Sales is a critical part of any business. No matter if you are selling a product or are a service provider, you will have unique challenges. This concept known as “selling the invisible,” is referenced in Harry Beckwith’s bestselling book by the same title. There is a difference and often great difficulty between selling an intangible service as compared to the tangible. There are many valid reasons why this is true, but the underlying principles are essentially the same. Ironically, however, it is consultative selling that is closer to the true nature of selling, and here is why: Everything is a service: There is a saying that “you don’t sell drills, you sell holes,” which in fact inspired this article and changed the way that I think about products and selling. That simply saying brought to light what I had inherently known, but never realized; that everything is a service. The shift from thinking about “What does my product do?” to “What services does my product offer?” is a fundamental shift towards the true nature of customer interaction. Products are a repeated, indirect service: Products are, generally speaking, designed to be used multiple times and, as such, must give their intended services as long as a customer expects, to keep up that customer’s satisfaction. This is a multi-fold quality. Firstly, unlike direct services such as consulting where the relationship is maintained personally, a product does not have a personal relationship with a customer. It must support the relationship for you overtime through its own merits with no direct influence of your own. Furthermore, the client sets their own estimation as to what level of performance is satisfactory, without you being able to recognize or react to these estimations. This means that being able to understand and convey the services and value provided by your product is even more important. Do not assume the product speaks for itself. Focus on the value: As with any aspect of sales, value is key, but value isn’t a return on interest or cost benefit analysis. It is the ways that your service (see product) improves the life of your customer. There are many ways to make value, from providing opportunities (money, contacts), to increasing convenience (airplanes, drive-thru), to providing a sense of pride or status (luxury cars, jewelry, DIY products), or even feelings of nostalgia (antiques, muscle cars), or connection (social media, movie posters). While a car’s primary value is in allowing people to travel conveniently and speedily from point to point, there are many other aspects of value that are encompassed by a car such as status, pride, excitement, or nostalgia. Focusing in on the various services provided by your products is key to effective selling.