The mentality that selling is bad or loathsome is pervasive. The more I talk about it, the more I’m confronted with the misconceptions people have. Even blogging A-listers and well-known social media consultants proudly express their preference for marketing over sales. Sales is broadly viewed as distasteful, and that is simply unfortunate, because it spells a huge number of missed opportunities. Marketing and sales overlap in fundamental ways, and to think you can do one or the other, especially when it comes to social media marketing where personal engagement is a key component, is a big mistake that will dilute your effectiveness to no end.
Marketing Works. So Does Sales.
Marketing works. So does sales. They are different skill sets, and a business owner needs to know how to use both. Surely many businesses have operated purely on marketing in the past. And this is what has allowed a fear of sales to develop. But social media marketing is becoming more and more crucial, and the more social media becomes an indispensable component to business, the more sales skills will become a requirement for success.
That’s why I’m using Next Level Blogger to spread the word about the importance of learning how to sell while most other bloggers are still focusing on ads. This is the direction business blogging is going.
As business owners, we need to learn that selling is not manipulation. It is not some black hat, malicious tactic. It is not the act of underhandedly trying to extort our customers. What a simplistic and inaccurate way of looking at it! Sales is a skill set. Nothing more. Nothing less. It teaches you how to engage people on a personal level, effectively and skillfully matching problems and solutions to a mutually beneficial end. It can be used to truly offer an invaluable service to our customers and clients.
Sales is Not Evil, but it IS a Super Power >:-)
Like any skill set, sales skills can be used for both good and evil. It is no different than the skills an attorney learns for navigating our legal system or that which a physician learns for solving problems of the body. Any skill set can be used for good or harm. Unfortunately sales has been abused (as is the case for ALL fields of expertise, but I digress), and it has been misunderstood for many years.
Traditional business models have allowed this misconception to perpetuate. But of course, traditional business models are crumbling these days, and that is why I’m preaching the importance of learning these essential skills, which I teach to clients. Marketing works. But combining sales and marketing in a skillful manner makes you invincible. It is a super power!
Seriously though, if you know marketing you can make a great living, and that is a beautiful skill to have. But if you know how to sell, you are recession-proof. Period. And that is a killer skill to have as well. Why would you not want both?
If Sales is Evil, then So is Your Car
You can use a car to destroy property or even kill someone. That doesn’t make driving evil or underhanded. I find it ironic that sales gets a bad wrap while marketing is touted as a more ethical and honest way to conduct business. Give me a break. I’m tempted to accuse people who say this crap of being high-minded and elitist, but I know it’s not the case. It’s just that they haven’t had the same experiences I’ve had. They don’t know the power of sales. Marketing has been abused and used to convey inaccurate and misleading messages for generations. It is no less a means of distraction and coercion than anything else.
The reason marketing has become the preferred method of building a business is not because it’s “better” or “more effective”. It’s only played out this way because it allows business owners to run their businesses from a distance…without getting emotionally or personally involved with their customers. Put more simply, it’s less messy. I don’t mean to downplay the power of marketing here. But marketing does allow you to remain detached, while sales puts you in the thick of it. It’s scary, and when something is scary our minds come up with all kinds of excuses for not doing it. But excuses don’t build successful businesses, do they?
Well, the days that we will be able to get away with running our businesses without personal engagement are numbered. This means we need to learn how to engage people on a personal level and help them solve their problems. There’s a word for that. It’s called “sales”. And if selling makes me evil, baby I don’t wanna be good >:)(just kidding)
Do you avoid selling to your customers, clients or blog readers? Do you find it difficult to ask for people to buy things? Do you feel selling is selfish, unethical or rude?