When I moved from science and electronics to start a new career in field sales, times were different. This was the late 1980s when the world was a very different place. With evolution and development business has changed dramatically; mostly good, some less so.
One thing I have noticed only recently, is the complete about turn regarding sales and marketing. In those days, most sales positions included in the title ‘sales and marketing’. When my sales role had been explained, I asked ‘what about the marketing?’ I was shown a pile of brochures, a directory and a telephone. I was told to ‘go and find some new business’. Sales was an accepted discipline, aided a little by this form of ‘marketing’. That was when I learned how soul-destroying cold-calling could be. And some of the wrong ways of trying to make sales.
Forward to the ‘roaring twenties’
We find a very different picture, in fact, very much the opposite. Marketing has developed over the years to become a very potent and important discipline. Businesses have realised that by marketing and promoting products and services in an attractive manner, prospective customers come to you. As opposed to you calling them in an attempt to develop an interest.
If your prospects come to you, they are already sold on the idea of you becoming a supplier. This means that half the sale is already achieved. HOWEVER, it is still only a half. You will have to build a relationship and, using sales skills and techniques, convince them to make the full commitment to buy from you.
But bear in mind that the sale will not happen until this final stage of (ethical) persuasion is successful. You may have the best marketing approach, structure, strategies and initiatives, but unless you have the skills to negotiate and complete the sale, your marketing investment is effectively wasted. Those who rely on marketing to make the sales are of the ‘if you build it they will come’ ideology. People buy from people, so business-people will need to know how to sell, as well as promote their goods and services.
A recent posting to promote a networking discussion, called it a ‘Sales & Marketing session’, but described only marketing and brand strategy as the focus. Do not forget your sales skills! If you cannot sell effectively, you will no longer have a business to operate, let alone promote. In every case, skill in marketing AND sales are needed.
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