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If you ask 5 people to tell you the difference between “Selling” and “Marketing,” you will likely get 5 different answers. That’s because there can varying degrees of overlap between the two, further complicated by mix ’n match terminology that means one thing here, and another thing there.

First, you must understand what that difference is for your organization.

For some, the quality of marketing should be such that when people finally contact them, it’s to sign the dotted line — they are pre-sold. For others, there is a journey from prospect to client that includes phone calls and follow up.

The Difference

Regardless of what qualifies as “marketing” and what qualifies as “selling,” you should be able to map your client's journey from “First Contact” to “Client.” If you can do that, you have a system that you control and optimize to get the desired results under any circumstances.

Most have down what I loosely call the “marketing activities.” These are the things you do to seek out the audience you want. They broadcast your unique message to the marketplace to make you attractive to your ideal clients. It’s the advertising, social media promotions, SEO optimization, etc.

But the final step is conversion — when that prospect that you worked so hard to attract becomes a real, paying client. Sadly, many business owners fail to give adequate attention to this, thinking “if they come, they will sign.” That may only be the case for some businesses.

Without a system, you are letting circumstances dictate your process, instead of you exerting influence on the circumstances. Worse of all, the process revolves around you instead of an independent system.

You can read every marketing book there is on how to put your product or service out there for people, but without a sales process that converts your leads into clients, you don’t really get anywhere.

Defining a sales process and system is beyond the scope of this article (there are volumes of books and training out there). Whether you have a system or YOU are the system, I want to give you three important principles to consider for implementation.

1 — Make the prospect feel respected and valued

This is the difference between checking in to a 5-star hotel versus the Best Western. And it has nothing to do with “luxury” toys or trinkets. It’s about going above and beyond with personal touches and courtesies. It is also about setting expectations. For example, when a prospect contacts a business, a real person (not an app) can schedule an appointment. This shows they’re valued. A real person then follows up with an email, letting them know exactly what to expect, and what we expect of them. This positions the business as an authority and true professional. When you communicate your expectations and set high standards, it lets your prospects know that they can expect to be treated the same way.

2 — Don’t be needy, over hype, or give away your goodies

Your initial meeting with the prospect shouldn’t be about you trying to persuade them, but about trying to determine if they are a good fit for you, and you are a good fit for them. Don’t go into hyper-claim mode about how great you are. And don’t start giving away your ideas, strategies, and analysis before they sign. That is just another way of being needy and trying to persuade them. You think if you help them out now, they’ll hire you. They won’t. They already got the goods they were looking for.

3 — Shut up and let them talk

If you know nothing about how to convert a prospect, then the next best thing is to stop talking during the meeting and just ask them questions about their problem. Let the prospect do most of the talking. I call this Prospect Therapy. The act of spilling their guts to you makes them feel so much better that they unconsciously credit you for the emotional boost and automatically trust you. Meanwhile, you’ve gathered important intel on what they really need and are in a better position to present your services and close the sale.


Finally, regardless of whether you convert them or not, always provide a clear next step for them. (see #1 for setting expectations).

Choreographing the sales experience is exactly that…defining every step for both the seller and the buyer, and the expected outcome. Keeping these three principles in mind will give you the best results possible.

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