I am a saleswoman. I sell stuff and I teach others how to sell stuff. I love what I do and I’m good at it. Every now and again, I get clients who ask me what the difference is between sales and marketing. It’s a good question…
Is This Selling Or Marketing?
Sales and marketing are part of the same process. Sales, it could be said, is the sharp end of marketing. The whole sales and marketing thing is about telling people a) that you exist b) what you do c) why they need you and d) getting them to use your product or service. There are far greater minds than mine who are unable to say where marketing ends and selling begins, but to be honest, I don’t think you really need to know.
How To Understand The Sales And Marketing Process
There is a really good acronym to describe the sales and marketing process: AIDA.
A = Awareness
At this point, the potential customer doesn’t know you exist. They are completely unaware of you and your product or service. The ‘Awareness’ stage is where you start to make a noise about what you do and for whom. Interestingly, it takes between 5 and 27 ‘touches’ before a customer is ready to buy from you. By touches, I mean interactions. Interactions could be a potential customer seeing a poster, or an ad somewhere; hearing someone talking about you; reading an article you wrote; reading an interview with you; knowing someone who has bought from you etc. It takes a lot of work to grow awareness of your brand. It is all about making sure that you are where your customer is, either on or offline. This is marketing.
I = Interest
Once a potential customer is aware that you exist, you then need to spark their interest in your product or service. You need to have identified the problem that they have, that you can solve for them. If you’ve done the Ideal Client work properly (and again, it all boils down to understanding WHO you’re trying to attract), you will have hit the nail on the head for your potential customer. To give you an example of interest, I solve a particular problem for my clients; they have a business, but they are not comfortable with selling. What they really want to do is to have a steady stream of people who want to buy from them, without having to deal with the mind-monkeys that are ‘taking rejection personally’, ‘feeling pushy’ etc. I teach women how to do this. I know who my clients are and I know where they are. My job is to make sure that they understand what I can do for them, to create an interest. Is this sales or marketing? Traditionally, it would probably fall to the marketing department to create interest.
D = Desire
Once a potential customer is aware that you exist and interested in what you do, the next step in the buying process is to create desire. You need to demonstrate, one way or another, how your product or service is the perfect solution to their problem. Once they get that, they will want what you’re selling. This is a grey area regarding whether it falls into sales or marketing, because there are arguments for both.
A = Action
This is firmly in the ‘sales’ court. This is the part where the customer actually takes action and buys the product or service. This is traditionally done via a face-to-face meeting between the salesperson (you!) and the client, but these days it may well be an online interaction. In this action stage, the final tweaking of the conversation started at the first A of AIDA (awareness), helps the customer to iron out any wrinkles they might have about the suitability of the product or service and to decide to commit to a purchase.
The top and bottom of it is that as ‘solopreneurs’ we have to do both sales and marketing. In fact, it is what we should be spending the vast majority of our time doing. Without consistent sales and marketing activity, we don’t have customers. Without customers, we don’t have a business.
If you’d like help with developing your own sales pipeline or eager customers, ready to buy from you, why not join The Accountability Club? You can try a week for just £1 and then it’s £10 per month with no commitment whatsoever. What’s not to love?