When it comes to buying a product, most are relatively straightforward to evaluate. They have a physical presence that can be examined. We can ask others who have purchased and still have the product what they think of it. And there are usually many ways to assess quality. With a service, on the other hand, what the prospective client buys is intangible, and the service provider – like the financial planner – is effectively forced to “sell the invisible” to a prospective client.
Accordingly, Harry Beckwith’s book “Selling The Invisible” tackles the interesting challenge of how best to sell an intangible service (like financial planning)… with the conclusion that in the end, because there’s no real way for most consumers to evaluate the quality of a service or the depth of someone’s expertise in the first place, the driver in the end is usually not about the skillset of the financial planner. Instead, decisions are often made based on far more “mundane” factors like whether the prospective client feels a personal connection and relationship to the advisor, to even simple details like how the advisor dresses, the look of the office, or the way the receptionist answers the phone.