep. People appreciate honesty, and building trust is key to forming lasting relationships with customers.
- Include a Call to Action: Tell your potential clients what you want them to do next. Whether it’s calling a phone number, visiting a website, or signing up for a newsletter, make it clear what the next step is.
- Test and Refine: Your magnetic marketing message might not be perfect the first time around. Don’t be afraid to test different versions to see what resonates most with your audience. Ask for feedback and make adjustments as needed.
Your Million-Dollar Message is about making a strong and clear statement that sets you apart and speaks directly to your customers’ needs.
By following these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to creating a magnetic marketing message that attracts and keeps the attention of potential clients.
Step 4: Productise Your Core Service
This means packaging your service in a way that’s easily understood and scalable.
It simplifies the selling process and makes it easier for clients to understand exactly what they’re buying.
Turning your core service into a product is like putting everything into a neat little box.
Imagine your service as a set of building blocks. Each block is a part of what you offer.
When you productise your service, you’re organising those blocks into a clear and simple structure.
This makes it easier for people to see what they’re getting.
Let’s break down what this means:
- Package Your Service: Think about the things you offer to your clients. It might be advice, a special skill, or even a physical item. When you put all of this together in a neat way, you’ve got a packaged service. This makes it clear and easy for your clients to see what they’re buying. It’s like looking at the box of a toy and seeing exactly what pieces are inside.
- Make It Scalable: Your service shouldn’t just work for one person. It should be something you can offer to lots of people without too much fuss. If your service is a set meal in a restaurant, think about how you can serve it to 10, 100, or even 1000 customers. Making it scalable means you’re ready to grow, and you can help more people without starting from scratch each time.
- Simplify the Selling Process: When you’re selling something, you want it to be as easy as possible for people to say ‘yes’. If they can look at what you’re offering and understand it straight away, that’s a win. Productising your service means making it simple. You’re taking away the guesswork and showing people exactly what they’ll get. This can make selling quicker and more straightforward.
- Clear Communication with Clients: Have you ever tried to explain something complicated to a friend? It can be hard, can’t it? When you turn your service into a product, it’s like giving that friend a simple picture instead of a long story. They can see straight away what you mean. This helps your clients understand what they’re buying, and it means fewer questions and confusion down the line.
- Create a Recognisable Brand: If you’ve ever seen a famous logo or colour and known straight away what it means, you’ll know how powerful a brand can be. When you package your service neatly, you’re building a brand. People will begin to recognise what you offer, and they’ll trust it more because it’s clear and consistent.
So, to productise your core service is to make it clear, simple, and ready to grow.
It’s about taking what you do and putting it in a neat little box that everyone can understand.
It means you’re ready to help more people, and you can do it without any fuss.
It’s a big step, but it can make everything else much easier.
Step 5: Develop a Suite of Digital Products Based on Your Productised Service
Digital products can increase your reach and provide additional revenue streams.
They can also add value for clients, serving as a stepping stone to your core services.
Most importantly, Digital Products allow you to help more people and increase your revenue without increasing your work effort.
Many of your ideal prospects like to buy things and find solutions to their problems with just a few clicks.
So why not make your services available in a way that suits them?
This is where Digital Products come into play.
1. What Are Digital Products?
Digital products are things like e-books, online courses, or software tools that people can buy and use over the Internet.
They don’t have to be shipped or stored in a warehouse because they exist in a digital form.
2. How Can They Help Your Business?
Digital products can help your business in several ways:
- Reach More People: By offering digital products, you can reach out to more customers who might not need your full service but could benefit from a smaller, more focused solution.
- Earn Extra Money: These products can be sold to a broad audience, adding another way to make money from your expertise.
- Build Trust: By providing value through digital products, you can show potential customers that you know what you’re talking about. This can make them more likely to choose your main service later on.
3. Ways to Turn Your Service Into Digital Products
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to take your service and turn it into digital products:
- Understand Your Customers: First, think about what your customers might want or need. What problems are they trying to solve? A digital product should help them in some way.
- Create Useful Content: Write an e-book, make a video tutorial, or develop a simple tool. It should be something that helps people and is tied to your main service.
- Make It Easy to Buy: Set up a simple online shop where people can buy and download your product.
- Provide Support: If customers have questions or need help, make sure they can reach you easily.
4. Remember Your Main Service
Digital products are great, but they’re often a way to introduce people to what you really do.
So always link them back to your main service.
Offer customers a clear path from the digital product to purchasing your core service.
5. Keep It Simple
Don’t make things too complicated. Keep your digital products simple and focused.
That way, they’ll be easy to understand, and people will be more likely to buy them.
Developing digital products based on your productised service can be a smart move.
It allows you to reach more people, make extra money, and build trust with potential clients.
By following these steps, you can create digital products that not only add value but also serve as a stepping stone to your core services.
Step 6: Create an Entry Offer That Demonstrates Your Expertise
Remember in Step 2, we did the work to thoroughly understand the exact problem that your ideal prospect wants to get rid of, and the result they’re longing for that they currently don’t have.
This next step puts all that good work to great use!
Let me show you an example…
Understanding the Core Problem and Desired Result
Imagine you’re running a high-end IT consulting firm, and your clients are typically small business owners struggling with outdated systems that slow them down and cost them money (Core Problem).
They desire seamless technology that can boost their productivity and growth (Desired Result).
Connecting Through Marketing
Once you’ve nailed this down, your marketing needs to speak directly to these points.
Here’s how you might approach it:
- Talk About Their Problem: Start with content that describes the pain of dealing with outdated technology. Share stories or examples that mirror their experience. It’s like saying, “I see you’re bogged down by slow systems that are costing you time and money.”
- Highlight the Desired Result: Then, paint a vivid picture of what life could be like with upgraded technology, tailored to their needs. Show them that you understand the end result they’re after: “Imagine a world where your technology works as hard as you do, boosting productivity and profits.”
- Show Your Solution: Now, reveal how your IT consulting can make that dream a reality. Share case studies or testimonials that prove you’ve done it before. It’s your way of saying, “I know what you’re going through, and here’s how we can sort it out together.”
Lead Them to Take Action (CTA)
When dealing with services that require significant financial investment, you’re often dealing with cautious clients.
They’re looking for information and reassurance, not a sales pitch.
So, your call to action (CTA) must provide a way for them to experience your expertise without any risk or pressure to buy.
- Offer Something of Value: Create a free resource that’s directly linked to their core problem, like a comprehensive eBook on modernising outdated technology, or an informative webinar showcasing the latest IT solutions for small businesses.
- Make It No-Risk: Emphasise that this is a no-strings-attached offer, designed to provide valuable insights rather than sell services. This can be a gentle reminder that “This eBook is all about helping you understand your options, with no sales pitches, we promise!”
- Create an Easy Opt-In: Make it simple for them to access this resource. It could be a quick sign-up form on your website or a one-click download link.
- Example CTA: “Struggling with outdated technology? Download our free eBook, ‘Turning Tech Troubles into Triumph,’ and discover proven strategies to modernise your systems. No sales pitches, just expert advice to guide you towards growth. Click here to get your copy now!”
The beauty of this approach is that it’s like talking to a dear friend, understanding their struggles, and offering a helping hand. It’s not about hard-selling; it’s about connecting, empathising, and guiding.
By focusing on their core problem and offering a no-risk way to engage with your expertise, you create a pathway that may well lead them back to you when they’re ready to invest.
It’s a long game, but one that builds authentic connections with the very clients you most want to serve.
Your marketing becomes more than just words; it becomes a pathway that leads your clients from where they are to where they want to be.
It’s personal, it’s powerful, and it’s the way to turn potential clients into satisfied customers.
Step 7: Building a Targeted Lead Generation System
The journey to converting a random website visitor into a loyal customer often starts with the attraction of the right audience.
Step 7 is all about creating a system that brings targeted visitors to your website. Here’s how:
- Utilising the Lead Magnet from Step 6: By creating an attractive lead magnet, such as a free eBook or webinar, you’re giving potential clients a reason to engage with your business. They get value, and you get their contact information. It’s a win-win.
- Implementing the Messaging from Step 3: Your marketing message must communicate your services’ value clearly and distinctively. By integrating this messaging into the lead generation system, you ensure that visitors understand exactly what sets your business apart.
- Incorporating Conversion-focused Content: Whether through blog posts, ads, or social media, providing content that speaks directly to your audience’s needs and desires helps convert them into qualified leads. The content should not only inform but entice the reader to take the next step.
Step 8: Automating Appointment Generation with Ideal Prospects
Once you have the leads, Step 8 takes the process to the next level by planning and creating an automatic appointment system.
- Creating a Bonus Video: This video adds further value by expanding on the lead magnet from Step 6. It can be an in-depth guide or a tutorial that continues to build trust with potential clients.
- Designing a Qualification Form: Not every lead is an ideal prospect. This form ensures that only the most fitting candidates can book an appointment. It saves time and targets your efforts where they matter most.
Step 9: Nurturing Leads into Loyal Customers
The final step is a long-term strategy.
It’s about nurturing those qualified leads into not just one-time buyers but loyal, repeat customers.
This step involves:
- Converting Leads into Ideal Prospects: Through personalised content and targeted communication, you continue to guide your leads closer to making a purchase.
- Nurturing Existing Buyers: Repeat customers often bring more value than new ones. By continuing to provide exceptional service, support, and content, you encourage them to buy again… and again.
Master How to Attract Ideal Clients and Convert Them Into High-Value Clients
Selling professional services over the Internet doesn’t have to be complex or overwhelming.
By following these well-crafted 9 steps, you can build a system that not only attracts the right audience but effectively turns them into loyal clients.
From identifying your ideal clients to creating compelling content, setting up lead magnets, and nurturing those leads through automation, this process is designed for success.
It sets you up to scale your business, avoid price competition, and provide constant value.
So, whether you’re starting anew or looking to refine your online sales approach, these 9 steps present a clear and concise roadmap.
These 9 steps are designed to increase your online visibility, your conversion rates, and your revenue but more importantly, they will help you find the freedom to concentrate your energy on your core business.
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