If you’re selling “nothing but air” (a.k.a. selling your knowledge and/or services), your blog can be a great cost effective way of attracting your ideal clients to your practice.
In order to understand the “Why” behind why a blog can be a great tool to promote your business when you’re selling nothing but air, you need to understand the two types of sales your business may be making.
The Ultimate Major Sale: Selling the Intangible
When you’re selling your services, you’re making the most difficult sale of all : the Intangible Major Sale.
In my book, Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results, I cover the fact that there are TWO types of sales your business can make. There are Minor Sales which are sales which don’t carry life altering consequences. Buying office supplies is an example of a Minor Sale. There are few, if any consequences from making a purchasing mistake when it comes to buying copier paper. There isn’t a significant investment of time, energy or money unless you’re buying copier paper by the semi-truck load.
On the other hand, there are other purchases that do carry life altering consequences if you make a purchasing mistake. Choosing a doctor, buying a house/car/motor home or investing your life savings are all examples of Major Sales. A significant investment of time, energy or money are all important elements in the Major Sale. However, not surprisingly, another key element in determining whether it’s a Major or Minor sale is the possibility of a developing a personal relationship. Even in there’s not a significant investment of money, if there’s the possibility of “getting to know you” in the course of doing business, then that transaction is elevated in the realm of the Major Sale.
As you have probably guessed, when people are making a decision which qualifies as a Major Sale, they need a LOT of information.
However, there’s a type of Major Sale for which I haven’t come up with an appropriate “name” yet. For now, I’ll call it the Intangible Major Sale. The Intangible Major Sale takes the traditional “Major Sale” to a whole new level.
While purchasing a motor home is a significant investment, you at least have the benefit of being able to walk inside the vehicle. You can look under the hood. You can take it for a test drive. This is one of the reasons it’s difficult to sell a car, a motor home or a house solely via the internet. There’s something about needing to lay your hands on an item that is 2 – 3 times your yearly salary before you write that check or sign those loan papers.
So, when you take a Major Sale but you remove the ability to touch, smell, see and feel the object, you elevate the level of trust you must build with the client before you can close that sale.
Selling Your Expertise
When you’re selling your knowledge, in essence you’re selling “nothing but air”. Your prospective clients can’t touch your expertise. They can’t smell your expertise and it’s possible for them to see your expertise in action and not recognize the magnitude of the display!
Often the truly skilled make the execution of their knowledge in action appear to be easy and effortless.
A few year ago, my husband was chosen to serve as a juror on a medical malpractice case. When the two teams of attorneys entered the court room, they both looked the part.
If anything, the team of prosecuting attorneys were more formidable in appearance. They traveled “en masse” and there were three attorneys followed by five “assistants”. Meanwhile, the defense attorney’s team was comprised of just two lawyers.
Aside from the size of the teams, the two appeared equally matched. Each member of both teams were impeccably dressed. When each lead attorney gave his then her opening remarks, my husband said there was little difference between the two.
At the beginning of the trial, both lead attorneys were well spoken, well groomed and well presented and appeared to be equal in the quality of the representation they provided their clients.
However, by the end of the 2nd day (of a 5 day trial), my husband’s perception of the two teams of attorney teams had changed radically. He reports that by the end of the second day of the trial, there was no doubt which team was going to prevail. The defense attorney had a well defined plan and was executing that plan with finesse. Meanwhile, the defense attorney’s team plan appeared to my husband to be defined as “throw as much sh*t and see what sticks.”
My husband came home saying, “Boy! If I ever need a lawyer, I’m calling that defense attorney!” He reports that other members of the jury uttered similar sentiments.
That is the essence of the Intangible Major Sale.
Prior to sitting through the trial, if anything, you might have decided that the prosecuting attorney was the better litigator -after all, he brought with him a larger team. However, in the end is was the defense attorney and her assistant who won the respect of everyone in that court room that week.
We all want it to be like it is in the movies. The “good” attorney is well spoken and makes a great impression while the “bad” attorney is wearing a cheap suit, smells like cheap cologne and smells faintly of whiskey.
In other words, you really can’t judge an attorney by his/her appearance.
Which is why, the joke amongst the newly divorced is “I may have a good attorney – but my ex has a GREAT attorney. If I only knew then what I know now, I’d have hired his/her attorney to represent me!”
This is what it’s like when you’re selling nothing but air.
You can look the part. You can talk the talk. The question is, can you walk the walk?
That’s why testimonials play such a HUGE role for the independent service professional who is selling his or her knowledge – a.k.a. “nothing but air”.
It’s also yet another reason why blogs are a GREAT way to build the trust needed to land new clients when you’re selling your intangible services.
Try as you might, it’s tough to “fake” that kind of expertise over the course of 200 or so posts.
So if you wonder why consultants and other independent service professionals who have blogs earn more than others -(I wish I could remember where I read that now) – this is the WHY behind that phenomenon.
If you’re selling nothing but air and you want a way to demonstrate your expertise – expertise that you would like people to spend their hard earned money to access – launch a blog. It’s just one way you can demonstrate your expertise.