Skip to content

Learning how to sell a service is hard because you can’t sell a service the same way you sell a physical product. 

When you buy a physical product, you are buying a thing that you can see, touch, and immediately experience. It’s easy to understand, so selling a physical product is more about creating an interesting value proposition. 

When you sell a service, it’s about finding something that you can do for someone else, and then communicating the value of that service. It sounds complicated and mysterious.

This article will show how to create and sell a service. We’ll talk about finding your niche, what you’ll need to think about as you create your products and the finer points of selling strategy. 

How to Sell a Service: A Complete Guide to Communicating Value

1. Find Your Service Industry Niche
2. Create Your Services
3. Make it Easy to Purchase Your Service
4. How to Make a Site Selling Services
5. How to Sell Your Services Pt 1: Strategy
6. How to Sell Your Services Pt 2: Marketing
7. Optimizing Your Services with Data

A quick note: While there are many niche marketplaces for service industries, selling a service directly gives you more control, independence, and a greater percentage of sales. Your website can also help build your authority and improve engagement with your audience. Those interactions help to build an essential email list of leads for future sales.

If you’re not sure where your skills will be the most valuable, let’s find your niche.

A man checking inventory figures out how to sell a service to continue to grow his business with Selz ecommerce for business growth

1. Find Your Service Industry Niche

It’s not only easier to get attention early on with a niche, but you can also develop a stronger connection to your community. Selling services is a long game, so the more supporters you can build early on, the greater your chance of success.

If you’re starting from scratch, choose a service industry niche that connects to something you already know and love. For example, if you like makeup, teaching makeup application classes online could be a good service to start with. 

If you already sell physical or digital products and you want to add a service to your business, start slowly. 

Offer a simple service that connects to what you already sell. You may already offer a high level of support to your current customers and you may want to begin charging a small fee for those services. Alternatively, you could continue to offer free support, but add a more complex service to your products. 

Learn more:

48 Creative Business Ideas (That You Can Start Today!)
105 Service Businesses to Start Today

2. Create Your Service

Services can include custom consultations, planning documents, live meetings and more. 

You might offer the same service to every prospective customer. You can also offer personalized services. Clients will pay more for personalized products that you can create just for them. 

You’ll want to do some research on the existing market. Look at potential competitors already selling services, and think about how you can improve on their offer.

Turn your service into a product

Even if your service is pretty straightforward, you’ll make more money if you offer it in a format that’s easy to understand.

Let me explain. A friend of mine needed help with house cleaning recently. She set up a walkthrough of her house with a housekeeper that a friend mentioned on Facebook. During the walkthrough they talked back and forth about the materials the housekeeper could use, pricing, and scheduling. 

Housecleaning is great for selling services, but how you package your service is important

At the end of the conversation the housecleaning got done, but the process felt chaotic and confusing. The housekeeper she found did a great job, but they didn’t get a return customer because they didn’t offer their service as a product.

If you want to know how to sell a service successfully, you need to make things simple for your customers and to clearly set expectations. This is how you do it:

  1. Write out a list of everything your services might cover
  2. Assign a value to each item on your list
  3. Group the items on your list in 3-5 tiers
  4. Create packages and pricing based on those tiers

Make your list as long as you can. It’s easy to forget the details when you’re sitting down. With this in mind, keep a notepad and paper or your phone handy the next time you do the activity you plan to offer as a service. As you go through the motions, add anything to the list you forgot the first time.

Each tier should appeal to a different customer and have a different price point. The more options you have the harder it becomes for your customers to choose, so be thoughtful about it.

Use competitor data for pricing inspiration

You want to look at the time, effort and materials that go into each part of your process, and assign that task to a tier and price point that makes sense.

It is hard to set a price for something you just do for yourself, which is why competitor pricing is so useful as a guide. You’ll also want to think not only about your labor, but about how it appears to your customer.

For example, when you’re taking a class it can seem like the teacher just knows the material, but you can understand the time it takes to put together the study guide. 

A teacher teaches, but there's a lot of preparation to teach a class that you need to think about s you learn how to sell a service online

From a teacher’s perspective, many of these tests and worksheets are already available. It’s the preparation that goes into each class that takes the most time and effort to pull together. 

After you’ve offered your service for a while you may start getting some special requests from customers. It’s a good idea to decide what your primary services are up front. Then it’s time to decide what add-ons you will cover for free and which will cost extra. 

You’ll be more successful if you can anticipate needs up front and meet those needs. As things start to get rolling, get involved with customer feedback so you can adjust your packages accordingly.

Make the materials for your service

Slideshows, presentations, outlines…the key to selling effectively, especially when you are selling something intangible, is to make what you are offering simple and clear.  

People will buy your service because it can solve a problem for them. Start with the desired outcomes (improved small business marketing, a healthier physique, a cleaner house) and then work backward.

These are just a few common formats for services:

Write a detailed product description

You want a simple and clear explanation of your service and the value it provides. 

You’ll want to write a thorough product description for your site that shows how you will provide the service and the benefits. Your product description copy is a teaser that entices readers to buy your service.

Creating a great headline is important in a top-selling product description. Think about what problem your service solves for your clients and find a way to make it quick to understand. 

Create stunning visuals

Many people have a hard time visualizing abstract ideas, so visuals that communicate positive results, like before and after photos, are incredibly helpful.

Home makeover photos inclusing before and after pictures are very effective for selling

Think of how popular home renovation and makeover shows are. That is the kind of communication that will help potential customers understand the value of your service. 

If you don’t feel confident about your photography skills, you can hire a photographer or buy photos from an image library. Product videos are also a perfect tool to help your customers understand the value of your service.

Pull it all together

Now you’re ready to put all the pieces of your service together. Create a structure and then organize your materials around that outline. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, you shouldn’t build your entire service in one sitting.

Set deadlines and focus on one piece at a time – you can find more tips on project management here

Read more:

7 Steps to Creating Picture-Perfect Product Images for Your Online Store
5 Tips for How to Write Product Descriptions that Drive Sales

3. Make it Easy to Purchase Your Service

The next step as you learn how to sell a service is to decide how you will deliver it. Do you want to live stream yoga classes or business coaching online? Or does your service need to happen in a specific setting or location like moving or car repair? Pick as many options as you can to make access convenient to your clients. 

How to sell a service online

The simple way to sell a service online is a meeting link. 

Live sessions through live video chat platforms are an easy way to sell online whether you are teaching online, selling yoga lessons or personal coaching

Selz makes it easy to sell live video chat sessions. Online chat tools like Slack or Skype can also be helpful to connect with your clients. If you want to share presentations in your live meetings, you’ll want to prep these in advance. 

There’s nothing like a good PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation to add images and flow to your presentations. Don’t forget to add your branding to every platform you will be using. 

How to sell a service as a digital product

If you’re selling instructional eBooks or videos, it may make sense to sell your service as a digital product. You can sell your eBook as a secure PDF and sell or rent videos directly from your site. With Selz, these products can be available to your buyers immediately as part of the purchase transaction. 

When you are selling from your own store you can easily have multiple formats available for your clients to choose between.

How to sell a service in-person AND online

Selz and Square point of sale answer the question what is point of sale with ease and simplicity to grow your business

Whether you’re setting up a table at a conference or visiting the local farmer’s market, the power of in-person sales is undeniable. A powerful point of sale system can let you sell online services to customers when you’re face to face. It can also make adding an online service to your in-person meetings simple.

Read more: What is Point of Sale? A Complete Guide to POS for Small Business

4. How to Make a Site Selling Services

Now it’s time to build a website and add your service.

Using the simple and powerful tools of the Selz store builder, upload your files with a great product photo. Add your description, set your price, and then add the new service to your online store.

Selz provides a ton of useful features for selling a service from your website:

  • Quick set up with powerful features
  • Easily automate delivery
  • Rent or sell videos
  • Secure, expiring download links for PDFs
  • Customizable buy buttons, and the ability to embed an entire online store
  • Sell as much as you like, with no extra charges for hosting or bandwidth
  • Secure processing for credit card and PayPal paymentsQuick checkout for your customers 
  • SEO optimization so your products are easier for customers to find
  • Integrates with email marketing tools, making it easy to provide proof of service

Sign up for a free 14-day trial yourself to start selling from your website with Selz.

5. How to Sell Your Services Pt 1: Strategy

It’s important for you to be an expert on your service, but your customer is more interested in the results. They want to see evidence that shows them how your service will solve their problem. So, your marketing strategy should focus on how your service can deliver a desirable outcome.

Another thing to consider, services usually sell for a higher price point. This means they also take longer to sell and you need a long-term strategy for success and growth.

Let’s talk about what you need to think about as you figure out how to sell a service strategically.

Show off your skills

In the service industry your skills and personality are the product. To sell your service you’ll need to sell your experience and expertise. Write blogs, do interviews and engage with customers one-on-one to build trust.

You’ll also want to invest time and energy into building your network. Spend time on social media like LinkedIn and invest in publicity. Grow your relationships with customers by developing a personal connection to them.

Come up with a killer pitch

If you’re wondering how to sell a service, know that your pitch can change everything. Use storytelling to help your customer see what inspired your service and how it can help them too. This post on Hubspot is really useful if you’re wondering how to create a great elevator pitch. 

A group of businessmen stand by the elevator, the perfect place to practice your elevator pitch

Create your pitch as early as you can, practice it until it becomes second nature and test it out on friends before you deliver your elevator pitch in the wild.

Great customer service

Great customer service doesn’t just react to problems and fix them quickly. To effectively sell services you’ll need a proactive strategy for customer service.

This article goes over some of the finer points, but effective customer service that sells services includes:

  • Asking questions about your customer needs
  • Anticipate potential issues and share how you would address those problems
  • Active listening
  • Follow up with next-steps that reflect your attention to detail

Social Proof

Online reviews, testimonials and references are everything when you’re selling services. You can amplify social proof by adding user-generated content to your social media. Case studies are also a great way to highlight the effectiveness of your services.

6. How to Sell Your Services Pt 2: Marketing

Get ready to put in some time and effort for marketing before and after the launch of your service. As you create your marketing plan, your first priority is getting to the right person.

If you are selling directly to customers, connect with them on the channel where they are most aware of their problem. 

A collection of Instagram fashion photos for how to sell a service on social media

For example, if you are selling fashion consulting, posting alongside the stunning pictures on Instagram might inspire your customer to try your service. They might not respond the same way if they see your message while reading business articles on LinkedIn.

If you’re selling your service B2B, find the person in an organization who feels most affected by the problem you’re solving. LinkedIn can also be helpful here, since it can give you an idea of the scale and roles at each business you’re targeting with a simple search.

Create anticipation and use that buzz to drive sales

One way to do this is to write a handful of guest posts for sites that your niche follows. To find these readers, look at the most popular keywords in your niche. You may also want to take a look at other authors in your niche. Run a Google search or check a tool like Ahrefs to see which blogs are most popular for each author.

You don’t need to directly mention your service in your guest posts, but the subject for each post should connect back to what you’re selling.  Remember, you want to get someone interested enough to come to your website and make a purchase.

Think about offering a free trial to bloggers in your niche. Ask them to share with their network if they enjoy the outcomes.

Create an email sequence that goes into detail about your new service and send it to your email list. Want a little help to really drive sales? Try paid advertising.

7. Optimizing Your Services with Data

Selz analytics include in-platform analysis of sales, conversions, traffic and more with direct integrations

Set up analytics on your website early to track valuable information about how customers use your products, like the time of day they watch videos. This will give you ideas for new products. It can also provide data that will help you to find and attract new customers.

To get started with analytics, it’s easy to connect your Selz store to Google Analytics. From your dashboard, you can see how many sales you’ve made and where they are coming from. 

It can be tempting to make big changes quickly if you don’t see sales right away, but be patient. It will be difficult for your new service to turn a profit if you’re constantly reinventing your process and deliverables.

Give your new service time to settle in, then make tiny changes one at a time. Finally, test how those changes affect your main KPIs. 

Read more: Where Customers Come From: Understanding Website Analytics

Wrapping up

Learning how to sell a service takes work, but it has incredible potential for income. Sign up for your free 14-day trial of Selz and expand your business with services today.

About the author

Jana Rumberger

Jana is a writer and Content Manager at Selz. She has expertise in ecommerce strategy, selling products online, and small business solutions. Jana combines diverse experience in education, design, and manufacturing to craft engaging content.

In addition to her writing, she is a visual artist and foodie in Portland, Oregon.