Hate sales and marketing?

WE’RE getting conflicting messages about the prospects for the next twelve months. One minute everything is going to be rosy, the next, it’s all gloom and doom!

Whatever happens, flooring contractors need to stay focused on doing the right things in your business, because one thing’s for sure, the future isn’t certain.

That’s why I enjoy writing this column, to give you regular information that, I hope, will help you in your day-to-day business life.

This month I wish to talk about one of the most important, yet often most neglected areas, of your business. Even the words ‘sales and marketing’ are enough to make your eyes glaze over, or send a shiver down your spine.

Do you hate sales and marketing?
One reason you might hate sales and marketing is that there are a lot of businesses out there which purport to provide your business with new opportunities and enquiries, but then fail to deliver.

Even if they did what they promised to do (and there is plenty of evidence to the contrary), I’d strongly recommend you need to drill down a bit deeper into the whole sales and marketing activity and start a lot further back in the business process.

What do I mean by that?
There’s a lot of misconception about ‘sales and marketing’ and many people think it’s all about advertising, glossy brochures and annoying sales people that cold-call you.

Marketing simplicity
Here are a couple of quotes from Peter Doyle who was one of the world’s leading experts on marketing.

‘Marketing is a philosophy of business that puts the customer at the centre of your firm’s universe.’

That’s a great definition, without mentioning anything that might put you off thinking about marketing. So, my advice is ‘marketing’ should run through every facet of your business, including the team doing the work, the people managing the work, and the finance and administration teams.

Sales or marketing - What’s the difference?
On the difference between marketing and selling Peter also said:
‘Selling tries to push the customer to buy what the business has. Marketing on the other hand, tries to get the organisation to develop and offer what the customer will find of real value.’

That’s why you need to recognise the important difference between marketing and selling and take time out to develop a strategy for developing your business that isn’t based on chasing enquiries at any cost.
Let’s face it, sending you an enquiry costs the contractor hardly anything, so what has he got to lose? He just gets another price - and if you’re the cheapest he may give you the order.

But if your only way to win work is to always have to be the cheapest, you’ll never make a decent return!

Time for change?
I know many specialist contractors don’t have the inclination to implement an effective sales and marketing process, but it’s something that can benefit your business. Winning the type of quality business you want won’t only be more satisfying to work on, it will have a very positive impact on your bottom line.

And please remember, don’t delegate sales and marketing to others just because you hate it. That’s a recipe for disaster. I might not be able to persuade you to ‘love’ it, but I can help ensure you have the practical know-how to successfully grow your business.

Barry Ashmore
Barry is MD and co-founder of StreetwiseSubbie.com which provides business solutions for Specialist Contractors throughout the UK
01773 712116