Marketing vs Sales – There is a difference

I see a lot of small businesses go big in the social media space to get their name out there.  This is a good thing, but does not necessarily pay the bills at the end of the month.  All you are achieving is that people are now aware of you.  They haven’t yet seen your offering, they just know you are in the market, and what kind of product or service you supply.

If they are at a stage where they’re looking for a replacement product/service to the one they are currently using, they may even make a decision to try your offering.  Building a client base this way is slow, because ultimately you’re only getting sales from the people who are in the right frame of mind at the time they see your marketing.

Sales is a different process, you target specific people or groups of people, and you get in their face with your offering, actively telling them of the benefits of it.  And not relenting until you have an answer, even if it is no.  This is a faster way of building your client base, even though it is twenty times scarier.  And the only reason it is scary, is because a larger percentage of people will say no than yes.  This is a fact of sales.  So accept it, and get out there and sell.

Marketing should be an extra effort, not the only effort.

Don’t make empty promises

I’ve recently had an experience with Cycle Lab in Bryanston.


End of last year I noticed that my rear wheel (Rolf Elan) was moving laterally on the hub. Suspecting the bearings, I took it in to Cycle Lab for them to fix it. The mechanic took it apart immediately and noticed that it was just a missing spacer, which they didn’t have in stock. So I left the wheel for them to order the part and get back to me.

My Problem

2 months later, having heard nothing, I went in to enquire, and they knew nothing of my job card, luckily I kept my copy, and luckily I could point out my wheel in the pile of wheels lying in the workshop.

Nothing had been done, so they redid the documentation with more promises to phone me once done.

Fast forward to September. Because I have another set of wheels I haven’t really followed up on this, but at some point I would like my racing wheel back, they’re half the weight of my training set. So I walk in and start asking questions, and eventually have to go point out my wheel in the pile in the workshop again. After a heated discussion between a few people in the workshop the lady comes out and says their supplier have lost the complete insides of the wheel’s hub, and they’ll be happy to replace the wheel for me with a new bontrager one (emphasis hers).  I’m happy with that, and even enquire to the price of the front wheel so that I can buy that to complete the set.

As promised she phones me the Tuesday after, saying she’s still waiting for stock, but will let me know as soon as it arrives.  And then…NOTHING!

So, 2 weeks later I walk in to enquire about the wheel, and now the story has changed…She promptly tells me that she’s still waiting for another customer to return the promised wheel, which he’s borrowing. WTF?

I didn’t lose the insides of that wheel, and it was part of a set.  So what would make me happy is for them to replace it with an equivalent set, I’ll happily hand you the front-wheel I have to go into your collection of loaners.

Another 2 weeks go by with no news, so I walk in again yesterday, and this time I can actually see the loathing on the woman’s face.  So she tells me she’s going to fetch the wheel for me.  And re-appears about 20 minutes with a bottom of the range Shimano wheel, weighing about double what my set of training wheel weigh.  I took the wheel, and walked out, but will never support this shop again, ever.  I vote with my wallet, and tell the world about my experience.

Lesson from this

If you really want to make you customers happy, take notes when you make a promise, and deliver on that, or even over-deliver.  This will ensure that they tell the world about their experience, and that they come back for more.  But never make an empty promise and then deliver half-assed when the customer calls you on it.

Take responsibility for what you do with your tools

While reading Scott Berkun’s defence of PowerPoint, a phrase came to mind “A bad workman will always blame his tools”.

I’ve sat through so many bad presentations where the first thing the speaker does is to apologise for the “Death By PowerPoint”, and the converse, which doesn’t happen that often, is a good presentation where the speaker uses the tool as an aid to draw your attention, like it was designed to do.

I agree with Scott, YOU need to take responsibility for the work you deliver, you should never blame a tool for your shortcomings.

10 Golden Rules

I received this via email, and decided to post it here as a reminder.

1. Steve Jobs said: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

Innovation has no limits. The only limit is your imagination. It’s time for you to begin thinking out of the box. If you are involved in a growing industry, think of ways to become more efficient; more customer friendly; and easier to do business with. If you are involved in a shrinking industry – get out of it quick and change before you become obsolete; out of work; or out of business. And remember that procrastination is not an option here. Start innovating now!

2. Steve Jobs said: “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Continue reading 10 Golden Rules