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‘Marketing and Sales’ not ‘Marketing to Sales’

Life might be unkind. The chips may be down. Sales may be slow. But it doesn’t change the simple point that marketing is everything.

What that means is you can’t ignore the marketing aspects of everything you do and, in the age of the Internet, the battle for marketing supremacy is fierce.

The Internet has also spawned a new age of marketing, the likes of which have never been seen before. Whether you sell books or pajamas, coffee mugs or massage tables, what is posted online is life-threatening to a business. What the Internet means is that one person’s whisper can be heard around the world.

Marketing is also explained by the customer who walks into your shop or emails your virtual company and, in fact, is not a customer at all. He or she wants directions to get across town. Just free advise. What do you do?

Accept this as a test, a golden opportunity to demonstrate your expertise, your professional demeanor, your basic civility because everyone is a potential customer is related to one.

The question that is so frequently asked is “how do you convert marketing to sales?” and the answer is that – this is a flawed question. Sales and marketing can occur at the same time, because sales handled professionally and courteously is good marketing and sales handled badly is bad marketing. And businesses have to sell their credibility and professionalism at every turn.

Things to consider:

1. Be generous with advise, but make it work to your advantage. First, give reliable advise and second, where possible include something tangible. That is where pens, bumper stickers and refrigerator magnets come into play. If giving a customer directions across town, write a map on company stationary.

There is a reason brand name firms, like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s run ads every day. It’s because customers tend to forget them. A pen with a logo is a way to have a customer remember who you are. Until that pen runs out of ink (or drops between two couch cushions) your advertising lives on.

2. Know your limits. Don’t be too generous. There’s a reason that people who know how to say “no” move up the corporate ladder. Bosses need to know they are not promoting people who are going to give away the store. Workers envy someone who says “no.” And customers respect someone with a firm understanding of their limits.So, don’t give away advise forever. Time is money, after all.

3. It takes 1,000 Attaboys, but just one Oops. If you don’t believe marketing is everything, consider the quip that “It takes 1,000 Attaboys to get a gold star, but only one whoops wipes the slate clean.”

Consider your credibility for a moment. You are trustworthy and reliable for years. Then you slip up. What is the customer going to remember?

4. Professional and personal lives are now blurred together. What you post on line, even if its a rant about a former relationship, can reflect on your reputation in business.

5. The bottom line, absolutely. Marketing is suppose to create leads. It is suppose to lure customers in, so the sales force can take over and close the deal.

Nobody will buy a widget if they don’t know what it is or if they don’t realize the benefits. So marketing primes the pump and the sales force pounces. Consider Massage Table Outlet.There are notes about what to expect when working with them along with easy to locate resources from refund info to contact info. Their clean combination of prompts and listing info is a great blend of marketing and sales.

What utter boulder-dash. Who wants to operate a business where one department lures in customers and another department mugs them? This is a preposterous way to do business.

Sales maybe marketing, because if you do sales professionally, that could be very bad for bad marketing, so you better sell with credibility and trust as key ingredients.

Marketing may also be sales, but not sales of the product.  Marketing is sales of more esoteric items, like value, credibility, desire, courtesy, universality. The idea that you convert marketing into sales was good in the old days, when brick and mortar stores had to think up ways to increase traffic in showrooms.

The Internet does not mean sales and marketing are interchangeable, but does blur the lines to a point.

For most of your employees, however, there is no difference whatsoever. The receptionist should know that a trusting, friendly approach could lead to a sale and the sales staff should know that bad service could diminish the store’s reputation. Converting one to the other is an intellectual question. In real life, it shouldn’t be a question at all.

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