Salespeople: Here’s The Difference Between Selling a Product vs. a Service
Keenan
May 18, 2022

What’s the difference between selling a product and selling a service?

I get this question a lot.

Here’s the answer and I’ll make it as simple and as clear as possible. I think it’s important, very important, that salespeople understand the difference between selling a product and selling a service. Knowing the difference can affect how you sell AND how one hires, evaluates and assesses salespeople.

The difference between how you sell a product versus how you sell a product is . . .

There is no difference!  Period.

Let me be perfectly frinkin’ clear here.Product vs. Service

There is no difference between selling a product and selling a service — absolutely NONE!

Those of you who think there is a difference need to evaluate how you sell, because you’re selling wrong. The salespeople who focus on their service or product as their selling approach are missing the point.  Good selling doesn’t sell a product or a service. Good selling focuses on identifying problems, then offers a solution to solve the problem. If it’s a kickass solution, no one cares if it’s a product or a service.

When we start with the customer and their problems, there is no difference whether the solution is a product or service. It’s what the product or service delivers that matters. The impact of a solution, product, or service is still a vision, an intangible. It’s not something you can touch or feel, and it’s unique to EVERY customer.

The argument I hear most often is: you can see and feel a product, where a service is harder to sell because it’s an intangible. Are fucking kidding me?  When someone tells me this, I just want to jump out of my skin. When someone argues a tangible product is easier to sell than an intangible service, it tells me they are a horrible sales person or worse yet, a terrible sales manager. It tells me their sales approach is to lead with their offer (the product or the service) and that they don’t look to understand their customers issues and problems. It tells me they sell feature/function. This is terrible selling.

If we’re selling correctly, we’re ultimately anchored in the customers “gap.”  The gap between where they are today and where they want to be tomorrow. We’re selling based on solving measurable, tangible, urgent business problems. We’re not selling our service or our product, but what our product or service can deliver for our customers in terms of their business value. When we’re selling like this, it’s all intangible. It’s always different for each client or customer. When we’re selling like this, there is no cookie-cutter approach. It doesn’t matter if you have a tangible, tactile, visual product or an intangible, nontactile service. It’s all intangible if you’re selling incorrectly.

There is no difference between selling a product or a service.

If you believe there is a difference between selling a tangible product or an intangible service, you have a bigger problem than you realize. You need to re-evaluate your sales skills. Start here with these books.

If you’re selling correctly, there is no difference between selling a product and selling a service. In the case that there is, it means you’re not selling, you’re pitching a product and it’s time to start over; read this.

Anyone disagree?

If so, how do you sell a product differently than a service?

I’m all ears.

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