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Why Your Marketing May Not Be The Reason You're Not Getting More Clients

marketing-and-selling-work-togetherMost of the the small business owners I work focus an abundant of time on their marketing. They put tons of effort into crafting their marketing message, polishing their marketing funnel and fine-tuning how they generate leads. And often, they do so before any of this produces new clients.

Marketing your business is a really good idea, don’t get me wrong. However you choose to do it, marketing is a vital part of your business. As a matter of fact, marketing your services is something I teach my clients to do more effectively every day.

Yet I find that there’s a hole in the thinking that “all you need to do is effectively market your business.”

You also need to sell!

Now I know that for some marketing covers selling just as it covers distribution and delivery. Yet I so often see marketing gurus focusing all their time on the preliminary aspects of marketing – clarity of message, target audience, demographics, psychographics, methodology, etc. Seldom do I see marketing coaches get into the specifics of selling.

But more importantly, so seldom does the average business owner see selling as a part of marketing. More often than not, they believe that if they communicate their offer effectively that people will just buy their service. For instance, the majority of the service providers I’ve run into – either as prospects and clients or through a large network of friends, associates and partners I offer help or advice too – see the importance in communicating their offer. And they understand what systems they want in place once the prospects enters their funnel.

But what they seldom focus on is the conversion process – when the prospective client becomes an actual, paying client. That’s where selling comes in.

What many don’t consider is that while there’s a process for marketing, there’s also a process for converting; for selling. And while there’s numerous, effective processes and methods for both marketing and for sales, neither make a successful business on their own. It’s hard to sell your services if you don’t draw prospective clients in through your marketing. Just as you’re not guaranteed a large number of prospects converting to clients without clearly knowing how you sell to them.

To drive the point home consider if I told you, “An effective marketing campaign should lead to increased sales and more clients.” Without a hitch, you’d agree, right? I mean, that’s the whole point, isn’t it – the better your marketing the more you sell and the more clients you have.

Well, effective marketing is like having a bus drop off thirsty people in your driveway. They’ve searched, they’ve found you and they’ve journeyed to your home because they trust you can satisfy their thirst. But just because they’re standing in your driveway doesn’t mean they’ll get to drink. Some will, sure. But many will just stand there waiting for some guidance. Selling is guiding those thirsty people to the well in your backyard, hoisting the bucket from the well, pouring them a cup of fresh water and handing to them to drink.

In other words, selling is a process as well. It’s the process of guiding the people your marketing brings to your business into becoming clients. So how you sell your business, how you convert your prospects, is something you need to consider in order to get more client, increase your business and generate more money.

So, how does your marketing process differ from your sales process? Does it? And if you’re getting people to engage your business, how could you more effectively sell to them?

Let’s hear your thoughts!

(note: image from Ward_ on Flickr, some rights reserved)

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Comments

  1. LOL, very true!

    I’ve had a few clients over the years who lost everything because the forgot to follow three basic steps to making money …

    1) tell people about yourself
    2) sell people on yourself
    3) repeat.

  2. coffee grinder says:

    Conversion is the hardest part. My friend attracts so many people to his business but has a hard time converting. He then yells at the people he is getting leads from. Sorry it’s not their responsibility to sell.

  3. I understand that it can be difficult to see these as two different things. Marketing drives traffic and without traffic you can’t sell. On the other hand you’ll need to sell to make money and even with tons of traffic selling is not a guarantee. I think that one of the difficult aspects is to find out when to slow down on marketing and increase focus on conversion and vice versa.

    /Mikael

  4. Tim Andren says:

    I advise my clients in most situations to keep marketing and sales as separate, but complementary components. It’s important to me to track two individual units, one for lead generation and the other for lead conversion. It’s a trainwreck otherwise and very difficult to truly measure.

  5. do not argue, marketing the thing needed. However, it might be worth to start thinking about the appropriateness of many purchases? Our ancestors did not spend so much and were much happier than us. purchases do not make a happy time.

  6. Great points.

    Most people I meet are more worried about getting more traffic than actually selling the traffic they do get.

  7. My clients are mostly holistic and creative business owners – and selling feels so awful to them. I think the reason for that is, people get so turned off by aggressive manipulative sales tactics.

    But selling is definitely part of the marketing process. Marketing includes selling and promotion, in my opinion.

    Building relationships and making connections are important, but you really need to be blatant about telling people how you help – you need to sell your services.

    In this day and age of so much information coming at us all the time – you can’t assume people will just immediately know how you can help them.

  8. I am an affiliate of one particular software company which regularly informs me in monthly reports that 50 to 100 people have visited their site through my link. In over a year, they have not reported a sine sale and I don’t think they are dishonest people.

    I have checked their website from time to time and noticed that nothing significant has changed there.

    It seems incredible to me that someone could fail to sell to even one out of that many people who have shown an interest and not figure out that something is wrong with their selling method.

    Instead they imply that I must be consistently sending the wrong type of visitor to their site! LOL

  9. Sorry I didn’t notice that I had typed ‘sine sale’ instead of ‘single sale’ :-)

  10. right on! it amazes me that selling is not part of an MBA curriculum. yet, it THE MOST IMPORTANT predictor of small business success — especially in professional services.

  11. I couldn’t agree mare Dawud. I think selling is key. I also think that, for most small businesses, referral marketing with people you know and trust is the way to go.

    best,

    Chris O.
    Referral Key
    “Your Trusted Referral Network”

  12. You are totally right. Small business owners invest to much time “crafting” messages when they should be working on getting customers. Marketing is extremely important, but working hard to obtain customers should be more important.

  13. Although traffic is one of the essential parts of the online business, but the more even matter thing here is how to turn the traffic into a real customer who buy our product! If the visitors just came and went like wind, then it’s usually to have tons of visitors, but zero or nil customer!

  14. hey – great info. i agree that any approach needs to be holistic and include selling as much as anything else. I mean, that’s what it’s all about!
    thanks for the post, Sophie.x

  15. Dawud, good to see another post! Your posts always inspire me to do better. I really appreciate it.

    -Nick

  16. Very true. I once owned a small eatery where a lot of people go and look for something to eat during lunchtime. Some did not have any qualms on sitting and asking for the foods they want–but many of my customers still waited for a graceful invitation and some cajoling. I think food is easier to sell but my small eatery had been a success for several years.

  17. 100% bang on! I’ve seen so many marketers that are awesome at attracting customers ultimately fail because they haven’t put enough focus on closing the deal. Ideally a marketing strategy should start with the actual sale as the focal point, then worked backwards.

  18. Jared O'Toole says:

    I also find to many people jump out there and start marketing but then don’t look back at their product. They then wonder why their product isnt getting the attention.

    Never forget to continue to improve your product and constantly question it and think how to improve it. If you have a remarkable product the marketing will take care of itself.

  19. Great points in your article. I think having a good balance is always necessary for a small business to run smoothly. But one can never forget you have to sell to turn a profit.

  20. Hi

    I think the problem is that marketing is passive and comes reasonably naturally to people. Selling however has a manipulative edge to it that many people are not comfortable with.

    Neil

  21. The trouble I see with most people trying to convert traffic into customers is that they try to sell. Unfortunately most of us are not good at selling.

    I have learn’t that promoting is something we are all good at and the difference are subtle but effective.

    Start listening next time someone tells you about a good movie, or a restaurant or some website. This will give you insights on how to convert traffic using the promote style.

    When you’re promoting, it’s about them. It’s personal all right – for them. If they say “No,” they say “No” for themselves – not for you.

    * In sales, you want them to give you something – the order.
    * In promoting, you want to give them something – the value.

    Sales is taking.

    Promoting is giving.

    When you want something and somebody says “No,” how do you feel?

    When you give something to somebody and they refuse the gift, how do you feel? You may be disappointed, but it’s their loss isn’t it?

    I have been doing this successfully now for many years and just wrote an article about it at

    http://theimclub.com/converting-visitors-to-buyers/

    Q

  22. I admitted that sometime, I might be too obsessed to gain more traffic into my website, until I’ve forgot the very important thing here: The products and the selling rate!

    Dawud, in this case, I totally agreed with your thought, as don’t get too excited while you’re having the traffic, as it’s not guarantee that you’ll able to sell your goods/products as you’re expected…

  23. Its not obout the traffic but the conversion u get, i think these days its getting a lot harder to get leads, might as well make the best of it

  24. In land sales, we talk about this as your conversion ratio. The percentage of sales compared to prospects.

  25. Talia Phillips says:

    I think it’s important to think of it like a type of cycle.

    You have a good, marketable product or service, you market it in a way that sells it (ie. clearly state the benefits, why a person should choose what you have to offer and why you are the best choice in your particular niche) and go for the throat and turn lookieloos into conversions.

    That is how you will make the most money

    You don’t just want to say here look, I have this thing that can do this for you. That isn’t good enough, tell people not just what they will gain by choosing what you’re selling but what they will lose if they choose anyone or anything else.

  26. Great article! You are completely correct that often times the aspect of converting traffic in to sales is overlooked. If you want to keep your business alive you have to find a healthy balance of both marketing and selling.

    I’d also say that how you market and who you gear your marketing campaign towards plays a huge role in converting traffic in to sales. You have find the right audience for your product and/or service.

  27. delta squadron says:

    Great points here you must make sure that you have a good product, (would you buy it ?) if you can sell a good product just think of what it would be like if you had a Grate product. Keep trying you will get there.

  28. I definately agree that there is no point doing the initial marketing stages, if you can’t sell the final product!!

  29. I’m amazed at how many websites I see where I want to become a customer, and they actually make it difficult for me to do so.

    Make it easy for me to find how to contact you, please!!!

  30. Calvin Froedge says:

    You know I hate to say it but I think I forgot all about selling. I haven’t made more than a handful of sales calls in six months. When you first start out, selling is everything. Selling is all you can do, and once you sell, then you get to work on other things. I’ve been so involved in running my business that I’ve failed to notice that my influx of new clients is NOTHING like it was 2 years ago. I get a lot of work from my existing clients. I get a lot of work from references. Considering I get about 50 leads/month on my site, I’m doing a really bad job of selling = ). Guess I need to go back to the basics and remember what got me here in the first place.

  31. mlm training says:

    Good post. Marketing and selling are two different things. marketing bring people into your business. selling make money.

  32. Some great points here guys.A good balance is always necessary for a small business

  33. It is important to spend some time on the preliminary aspects of marketing because many of the selling and distribution strategies stem from those ideas. But yes, you are not a business unless you sell. No matter what.

  34. For me, marketing and selling are complementary and to be successful in business venture, we should know how to do both processes. Business owners on the other hand should see to it that the people they hire in their marketing should also know how to close a deal whenever possible and people in their sales department should know how to market in any instance. Sales and marketing are two different but complementary processes, therefore, they should work as one.

  35. Very helpful information, liked it and so Stumbled it to share with my friends, thanks :)

    Sarah.

  36. I think the most important of about marketing is how we promote it.. i think the more visitors the more customers am i right…….??

  37. Thanks for the insight. I have lots of visitors but too few customers. I think I will spend some time with the sales department and see if they can offer some constructive help.

  38. industrial shelving canada says:

    I would have to say your right, or atleast that sure makes sense to me

  39. Most people I meet are more worried about getting more traffic than actually selling the traffic they do get.

  40. Help-Me says:

    I think the very important in marketing to good communication, good releationship and quality work. If aforesaid quality is done, then your service or product is high level in market.

  41. Sorry I didn’t notice that I had typed ’sine sale’ instead of ’single sale’

  42. allergia al nichel says:

    great post, thank you for sahring with us.
    i think the most difficult thing is the conversion….

  43. This is a quality post and i just love it, it tends to cover all aspects and give them an answer, Thanks!

  44. Jenifer says:

    Customers r the consumers. Without them no business is there. so obviously one must give more attention on making customers rather than “crafting”. thats the proper marketing. And this fact is nicely described here. i really loved it.

  45. Adam Alfia says:

    You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

    Consumers have been inundated with a cornucopia of advertisements and marketing ploys, so instead of trying to trick them into purchasing your product, the emphasis should be channeled into building REAL value for the product that you produce.

  46. nipulative sales tactics.

    But selling is definitely part of the marketing process. Marketing includes selling and promotion, in my opinion.

    Building relationships and making connections ??/

  47. sikiÅŸ izle says:

    Good post. Marketing and selling are two different things. marketing bring people into your business. selling make money.

  48. Great point. I hadn’t really thought much about how people make bank off of those free services. It’s totally true though. Many business will pay for consulting in those areas.

  49. SEO Training Guy says:

    Totally agree with Linnet. I have signed up for affiliate programs – one in particular that is a great example, that shows lots of traffic and zero conversions! How can that be?

    Well I know the answer. Their on site conversion is HORRIBLE. I’ve inquired with the company and they aren’t even testing offers. I suggested testing landing pages, offers, email marketing etc. and they are no where. So I took my business elsewhere.

  50. Interesting. But clients are clients and marketing and sales are definitely 2 different things.

  51. Isn’t marketing the same as selling? If a person comes to Your business and is really interested in Your product, You keep on marketing until he puts his signature on the contract. Maybe the marketing looks a little different then, but it is still marketing.

  52. WebMaster says:

    Some great points here guys.A good balance is always necessary for a small business

  53. You make some really great points. There are a lot of people that don’t realize that marketing and selling are 2 different skills.

  54. Hagen O. says:

    Very true. Every marketing plan should always have a closing element to it. Without it, all those budget will go down the drain.

  55. Greg Bowen says:

    A big part of marketing is reinforcing your brand, which doesn’t show immediate results. But yes, selling is an essential element as well.

  56. TwitterFollowers says:

    Very nice post. The art of selling is an extremely valuable life skill every one should master. It’s funny how companies spend a ton on marketing, but not the art of selling.

  57. Marketing and selling are two different things. marketing bring people into your business. selling make money.

  58. Carpet Tiles says:

    Hi !
    Nice Post And Very Helpful For Information About marketing.Thanks

  59. You can be brilliant at marketing but if your sales department or your sales skills are flawed, even with a revolutionary product, you won’t make a penny, it’s finding people with both skills which is the problem!

  60. remotepc support says:

    So cool points.. Include people into business means marketing.so we have to say ourselves to people.. Am I right…

  61. This is a really good point and makes me wonder if it is possible to combine the two. As in, is it possible to integrate your selling process into your marketing process? For example, you have a website offering a product or service – the page content describes your great product and how beneficial it is (that’s the marketing) and right next to it is a prominent button that says Click Here to Buy! (that’s the selling.) Marketing isn’t all off-site, there is on-site marketing. Is that the part you consider selling?

  62. Make sure that if you invest in a good website, make sure it is constructed with SEO in mind. Your website designer should know how to do that so just ask!

  63. I advise my clients in most situations to keep marketing and sales as separate, but complementary components. It’s important to me to track two individual units, one for lead generation and the other for lead conversion. It’s a trainwreck otherwise and very difficult to truly measure.

  64. Its funny, I find that so many of my clients forget this rule! You must SELL SELL SELL!

  65. First – Important lessons put in simple and effective words.
    Sometimes we forget that journey gives more pleasure than destination, if we’re sitting in right train we’ll certainly reach our destination so the right train is most important.
    I like the example that you give, it open my eyes and brings new vision.
    Thanks!

  66. Dawud, great post I can tell you from personal experience with the proper emphasis on marketing we would be out of business. The key is to be open to change as the internet along with other methods is always changing.

    I have spent 1,000’s of hours and several 1,000’s of dollars researching the rights and wrongs of marketing especially on the internet and I learn something new everyday. I actually enjoy the thrill of the hunt so to speak.

    Keep up the great job!

  67. We’ve recently just started digging deeper into the web and trying to get to the top of our local niche in hopes that we’ll be dominating our town in law!

    But i agree that you shouldnt have all your eggs in one basket. We have a marketing girl that goes out, we’re working on our web presence, and we network throughout the town.

  68. Yes I’ve seen this countless times. When I do see a client their online marketing is really great but after that it simply falls apart! Either their ordering process is just plain old and silly or the steps to going to checkout are simply tooked away out of site. Might just send them a link to this blog.

  69. Alexandra says:

    Man I can’t even believe how many people is afraid of the word “sell” but yet every industry has to sell something to make money. you just have to do your due diligence and make your research finding your audience hot button to make it work.

  70. Hi

    Marketing depend on three main reasons:-

    1. Products
    2. Your communications skills
    3. Product Knowledge

    I think this reason is right and there are so many people believes this.

  71. interesting thoughts what you said is smart about having a good balance to be able to run your business but its true you must sell to make money!

  72. I just started my Long Beach CPA firm and my marketing is improving but my converting or selling needs some work. I need to learn how to sell better after first contact. Thanks for your insight.

  73. A Great tips about the small business owners and I was searching for similar information. Thanks for it and i promise that i will be visiting here often from now !

  74. 1. Products
    2. Your communications skills
    3. Product Knowledge

    I think this reason is right and there are so many people believes this.

  75. http://www.netbahis.com says:

    First – Important lessons put in simple and effective words.
    Sometimes we forget that journey gives more pleasure than destination, if we’re sitting in right train we’ll certainly reach our destination so the right train is most important.
    I like the example that you give, it open my eyes and brings new vision.
    Thanks!

  76. Birmingham SEO Company says:

    For more success in market…you have to build company brand name…SEO will be helpful to the brand name as well as for online marketing also…

  77. Getting the traffic is only a small part of the larger picture. I know many people who get plenty of visitors, but conversion is terrible because the page fails to convince them that they need the product. It can also be due to relevance.

  78. Don’t blame the market for a lack of clients. If they are not coming to see you they are providing feedback on how your business is being perceived. You have not provided a compelling case for them to make an appointment. Just listing tons of qualifications won’t do it. Potential clients want convincing evidence that you can deliver what you say you can. There are ways you can provide this even if you are just starting out.

  79. çilek says:

    I advise my clients in most situations to keep marketing and sales as separate, but complementary components. It’s important to me to track two individual units, one for lead generation and the other for lead conversion. It’s a trainwreck otherwise and very difficult to truly measure.

  80. interesting thoughts what you said is smart about having a good balance to be able to run your business but its true you must sell to make money

  81. For more success in market…you have to build company brand name…SEO will be helpful to the brand name as well as for online marketing also…

  82. osmanlı says:

    Marketing and selling are two different things. marketing bring people into your business. selling make money.

  83. Some great thoughts here. We always find that with marketing and selling online adding personality is a huge factor in the purchase decision – In a shop personality is an easy thing to achieve, however the face-less interaction of online means that you have to make the extra effort to inject yourself into your site. Social Media can be a great way to achieve this – have a voice!

  84. Nice analogy with the thirsty people in the driveway. Selling is a real skill and you can market your goods until the cows come home but selling is where the real skill comes in. A time for listening rather than talking!!

  85. Surely the conversion is the sales job? If the marketing lays the trap, then it’s sprung by sales. How effectively you prime the marketplace so that people are ready for your marketing – surely that is where the art is?

  86. Whilst marketing is a crucial element of the process for any business, they also have to remember to sell the product/service. However without marketing, the selling element becomes a whole lot more difficult. It would be interesting to see if a graph of sales when a company used marketing and when it does not to promote a product. I would expect the graph with marketing to sell more, but the interesting thing would be to see how much more it sells

  87. I think a big reason why conversion doesn’t always happen is that selling is difficult for most people. It doesn’t feel natural, and people erroneously think that if they avoid doing it it won’t matter. Unfortunately, as your post explains, conversion isn’t automatic. Good points and post!

  88. Thanks to social media we can make merge most of it all together these days. I find the marketing’s going to be a bit pointless if you’ve got a naff product, but if it’s relevant to this recession struck world then there should be success. Innit.

  89. It’s an interesting debate the whole marketing vs sales vs customer retention isn’t it. All obviously important, but I tend to agree about the importance of being able to sell. As a business owner, it’s the bit you probably are least likely to be able to outsource or employ someone to do effectively.

  90. It’s important to sell but not everyone is comfortable and it can be intimidating. If you have your own business or are in the related field it comes much easier to sell. I think visual marketing (ads) are far more effective than over the phone. Utilizing your local cities or villages newsletter is also a great marketing tool.

  91. I worked at a local cafe. The cafe did a spectacular job not because of its marketing but because of the owner’s personality. The owner made sure to treat every customer like they were his friend. He made sure to treat every person with respect. Soon every customer began to know and appreciate him. I think building a relationship with each of your customers is a great way to promote your small business.

  92. Nice post man, interesting thinking of sales in that way.

    Sales is always one of the elements in business people shy away from easiest. But its essentially the critical element of all business. You must sell to make money.

    Take on the challenge head on. I used to feel somewhat guilty when thinking of selling to someone. Now I put myself in a frame of mind where I find genuine benefits I am providing a client.

  93. Hey there, And cheers for making the case for original content creators vs. “spinners”. Everything you state makes intuitive sense, but I’m struck by the sub-headline, “Why Your Marketing May Not Be The Reason You’re Not Getting More Clients“ I’m wondering if you have any documentation for this. Has someone released a study that states this is true?

  94. 1. They are not aware of your product.
    2. They don’t understand the benefits of your product.
    3. They don’t feel your product has perceived value.
    4. They don’t see how your product meets their needs.
    5. Your product is not accessible to them.
    these all 5 tips helping you..

  95. Interesting thoughts you said it is smart to have a good balance to be able to run your business, but its real need to sell to make money. I advise my clients in many cases to keep marketing and sales as separate components but complementary. Thanks alot for article.

  96. Thanks to social media we can make merge most of it all together these days. I find the marketing’s going to be a bit pointless if you’ve got a naff product, but if it’s relevant to this recession struck world then there should be success

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