Guest post by Anna Lieber
"You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." – Henry Ford.
Business owners often confuse marketing and sales. But the distinction is really simple. Marketing is communicating what you do to generate prospects and increase visibility. Sales is converting prospects into clients. You need both. Here’s why.
First, we all know commitment takes time. Before you marry, you date to get to know one another. Doing business is similar. It’s what we call the “know, like and trust” factor.
Second, marketing is an ice breaker that warms up your leads. Prospects can be confused because they don’t understand how to judge your expertise. Sometimes they don’t even understand what you are talking about. Your knowledge base is simple to you but it’s a foreign language to them.
Marketing educates prospects and helps take the fear and uncertainty out of a buying decision. It moves them from a flying leap to a more comfortable leap of faith. It’s that trust factor. The discount clothier Syms says “an educated customer is our best customer”. And we’ll add an educated customer guarantees a better experience for all.
Third, marketing attracts new prospects. A company which markets all the time, via traditional, viral or guerrilla techniques, in good economies and bad, slow times and busy times, has the edge. Marketing generates brand awareness leading to a larger pool of warm leads and greater success.
Strategic marketing provides a select audience – you attract interested prospects instead of needing to track them down. Attracting rather than chasing – what could be better? A known brand is the comfortable choice. It makes decision making intuitive and creates raving fans.
Sales or converting prospects to clients is the next part of the process. There are various sales methodologies but most use a variation of these steps: qualifying leads, approaching them, presenting or demonstrating, probing for needs, answering objections and closing the sale.
Sales skill is essential in moving prospects from stage to stage but marketing ensures prospects feel good about the decision. Expert selling is consultative and meant to create lasting relationships. And marketing continually communicates your expertise.
The bottom line: Sales success is facilitated by good marketing. Marketing plus sales is the winning equation.