Small Business – Marketing & Sales 101

We often hear the phrase “marketing and sales” used in small business as if to describe a single action. But marketing and sales are actually very different processes, and understanding how to use them effectively is key to growing your company.

Marketing is everything you do to get in front of your Ideal Client. This means targeting your branding, advertising, writing and networking opportunities to reach your desired customer.

Once you have their attention, then the sales process kicks in. Sales is what you do to close the deal. What techniques are you using to get a client purchase your product or sign a contract? There’s no doubt that marketing and sales go hand in hand. The challenge lies in understanding the do’s and don’ts of being a marketer and a sales person.

Websites and books offer a mountain of information on this topic. Here are some key points to provide topline suggestions to help you to think strategically about how to best use marketing and sales to reach your growth targets.

Marketing DOs

Do your homework on your Ideal Client

The most effective communication comes when you know exactly who you are talking to, and the marketing process is no different. The more you know about your Ideal Client, the more effective you can be at developing a smart and impactful marketing plan. Sounds simple but many small business owners don’t have a clear understanding of who their Ideal Client is. Here is some help identifying your Ideal Client. Not Everyone Is Your Target Client

Do create a marketing strategy

Once you know your client, think creatively about how to reach them. Are they on social media? Do they prefer to communicate by email or telephone? Do they read magazines? What events are they likely to attend? Don’t assume every business needs an extensive social media plan to be successful. A good strategy allows you to focus your time, money and energy on what will work for your business.

Do leverage your networking opportunities

Networking, public speaking and sponsoring events are great ways to meet potential clients, but handing out business cards is not going to land you the sale. Networking opens the door, but you need to leverage these opportunities to close the deal. This means having a process in place to move the relationship along once a client shows interest. Here is a process for getting more from your networking. Build Your Business By Building Relationships

Marketing DON’T

Don’t hide in marketing

Marketing is critical to promoting your business, but don’t put all your energy into designing new business cards or developing the ultimate website. Being active with your marketing is not the same as being productive. Marketing is only half the process, and if you “hide” there, you cannot take potential clients to the next step – buying from you.

Sales DOs

Do get sales training

Surprisingly, most entrepreneurs are experts in their fields of business, but have no sales training. Selling is a learned skill, and successful sales people use a variety of techniques to turn a potential client into a paying customer. Investing in sales training is well worth it. You can start by reading Chuck Mitchell’s guest blog Sales Ain’t What it Used To Be!

Do have a sales process

Once you’ve gotten the attention of your Ideal Client, what do you do next? This is where a solid sales process is needed. Your sales process should include a follow-up plan where you can talk further to your customer about their needs, manage their concerns and ask for the business. It’s your job to make it easy for them to buy from you.

Do the math

It’s commonly said that sales is a numbers game. You need to prospect for sales and actively pursue your Ideal Client. It’s important to keep track of these prospects so you develop your numbers game. How many prospects turn into how many discovery sessions and turn into how many clients. You want to know what’s working and what isn’t.

Sales DON’T

Don’t talk too much

A sale is about showing your Ideal Client the value in what you are selling. You can’t do that if you don’t listen to what the prospect believes the problem to be. Only by listening can you be comfortable in what you are proposing, most likely the client will be too. You want to approach the “money conversation” with clarity and confidence.

Next Steps

  1. Get really clear on who your Ideal Client is.
  2. Identify 3 key strategies that will put you in front of that person.
  3. Pick up the phone and call a prospect to make an appointment.