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5.0 out of 5 stars Become Visibile with a not so Visible Service
There are several hundred books available on the market about selling. Most of these books are based on tangible products, something the consumer can see, feel and recieve an almost immediate satisfaction after the purchase.
This books is one of the few available about selling services. When a consumer purchases a service from you or your company, they are paying...
Published on Nov. 10 2003 by M. Bennett

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3.0 out of 5 stars 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...
Published on Aug. 22 2002 by kent dahlgren


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5.0 out of 5 stars Become Visibile with a not so Visible Service, Nov. 10 2003
This review is from: Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing (Hardcover)
There are several hundred books available on the market about selling. Most of these books are based on tangible products, something the consumer can see, feel and recieve an almost immediate satisfaction after the purchase.
This books is one of the few available about selling services. When a consumer purchases a service from you or your company, they are paying for your promise to deliver someting in the future. This is especially true in the world of finance and insurance industry. A financial advisor sells a fund and the buyer expects to recieve x amount of interest on his in vestment at a later date. In the insurance industry, a client buys an automobile insurance policy but will probably never see the benefits of the sinsurance policy until he or she has an accident. How do you sell something that has no immediate benefit to the client? Read "Selling the Invisible".
There are twelve very easy to read chapters with many short examples (lacking a little bit on the proof side). I do believe it is an excellent book but it is too North American oriented to be carried over one to one for european, asian or middle-eastern markets. There will have to be a few cosmetic adjsutments made to be able to adapt to other makets but it is still a catalyst to start doing things differently.
The chapters and some of the main messages of those I recieved from the author Harry Beckwith:
Planning - 1.) Accept the limititations of planning 2.) Don't value planning for its result;the plan 3.)Don't plan your future plan your people. 4.)Do it now. The business obituary pages are filled with planners who waited. 5.)Beware of focus groups; they focus on today and planning is about tomorrow. 6.)Don't let the perfect ruin good. 7.)Don't look to experts for all your answers. Ther are no answers, only informed opinions.
How Prospects Think - 1.) Appeal only to a prospects reason, and you may have no appeal at all 2.) Familiarity breeds business; spread your word however you can. 3.)Take advantage of the recovery effect. Follow-up brilliantly.
Pointing and Focus - 1.)Stand for one distinctive thing that will give you a competative edge. 2.)To broaden your appeal, narrow your position. 3.)No company can position itself as anything, your prospects and customers put you there. Positioning is something the market does to you. You can only try and influence your position. 4.) Your position is all in the peoples minds. Find out what that position is. 5.)Focus. In everything from campaign for peanuts to campaign for presidents, focus wins.
Pricing - 1.)Don't assume that logical pricing is smart pricing. Maybe your price which makes you look like a good value, actually makes you look second rate. 2.)Setting your price is like setting a screw. A little resistance is a good sign. The reason 10% of the population are chronic complainers of price. 3.)Beware of the deadly middle in pricing. You communicate that as well... We are average. 4.)Beware of the rock bottom in pricing...you communicate we are substandard. 5.)Value is not a position.
Naming and Branding - 1.)Give your service a name, not an abbreviation 2.)Generic names encourage generic business. 3.)In service marketing almost nothing beats a brand. 4.)Building a brand doesn't take millions. It takes imagination.
Communicating and Selling - 1.)Make the service and the prospect feel compfortable 2.)Saying many things usually communicats nothing. 3.)Good basic communicating is good basic marketing. 4.)If you think your promotional idea might seem silly or unprofessional, it is. 5.)Prospects do not buy how good you are at what you do. They buy how good you are at who you are. 6.)Far better to say to little than too much. 7.)People hear what they see. Watch what you show. 8.)Give your marketing a human face.
Nurturing and Keeping Clients - 1.) Watch your relationship balance sheet, assume it is worse than it appears and fix it. 2.)Don't raise expectations you cannot meet. 3.)To manage satisfaction, you manage your customers expectations. 4.)Out of sight is out of mind. If you are not meeting regularly, you are not in their mind.
Overall an excellent book that contains a lot of reasons as to why service marketing is different and how to keep yourself visible amongst the competition.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Book For Marketing Services, May 2 2003
By 
Peter Hupalo (MN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing (Hardcover)
"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"
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1.0 out of 5 stars Another ra-ra book, March 1 2003
This review is from: Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing (Hardcover)
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.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Typical ra-ra book, Feb. 23 2003
This review is from: Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing (Hardcover)
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Read if you are Marketing Professional Services, Feb. 6 2003
By 
P. Scott Pope "Scott Pope" (Chicago, IL) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing (Hardcover)
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a Marketing Book that Applies to NonProfits!, Nov. 7 2002
This review is from: Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing (Hardcover)
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally a Marketing Book that Applies to NonProfits!, Nov. 7 2002
This review is from: Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing (Hardcover)
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Getting Better vs. Getting Different, Sept. 8 2002
By 
P. Biery (Greater Seattle Area) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing (Hardcover)
Does your business sell a product or a service? Don't answer too quickly---- even product-based businesses attract and keep customers because of their services. For this reason, it may be more important to "get different" than to "get better." Or so suggests advertising and marketing executive Harry Beckwith, who draws on his experience with some of America's best service businesses for his book Selling the Invisible.
According to Beckwith, Domino's pizza built its business on different, not better: it delivers fast, not a better product, a different service. Does it promote the best pizza? No, it tells us we can reliably have pizza fast. Then it does what it promises, consistently. Not better pizza, a different service.
Each year, companies evaluate their performance as if the world will stay the same-but the world doesn't stay the same, and it is only a matter of time before a competitor sees a way to innovate and move forward. A performance review that includes the suggestion to "look at what you did last year, and do at least 15 percent better," leaves your company vulnerable to the enterprising company that comes along and does things 100 percent differently. Beckwith's advice: "Don't just think better. Think different."
In my own experience, businesses who make themselves available to unique opportunities and then support these opportunities with excellent service are likely to get the work. Is their product superior? Sometimes. But really, the deciding factor is often more about service. For instance, is it easy for your prospective customers to sell other people in their business on your firm (brochures, website)? Are there related products or services that could be combined to make your business unique? A better pizza is good. But finding the unmet needs of a potential customer or client by thinking differently creates new business, which is great.
Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith offers a quick look at essential concepts in service marketing, like "positioning" and "brand development" as well as tips on how to use advertising and surveys to build business. For those new to service marketing concepts, this book is a tempting sampler: for those versed in marketing theories, it provides a fresh viewpoint.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Examination of Marketing a Service, Aug. 24 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing (Hardcover)
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.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Snappy, a quick read, and in the end, barely memorable, Aug. 22 2002
By 
kent dahlgren (Portland, Oregon United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing (Hardcover)
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.
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