Services are so much more about a relationship than almost anything else. Think about it this way: you can be a real jerk, but sell a great product and as long as people have limited contact with you, you can be a success. However, if you are selling a service – whether that is technical support or drinks in a bar – then your customers and clients are much more interested in your relationship. You cannot be a jerk if you sell services because services necessitate human interaction.
Whether it is landscaping, painting, web development, or bartending, people tend to care more about the relationship than they do about the product. You don’t have to be a mixologist to be a good bartender, you have to be personable. Likewise, you don’t have to build million dollar websites to be a successful web developer, but you do have to listen to your customer and deliver what they want.
Customers would much rather work with a company or person that they enjoy communicating with or being around. If you are hostile or you don’t listen or you insist on your way being right, the majority of folks are not going to care about what you have to offer. This is especially true in a bigger firm, but if you have an affable, personable salesman with a backing of excellent employees and coworkers, you will be a success. The salesman doesn’t have to be technically gifted to sell a website, but if he is going to be the face of your company then it only makes sense to have him be an accurate reflection of your best qualities.
Regular, repeat, retainer clients are crucial to success: they are the bedrock that you build your business on. Without this bedrock of customers or clients the month to month becomes much more stressful and income is much harder to anticipate. Cover your costs with an excellent stable of regular clients and you are gifted the freedom to go out and find one off clients or pitch for big, one time projects without having to worry about these sustaining your business.
However, all of these clients stick around because of the relationship that you have built with them. Certainly, you offer a service that they need or want, but they can always go somewhere else. Think about a bar: pretty much every bar sells the same alcohol, but why does one bar have a constant lineup of regulars that come through the door on a daily or weekly basis? It’s for the bartender. Take landscaping: do you think that a client chooses one landscaping service over another because of the type of lawn mower they use? More than likely not, but they do choose a lawn service because of the guy who knocks on their door every week or month to let the customer know that they will be in their yard that day. And that is the thing about selling a service – people can go somewhere else to get similar service, but what keeps them as your client is the relationship that you build with them.