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Professional firms generate revenue and profitability by providing services rather than goods. Services cover a wide range of business sectors such as financial, healthcare, legal, architecture, engineering, education, real estate, information technology, recruitment, logistics, travel, hospitality and lobbying.

Along with intense market competition in the services space, services have four characteristics that generally make them much harder than goods to market well.

There are four major reasons why supplying services is significantly tougher to do well than supplying goods.

  1. Intangibility: Physical goods are much easier to accurately assess and compare because they are highly tangible. Services, however, are far less tangible and clients often judge them using vague, subjective and inconsistent criteria.
  2. Heterogeneity: Multiple copies of manufactured goods are fairly identical, making the assessment of a particular kind easy and reliable by inspecting one copy. Multiple copies of a service delivery though (think of a legal consultation for example) vary widely from one to another, making general assessment unreliable.
  3. Inseparability: The manufacture of a good is entirely distinct from its consumption. The production of a service, however, cannot be separated from its consumption: you can't manufacture 100 'medical consultations' and store them in a warehouse for later sale.
  4. Perishability: Most goods are non-perishable and can be produced long before they're consumed. In contrast, services are highly perishable: if the consultation provider is away sick or the client doesn’t turn up for the appointment, the consultation time perishes and can never be recovered.

The four factors mean that a service business needs to be even more sharply on top of its game than a goods businesses. It also means that professionals need to excel at managing a wider range of marketing factors.

As a fellow professional enterprise, ResearchSquirrel helps you refine your business model and practices to maximise market penetration, share-of-wallet, and repeat buying, for example to:

  • Cement your market position: Ensure that you occupy a premier, memorable and resonant place in the minds of your market.
  • Refine your signalling: Use the most effective ‘substitute’ signals (in place of physical goods) that attract and help persuade prospects.
  • Close more sales: Align your selling practices closely with clients’ preferred buying scenarios: buying-cycle triggers, how they find supplier information, the criteria they use to judge and weigh alternatives, who is involved in influencing and decision-making, and which value propositions are most persuasive to which client types.
  • Test product configurations and increase share-of-wallet: Find out how well a new product, portfolio, or configuration of options is likely to be received by the market.
  • Manage your reputation: Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your and competitor reputations in the market, correcting deficits that restrain your own business growth.
  • Handle accounts better: Configure your operations to deliver, with high reliability, what clients actually value most, while discarding practices that annoy them or contribute poorly to profit.
  • Attract competitors’ clients: Target prospects who are weakly aligned clients of your competitors, while entrenching your own clients’ loyalty.
  • Assist client evaluations: Understand, manage and respond to the standards and methods that clients really use to judge service quality as delivered by you and your competitors.
  • Be a magnet for top personnel: Assess personnel preferences, attitudes, perceptions and expectations to help craft culture, policies, procedures, CPD programs and compensation packages (including appropriate work/life balance) that attract and retain the best personnel.

With ResearchSquirrel’s expertise, agility, modularity and market-leading cost competitiveness, there's no defense for not knowing. Enjoy penetrating insights that fuel potent business-building decisions.


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