FEW DAYS AGO I met with one of the folks under my tutelage. We had agreed to meet and discuss the sales strategies for her newly launched product.

I said to her, “From this point on you have moved from just being a product creator to a sales person. You must start seeing yourself as a sales person. Each morning as you rise from the bed, you must lean your head forward and ask yourself how do I get my product into the hands of my potential clients.”

Lets get something straight.

There’s a clear distinction between creating a product or service and selling. You sure must be familiar with this common submission; “good market sells itself.” 

Perish that!

The untold truth which is often bitter is the fact that no market, no matter how good, is capable of selling itself. 

To sell, you MUST strategically position your product in the marketplace. 

To sell, you MUST get out there and talk to people about your offering. 

To sell, you MUST be ready to put forward a number of phone calls to a targeted audience. 

To sell, you MUST learn the art of constantly pitching and promoting your offering. 

Otherwise, you will wake up one morning only to discover that the initial excitement that lased your soul as you were creating your offering has suddenly been overtaken by deep seated frustration.

Success in business is unaviodably tied to selling. More selling means more success for your business and vice versa.

Marketing is not selling. Period.

Although they are interrelated, both concepts are just as dissimilar in meaning as their spellings are.

This is where many of us get it wrong. We overly assume that marketing and selling are different ways of saying or doing the same thing. 

When you print and hand out leaflets and promotion cards to people, when you upload images of your offerings on the internet, be it Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms, when you create pop-up windows on your blog to appear in the face of the visitors to your site, these are all marketing tools. And many at times these tools tend to become a distraction rather than an attraction.

I bet you will agree with me that not many people respond to those very often. Even you yourself don’t.

I recall vividly that not many people who saw and liked the ads of the pre-launch of my book eventually bought it. Some who even promised to buy the book once it hits the market are nowhere to be found.

Does this mean those are not potent practices. Not exactly. It only explains the fact that those are not what brings in the sales.

Selling is what happens behind the scenes, outside of the premises of the marketing tools. Following up a marketing brochure, the Facebook ads and so on with a phone call, an email, yet another phone call, and then a meeting – that’s selling.

Marketing is letting your potential customers know about your offering. Selling is showing them the value of your offering to the point where they pay you to get it.

If you want to bank on the ads to bring in sales, you will suffer heartbreaks. A facebook ad at most will capture the interest of your potential customers for a few seconds, if at all. 

To sell, you have to go the extra mile to engage and challenge them to think. You  have to give them the chance to try out your offering.

I wish to establish in this presentation what to me, are two golden rules to selling:

Rule # 1: Focus on a targeted audience

The second most important word after selling is targeting. Marketing is like throwing your net in the river. Anything can sieve into the net, small and large fish, crayfish, periwinkles, crabs, and even stones.

Selling is sorting out. It is separating the chaff from the wheat. You take the ones that are your targets, the rest you throw back into the river booked for the day when you will need them.

That’s how selling works. Focus on a targeted audience, those who desperately need your offering. Those who responded to that your Facebook ad either by liking or commenting. Follow them up. Pursue them with zest. Bombard them with mails and calls. If possible get them to have a one-on-one meeting with you.

Rule # 2: Focus on serving, not selling

One thing I’ve learned about the psychology of selling is to always put the true needs and concerns of my customers ahead of other things.

This can only mean two things: listening and asking questions. The trouble with selling is that while you are interested in convincing the customer to pay for your offering, you are more than anything else expected to ensure that your offering meets his/her very needs and concerns.

Don’t be quick to sell. Take time to listen and ask pertinent questions. Make sure your offering is what they truly need. If it’s not, don’t mince words, tell them outrightly. It may appear you’ve lost. But not so. By being honest about your offering you have bought not only bought the loyalty of that one customer but also that of every other person connected to him/her.

In simple terms, focus on serving, not selling. The secret of good sales practice is not getting the customer to buy. It is providing a useful service that meets the very needs and concerns of the customer. 

Keep these two rules eked out in your mind as you attempt to launch and sell your new product.