The functions of selling and marketing are distinctly different. The goal of marketing is to make the phone ring (or obtain a response via e-mail or snail mail). The goal of sales is to turn the call into an appointment (or another call or closing). Many courses claim to teach sales and marketing techniques, but the topics should not be treated similarly. The two topics are obviously related:
*The best marketing in the world is completely worthless without
the ability to effectively convert leads.
*The need for stronger sales skills is inversely related to the results of your marketing efforts.
What I would like to do in this article is present the concepts that will control whether or not your marketing efforts will be successful as well as explaining this inverse relationship. For your overall business plan to be successful, your marketing plan must account for all of these concepts, and you must understand how marketing should be successfully integrated into your sales efforts.
1. Marketing is not something you do, it is the way you
Many of us associate marketing with specific activities that are expressly meant to achieve a marketing purpose. In this way, we ignore the hundreds of activities we undertake every day, activities that present marketing opportunities if only we thought of them differently. Therefore, I teach those who attend my seminars to open up their eyes and see the opportunities they are missing. All too often, we are searching for that magic marketing bullet when the answer is just under our nose.
2. You must deal with marketing reluctance
Related to call reluctance, marketing reluctance dictates that the average businessperson tends to undertake marketing actions after all other business activities are finished. Most salespeople spend 80-90 percent of their time managing their "pipeline" of transactions. The marketing happens either after the transaction pipeline is nearly empty (which is too late) or it never happens at all. Of course, if we adhere to rule number one, this will never be the case.
3. You must plan your marketing.
To conquer marketing reluctance, you must carefully schedule your marketing activities. Most salespeople do not schedule calls to previous customers or letter-writing campaigns in their calendars. If you don't schedule something, you are much less likely to accomplish the task. Shouldn't your marketing activities be treated with the same importance as your next scheduled haircut?
4. You must deal with infinity.
This idea may seem to conflict with the concept of marketing reluctance, but when we do find the time to market, we tend to try a little bit of everything. The ways we can market are endless. If our time is limited and we try too many of these methods, we cannot be consistent in our marketing efforts. And marketing efforts must be consistent to be successful. We tend to try lunches, seminars, e-mails, phone calls, Web sites and more as part of our "marketing plan." Generally, too many different marketing activities cause each one to be less successful. The goal here is more focus and greater effectiveness.
5. You cannot change the world in one
Another aspect of the concept of consistency is our unrealistic expectations with regards to the results of our marketing actions. We are typically looking for the "big hit," rather than acknowledging that most marketing actions will bring results one step at a time. Every significant goal is achieved incrementally, and you should expect no less from your marketing efforts. Yet, we want to react to the ad that tells us a loan officer made $250,000 last year by sitting at their desk and sending out one letter. If you get too many calls, you may actually be hurting your chances of long-term success, believe it or not.
6. What you choose must be flexible.
Even though we expect that our marketing must be consistent, we must also be able to make changes in our plans to accommodate changing environments. The world changes quicker every year, and if our marketing cannot change accordingly, we will always be a step behind. Actually, due to the acceleration of change in the modern world, we will be several steps behind.
7. You must believe.
If attitude is the most important element of sales, it is no less important when it comes to one's marketing efforts. Too many times we try a marketing action once and then move away when we do not achieve the results necessary. We have already mentioned one reason why results are not achieved: lack of consistency. But sometimes we attempt marketing actions continuously, but they don't work because we don't believe in them. A typical example is a small business or salesperson's Web site. Many times we construct a Web site and expect our prospects to flock to it. Yes, the Internet has millions of users, but there are also millions of sites. The sites that are successful are integrated into the total marketing plans of the hosting company. It is unlikely that you will integrate the objective into your everyday activities if you don't believe.
8. It's not the volume but the quality of the leads that
your marketing generates.
Some think that marketing is a numbers game: The more times your phone rings, the better chance you have of being successful. This idea cannot reside further from the truth. As a matter of fact, if your marketing produces too many leads that are off target (low quality), the time you spend dealing with these prospects can prevent you from the most important activities in sales: following up with your quality prospects and previous customers. There is nothing more stressful than not having the time to devote yourself to quality business because you are dealing with those who will never qualify.
9. Don't market without the sales skills necessary to
make your marketing successful.
While it is true that better marketing techniques can make sales skills less important within the overall success equation, even if your closest relative calls for your service, you will still need some sales skills to consummate the deal. For example, we all know that people are most likely to decide to do business with people they like. Yet, most customers are more likely to tell us that they made their decision based upon price. Why? They are not likely to say that they did not like you or that you handled the call or appointment poorly. Oftentimes, we never hear the real objection, and therefore, search in the complete opposite direction for the answer to our prospect conversion issues. Too many times, we abandon perfectly good marketing efforts because we don't have a real clue as to why they are failing. We would be remiss in not mentioning one sales activity that is imperative within any marketing plan: Asking for the business. No matter what response we receive, if we don't ask for the appointment, deal or whatever the next step is within our sales process, our marketing will not be successful. Note that those who are experts within their industries are more likely to ask for the business.
10. You must adjust your marketing actions
Think about the marketing activities you have been undertaking for the past six months. How have you changed these activities to increase their effectiveness? While time goes on, the market around you changes, from the demographics, to the economics, to the competition. Here are a few ideas of what you could change within your marketing activities:
*Target: Even if your target is not evolving, your target
segmentation can be adjusted in many ways to develop a more
effective rate of return.
*Medium: You may find another way of delivering your message to your target group.
*Message: You may adjust the way you present yourself or your services, or you may adjust other aspects of your message, such as the components of the offer.
*Timing: Timing is everything in life, and marketing is no exception. If you have the right message and deliver it to the right group at the wrong time, it may be worse than no marketing at all.
Upon reviewing these basic laws, it is easy to see why your marketing would be more effective if each and every component were accounted for within your marketing plan. Anything less would be a waste of your most precious resources: money and time.
This is not to say that every aspect of marketing is covered within these laws. For example, we did not address the message and how effective it can be made with the addition of social proof (testimonials) from your previous customers. In our industry, I believe the best marketing tool you can ever develop and use would be your resume. After all, they are hiring you to help them with the most important financial decision they will make in a lifetime. What a way to differentiate yourself from your competition!
And that brings us to the final point: The true goal of marketing is to differentiate yourself from your competition in a positive way. If your message does not accomplish that, do not expect splendid results. If you are copying ideals you like, you are on the wrong track.
Dave Hershman is the leading author and a top speaker for the mortgage industry with six books - including two best sellers for the Mortgage Bankers Association of America. His mortgage school is the only comprehensive advanced curriculum in the industry. For a schedule of classes, free marketing samples, speaking information and articles by Dave, visit www.originationpro.com or call (800) 581-5678.