Set The Table Before You Eat The Meal
To lots of people the concept of marketing is still very much a mystery. Most people don’t know what marketing is and don’t know how marketing works. Marketing is not sales; and selling is not marketing. It is important that I clarify the two concepts before helping you identify and cure the most common mistakes that are made in each discipline.
Marketing can be thought of as setting the table, or properly preparing the meal for the dinner. It involves identifying and qualifying prospects, finding out what people are looking for, researching a market to understand how to best address the needs of its prospects, and preparing those prospects to accept your message. Marketing is done before selling can begin. The reasons why many “salespeople” are not more successful at marketing is because the process takes time and shows no immediate positive results.
Selling, on the other hand, is enjoying the meal . . . holding interesting and worthwhile conversations while you eat . . . delivering the goods. Selling happens during the final face-to-face contact when you are looking to close the deal. Looking at it from a different angle, selling can be thought of as transaction based while marketing is a knowledge-based discipline.
Selling involves the way you communicate and listen in the meeting and the attitudes you convey to the prospect as you seek to establish a business relationship. Here, you either savor the taste of victory from all your prospecting and preparation, or you poke yourself in the eye with the fork.
In this section we’ll address some common marketing mistakes and I’ll offer avoidance techniques and a cure for each one. The errors that salespeople typically make when setting the table relate to two areas of marketing: (1) the process of prospecting; and (2) preparation for the face-to-face meeting.
The common pitfalls to avoid during the selling process (the face-to-face meeting) can also be grouped into two categories: (1) your attitude (both internal and communicated to the prospect); and (2) your conduct of the meeting. We’ll look at each of these four areas in the following chapters, and help you avoid the common mistakes associated with what happens after the sales meeting.