The Art and Science of Selling the Invisible

Jules Rivera2022-07-14

About the Author: Jules works with A&D to produce valuable content. He has a full-time job but freelances part-time as a writer.


Freelancers are business owners, but unlike them, the service they provide is invisible to their customers. Why? There is no product to hold or to see.

You might ask, “How about my portfolio containing all my projects? Clients can see those.”  Yes, they can.

But how can you prove to them they need your service? Can they trust something they cannot see?

There are three components to selling the invisible:

📌 Clarify your service.

📌 Focus on the power of perception.

📌 Describe the results.

It looks simple, right? Because it is. Now for them to see the invisible (or your service), you need to include the 5 P’s into your marketing strategy.

These are: pain, proposal, position, persuasion, and promise.

After all, you cannot sell unless you know how to market.

➡️ Clarify your service.

You need to clarify to your clients what service you're offering. To identify, you need to know the pains of your client. As a freelancer, the formula is simple: SPY: super client + pain + your solution = service.

Consider accountants as an example. What are their problems? Do they need help in branding? Probably, they need someone to create content for them. You can narrow this down by defining your ideal client avatar. It’s a semi-fictional representation of a client you wish to work with.

Include the demographic (who) and psychographics (why). What’s their age, status, location, and gender? How about their behaviour? Their values? Companies often buy this information, but you can create this avatar when you study their behaviour in spaces where you can find them, whether on LinkedIn, Facebook groups, etc.

Now that you have your ideal client avatar with the SPY, you can use the information you have to streamline the service you’ll offer—the proposal.

To use the same example, you’re a social media manager that caters to accountants. How should that reflect in a single, direct message:

I help accounting firms create their social media content using organic and paid strategies so they can focus more in what they do best–accounting.

➡️ Focus on the power of perception.

Unlike large companies, freelancers have the opportunity to connect with their clients. You can walk through them from point A to B. Even when the relationship is professional, you’re both operating on a person-to-person basis.

Positioning yourself then requires for you to focus on how their lives would be changed when they work with you. How? By targeting these aspects: physical, physiological, and financial.

Given service marketing is intangible, selling an event that’s bound to happen when they hire puts you at an advantage. Because you are not just selling your services, you are selling results. Like when they choose to work with you, your clients can have more time  (physical), more focused on building their business (physiological), and their revenue has increased greatly (financial).

This is actually how you call out your target market and how you can begin to persuade them they hop on a discovery call with you.

According to a marketing coach named Terry Dean, "Persuasion is much more effective when it taps into a current problem they're already experiencing." That’s why as freelancers, we view their problems as pain and you’re relieving them of it, so make sure to include the benefits they will receive when they afford the results you can give.

If you’re aware there’s competition, find a way to anchor your service. Perhaps yours come in a bundle—a payment strategy that allows you to earn more. Let the client know that it’s cheaper to afford your offer because it comes with two services social media management and copywriting.

Allowing more revisions when you’re a graphic designer is another way. Depending how appealing you can make your offer, you’re more likely to win the hearts of your clients when you can influence their actions.

However, this does not mean offering as much as you can. This confuses your clients. It’s best to offer lesser options so it’s clear to them what you can provide as a freelancer. That’s why it’s important to streamline your service and make it an irresistible offer.

Suppose you already have experience working in the industry. In that case, you can also position yourself by filtering your clients by mentioning your starting rate or stating you’re only willing to work with those referred by other clients.

➡️ Describe the results.

What’s your promise to the clients? This should be their definition of success when the project has been completed. Ultimately, this is the end game. Will they see an increase in revenue? Get more leads? Gain more following on their page? While showing proof of your previous work does help, I’d recommend explaining in detail, focusing on the aspects that make the invisible visible.

If you’re finding it to persuade them, the best way to influence your market is by communicating through stories. Relay them in a way that allows them to visualise what happens when they work with you. Your service not only lightens your client’s load but also improves their lives.

Remember to touch on the physical, physiological, and financial. When you can meet these three aspects, you can master the art and science of selling the invisible.

✅ Grab a copy of our Positioning and Marketing Guide for service-based businesses when you join our A&D PRO membership for only $15/month. Get access here.


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