*A Book Review*

Selling the Invisible

By Harry Beckwith

by Michael C. Gray

February 2, 2003

America's economy has changed from the product-based economy of the early twentieth century to a service-based economy. Selling a service is different from selling a product, because services are intangible. You aren't selling something that can be seen and touched.

In Selling the Invisible, Harry Beckwith has written "bite size nuggets" of distilled marketing wisdom for selling services.

For example, Beckwith points out that if your company's team members don't see the marketing implications of what they are doing, the marketing effort may be wasted. Marketing is not a department, it is your business.

As with many other business (and personal) problems, we are often too close to the situation in dealing with marketing issues to see what is right in front of us. It pays to bring in an outsider who can be brutally honest and say "the emperor has no clothes!" "So much of what passes for brilliant insight in helping a company is reporting what everyone in that company could see, if only they could still see clearly."

An error made by many companies is to believe that technical competence ensures success. This misconception may be a holdover from college, when technical competence (academic excellence) was rewarded. Meryl Streep said, "I really did think that life would be like college, but it isn't. Life is like high school." The things that made you popular in high school start mattering again. The competent and likable consultant will attract far more business than the brilliant but socially deficient expert.

Most advertising literature is "puffery". You may be "committed to excellence", "responsive", "proactive" and "cost-effective", but your client won't believe you when you use these clichés. "Most marketing communications fail for the same reason. They never tell you what their point is. Tell people—in a single compelling sentence—why they should buy from you instead of someone else."

Selling the Invisible is a thought-provoking, quick read of business ideas that should definitely be on your business reading list.

Buy it on Amazon: Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing.

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