Nobody likes to be sold.
But everyone likes to buy.
Salespeople are loathed, so companies disguise these people as account managers, business development executives and the like.
Last I checked, if they’re asking for your money in a one-way deal, it’s not a partnership.
I’ve heard that sales is a subset of marketing– that marketing drives the 4 P’s (Product, Price, Place, Promotion), while sales acts upon leads with the marketing collateral.
Maybe in enterprise B2B or narrow verticals where traditional blunt force marketing still reigns.
But deeper than decoy, real marketing begins from the heart.
People can sense if you’re authentic and passionate, the precursor to deep knowledge or vice-versa.
Mark Twain once said that the secret to being successful is to be genuine.
Fake that and you’ve got it made.
I heard yesterday that selling is when it’s all about you.
But marketing is when you make it all about them.
Closer, but if you’re not doing something you truly love, that affect the quality of what your business offers.
The fanatical, missionary-like zeal that you see from the producers of products you love shines through.
Liz Azyan owns an agency, Digital Matchbox, and has built her own tool to do social media management.
Her story shows that passion produces product, like an oyster produces pearls.
In her own words:
Do you know that saying, “When you turn your passion into a job, you start to lose your passion.” In some ways, that is how I see marketing. If your job is to promote, how do you expect people to listen? People hate being sold to and in turn, you’ll start to hate doing it! But if your job is to continue to do what you love doing and you’re creating more time to perfect it, then the benefits of what you have to offer, will speak for itself.
The idea of the CCS triangle (Content> Checklist > Software) is that when you’ve done something enough times, you can write rules to execute.
And these checklist rules can eventually turn into software.
So repeated hands-on experience in doing X will lead you to eventually creating the best software for X.
And the usage of the tools by others rallying to the cause creates word of mouth marketing, which drives sales on its own.
This is where personal branding at the user level rolls up to content marketing at the company level.
And this content marketing is what drives inbound requests, turning into sales.
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, said that advertising is the price you pay for having a crappy product.
That’s mostly right to say that if you’ve activated your fervent customer base, nothing is stronger than their endorsement– not even a pile of ad dollars.
The best sellers never sell– and the best marketers never overtly market.
How about you?
Dennis, thanks so much for writing this fantastic article and including me in it! I so admire your principles of marketing and endless knowledge in this industry. You’ve hit the nail on the head in this piece in so many ways. I love the Jeff Bezos quote that you’ve included here. I think he is right.
I once heard Don Tapscott (author of Wikinomics) say, in the olden days (pre-web2.0), companies were rewarded for doing bad because they had the money to manipulate our perception with false advertising and marketing. But with the emergence of social media, companies who do good are now beginning to see the rewards of their hard work and ethics. We’re basically seeing companies in this web 2.0 digital age are being rewarded for doing good. Which is why there is such a surge in small businesses solving big user problems.
So if your personal branding has a good story to tell and has a big WHY attached to it (Simon Sinek reference), you’ll be sure to have people wanting and begging for your product even before you offer it.
My personal favorite kind of promotion is cross-promotion. Everybody wins. You’re right in saying that nobody likes to be sold to. But you also said selling is about yourself, where marketing is about them. That’s why it’s dope. No one’s selling anything but both sides’ personal brands are being elevated. It’s like a loop-hole in selling where you’re not seeming invasive. I guess you kind of did the same thing here in this article (though I don’t know the background; I could be missing something): how you quoted Liz. The best situations are win-win situations.
Joey– when you work with people you like that have complementary expertise, you never get that icky feeling of pushing a sale. Is that along the lines of the cross-promotion you’re talking about?
To your question: I would posit that, stronger than cross-promoting, we’re openly sharing our expertise. You’ll see we’re not selling anything here. But if you explore further, you might find you have further questions about the topic or want to hire us (or one of our partners). That’s how we win!