How to Sell an Intangible Product

by | Dec 10, 2018

Transcript: Hi, it’s Ben Lai from Sales Ethos. Today I’m going to answer the question “How to Sell an Intangible Product.” I’ve been asked a couple of times over the last few weeks on how to sell an intangible product. Most people will tell me that they have no problem selling something physical. But, when it comes to selling an intangible product, such as financial services, or professional services, that’s where they really struggle and have a great amount of difficulty. So today, I’m going to give you three suggestions on how you can more effectively sell intangible products.

How to sell an intangible product tip #1: All sales are intangible

The first thing that I want you to realize is that every sale, whether it’s a physical product, or a service, or something intangible, is that it is still an intangible sale. What I mean by that is… This is a key principle… Nobody buys products. They buy what the product does for them. In other words, they’re looking to solve a problem. Remember, no one buys products, they buy solutions to problems. And so what I want you to do is to have a think of the intangible value that your products give.

How to sell an intangible product case study: Selling a car

Let’s just look at a couple of case studies and examples. Let’s just say you’re selling a car. What do people want when they buy a car? What sort of problem are they trying to solve? It’s not that they just want to get from A to B. Sure, they want reliable transport. So the reliability of the car is a selling point for the car. That’s an intangible value.

You may want to think about the safety of the car. If you’re selling to a family, safety is going to be very high on their priority list when deciding which car to buy.

What about comfort level? You know, people don’t put leather seats in the cars for no good reason. People value comfort, and that’s an intangible value that you get from a physical product.

What about the brand and the prestige of the car? Why would a person buy a $100,000 car versus a $30,000 car? The answer is the prestige. It’s how it makes them feel when they’re in the car driving that vehicle. It’s the social status that they get. These are all intangible things that come out from a tangible product.

How to sell an intangible product case study: Selling car insurance

Bringing it back to the intangible product… Let’s just imagine you are selling car insurance right now. What problem is a person trying to solve when they buy car insurance? I’m pretty sure that most of you watching would have already purchased car insurance for yourself if you own a car. And the reasons that we have for buying car insurance generally fits into two main categories:

Number one is to lower risk. Imagine that if you got into an accident, not many of us would have tens of thousands of dollars just sitting around in the bank for us to buy a new car straight away. Therefore, reducing the risk by having by paying in small amounts, and paying a small premium is much preferable to having all of that money stored in the bank account.

The second reason that people buy insurance is for peace of mind. What this essentially means is that if you have insurance, you don’t have to drive around constantly worrying about getting into an accident. I’m pretty sure that if people were driving around without insurance, they would be constantly thinking about it as they’re driving. Ironically, that would increase the chances of getting into an accident. So that’s the intangible value of buying insurance.

How to sell an intangible product tip #2: What are your unique selling points?

Now, for most people, when they’ve decided to buy car insurance, it’s not a case of whether I should or I shouldn’t. Most people generally understand that it’s a good idea to buy car insurance. Therefore, the next step you need to take is to think “what is the intangible value of buying your company’s car insurance versus another companies’ car insurance?” So now we have to think of other intangible values for choosing your company over someone else’s.

This is where it gets really challenging because car insurance can be perceived as a commodity. They’re exactly like for like, except one company’s prices are 10% higher than the other. So if you’re sitting in that category, where yours is 10% more expensive than someone else’s, how are you going to justify that price difference?

One of my suggestions for you is to have a think about the things that people value when it comes to dealing with insurance providers. Perhaps a person has had a bad experience. They needed to make a claim with their cheaper provider, and the process was really drawn out for a long period. The person(s) serving them were rude or they weren’t very helpful. They didn’t take personal responsibility for the case. And as a result, they have experienced a lot of hardship, which is already bad enough given that they’ve been in a car accident in the first place. So you may want to explain that your company’s service is much better than the others because you as the consultant take personal responsibility. Or you may say that on behalf of the customer service team.

As a result of the better quality service, they could have a higher care factor. The fact that they’re going to be speaking to Aussies rather than speaking to people from other countries with call centres; these kinds of factors are important to people. That may be just what they need in order to cross the line and buy from you.

How to sell an intangible product tip #3: Understand what people value

Which brings me to the next point, which is that “you need to really understand what people value.” Now, some people are not going to care about better customer service. And these are not your ideal clients. There’s no point trying to sell, better quality service if they don’t care about it at all. I mean, you certainly should try to help them to understand the value of better customer service. But if they don’t get it, then you’re fighting an uphill battle. You’re probably better off referring them off to the cheaper provider and then and then hoping that they’ll come back to you later.

How to sell an intangible product: Conclusion

So there you have it. Those are the key things that you need to know in order to sell an intangible product or service. So what are your thoughts what are the intangibles in your product or service that you are selling? Leave a comment below, click like and subscribe.

Just as a final note, I have created some special resources for managers who have a customer service or technical support team that you want them to learn how to sell. I’ve created a unique video and PDF content for you. Just click on the link below for those resources. It’s absolutely free, just putting these out to help you out. Don’t forget that integrity plus skills equals success.

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