Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing
Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing

 
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The transformation from a manufacturing-based economy to one that's all about service has been well documented. Today it's estimated that nearly 75 percent of Americans work in the service sector. Instead of producing tangibles--automobiles, clothes, and tools--more and more of us are in the business of providing intangibles--health care, entertainment, tourism, legal services, and so on. However, according to Harry Beckwith, most of these intangibles are still being marketed like products were 20 years ago.

In Selling the Invisible, Beckwith argues that what consumers are primarily interested in today are not features, but relationships. Even companies who think that they sell only tangible products should rethink their approach to product development and marketing and sales. For example, when a customer buys a Saturn automobile, what they're really buying is not the car, but the way that Saturn does business. Beckwith provides an excellent forum for thinking differently about the nature of services and how they can be effectively marketed. If you're at all involved in marketing or sales, then Selling the Invisible is definitely worth a look.

SELLING THE INVISIBLE is a succinct and often entertaining look at the unique characteristics of services and their prospects, and how any service, from a home-based consultancy to a multinational brokerage, can turn more prospects into clients and keep them. SELLING THE INVISIBLE covers service marketing from start to finish. Filled with wonderful insights and written in a roll-up-your-sleeves, jargon-free, accessible style, such as:



  • Greatness May Get You Nowhere
  • Focus Groups Don'ts
  • The More You Say, the Less People Hear &
  • Seeing the Forest Around the Falling Trees.

Customer Reviews:

  • If you sell a non-tangible product or service, buy this book
    It is much easier to sell a book than it is to sell life insurance. Why? Because the customer can hold and touch and see the book. You can't hold, touch or see insurance. (The policy is not the insurance.)

    Beckwith understands selling intangibles better than anyone and he tells how in this book. It is in my top ten of business and marketing books for people who sell services. Even if you sell products, you will learn some valuable information. Well worth the money....more info
  • Very Well Done - Get This and Potter's "Winning" Book
    Now, this is the book to get from Beckwith - don't waste your time with "What Clients Love" (60% of that book is in here and the rest of it is largely a promo for why you need hire a professional branding firm).

    This book has lots of good gems that you should be able to put to use right away, including:

    - the three stages of a service company and the relationship to positioning and sales

    - tips on customer/client surveys

    - why, when selling a service, you're actually selling a relationship and what to do

    - how prospects decide

    - why the there are really 2 aspects you bill for: the commodity (such as hammering a nail) and the expertise (knowing where to hammer)

    And so on. Very well done.

    As a side note, what this book will not do for you is lay out a plan for you to compete in this "invisible" market effectively; for that, take a look at Potter's "Winning in the Invisible Market."...more info
  • Provocative!
    More new ideas on the how-to's of making a business click, than I've gleaned from multiple other texts!...more info
  • This book talks about everything
    This book really should be called: "The 10,000 Best Books on Sales, Marketing, Management, and General Business Compressed into 272 Easy and Small Pages So That Anyone Can Read Them." It has way too much information in way too condensed of a format.

    And, you guessed it...a book that talks about everything doesn't do a good job of talking about anything. And, it's as much about marketing a service as it is an exhaustive compendium on the success of Wal-Mart.

    It gave me a headache. It's written in Aesop's fable format, with a short tale in each of the 300 sections, and then a simplistic moral at the end of each of them.

    I can see only two uses for this book. It could be an introductory book for someone who has never read a business book before, and wants a quick scan of a bunch of business topics. The other use could be for speakers. If you want a ready-made 1 minute speech on a business topic, this book has about 300 of them....more info
  • Finally a Marketing Book that Applies to NonProfits!
    Most marketing books are aimed at businesses that sell stuff, which makes them fairly inapplicable to the NonProfit world. "Selling the Invisible" comes the closest I've seen to helping market what NonProfits do. That's because "Selling the Invisible" focuses not on marketing products, but on marketing services, which makes it a great book for NonProfits.

    "Selling the Invisible" is not a how-to book. Instead, it is a thoughtful guide, providing insights on how marketing works and how prospects think. The chapters are short - more like snippets than chapters - each with a single thought that moves you towards the next thought. I have read this book a number of times, and I can never get past 3 or 4 of its tiny chapters without stopping to scribble down notes, or to consider just how our clients (and our own organization) are currently doing things. I have even found it helpful in thinking about different ways to market my own book on NonProfit board recruitment.

    The book starts by asking first things first: Are you sure what you have to market really is worth telling people about? Have you surveyed clients to find out if your service really is a quality service? Are you really providing what the community needs? Beckwith aims right for the heart.

    Once you are convinced you have a quality organization to talk about, he moves you through all the thought processes that should go into that marketing. But don't expect to move quickly. Expect your brain to light up in thought. Keep a note pad handy.

    Here are just some of the things I love about this book:
    Under the heading 'Fran Lebowitz and Your Greatest Competitor,' comes this quote:
    "Your greatest competitor is not your competition. It is indifference."
    And under the heading 'The Value of Publicity,' you will find this:
    "There are six peaks in Europe higher than the Matterhorn. Name one."

    The last chapter is a discussion of other books that can help round out the reader's understanding of marketing. Because Beckwith takes a systems approach to the subject and not a 'sell-the-widget' approach, many of these books are applicable to the NonProfit world as well.

    As someone who spends a lot of time combing bookstore shelves for business books that translate well to the NonProfit world, "Selling the Invisible" is one I would strongly recommend....more info

  • A must-have book for anyone involved in marketing and selling
    This book is a real page-turner. (My copy is dog-eared with notes written in margins and post-it notes stuck on 11 different pages.) Harry Beckwith is a marketing genius. One quote I have used over and over again in presentations: "People who say, 'The businesses in our industry are basically alike' should recognize a human trait. People feel a need to justify their buying decisions, so they look for differences upon which to base their decisions. What does this mean to a company in an industry of lookalikes? It means that the more alike two products are, the more important each difference becomes." So very true.

    Ann Barr,
    Author of How to Win the Sale and Keep the Customer

    ...more info
  • A Great Book.
    Great advice on how to sell a service.
    I have a Moleskine full of notes from this book.
    I have a photography business and I'm implementing the tactics from this awesome book now!...more info
  • Don't Buy This Book!
    Terrible is all I can say. This author breaks every rule he suggests to you. The introduction is boring. It is small story chapters with a bold sentence or two at the end. These are the principles he is suggesting. You can read these bold sentences in less than 30 minutes. Don't bother to buy this book. ...more info
  • Still amazingly current, though written in 1997
    Heard a taped copy of SELLING THE INVISILBE: A FIELD
    GUIDE TO MODERN MARKETING by Harry Beckwith and
    was pleasantly surprised that I liked it as much as I did, in that
    the title did not "grab me" . . . nor did the fact that it was
    written in 1997.

    However, that said, it soon became obvious that Beckwith
    (founder of Beckwith Advertising and Marketing) knows his
    stuff . . . his many examples were relevant to me and would
    be to just about anybody else's business or individual career.

    For instance, he points out that:
    * You can't thank your customers too much. And you're probably
    not doing it enough.

    To rectify this situation:
    * Send twice as many thank you notes as you did last year.

    Though this might sound basic, the reality that most of us
    don't do such things . . . he also gives this great suggestion:
    * Write an ad for your service. After a week, if the ad is
    poor, it's time to look at your service--not the ad.

    Among the many other tidbits I gained from SELLING THE
    INVISIBLE were the following:
    * Just don't think. Better to think differently.

    * Even your best friends won't tell you certain information, but
    they will talk behind your back. So have a third party do surveys.

    * Phone surveys reveal more information than in-person surveys.

    * Never ask, "What don't you like about our company or service?"
    You're asking somebody to admit they made a bad decision
    on choosing you.

    * Study each point of contact to improve your company; e.g., business
    card, receptionist, signage, etc.

    And perhaps my favorite:
    * In an argument, remember these three words: Maybe he's right.
    Carry this with you in an envelope.

    Even if you have to dig some to find SELLING THE INVISIBLE,
    your effort will pay off in the fact that you will gain many
    usable techniques that you can apply to your business or
    service . . . in your life, too, such as this final idea for improving
    the lot of all children:
    * If a child ends school on a positive note, it will carry over to the
    next morning and day.
    ...more info
  • Simple Yet Profound
    This book is a winner! Harry Beckwith does a masterful job of illustrating his points with simple, real-life stories. I took lots of notes and recorded a number of useful anecdotes to help me improve my communication and results with prospects and clients. The insights provided on surveying clients, the concept of "lesser logic", and the "Halo Effect" will enable me to evaluate my current strategies and make needed changes. I am also recommending this book to all my coaching clients as we look for new and creative ways to market their businesses....more info
  • Typical ra-ra book
    Ra-ra books are those kinds of books that are full of good(?) intentions and motivational speech ("you can do it", "yeah", "believe", "position", "improve your service"), but then offer no practical advice on how exactly to achieve these goals.

    I am the owner of a small service (training) business, so I read these kinds of books not for personal enjoyment, career advancement or writing amazon reviews, but to find insight about how to improve my business.

    This book conveyed no additional information and when reading it I had a strange deja-vu feeling that many fragments and anecdotes I had already read before. What is worse, the book is filled with anecdotal evidence - someone did that and succeded, someother didn't and failed; anecdotal evidence, however, is even worse than no evidence, since you don't know the context, the economy, the market and all the conditions that influenced the outcome. Nowadays you can find anecdotal "evidence" to support just about anything. For example, some of the world oldest men and women are habitual smokers, but surely this does not mean that you should smoke as much as you can to live a hundred years.

    There are no statistics, no research (the author even tells in one of the so-called falacies to distrust everything that begins with "the resarch shows") no proof whatsoever of anything. Compare this to books like Cialdini's "Influence" or Caples' "Tested Advertising Methods".

    The chapters are one or two page anecdotes ending each one with a supposeldy profound moral. For example, "when choosing a name, choose one that sounds well", "find out what clients are really buying","planning is an imprecise art". No advice is given, however, about what makes a name sound well, how to exactly find what clients are really buying, etc. Of course, the typical references to McDonalds, Federal Express and Disney are also there. "Be like them", the author preaches.

    A great disappointment after all these stellar reviews here. 1 star is too much....more info

  • Worth the Price of Admission
    Ugly cats for sale...focus wins...Don't charge by the hours, charge by the years...Value is not a position, if good value is the first thing you communicate, you won't be effective...Use vivid words and pictures...tell stories.

    Selling the Invisible brings common sense advice about sales and marketing to your business. If you are in business for yourself, which I am, you will certainly glean enough from this book to make more money. It is written in a way that it makes a good companion for a cup of coffee or a train ride to work. Powerful and practical ideas explained easily.
    ...more info
  • Worth the price for 1.5 pages rated below
    It's a good read, but there is a page and half that has had a major impact, showing me where I have a huge blindspot in business and how I stop my own progress. This page and a half is possibly the most important material I've read in a book in several years (for me it applies directly).

    The author talks about the Fallacy of Planning in a business setting. He ranks plans in this order:

    1. Very Good
    2. Good
    3. Best
    4. Fair
    5. Poor

    Why is Good ahead of Best? Simple, to arrive at Best takes orders of magnitude more planning than Good. Also, who defines Best? How much time is spent creating the Best plan? Will Best stand the test of time? Can everyone agree on Best? Would Good work just as well as Best in the real world? Is Best satisfying the client's need better than a Good plan?

    Choosing the "Best" plan leads to Paralysis by Analysis. Good plans allow for quick action and constant improvement. The most successful people in the world have acted on Good plans that they have refined over time. An actionable plan is more successful than a plan that never leaves the drawing board!

    Personally, I've fallen into the Best trap many times. There is no such thing as a "Best" plan. Going forward the "Best" plan will be the "Good" plan that I can put into action and refine over time!

    A lightbulb went off in my head when I got this concept. Thank you Harry for this valuable lesson....more info
  • Excellent Read if you are Marketing Professional Services
    In a crowded space of space of sales and marketing books lacking substantive data, Harry Beckwith's Selling the Invisible proves to be a valuable read. Basically, the text is a collection of tips and vignettes that are quite entertaining. As the name implies, the focus is on marketing professional services. It doesn't focus on one area, such as consulting or legal services. As someone who is in the business of providing consulting services, I found this quite relevant.

    The book is a comprised of a list of concepts such as positioning, pricing, and publicity, whereby it tells a short story with anecdotal evidence on a premise. Then it leaves the reader with a short statement at the end of each discussion such as "make your position clear".

    The book is a light read, which makes the reader think, "I should have already known this". It is also nice that the book is not as self-serving as most others, which pitch to readers, "with our strategy, customers have shown 75% increase in sales." For an independent who is selling services, I would suggest this a must read. For larger service providers with a brand name and an integrated marketing strategy, it may be slightly less valuable....more info

  • Short and Easy to Read
    This book was suggested reading by our Marketing Department. As an Engineer, I decided to read it to find out more about marketing. The book was easy to read and understand. It summarized the basics of good client service. Most things were obvious, but probably not done nearly enough. For example, the book recommended thanking your clients as often as possible. ...more info
  • Stunningly Useful and On Point--Vital to Gold Collar Workers


    I bought this book because I thought it might be relevant to "gold collar workers", those who manufacture and sell knowledge that is quite "invisible" or intangible. What a great book this is! Every person that relys on their brain for a living, whether as an employee or consultant or teacher, can double their *perceived* value by reading and applying the lessons of this book.

    A few of the author's well-discussed and well-illustrated ideas are offered here to complement the many other favorable reviews:

    1) Simplify access to your work! [Learn how to create executive summaries, tables of contents, hyper-links, etc.--don't assume that everyone knows your value and is willing to spend time digging into your work.]

    2) Quality, speed, and price are *not* in competition, they must be offered simulaneously and at full value.

    3) What is your promise or value proposition? Are you just showing up, or does every day offer a chance for you to show your value in a specific way?

    4) Don't just be the best in your given vocation, *change it* for the better and redefine what "best" means!

    5) Sell your relationship (and your understanding of the other person's needs), not just your expertise in isolation. Your boss or client has three choices and you are the last: to do nothing, to do it themselves, or to use you. Focus on being the first choice every time.

    6) Execute with passion--and if you are a super-geek or nerd that does not have a high social IQ, form a partnership with a super-popular person and put them in front.

    There are many other useful thoughts in this book. If you want to know how to sell the invisible, the intagible, the value propositions that revolve around knowledge and insight instead of bending metal and assembling things, this is absolutely the best book one could ask for. Really nicely presented....more info

  • Another ra-ra book
    Ra-ra books are those kinds of books that are full of good(?) intentions and motivational speech ("you can do it", "yeah", "believe", "position", "improve your service"), but then offer no practical advice on how exactly to achieve these goals.

    I am the owner of a small service business, so I read these kinds of books not for personal enjoyment, career advancement or writing amazon.com reviews, but to find insight about how to improve my business.

    This book conveyed no additional information and when reading it I had a strange deja-vu feeling that many fragments and anecdotes I had already read before. What is worse, the book is filled with anecdotal evidence - someone did that and succeded, someother didn't and failed, but anecdotal evidence is even worse than no evidence, since you don't know the context, the economy, the market and all the conditions that influenced the outcome. Nowadays you can find anecdotal "evidence" to support just about anything. Some of the world oldest men and women are smokers, but surely this does not mean that you should smoke as much as you can.

    There are no statistics, no research (the author even tells in one of the so-called falacies to distrust everything that begins with "the resarch shows") no proof whatsoever of anything. Compare this to books like Cialdini's "Influence" or Caples' "Tested Advertising Methods".

    The chapters are one or two page anecdotes ending each one with a supposeldy profound moral. For example, "when choosing a name, choose one that sounds well", "find out what clients are really buying","planning is an imprecise art". No advice is given, however, about what makes a name sound well, how to exactly find what clients are really buying, etc. Of course, the typical references to McDonalds, Federal Express and Disney are also there. "Be like them", the author preaches.

    A great disappointment after all these stellar reviews here. 1 star is too much....more info

  • Required reading
    In a world where companies tout their product's features and expect consumers to beat a path to their door based on what those features, it comes as a surprise that products with fewer features often sell better. Likewise, sometimes an inferior service ends up with many more customers. Why is this the case? Consumers want to feel connected to products in some way; they want a relationship with the product and/or the company that produces, markets or sells the product. Beckwith does an excellent job of presenting his case in a concise manner and gives many, many detailed examples to illustrate his points. The chapters are small and can easily be read in a fifteen or twenty minute break. This combined with its small size makes it especially useful since it can easily be carried in a purse or briefcase where you can pull it out and read, re-read or refresh your memory on a regular basis. Whether you are selling a product or a service, this book is required reading. I spent several years as a top salesman with a close rate much higher than the average for my industry and product. (A product that requires after sales service.) This book includes many of the techniques that I used to build client relationships. If you don't pick it up, read it, and use it then you had better be thinking strategically about how you are going to compete with the person who does because they will become a problem for you....more info
  • Fabulous!
    This is a great book. With so many people going into
    service-oriented businesses for themselves, a handbook was needed to map out a strategy, and this is the book. The Internet has revolutionized the way we do business, and this book teaches the best way to market a service in this realm. For more information, I also recommend Guerrilla PR Wired, by Michael Levine, which focuses on Internet promotion strategies....more info
  • Sell yourself as the perfect service to prospective employers!
    `Selling The Invisible', by Harry Beckwith, teaches us how to increase our perceived value. In these modern times, marketing is even more relevant than the actually quality of a product when it comes to sales numbers. We only need to look at the music industry for a fine example of this fact.

    One of the most difficult things to sell can be yourself. Even if you know what you are worth to an employer, do you know how to present this in an easily-digested way?

    Beckwith shows us how to simplify access to our work, so people can see how valuable we are. He tells us to not just be the best at what we do, but change the definition of best! He tells us to execute with passion.

    Knowing how to sell yourself and accurately demonstrate your worth as an employee is an excellent tool to have at hand as a jobseeker. This book has some very useful advice on one of today's most crucial skills to have, self-marketing.

    Danny Iny
    Author of the free eBook "Forget Everything You Know About Looking For a Job... And Actually Find One!"
    HuntingToHired, www.HuntingToHired.com...more info
  • Good Book For Marketing Services
    "Selling The Invisible" by Harry Beckwith is a great book for those who market services. Beckwith tells us selling a service amounts to selling a promise. Beckwith says prospects want to minimize the risk of a bad experience and are often incapable of evaluating the quality of a service. For example, few people know if the tax advice they receive is the best advice possible.

    So, improving your skills at your service often doesn't lead to enhanced profitability. Being better at what you do won't lead to more sales. (Beckwith says flatly that in money management, for example, investment skill ranks lower than the skill in acquiring and retaining assets to manage. Clients, too, actually rate money management skill lower than desire to build a relationship, which is surprising. That clients rate trust high isn't surprising.)

    Some of the advice I especially liked in "Selling The Invisible":

    * Improve your points of contact. Beckwith says we should evaluate every point at which our company interacts with a client-phone calls, business cards, meetings, etc. Beckwith says we should aim to make a phenomenal impression at every point of contact. And, this isn't difficult to do, given that most organizations have relatively few points of contact.

    * The greatest value in a plan isn't the plan that results. It's the thinking that went into it.

    * Focus groups aren't good, because the results are dependent upon group dynamics. Rather, seek independent, oral surveys from your customers.

    * Ask: What are you good at? Beckwith says too many companies define themselves by their industry, which tends to pigeonhole their thinking. Beckwith suggests doing something, learning from it, and then adjusting appropriately.

    * Service companies are selling a relationship. The prospect must feel valued and comfortable.

    * Sell hope and happiness. People like hope and happiness. But, for professional services, never be gimmicky or use trickery, because service businesses must always build trust. And, trickery implies you trick clients. However, service companies must be careful not to overpromise. Client expectations must be managed. If a client expects a miracle and only gets very good service, he won't be happy.

    * Don't aim for greatness or being best. Aim to be positively good. In marketing, most clients aren't looking for the very best, which probably will be too expensive. They're looking for worry-free and good service. Beckwith suggests avoiding braggery and puffery and consider using understatement.

    * Risk yourself. Don't fear rejection or failure.

    * When in doubt about what to do, Beckwith suggests, "Get out there. Almost anywhere. Let opportunity hit you." Beckwith tells us many strategists procrastinate, because they don't want to see their plans fail. But, that will get you nowhere. You need to execute tactics to learn and improve.

    * Don't overgeneralize. Beckwith writes, "have a healthy distrust of what experience has taught you."

    Beckwith makes a convincing case that we can't rely upon memory, experience, authority, and even common sense to know what will work in marketing. For example, about authority, Beckwith writes, "Ideas do not follow the good thinking in an organization; ideas follow the power." And, he points out that power often goes to those who look and sound like they should have power. In fact, he tells us the strongest predictor of an MBA's starting salary is height, not academic or business performance.

    Beckwith tells us that in today's world people are looking for shortcuts and the best short cut of all is a brand, because a brand implies a name that is trusted to deliver. Branded products and services tend to be most profitable. Beckwith writes: "In service marketing, almost nothing beats a brand." (Another good book about branding is "Fusion Branding" by Nick Wreden.)

    "Selling The Invisible" also has great advice about naming a company, publicity, and communication. The book's one weakness is its discussion of positioning, which I found a bit boring and skipped. In another section, Beckwith needlessly repeats himself about the need to thank people. Overall, I enjoyed and recommend "Selling The Invisible."

    Peter Hupalo, Author of "Thinking Like An Entrepreneur"...more info

  • Not your typical book on selling.
    This is one of the best books I have ever read on the subject of selling a service or services.

    My company is a small-time operation. I own a computer service and repair business. Essentially, I am the company. That's why this book is perfect for me.

    Beckwith's guide taught me what is most important about what I do and how to focus on that, and then sell it. It also showed me what customers look for, what they don't care about, and the benefits of knowing these things.

    If I could go back in time and give myself a copy of this book when I was just starting out, my income would probably be double what it is today. Simply purchasing this book and making a few minor changes has already made a huge difference the bottom line.
    ...more info
  • Selling the Invisible
    This is one of the better books I have read. I purchased several additional copies to give to friends.

    My purchase through Amazon was very good and I will use Amazon again....more info
  • Selling something
    I used this book to share with people at work as we are just starting to move into internet selling. Very timely and good a read....more info
  • Quantifying the Intangible
    Actually, this book is less about "selling" than it is about establishing and then nourishing relationships, not only with clients and prospective clients but also with almost everyone else within a given marketplace. For example, vendors, service providers, and strategic allies. Moreover, it is one of the few books I have read which focuses almost entirely on the marketing and sales of services which are, paradoxically, both "invisible" and experiential. (Schmitt has much of great value to say about this in Experiential Marketing as do Pine and Gilmore in The Experience Economy and Wolf in The Entertainment Economy.) Beckwick shares an abundance of information and advice, duly acknowledging various sources from which he has obtained some of the material. I do not damn him with faint praise. His own contributions are first-rate. In "Summing Up", he provides a brief but precise discussion of various sources which he commends to his reader. This has much greater value than does the standard bibliography. And there is a value-added benefit, his sense of humor, which is indicated by some of the section titles such as "Anchors, Warts, and American Express", "Ugly Cats, Boat Shoes, and Overpriced Jewelry: Pricing", and "Monogram Your Shirts, Not Your Company." Throughout the book, he includes more than 100 of what I characterize as "business nuggets" which are directly relevant (indeed illuminating) within the context in which he inserts them.

    For whom will this book be of greatest interest and value? Obviously, those now involved in marketing, sales, and other areas in which there is direct and frequent contact with customers. Beckwick reveals himself to be an astute observer of human nature. What he suggests can be of substantial value to any organization in which business relationships, including those which are internal, are less than desirable. Everything he suggests combines common sense with a sensitivity to others' needs and interests. Indeed, almost everyone in almost any organization (regardless of size or nature) must constantly be "selling" various services to others within and beyond that organization. First, they must establish credibility, then trust, and finally obtain agreement to cooperate, if not collaborate. Almost all relationships succeed or fail because of intangibles. Beckwick examines them within a business context but, in process, suggests wide and deep implications relevant to all other areas of human experience. This is an immensely practical as well as thoughtful book....more info

  • Full of Useful Information
    This is a wonderful book for anyone in any service business. Since over 80% of our economy is now service based, everyone can benefit from reading the book.

    It is actually a huge collection of essays on marketing. They are short, well written and very insightful. It would be difficult not to pick up 10 to 15 things that you could do immediately to improve your marketing.

    The book was written in 1997, so some specific companies he talks about have changed dramatically. However the principles have not changed. These principles will still be valid 50 years from now.

    One thing that most service providers have trouble with is pricing their services. They are afraid to charge too much. Beckwith does a great job of explaining why you cannot compete on price.

    He tells a little story about Picasso. He was sketching at a sidewalk cafe in Paris when a woman strolling along the street saw him and asked if he would do a sketch of her. He obliged and when finished, she asked how much she owed him. Five thousand francs was the reply. She protested that it had only taken three minutes. Picasso corrected her by saying, "No. It took me all my life." When you are selling services you are not selling your time but your experience. A lesson most in the service business really do not understand.

    The book is a pleasure to read....more info
  • Very insightful and truthful, but poorly structured IMO
    I really enjoy this book. It does a very good job communicating the ideas of establishing strong business relationships, brands, pricing strategies, strong first impressions and maintaining a strong visual presence (to help the invisible become visible). Many of the ideas relate extremely well to almost any service industry and for me, being in the high-technology industry, I was not disappointed.

    The only argument I would have is that it's basically tidbits of very insightful information, but I was sort of lost as to the organization of the book. Some of the different sections in the book didn't follow well to the next. Some chapters I felt had 2 or 3 completely different thoughts and those distinctions weren't visually or structurally apparent enough. In fact - it's kinda hard for me find out some of that insightful information that I read previously because of this lack of organization.

    For this reason, i gave it a 4 rather than a 5. Overall, it's a good book and you can read it on a train or on a weekend. It has made me rethink my marketing strategies and I'm sure you'll rethink yours too after reading this book....more info

  • People hear what they see
    Communications make services more tangible and visible and give clients something firm to grasp. Marketing communications for services haul a heavier burden than communications for products. We trust products but we are far less trusting of services. So communications about services must make the service more tangible and real and must sooth the worried prospect.

    People are interested in themselves. Turn the attention away from "I'm an expert", "I'm the smartest", "me, me, me" and turn the attention to the client. Indifference is the worst enemy not competition. When you do speak say one thing. Saying many things usually communication nothing. Your prospects have one question "What makes you so different that I should do business with you?" So give them one good reason to do business with you then repeat it again and again. Don't use adjectives to explain your reasons, use stories. Work one good basic communication; the communication must be vivid and not unclear, concrete and not abstract, familiar and not unfamiliar, and proper nouns not adjectives. Create evidence of your service and then communicate your service quality. Don't use silly or unprofessional promotional ideas. Prospects don't necessary want to buy the best, they just don't want to buy bad; so, help assure the prospect that you have weakness, you are good enough, and they can be comfort with selecting you. Convey that you are positively good. The client will continue using your service, if the client feels comfortable with them. The golden rule of marketing applies: "It is far better to say too little than too much."

    People hear what they see. When people watch commercials they don't hear words, they see pictures. For example, an attorney climbing a mountain caused people to say that "First Banks were strong and solid, like the man climbing the mountain". People will trust their eyes far before they will ever trust your words. Make the invisible visible by using visual symbols to look for clues about what the business is about: Prudential has it's Rock of Gibraltar, Travelers is umbrella, Allstate is good hands, TransAmerica its tower, and Wausau its railroad station. Make sure people see who you are. Make sure your visual communications are consistent and reinforcing through out your company, it make you look more organized and professional and easier to remember. If your selling something complex, simplify it with a metaphor. Metaphors can quickly define your concept and your uniqueness.

    If you want publicity then advertise. Prospect believe advertising is publicity and creditability. Advertising is the source by which people come to know the companies mentioned in the ad. People do not believe in companies they have not heard. Write articles and if you want editors to help you then give them something interesting. Give them a story worth publishing. Look deeply there are interesting stories to be told.

    Focus on Buying and not selling. Think of the opposite side ask the customer "What do you want; what do you need; who are you". Make buying easy for the customer. Talk with the prospect about them and not you.

    People want to smile. The most important thing you can sell is hope. Hope makes people feel good and customers that feel good will continue to give you business.
    ...more info
  • Very useful, easy read, to-the-point
    The book consists of numerous 1-2 page to-the-point chapters. Highlights understanding a buyer's fear in buying an intangible service. The buyer wants to hear: "I understand your problem" more than "my service is better". The latter is expected. Several useful tips that can be easily and effectively applied to small service businesses....more info
  • Can't go wrong reading this one!
    This is another one of those classics. The fundamental message is timeless, and while some of the companies mentioned have changed the lessons behind the stories are still relevant. The book is made up of a series of anecdotes that each delivers a punch, consisting of good solid advice. Harry was ahead of his time offering insights on the "new" world of service in 1997 when the book was published, and offering that even service companies have brand equity to care for. There are good essential marketing skills included here that many of us may have forgotten. I reread this book again recently and was reminded of a few things that are worth re-applying to my own marketing efforts and the work I do for clients. You can't help but become a better marketer after reading this....more info
  • Outstanding Marketing Book!
    This is one of the best books I have ever read for tips on marketing services. As the proprietor of a new business selling PR services, I gleaned a lot of great information from the book and put it to work immediately. The book has definitely helped my business....more info
  • One of my favorite books on marketing
    Incredible book on marketing a service or information. Incredibly profound realizations compacted into one and two page chapters, like a zen koan and its answer all at once....more info
  • Should be called "Showing The Invisible"
    Personally, I wouldn't limit this book to only apply to sales. In fact, Harry Beckwith's information in this book could be applied to literally ANYTHING that involves communication with another human being. As he does in his other books, "The Invisible Touch" and "What Clients Love," Harry gives simple anecdotes to clarify otherwise complicated methods. He shines a comforting light on the intimidating shadow of "sales" and "marketing" to make it far easier to imagine yourself able to do whatever you are using your communications to accomplish.
    At the end of each section he even has little one to two sentance "summaries" in bold, so you have a quick understanding of each point he is making.
    In short, he has packed 1000 pages of priceless information, into a 250 page, easy to understand, and apply, book.
    I strongly suggest not only buying this book, but the other two that I mentioned as well.
    No matter if you want to be a sales and marketing success, a communications master, or simply someone who wants to better understand what inspires and influences people, this book is one you will be glad that you bought.

    That's My Opinion But You're Welcome To It...more info
  • Finally a Marketing Book that Applies to NonProfits!
    Most marketing books are aimed at businesses that sell stuff, which makes them fairly inapplicable to the NonProfit world. "Selling the Invisible" comes the closest I've seen to helping market what NonProfits do. That's because "Selling the Invisible" focuses not on marketing products, but on marketing services, which makes it a great book for NonProfits.

    "Selling the Invisible" is not a how-to book. Instead, it is a thoughtful guide, providing insights on how marketing works and how prospects think. The chapters are short - more like snippets than chapters - each with a single thought that moves you towards the next thought. I have read this book a number of times, and I can never get past 3 or 4 of its tiny chapters without stopping to scribble down notes, or to consider just how our clients (and our own organization) are currently doing things. I have even found it helpful in thinking about different ways to market my own book on NonProfit board recruitment.

    The book starts by asking first things first: Are you sure what you have to market really is worth telling people about? Have you surveyed clients to find out if your service really is a quality service? Are you really providing what the community needs? Beckwith aims right for the heart.

    Once you are convinced you have a quality organization to talk about, he moves you through all the thought processes that should go into that marketing. But don't expect to move quickly. Expect your brain to light up in thought. Keep a note pad handy.

    Here are just some of the things I love about this book:
    Under the heading 'Fran Lebowitz and Your Greatest Competitor,' comes this quote:
    "Your greatest competitor is not your competition. It is indifference."
    And under the heading 'The Value of Publicity,' you will find this:
    "There are six peaks in Europe higher than the Matterhorn. Name one."

    The last chapter is a discussion of other books that can help round out the reader's understanding of marketing. Because Beckwith takes a systems approach to the subject and not a 'sell-the-widget' approach, many of these books are applicable to the NonProfit world as well.

    As someone who spends a lot of time combing bookstore shelves for business books that translate well to the NonProfit world, "Selling the Invisible" is one I would strongly recommend....more info

  • Drinking from a fire hose
    Nutshell review - This little book has +/-200 tips and points about marketing in service businesses. These are presented in a collection of short stories or mini-chapters of a paragraph or two with a bullet point note at the end - a field guide indeed. It's a bit like drinking from a fire hose with almost too many points being made but if just a few points help your cause then it will have been a worthwhile read....more info
  • learning that YOU are your best resource!
    This is not about tricking people... It's about the idea that your very best resource is YOU, and how to sell THAT. It's intangible, so it feels like you can be "selling the invisible."

    Excellent book in helping you to find your confidence in business or other. ...more info
  • Selling the Invisible: The Art of War
    Harry Beckwith's Selling the Invisible reminds me of Sun Tzu's The Art of War in that it is not so much a manual on its subject as it is a primer on how to think about its subject. Knowing nothing of service marketing when I started to read it, I found many of its precepts counterintuitive (selling relationships?) but with the numerous examples aided by my own observation of the things Beckwith talks about, my eyes were opened in a way Sun Tzu's first readers must have been. Beckwith understands the core of service marketing is the service itself and focusing on the consumer's needs, not clever marketing designed to separate the customer from his cash or dazzle him with an empty sales pitch for unwanted products (take notice, Apple). This relationship to the customer and understanding his or her needs defines the successful business and indeed IS the successful business. Beckwith illustrates this with many practical strategies relevant to any service business....more info
  • Treasure trove of uncommon sense
    This little gem of a book is packed with tips, ideas and insights that can help you sell the intangible. Author Harry Beckwith trains his sights on the special challenges of marketing services, especially but not exclusively professional services.

    If you are in the service industry, read this book.

    If you are an attorney, accountant, consultant or in any service capacity, you will gain and profit from reading and heeding Beckwith's advice. One of his core ideas is that marketing is NOT a department - it is an essential ongoing process in which everyone in the organization should participate.

    I started folding the corners of pages I wanted to come back to and found at the end I had a very dog-eared copy of the book! Well worth the time in a very readable style reminiscent of another marketing guru - Jeffrey Fox.
    ...more info
  • Good book on the marketing of services
    I gave this book 4 stars because, while it was refreshing to read and I definitely learned quite a bit, it wasn't a paradigm-shifting book, which is what I am increasingly moving towards for my 5 star books.

    As our economy evolves increasingly into more of a knowledge-based economy books on the marketing of services will become more important. As the title indicates, selling and/or marketing an intangible service is a different process than tangible product marketing. Mr. Beckworth says, "Marketing is not a department" and he's right--it is your front line (sales people) to your CEO and everyone in between. Everyone at your company is involved in marketing your company-and the author makes sure you get the message. Stop wasting time with ploys that don't work. COMMUNICATE with the consumer and you will see increased sales and market share.

    This book is not about how to develop a complex marketing design or plan. What it does offer is quick, easy to read "business nuggets" that are a page or so in length. Each observation is a fairly insightful observation about marketing in general but focused towards the service industry. This book is written in a tone that is simple and down-to-earth rather scholarly or academic and was refreshing to read.

    As the author writes, most people cannot evaluate the skills of an accountant, or lawyer, or any number of professional services. We often look for tangible proxies that indicate the professional's level of expertise and success (e.g., fancy offices, degrees on the wall, presentation, etc.).

    If you read this book in its entirety in one session, you are bound to remember nothing in the sea of facts and tidbits. I've found the best way to read the book is to ponder on a few points every night and/or week, while attempting to apply them to a salient situation in your life. Overall, this book has some interesting and useful insights, and is a good read when you have a few minutes to spare. The best way to learn from this book is to APPLY it. Everything doesn't have to occur at once and frankly, I think that this book will be one that I look to in the future when I am looking for snippets of marketing wisdom.

    Other useful books on marketing that I have read or been recommended include Seth Godin's Permission Marketing and Unleashing the Ideavirus (both great reads), the 22 immutable laws of marketing by Jack Trout and All Reis (excellent authors and a good read), Robert Cialdini's Influence and Ogilvy on Advertising or Wizard of Ads for help in sales copying....more info

  • Don't waste your time.
    The back cover makes you think that the book is full of new ideas and advice. Well, if you've read any basic marketing book, you already know it all. In fact, if you have plain old common sense, you probably will not find anything new in that either.

    I felt ripped off by the back cover comments. I read the book on a plane and, even for an airport book, I found it to be really lame....more info
  • The obvious is not always so obvious
    I read this book while interning the summer before my senior year in undergraduate school. It uses stories and antecdotes to show you the obvious, it reinforces facts that you simply take for granted. I would highly recommend this book to anyone considering or in a job in marketing or consulting. It is an extremely fast read, but worth the time....more info
  • Know Where To Hammer
    The excellent book Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing by Harry Beckwith makes many great points about service marketing, including that a good solution today is better than a perfect solution tomorrow. A ready-fire-aim approach (implement first, then iterate to fix mistakes) is generally better than a ready-aim-fire approach (wait for the perfect solution, then implement). You've still got to aim. You've still got to fire. But you may need to reconsider the order....more info
  • Business Plan
    Great book, and essential for today's service-oriented buying culture. From a different perspective, I loved Guerrilla P.R., and Guerrilla P.R. Wired, both by Michael Levine. As an Internet business owner, I am always looking for new and better ways to build my business, and Levine's books were the most helpful so far. I will be adding this book to my list of favorites, too....more info
  • Fascinating Examination of Marketing a Service
    Beckwith strives to defend his premise that the American economy has, as we all know, fundamentally shifted from agriculture to manufacturing/industry to service. Innumerable articles in numerous journals have documented and explored this key shift and its impact throughout America and the world.

    Beckwith's book is not just another examination of a subject that has grown somewhat tiresome in its staggering lack of originality. Rather, he focuses on how the marketing and selling of the "new" economy, the service economy and its products, is, but a retread of how marketing methods functioned when the product was a tangible piece of Detroit steel.

    Another book that recognizes the shift needed in marketing is Guerrilla PR: Wired by Michael Levine. Levine equally assumes Beckwith's premise and updates the promotions and public relations component of marketing for services.

    Beckwith's chapters are short, his observations pithy. He has written a much needed examination of how marketing is failing to keep pace with the American economy. I fully expect to see some Fortune 500 companies take advantage of this opportunity. I am, in fact, almost certain to assign it to my Spring Semester class....more info

  • Very good from a communication standpoint
    Very good book on communication and relationships. Well written and flows very well. Provides sound principles for marketing. Great insight on how to read customers and have a better understanding of what they are thinking. Great book for anybody in the service industry. I recommend....more info
  • Not much more to add. It's terriffic!
    No cliches, no superlatives-just common sense ideas that are often overlooked. Take plenty of notes-ideas flow from almost every page....more info
  • A great stimulus for creative marketing thinking!
    Engaging book that offers lots of counter-marketing-culture quips and provides fuel for thinking outside your own (or your organization's) boxes. Make sure you have a pad and pen handy for notes!...more info
  • Beckwith Wisdom
    Beckwith succintly summarizes marketing for the service industry in such a clear way as to not only convey his message but teach how to convey yours...more info
  • Snappy, a quick read, and in the end, barely memorable
    I try and write these Amazon reviews a couple months after I read the book. This is done to temper short-term enthusiasm for a book with its longer-term impacts to how I approach how I do business.

    In the end, I can't remember anything this book said.

    This is in stark contrast with books such as Neil Rackham's "Spin Selling," where I recall fundamental concepts over six months after putting it down. This is perhaps due to the format of the book itself - in what I call an "airport executor" format (emphasis on the non-word "executor," as if it were referring to an executive superhero pacing quickly through an airport, barking into one of those hands-free microphones and by all appearances talking to him/herself).

    I bought this book in an airport bookstore, seeking a productive distraction on one of those long east-to-west flights. I was indeed in the role of marketing and selling services, and I felt maybe this book would contain some nuggets that would help me better understand how to build customer faith in our "product."

    I recall reading the book during the flight, due to its small page format and short length, and I remember feeling pretty inspired, as if I had been exposed to concepts that would really help. In the end, I felt good about the money and time I'd invested.

    But as mentioned above, I can't remember even one thing the book said. I read Collin's and Porras' "Built to Last" over three years ago and still remember core concepts, examples, and referenced points. This book left me with nothing.

    It may be the format: quick sound bites probably designed for guys like me who read them on a cross-country flight. I felt good about the purchase in the short term, and can't remember what I read about in the long term.

    Ries & Ries "22 immutable laws of branding" employs a similar sound-bite format, and has the same problem. I can't remember one thing the book said about branding, and I read it three times.

    Perhaps I require deeper rooting in a topic to remember the content. References to research and other works, less snappy sound bites, I don't know. If shallow and snappy sound bites are your thing, this is the book for you. I'll probably not buy another one....more info

  • What Every Service Business Needs!
    I loved this book! It's full of short, to-the-point descriptions of each of the salient topics which made for an informative and entertaining read. I own a recording studio and graphic design business, both very much service-oriented, and I've changed my viewpoint on how to best market these "invisible" services. Our new marketing strategy is already getting rave reviews in our limited survey so we are gearing up to roll it out to the public. Even if you sell products, there's more service in the sale than you may have previously believed......more info

 

 
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