I read a lot of small business blogs. That means I read a lot about marketing, especially marketing online.
But it’s unusual to find much written about sales or selling. Don’t get me wrong, marketing is important – sales is part of the marketing process after all – but I’m surprised how little attention is given to sales compared to how much I read on marketing.
Last week I picked up a copy of Sales On A Beermat from my local library. (Yep, despite being a Kindle fan, I do still read paper books and visit libraries. Mostly for toddler story time, though!)
The Beermat books were written a few years back now, about ‘beermat enterprises’ – that’s the kind of business that starts out with a few mates having a great business idea in a pub.
According to the Beermat business model, three things must be defined straight away:
- The elevator pitch – what you intend to do, for whom and why they should buy it.
- The mentor – a senior person to give advice and open doors.
- Your first customer – start-ups should have a customer in mind from day one, and be actually speaking to this person.
The business then needs a team with specialists in these areas:
As most of us mums with business are ‘solopreneurs’, we don’t usually have a team. But even if you do all these roles yourself, it does show the areas where we need to focus your attention. However, I’d strongly recommend anyone that wants a business to succeed to consider reading up on the subject at a minimum or getting some expert help from a professional sales training provider.
So sales is there, but why is there no mention of marketing?
Authors Mike Southon and Chris West explain:
Note we say ‘sales’, not marketing. The strategic ‘who are we selling to?’ aspects of marketing should be understood at the start and encapsulated in the elevator pitch. Once that has been sorted, the start-up needs relationships and actual customers and these are best created and sustained by good salespeople. Marketers who have a sales instinct are, of course, ideal for this job, but they should call it sales and do it with pride.
So are we just not ‘doing sales’? Are we promoting our products and hoping that the sales part will sort-of-happen at the end of it all? Looking on the positive side, maybe we are ‘doing sales’ but calling it ‘marketing’ instead. If that’s true, wouldn’t we make more sales if we, as the authors say, “call it sales and do it with pride?”
Many of us have a problem with the the concept of sales – it feels pushy, like we’re trying to convince people to buy stuff they don’t need. Maybe we’re letting that squeamishness, fear or whatever it may be get in our way? Perhaps if we face up to it we’ll make more sales and therefore more profit?
What’s your opinion? Please do leave me a comment (better still, leave me a comment AND tweet this!)
Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net