Virtual reality: Selling the Invisible

Have you ever felt heat without fire? Or, warmth without heat? Or, wet without water? Have you ever felt cold without ice?

The answer is yes! We have all felt warm in summer, wet in the monsoon season and cold in winter; even if we have not ventured out of the house. Feelings are as important as touch. In marketing we call it a touch feel factor, which is important for keeping promises real so that people can trust the brand making those promises about the product or service they are offering. After working for more than eight years in the service industry, mostly as SME with brands like IBM, Serco and Amdocs, I got to learn that service is the feeling and product is more a sort of touch.

While offering a product, it’s easier for brand managers to understand the importance of the touch feel factor. Let’s take the example of the famous iPhone launch by Steve Jobs in WWDC 2007. Wasn’t it amazing? Because the features offered by iPhone were unique it resulted in grabbing people’s attention and trust immediately. Because of great use of the touch feel factor and the visuals people saw Steve projecting through touch, the iPhone got instant attention followed by the trust of the audience. Almost immediately, the iPhone was registered as the best - subconsciously. Suddenly, everyone wanted it.

Compare this to the fact that we need a trial of nearly 10 minutes on a phone before making a purchase decision and a 15-day free trial with an app. That’s how big service is as compared to a product. This is what happens when you lack touch in the touch feel factor.

The ISO definition of service is: “A service is an intangible output and is the result of a process that includes at least one activity that is carried out at the interface between the supplier (provider) and the customer.” Let me share my experiences while starting my company Pasistence from the scratch funding of Rs 2 lakhs, out of which Rs 1 lakh was loaned by my father and the other half is still reflecting on my credit card. Pasistence has now become a leader of the banking sector in Pune with a turnover of Rs 18 lakhs and counting till March within a year.

You can tackle most problems by knowing the advantages and disadvantages of a service. Here are three directives that helped me achieve of success in the areas of marketing and selling.

1. Experience is intangible and you can sell it

Its intangible but you feel it. Imagine a soothing breeze on a spring day. Great! Now make an effort to describe this to a person close to you. If he/she finds your description of the breeze as he/she imagines it or better than that, he/she will give positive signals to buy what you are selling.

2. You can add tangibles, show them what you have

Throughout my experience of creating Pasistence from just another company to a brand, I have always followed one good practice –present your id card in meetings. Additionally, get your presentations copy printed in butter paper. Show them how the service works through an animated video or even a working module of your service as soon as possible. This is important to make sure the deal is converted. In our case, we let them browse through the websites we have made and the software we have to offer.

3. Create credibility, you are entering your prospect’s mind

You have to create credibility so that people can believe in you and trust the experiences you are projecting in their minds. unless you show them things that they can judge you on, it will sound like bragging. At Pasistence, we focus on showing what we have done. It’s highly important that you must be confident but have something to back what you offering.

This is the how you can also credibly sell the invisible. Remember, you are the best version of yourself available on this planet.