Last week we looked at where marketing ends and sales begins. We used George Deeb’s definition of sales from a 2014 Forbes.com column -“Sales is typically human driven, with a salesperson introducing your company to prospective customers” – and this week we will expand upon it to lay the groundwork for the next three weeks discussions of sales. In the following weeks we will look at warm and cold leads, the power of referrals, and the importance of building a network to share leads.
So what is sales?
Sales is human driven, it’s the act of introducing your company to prospective customers using people, and it’s dynamic negotiation between you and a prospective client. Simply put, sales is the conversation you have with each individual client.
What isn’t sales?
Sales isn’t marketing, it isn’t content driven (although good content supports a sales team), and it isn’t passive or unchanging. In other words, sales is not an email blast you send out encouraging potential customers to go to your ecommerce enabled website.
What are some of the building blocks of sales?
Relationships are the foundation of the sales process because relationships are human driven, dynamic negotiations between you and another person. Relationships also are an important part of leads. Leads is a term used to describe potential clients, and leads are frequently described as cold, warm, or hot. A cold lead is someone you have no relationship with, no introduction to, and no detailed information about. A hot lead is someone you have a relationship with, an introduction to, and some detailed information about. A warm lead falls in between a cold and hot lead, and often is the result of networking or a referral. When networking or asking for a referral it’s important to recognize that introductions “aren’t free” and that it’s a good idea to give as many as you get to stay in good standing with your peers.
Having covered the basics of sales; what it is, what is isn’t, and some of the building blocks I’d like to leave you with a final thought about sales. Be human and be empathetic. People respond better to real people and people build stronger relationships with people who show empathy.
Stay tuned next week when we look at warm and cold leads. Check out some of the other great resources on sales below and join the conversation with fellow contractors in the Construction Innovation Alliance member forums. Good luck out there!