Selling service design with confidence
A program where you learn how to win the hearts and minds of clients, managers & CEOs, without wearing a suit.
The truth is that no matter how good you are at the craft of service design, if you can't get the one calling the shots on your side, you'll always be stuck on the sidelines rather than making the difference you know you can.
fixing the missing link between business and design
it's time to step up
This program is carefully designed to equip you with the right tools, a proven framework and the confidence to:
They did the work
was it worth it?
"It helped me to better frame the problem of our client and spot more opportunities for interventions."
"We were up against established digital agencies. And we won!"
Let's back up for a second and talk about
the business value of service design
Since you’re still here, I bet that you're often surrounded by people who have either never heard of service design, don't entirely understand what it is, or even worse, think that we’re talking about lamps and chairs. While service design is common sense to you, it's not yet common practice for others.
Can you prove it?
When you need to explain what service design is and the value it brings, you often improvise and come up with a story that makes sense on the spot. The result is an explanation that’s way too complex and fails to get to the essence.
So you get responses like "I don't get it" and "It's not concrete enough," followed by questions about the return on investment, business impact, and if you can prove the value.
But you know that it works. You've seen countless examples. And there's plenty of research that proves the impact.
So why don’t they get it?
Talking about the business value feels out of your comfort zone. You don't want to be making false claims that you can't back up with evidence.
What happens is that you avoid the conversation about business.
And when others bring it up, you even feel like they're trying to expose you as someone who's just doing fun things but doesn't really add value.
It feels like you're stuck.
It takes a lot of energy to keep explaining yourself. Failing to get your clients, managers and CEOs on board with service design over and over gets frustrating.
What happens is that...
And when this goes on for too long, you'll lose your motivation, burn out or quit your job (or get fired). Which of course isn't the solution.
here's the good news
you're much closer than you think
There are major misconceptions about what you need to successfully connect the dots between business value and service design.
You don't need an MBA
Most people who drive daily business decisions don't have an MBA degree. You don't need one either.
You're already selling
With every decision you try to influence, you're already in sales mode. You're just not doing it consciously.
it's about helping
Selling really is about helping people achieve what they already want. It's truly about being of service to someone.
What you need is to reframe and rethink how you talk about the value of your work. You need to find a way that resonates with your business partners. This is something you have full control over and can learn to do.
what if selling is...
just another design challenge
Let's think about the gap between business and design as just another design challenge. If that's the case, you could use all your skills, tools and methods to solve this challenge.
You would use your design process to research, understand, come up with ideas on how to close the gap and prototype them. You would feel confident using empathy, visualization and systems thinking to your advantage.
You would start to create bridges, and the conversation about the value of service design wouldn't be so scary anymore. It actually starts to become fun and exciting.
Adopting this mindset isn't just another abstract theory. This is your best way forward.
it's not easy but it's worth it
There is a lot at stake
You have so much to gain when you can connect the dots between business and design.
You'll be able to get your message across clearly and effectively, even to the people who don't necessarily think like a designer.
Business stakeholders will become partners who respect and appreciate your contribution.
Lead the change
People will actively seek your expertise and see you as a trusted partner, enabling you to influence important decisions early on.
In the end, all this empowers you to do more meaningful work that creates impact you're proud of.
"Do I believe that with service design I'm bringing something valuable that helps to shape better organizations?"
If the answer is yes, you can't hold back. When you do, and don't do everything you can to sell service design, you're doing a great disservice to the people who would benefit from your talent.
design has an undeniable positive impact on business
the proof is already here
In recent years, some of the most respected companies including McKinsey, Forrester, Hasso Plattner Institute and InVision have released in-depth research reports that clearly demonstrate the business value of design.
More than 80% of business leaders surveyed reported their teams were more aligned and focused, and 37% cited higher employee productivity through design [thinking]. Ultimately, businesses are finding this increased alignment leads to lower risk of project failure.
Source: The Total Economic Impact Of IBM’s Design Thinking Practice, Forrester 2018
Source: The Business Value of Design, McKinsey & Company 2018
69% of our respondents perceive the innovation process to be more efficient with design [thinking].
Source: The Current State of Design Thinking Practice in Organizations, Hasso Plattner Institute 2015
Source: The Business Value of Design, McKinsey & Company 2018
Leading companies are using design to drive efficiency, profit, and position. In fact, nearly three quarters of companies say they have improved customer satisfaction and usability through design.
Source: The New Design Frontier, InVision 2019
We have the evidence, so what's missing?
why service design is still such a hard sell
Let's take a look at a popular diagram you are probably familiar with and see why it's misleading.
This Venn diagram shows a perfect overlap between what's desirable (the world of design) and what's viable (the world of business). This is the theory, at least.
To simplify things, let's take the feasibility part out of the equation for a moment.
A more accurate representation of the diagram looks something like the one below.
As you can see, there is no overlap between the two perspectives in this diagram. In many cases, these perspectives actually feel like opposite forces rather than magnets that attract each other.
This is due to the false belief that investing to increase customer satisfaction and improve the customer experience just drives costs up. That doing things which are good for customers can only be done by accepting lower profitability.
What does this lack of overlap mean? It means that there is no common understanding, no common language and no common goal.
In essence, this is what makes selling service design so damn hard.
Let that sink in for a moment. Because when it *clicks* things become much easier from here on.
The challenge in front of you now is to (re)connect the two perspectives in a way that makes sense for both sides.
How do you achieve this?!
That's exactly what this Selling Service Design with Confidence program is going to help you do.
this is what you get when you join
Selling service design with confidence
By joining Selling Service Design with Confidence, you're signing up for 6 weeks of learning, conversations and personal growth. This is what you'll find inside the program:
When you join the program, it's important to realize that you're not signing up for yet another online course you never end up finishing. That’s because this program builds in the support, encouragement, and motivation you need to not only learn the teachings but put them into action right away.
"Rather than me having to jump in and explain where I can add value, they actually they started asking me."
"When reaching out to clients I felt more prepared and things became easier to communicate."
"I have a better dialogue and relationship with managers."
who is teaching the program
Hi, I'm marc
The moment I learned about service design back in 2006, I knew it had the power to change organizations for the better. This led me on a journey where I cofounded and ran a successful service design agency for over a decade. Back then, I had to find ways to communicate the value of what we did before most people had even heard about it.
Not having any kind of a sales background meant that I had to learn through a lot of trial and error. Reflecting back on my experience, I realized that not knowing how to sell is one of the most critical reasons why so many talented service designers fail to make the impact they know they can.
I don't aspire to be a sales guru. But over the years I've learned a thing or two about how to get people excited about service design. Now I want to share my lessons with you so that you can grab those opportunities to do work that makes a difference and that you're passionate about.
"This course gave me the confidence to articulate the value of service design. Marc really is positively changing the hearts, minds, careers and lives of many people around the world."
miguel baeza menz
"The course helped me to become a true partner for my clients in finding services opportunities that add value for customers and business. Marc's approach to service design will change your mindset about selling. It works."
what you'll learn
Through the 8-week program curriculum, you'll learn a proven framework and a repeatable process that helps you to close the gap between business and design.
Setting up for success
In this first week, we set you up for success. We walk you through all the things you need to know and do to get the most value out of your time and energy investment.
You also connect with fellow participants and learn about the sales challenges they face.
Crafting your story
Learn how to explain service design in a clear and consistent story so that the people who don't think like a designer actually understand. Do this without overcomplicating or oversimplifying things.
Week 3 & 4
understanding their story
Learn how to speak your client’s language, deeply connect with them and earn a seat at the table where decisions are made. Change the perspective on service design from a nice-to-have into a must.
building the business case
Learn how to connect the viability and desirability perspectives. Build a convincing case for service design – even for stakeholders who only care about numbers and short-term results.
Week 6 & 7
Learn how you can overcome the most common objections people have regarding service design. Make sure that projects don't get stranded before they even begin.
preparing for the road ahead
In the final week, you zoom out and take a high-level view on your key learnings. You're going to make a plan on how you'll apply these lessons moving forward.
And of course, we're going to celebrate the fact that you've made it to the end of the program!
the flipped classroom approach
your weekly overview
Join the coaching call
We kick each week off on Monday with a live coaching call.
Take the lessons
You watch the lessons that are part of this week's agenda.
Work on assignments
Apply the lessons you learned to the assignments.
Go over the assignment submissions from your peers & give feedback.
Engage in discussions
Contribute to the ongoing conversation throughout the week.
Study bonus resources
You'll have access to recommended videos, articles and reports.
why you'll be part of a supportive community
Learning starts when things get hard
A lot of people quit self-paced online courses when things get hard. But that's exactly the moment you know the real learning starts. The group that you'll join in this program helps you push through, but there are more benefits.
put the theory into practice
focus on practical wisdom
Every lesson in the program comes with a practical exercise. These exercises are carefully designed to help you apply the theory to your specific context.
By doing the exercises and reviewing the work of your peers, you will get a much better understanding of how you benefit from the theory. It's all about gaining practical knowledge you can use the same day.
feel ready & prepared
complete your toolkit
To build your story and confidence even more, you'll also get access to these additional perks in the program.
An industry expert will join us during the program and share their best practices to broaden your perspective.
Make the learnings stick by developing your personal playbook that you can fall back on anytime.
Deepen your understanding through the resource library with facts and figures about the value of design and CX.
not your average online course
what makes this program different
Here are 3 reasons that make the Selling Service Design with Confidence program stand out:
1. approach it as a design challenge
In this program, you stay close to who you are rather than having to become someone you're not. We make use of your existing qualities to solve this sales puzzle. The big benefit is that this enables you to master the skill of selling service design much faster and with more confidence.
2. take advantage of your unique voice
You already know why service design works. You just need a helping hand to get the message across in a clear and compelling story. And to make this work, it needs to be your story told with your unique voice. This program offers you a tested and tried framework to formulate that story.
3. get into fears and objections
Yes, it's important to learn the language of business, but that's not enough. Being able to convey the value of your work with confidence also means discovering and breaking through resistance – your own and that of your business partners. That's the secret no one talks about.
"Without the program I would have missed the jump from selling a method to selling outcomes."
"I learned how to keep the conversation alive with a client."
you don't need a service design title
who benefits from this program
The people who join and benefit the most from this program are generally in one of the following situations.
You're part of an in-house service design team. Still pioneering and spreading the gospel. Getting stakeholders aligned and showing how they can benefit from your capabilities.
You are tasked with setting up and growing a new practice within the agency. Working to integrate this within your existing offering and find clients at the same time.
You’re an independent professional who sees service design as a way to even better serve your clients. To provide greater value and become a more strategic partner.
You've started out in an adjacent field like UX or marketing. Now that you've discovered and got excited about service design, you want to move your career in this direction.
This isn't right for everyone
here is when you shouldn't sign up
Before you decide to apply for the program, it's important to realize that this is...
"The course helped me to order many concepts that I had disjointed, learning from the content of the course but above all, from the experiences of other professionals who have similar challenges."
"It helps you to practice what you're going to say from multiple perspectives and prepare that evidence so that you are not blindsided in a conversation."
mark your calendar
Where & when
The next cohort starts in October, 2023 and finishes on November.
live coaching sessions
All live coaching sessions take place on a Monday, start at 15:30 CET and last between an hour to an hour and a half.
Week 1: October 9, 2023
Week 2: October 16, 2023
Week 3: October 23, 2023
Week 4: October 30, 2023
Week 5: November 6, 2023
Week 6: November 13, 2023
Week 7: November 20, 2023
Week 8: November 27, 2023
We use Zoom for the live coaching sessions and Miro for group activities. The lessons and resource library are available on our private learning platform that you'll get access to. It's recommend you use a (physical) notebook in which you can develop your personal playbook.
it's time to step up your game
here's what you're signing up for
The Selling Service Design with Confidence program is going to help you find better clients, work on more interesting challenges and become a respected business partner.
what is the investment
Plans & pricing
One time payment
3 x €700
Once you've been accepted to the program, you'll receive information on how to complete the payment. Note that local taxes might apply.
how to apply
join the program
Great, so you're interested in joining the upcoming cohort of the program. Here is how you can apply.
submit your application
Apply for the program by completing the application form. Applications are reviewed in the order we receive them, and there is a limit of 16 participants per cohort.
do the intake call
We'll review your application within 2 days. After that, you'll be invited for a short video call to see if there is a good mutual fit. This is also an opportunity for you to ask questions about the program.
confirm your participation
The final step to lock in your seat for the program is by submitting your payment.
Application deadline for the upcoming cohort is September 29, 2023.
Secure one of the few spots in the upcoming group.
Click the button below to send in your application.
love it or get your money back
14-day money-back Guarantee
I want to give you this simple guarantee: If you commit and do the work in the first 14 days of the program and after that feel it's not right for you, let me know and I'll happily give you a 100% refund. After these two weeks, you can request a one-time transfer to a future cohort at no additional cost. I'd much rather have one fewer customer than an unhappy one.
You have three options
Which path will you take?
We’ve come to the point in your professional journey where, the way I see it, you have three options. Which one will you go for?
- 1Keep struggling to explain service design and its value. Accept to work with subpar clients on challenges that don't have the impact you want to make.
- 2Learn on your own by trial and error how to sell service design. Spend hours looking for clear direction and trustworthy advice while making all the classic mistakes.
- 3Join the program today so you can attract better clients, work on challenges with bigger impact, and become a respected business partner.
"Although I recently finished my MBA in Service Design, this course offered me much more practical training and real case practice than any marketing and selling course I took at university."
"This course transformed my thinking about selling from I don’t like selling into I’m excited to do selling!"
invest in your professional growth and development
get sponsorship from your employer
When you're an in-house service designer or working at an agency, we encourage you to seek sponsorship for this program from your employer. Here are some arguments that can help you to make a compelling case.
everything else you might want to know
frequently asked questions
Most likely, yes! Service designers go by many names and titles in organizations. If you have a service design mindset and use the tools and methods, you'll benefit from this program.
Yes. You’re probably already selling more than anyone else, although it might not feel that way when you're part of an internal team. Every time you try to get buy-in from your colleague, manager or another department, you're selling. This program helps you do that more effectively and with more confidence – without using sleazy sales tactics of course.
It depends. If you plan to do freelance work, the answer is yes, as you'll be dealing with clients from day one. When you're going to start your career in a junior position at an agency or embedded within an internal team, you might want to wait before joining the program until the moment you get into a leadership position.
To get the most out of this program, it's best to have at least 3+ years of work experience. By the way, this doesn't have to mean service design work experience. You might be transitioning into service design from an adjacent field like marketing or UX and have gained your work experience there. That counts as well.
Yes! Most service design books don't even touch the topic of selling. These books talk about why service design is important and how it works. But you first have to sell to even get the chance to put that knowledge into practice.
This program uses a "flipped classroom" approach. This means that you can take the lessons and do the assignments on your own time and at your own pace. The coaching calls are the place to ask questions, receive personal feedback and discuss the major themes of the week.
A safe bet is 6-8 hours per week. The goal here is not to rush through the material. This isn't a sprint. The program is designed so that you can schedule most of the workload in a way that best fits your professional and private calendar. The only fixed moment during the program is the live coaching calls on Monday.
It's 80/20. You can schedule 80% of the program activities to fit your personal and work calendar. The other 20% is the time you need to allocate for the weekly live coaching calls and the moments to align with your peers about the assignment.
Yes. The assignments that accompany the lessons are an important part of the program. Each week you review the work from three of your peers and provide feedback. As you'll experience in the program, seeing the different perspectives will be a great learning in itself.
Yes. The peer reviews are so vital to the program, our policy is that when you miss more than two peer review rounds, you'll be removed from the program without a refund.
Forever and ever. Once you've enrolled in the program, you'll have lifetime access to all the material.
You can choose to pay the membership fee in 3 equal parts of €595 (excluding local taxes if applicable). The first part is due 7 days after your admission to the program. The second part is due 7 days before the start of the program. The final part is due 7 days before the end of the program.
You have 14 days after the start of the program to request a 100% refund. After those two weeks, the fee is non-refundable. You can request a one-time transfer to a future cohort at no additional cost.
Imagine for a moment how much it would be worth to you if this program helped you win a project, make the scope of a challenge more interesting, or get faster buy-in from stakeholders. If it helped you to become a respected business partner rather than someone who has to defend the value of their work all the time. What if it helped you just enjoy the work you do even more?
These are the results of students who took the program in the past. I'm confident that you'll be able to get similar results when you join and commit to doing the work. The truth is, as with all education, it's an investment. You have to put the lessons into practice for them to have any value.
"I really wish a program (and community) like this existed back in the day when I started my service design journey.
It would have helped me to bring more value to my clients and their customers. It would have saved me loads of time by not having to figure everything out on my own. And not to mention, it would have made my work more fun and rewarding.
So now I'm putting my heart and soul into teaching you all the valuable lessons I learned over the years. And I am really excited about how this will help you to do more work that truly makes a difference."