Marketing and sales? Marketing OR sales? Are they the same or different? Should you focus on one or the other? These are the questions we’ve recently been asking ourselves at Top Left Creative, and we want to share what we’ve found because we think it’s so important.
First, marketing and sales are not the same, but the distinctions are subtle. Plus, there’s so much overlap, the two often get confused and fuzzy. Let’s dive into the similarities and differences of each as well as why each is important to your real estate or mortgage business.
What is Marketing?
Marketing is everything you do to draw attention to yourself and your brand. It’s what you do to attract people to you, in a way they understand and want to listen to.
Good marketing tells a story that identifies the customer’s need or pain point and then tells them you have a solution to that need or pain. Coincidentally, marketing focused on the customer’s problems also makes the sales process much easier because there’s no need to “convince” them.
We’ve got some killer resources and ideas for you about upping your content marketing game:
- Being a Digital Mayor
- 34 Post Ideas for Real Estate Social Media
- 20 Marketing Ideas to Win More Clients
- Shoot Better Real Estate Video
- Everything You Need to Create a Killer Pre-Listing Presentation
By reading, watching, and engaging with your content on a long-term basis, people get to know you better than they ever could in a brief sales meeting. Then, when it is finally time for them to buy or sell a home, your peeps won’t need to think about who they’ll hire—you’ll already have it in the bag.
Inbound marketing asks people to pay attention to you in the long-term. Outbound marketing gets you in front of people today and asks people to pay attention right now. If you want more business right away, outbound marketing will almost always get it faster.
Inbound Marketing Activities:
- Advertising in newspapers, magazines, radio, billboards, TV, and more
- Sending out promotional items
- Website SEO
- Direct mail, including postcards and newsletters
- Email, including newsletters and emails about special events
- Signs, brochure boxes
- Branded Swag
- Social media pages and groups
- Farming, geographic and demographic
- Pre-listing and buyer presentations
Outbound Marketing Activities:
- Calling FSBOs and expired listings
- Calling just solds and just listeds
- Calling past clients
- Calling a geographic area
- Calling apartments, corporations, builders, banks, and other companies
- Door-to-door canvassing
- Open houses
- Client parties
- Networking events
- Community events
- Booths at events
- Teaching and speaking opportunities
What is Sales?
Whether someone’s attention came from an inbound marketing effort like a Facebook ad or from physically knocking on someone’s door, sales is what you do with a person’s attention once you’ve got it. Sales is when you tell them exactly how you solve their problem so they’ll want to hire you over someone else.
Nothing can replace the value of sales efforts when it comes to getting more business. Even if you have a great marketing campaign, poor sales techniques will stop someone from ever “signing on the line” and actually hiring you.
How Sales and Marketing Activities Work Together
By now, you may already have a good idea of how marketing and sales work together. But just in case, let’s discuss it briefly.
Marketing is the act of getting someone’s attention and bringing them to you, and sales is what you do to actually convince them to work with you. They work hand-in-hand to get you more customers.
Additionally, marketing makes sales easier. Great marketing that clearly communicates your value proposition shortens the timeline from “contact to close” because there’s less convincing that needs to happen. Think of marketing as a great way to pre-qualify your potential clients.
Marketing is also a leveraged activity. When you’re doing sales, you’re limited by time and resources. There is only one of you and there are only 24 hours in a day. When you add marketing to what you’re doing, all the work you do goes much further.
Doing Your Most Value-Added Activity
You are the face of your business. Nobody can be you but you, so you should think about what things you have to do and what you can hire out.
You can hire a full-time inside sales associate, but it’s often expensive. It’s easier, faster, and cheaper to hire out your marketing well before you hire out sales.
Think about it—to truly compete with today’s sophisticated marketing, you need to be an expert graphic designer, web developer, copywriter, and advertiser. Chances are, you’re not. (And even if you were, would doing all of those things be the best use of your time?)
Smart agents know that they can’t do everything. Hiring out your marketing frees you up to do the things only you can do. Those are the things that are the very best use of your limited time.
You Need Both Marketing and Sales
So, you need both marketing and sales to be truly successful. Marketing helps your sales efforts go further, and it also helps bring in business when you’re not actively seeking new business. But sales is what actually closes the deal and gets you a new client (and that’s true even if you run your business by referral).