We just wrapped up the holiday season and I’m reminded of the differences in the way people buy products from how they buy services.

Products are often purchased “emotionally,” whereas services tend to be a “necessity.”

Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule such as a day spa (service that isn’t a necessity) or a part for your car to get it running (a product that is a necessity). However, I find that many product purchases tend to be more emotional (think Amazon.com) whereas service purchases tend to be driven by a need (i.e. “I need a plumber to fix a leaking pipe”).

For example, even though I have several pairs of shoes, I might find another comfortable or stylish pair that I really like and purchase them.

Also, I might like them so much that it would be normal for me to buy a pair or two for a family member who I think might appreciate them as a gift.

But neither of the scenarios is true when it comes to real estate transactions or legal services.

For instance, I’ll likely never shop for an attorney if I have one I’m happy with, and I’ll probably never buy title insurance as a gift to someone.

As such, how you sell services matters.

For services, it’s almost always about timing!

For instance, even though a real estate agent discovers your title company today, they might not have a real estate closing for you today.

In fact, they may not have an issue with their current “go-to” title company for months from now.

Likewise, even though I drive by the same law office on my way to work every day. I’m probably not going to actually call them until I actually have a legal issue.

It is your responsibility as the service provider to stay in front of your prospects until they DO need your services.

How to stay “in front” of your ideal customers until they need you

You can do this several ways but we find that some of the best ways include:

1. A website that answers questions your clients commonly Google.

The first thing you should consider having is answers to the questions prospective clients ask you or might ask themselves when they have a problem that you might be able to help with.

For example, if you handle wills and trusts, it’s a good idea to have a blog post for the common questions people ask you during your consultations.

You don’t have to give legal advice in your blog post, the purpose is simply to rank high in search engines and demonstrate your expertise.

Be sure to also include next steps in the form of a call to action in each post.

2. Web remarketing ads

Another thing we’ve found very effective for both Title Agents and Attorneys are remarketing ads.

These ads focus your ad budgets on staying in front of the people who have already visited your website and thus are most likely to use your services.

As mentioned above, selling services is all about timing.

Nobody calls a plumber until they have a plumbing issue. Nobody calls a handyman until they need home repairs. Nobody calls an attorney until they have a legal issue, nor do they call a title company unless they are planning for a real estate transaction.

These ads will display to people who are already somewhat qualified.

For most service businesses this makes a ton of sense. It is brand awareness for when your prospect actually needs your services.

It’s the equivalent of an online billboard and, as of this writing, has been fairly affordable. If and when they have a problem, you’ll probably be the first company they think of.

The goal with marketing a service business should be to stay top-of-mind, and remarketing ads can help you do that!

3. Online Reviews on sites like Yelp, Google, and Facebook

The next thing you should focus on is improving your online reviews and ratings on sites like Google, Facebook, Avvo, and others.

The fact is even if your business comes primarily from referrals, even referrals will Google you to look at your ratings. As with any online purchase, one of the first things people look at once they think they are going to buy is your reviews.

People want to make sure you are a legitimate business and that other people like them have had positive experiences with you.

In addition, these websites often out rank your own business website!

The best way to get more online reviews to ask for the favor after a positive transaction or successful case.

However, if you’d like to help more clients do so, there are tools such as FeedbackAutomatic to help you get more client reviews without having to remember to ask each time.

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