Selling a service is tough. Achieving sustainable critical mass is tougher. Heightened skills in communication, pricing, and planning, combined with a strict focus on delivering quality service are critical.

This list outlines 7 critical answers that service-sales leaders must address to achieve sustainable growth:

1. What’s your mission?

  • A clear mission statement is like a lighthouse beacon cutting through the fog: it keeps you focused and on-track.
  • Strategic and tactical sales plans should cascade from the mission statement, to assure complete organizational alignment and to improve the odds for success.

2. What exactly IS your service?

  • What are the benefits to your prospective buyers?
  • Who are your prospective buyers?

3. What is your breakeven point?

  • Another crucial guide-point that levels spending impulses, and when linked to the mission statement, grounds a sales strategy in reality to increase its chances of success

4. How much?

  • Do you have a rational method to develop prices and quotes?
  • Are you ready to walk away from business?
  • Do you have a framework for pricing off-list services for special account circumstances?
  • Can your targeted buyers afford you?

5. Why should I sign with you, and not these other guys?

  • Sure, your service is awesome. But really – why should I sign with you?
  • Risk mitigation is often a key element in services sales, simply because of the intangibility of the deliverable
  • Anticipate competitive bids, and completely understand competitive positioning, and SWOT to answer this question compellingly
  • Prepare a variety of (adaptable) customer/situation-based USP’s to help you prepare winning proposals

6. Can you prove it?

  • Related to the questions above, the burden of proof is crucial for services sellers
  • Because you will be invoicing for an intangible-deliverable, proof of your capability via case studies, references, and educational and professional qualifications will be noticed by B2B buyers during their vendor screening
  • Factors that throw red-flags up are: newness (start-ups have it tougher), vagueness, and industry-inexperience

7. Who else are you working-with?

  • This question can be a buying signal, or it can be a danger sign. Either way, references and endorsements, and links to third-party validators can often make the difference between winning or losing the business


The questions presented above are components of our Sales and Marketing Audit.

In the weeks ahead, we’ll be adding other ‘Crucial Answers’ to help services-sellers grow their businesses. Care to add any?