Both sales and marketing are inexact sciences – you have to test and trial various marketing tactics and sales messages to see what resonates with your audience.
Marketing can be and must be tested as there are many variables involved. For example, you have to pick the right target market, produce the right target message to attract their attention at the right time and place and price. That’s a lot of rights to get lined up in order to succeed!
Just like not having sales training might doom you as an entrepreneur, understanding the core essence of marketing is just as important. To truly be an effective marketer and have a thriving sustainable company – you either need to learn and read a lot or hire an expert. To get started quickly, do both.
Where can you learn marketing?
Obviously, Kaleidoscope’s excellent mentoring program is a great place to start. Lisette has assembled a fine team of experts who can help any entrepreneur in any area where they lack expertise. Unlike learning how to fix a leak, learning about certain business skills never stops. Each client interaction is unique. You cannot script it to be the same each time. While you might start out with a standard list of questions, you cannot anticipate every one of their answers, that’s why improv training is very beneficial for entrepreneurs as it develops your ‘think on the spot’ muscle.
So where else can you go to start learning? Geoffrey James, one of my favourite sales and marketing commentators, published his Top 10 Marketing Books. As he puts it, these are “essential books for entrepreneurs who really want to understand how and why their customers buy.” And you must understand what drives your clients to buy from you in order to replicate that experience and turn it into your sales and marketing process.
Avoid these mistakes
The most common mistakes I see are:
- Not having a call to action.
- Speaking in terms of features rather than benefits and results to your target audience (people buy value not features).
- Inconsistency of effort, like monthly newsletters that come out 1-2 times a year – not quite monthly.
- No follow-up and follow through on inquiries. If people contact you, respond ASAP before your competitors do.
- No plan, no strategy, open to TGTBT (Too Good To Be True) offers (a major source of mis-spent money).
- Not putting yourself in your client’s mindset!
The CTA, or Call To Action, is vital in any communication that you produce, whether that is on your webpage or email blast. Always have an intention for what your ideal prospect would do next to progress the sale.
While I call it the dreaded “P” word, you do need a marketing plan to save yourself from the TGTBT offers (Too Good To Be True). You don’t want to have anything like 90% discount on bus ads when your target market isn’t even in that city. It helps guide your marketing decisions and tactics, so that you don’t get swept up by a high-pressure sales person, who is promising the world and delivering nothing.
You can sell too
My MBA major was marketing and I have now accumulated 35 years of hands-on experience as a serial entrepreneur, mainly in sales and marketing. I have helped start and run a software company to over a $1,000,000 in sales, followed by starting a garden centre, which became a popular destination spot. It was only my sales and marketing ability that made the garden centre so trendy, since I had no horticultural background at all, except for a having a green thumb.
Those experiences made me realize that you can be in any business that you want to, as long as you know how to sell and market properly. Master sales and marketing, and you can have any business you want.
So following your passion only works if you can sell and market your passion too!
Image credit: by Anthony Easton, via flickr.com.