Following the premise that marketing is about gaining exposure and awareness for our product or service, we can include public speaking, writing and podcasting to more traditional activities.
• RELATED: The value of podcast marketing.
Many of us think of print, TV and radio advertising when we think about marketing. We also think about direct mail, newsletters and billboards. But, what about social media? Well, it’s a valuable avenue for marketing as long as it’s handled appropriately. And this is an area where people blur the lines.
Social media allows us to share our knowledge, our value, our expertise so that others can decide if we have something they’d be interested in. We also have the opportunity to connect with people so we can build meaningful business relationships. That’s it. Period.
• RELATED: When it comes to your business, keep your social professional.
Unfortunately, some people use social media to try to sell their product or service to total strangers. That’s not what anyone should be doing. So, let’s talk about what selling is.
What is selling, really?
Selling is about connecting your offering to someone’s need. To do that, you first must learn about them and their situation. While marketing is about awareness, selling is about discovery.
Those are two sides of the same coin. When determining where and how to market, decide who you want to build relationships with, who you should be getting in front of, and where your target audience will best hear your message. Remembering that the message is not, “Buy my stuff,” focus on what you want them to know. How can you position your company so it is attractive to your potential client or colleague? That’s the question to be answered. Then you execute your plan.
Once you are in a conversation with someone who has interest in learning more about what you have to offer, your first task is to learn about them. Yep, it isn’t to go ahead and tell them about your product or service. That’s not effective. Frankly, they aren’t listening to everything you are telling them. Ask them enough questions to get to the core of their situation and their values. Then, and only then, can you determine if you should be pursuing a business relationship with them.
• RELATED: Secret to selling: Don’t spill your candy in the lobby.
Sales and marketing aren’t the same thing and they don’t intersect. Think of it as a relay. You market to create awareness about the value of your offering. You discover whether the prospect is really a potential customer through the sales process. When it makes sense, you connect your product or service to their situation.
Diane Helbig is owner of Seize This Day Coaching.