Cambridge Satchels by markhillary.

I’ve been writing about Harry Beckwith’s book The Invisible Touch.  I mentioned how Beckwith looks at four key areas for the marketing of services businesses.  In previous articles I’ve written about how Price and Brand affects the perception of your service.  This week I’ll look at how the packaging of your service can influence your client’s perceptions.

I’ve written before about how clients look for cues as to the quality of your service – if they can’t see the physical service you provide, they look at how it is presented.

Beckwith points out that many service businesses cut costs when it comes to promoting their business – using cheap looking brochures, having their office poorly presented etc.  When clients look at those businesses they’re seeing that you lack confidence in how you present your business and they react accordingly.  If you don’t have the confidence to invest in your business, why should they?

How you package your business also gives you an opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors.  When you design a brochure or an advertisement do you use similar images to those your competitors use, or do you use something completely different that’s unique to your business?

The packaging you use speaks volumes about your business.  In one of my previous jobs I used to visit financial advisers.  Their waiting rooms created a mixed range of first impressions in me.  Some were very professional in their look whilst others seemed to be behind the times.  I sat in one office where the most recent magazine to read was over 2 years old!  I’ve seen some great offices – one had a book full of client testimonials that were glowing in their praise of that financial planning business.  Reading those testimonials helps potential clients become more comfortable with the business.

I’ve sat in an accountant’s office where client files were everywhere – including all over his desk and on the seat I was supposed to be sitting in.  So much for privacy!  I’ve visited other offices where all the interviews were conducted in dedicated interview offices – clean environments that existed solely to help create a good impression.

Beckwith concludes his section on packaging with the following questions:

What does what your offer look like?

Does it look like excellence?  Does it fit the prospect’s image of an extraordinary service?

Does your package, your place, and even your person enhance the experience?

Your package is your service.

And he’s right.  Your package really is your service in the eyes of your clients.

So, how do we apply this to our businesses?

What does the packaging of your business look like?  Are you cutting costs but also compromising the look and feel of your service?  Does your web site look fresh and new, or is it dated and cheap?  Do you look like you’re worth what you charge?  How do clients perceive the packaging of your brand – does it look like they expect it should?  Do you know what they expect?  Remember, when I can’t see the physical product you sell, I begin to look at all the other aspects of your offer, and the packaging is one of the main things I look at.

Please leave your comments and let’s share ways we can improve the packaging of our businesses.

Photo by MarkHillary