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Selling the Invisible: A Field Guide to Modern Marketing

Harry Beckwith

Retail Price: $22.95
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Format: Hardcover, 272pp.
ISBN: 9780446520942
Publisher: Warner Books, Incorporated
Pub. Date: March 1997

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Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:

You can't touch, hear, or see your company's most important products. . . . So how do you sell, develop, make them grow? That's the problem with services.

This "phenomenal" book, as one reviewer called it, answers that question with insights on how markets work and how prospects think. A treasury of hundreds of quick, practical, and easy-to-read strategies, Selling the Invisible will open your eyes to new ideas in this crucial branch of marketing, including:
  • Why focus groups, value-price positioning, discount pricing, and being the best usually fail
  • The vital role of vividness, focus, "anchors," and stereotypes
  • The importance of Halo, Cocktail Party, and Lake Wobegon effects
  • Marketing lessons from black holes, grocery lists, the Hearsay Rule, and the fame of the Matterhorn
  • Dozens of proven yet consistently overlooked ideas for research, presentations, publicity, advertising, and client retention . . . and much more.

Based on the author's twenty-five years of experience with thousands of business professionals, this book delivers its wisdom with unforgettable and often surprising examples--from Federal Express, Citicorp, and a growing Greek travel agency to an ingenious baby-sitter, Fran Lebowitz, and the colors of oranges and lemons.

The first guide of its kind and a book already causing a sensation in the business community, Selling the Invisible will help anyone marketing a service, a product, or a career. Read it, and you almost certainly will understand why two advance readers call it the best book on business ever written.


Advertising professional Beckwith startles and disarms all potential doubting Thomases with one fact--that by the year 2005, 8 out of 10 Americans will be working in a service business. Chapters here are remarkably short; they are intended to convey one point (summarized in one sentence in boldface italics) and are blessedly free of jargon. Hints and tips cover the conventional four Ps of marketing--product, promotion, place, and price--in an irreverent and iconoclastic manner; nothing is sacrosanct. Stories from every corner of life illustrate and drive home messages. In a quandary about pricing? Read the Picasso story to remember, "Don't charge by the hour; charge by the years." About the value of research? Forget questionnaires and focus groups; instead, ask individuals what improvements are needed--not the dreaded "What don't you like?" A very human, much-needed book to savor and be refreshed by.
Booklist, Barbara Jacobs


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About the Author

Harry Beckwith is a frequent guest lecturer for many national corporations, including ABC, Inc., BellSouth Corporation, Norwest Corporation, and Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., among others. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Table of Contents

Getting Started1
Surveying and Research: Even Your Best Friends Won't Tell You21
Marketing Is Not a Department33
Planning: The Eighteen Fallacies55
Anchors, Warts, and American Express: How Prospects Think85
The More You Say, the Less People Hear: Positioning and Focus101
Ugly Cats, Boat Shoes, and Overpriced Jewelry: Pricing129
Monogram Your Shirts, Not Your Company: Naming and Branding141
How to Save $500,000: Communicating and Selling167
Holding On to What You've Got: Nurturing and Keeping Clients215
Quick Fixes231
Summing Up241

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