“I don’t care how many degrees you have on the wall, if you don’t know how to sell, you’re probably going to starve.”—George Forman
A lot of business owners think they are selling, when really all they are doing is marketing. Do you know the difference between the two?
It will cost you a lot of time, energy, and money if you don’t.
I learned this lesson the hard way when I hired a woman to help me make sales in my workshop business. Madeleine was bright, fun, and energetic and I was very optimistic about her being able to enroll additional people for my Financial Stress Reduction® Workshops. But I soon found out that although she was happily marketing me wherever she went, she wasn’t making any sales. She attended lots of networking meetings and told everyone she met what a great workshop I had. She passed out my business cards and told them to call me. She had many great ideas for promotional giveaways, advertising displays, attending conventions, placing media ads, designing brochures, etc.
But every idea she had cost me money. What happened to the additional money she was supposed to be bringing in, I wondered. Where was that? After a couple of months, when I saw that my expenses had risen and my profits had decreased, I knew we had to have a talk. This is how it went:
“Madeleine, darling, I really appreciate all your time and effort marketing my workshops,” I began. She preened happily. “Now I need to know how many prospects you have met that you think will pay to enroll in my workshop?”
She looked at me and nodded enthusiastically. “I’ve talked with lots of people!” she exclaimed.
“Well, that’s not exactly what I’m asking,” I replied. “How many people have said ‘Yes, I’m coming to the class on this date’ and paid the money?”
“Well, no one has done that,” she replied.
“Then this is what I want you to do: Please make out a list of how many follow-up calls you can make to all those prospects you’ve talked to. Find out what they need, share what we have to offer, and ask them to enroll. How many people do you expect will say yes?”
Madeleine frowned and dug her heels. “Wait a minute,” she said. “That’s not what I want to do. I don’t want to have a quota!”
“I understand,” I said, “But in order for me to be able to continue to pay you, you have to make the company some money by actually closing some sales!”
After some discussion, we agreed that we saw the nature of the job differently. She wanted to market my services. I wanted her to sell workshops. We agreed to part ways.
After that experience, I made a checklist so that I would always be conscious of what was “Marketing” and what was “Selling”. Whether you are doing the sales yourself, or have someone assisting you to do it, you need to make sales that generate income. Or you will soon be out of money and out of business.
Here is my checklist:
Costs money = expense Makes money = Income
General description of product Specific benefits to a client
Talking to groups Talking to individuals
No close, no money paid Deal closed, money paid
Administrivia: paperwork Cash, check, credit card
Emails and thank you notes Telephone calls-ask for referrals
Networking meetings Individual meetings/phone calls
Leaving messages Having conversations
Undefined goals/unmeasurable results Specific goals/measurable results
Long-term payoff Short-term payoff
“Whenever you’re ready” statement “When will you be ready?” question
Information given: presentations Information gotten: interview prospect
“Who can I talk to today?” “Who wants to buy today?”
Lists of features: when, what, where Specific benefits for this buyer
Someday Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.
It’s a pity that so many new entrepreneurs think that all they have to do is attend networking meetings, put an ad in a newspaper or directory, send out an email blast, or hang out a business sign, and the world will beat a path to your door, and you can then just sit back and wait for people to call you. Turst me, if it was that easy, everybody would be doing it.
Even interested parties need to be motivated to take action. It takes about twelve “touches” to close a sale. They have to meet you, get an email from you, see your ad, talk with someone else about you, talk with you on the phone, get your brochure, get another email, and on and on. All of these “touches” add up and then one day they are interested in buying your product or service. Call them and ask a lot questions–find out what they need and see if you can help them handle their problem or help them achieve their goal. When you can show them that your product or service can help them alleviate their pain or give them the pleasure they’re looking for, they will be happy to hire you, and all your clients will praise you and pay you.
As Abraham Lincoln said, “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” Let’s all “Do the Hustle” and meet a lot of people, have a lot of fun, and make a lot of money!