Myths of sales versus marketing continue to persist, but make no mistake, you can’t have one without the other. Sales and marketing exist as a symbiotic pair that is necessary for business success. In this episode, we listen and debunk several myths with Michelle Weinstein and her guest, business growth strategist Denise Mandeau. Denise discusses the myths, analyzes them and gives her insight on why you need both in your business. Need more business insights and strategies? Then tune in!
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Deconstructing The Myths Of Sales Vs. Marketing With Denise Mandeau
In this episode, we have a special guest, my partner in crime, Denise. We are talking about a very important topic that I keep getting asked a lot of questions. “What is the difference between sales and marketing?” If you have a yellow or white notepad, now would be a great time to grab that and a pen. We’re going to dive right in.
If you want to finally be in control of who you work with and never give away free advice again, imagine if you had the confidence to charge higher fees, had a strategy to raise your rates to your existing client, get paid your worth, have a step-by-step process to enroll clients easily, you’ve tried other programs and nothing has worked, Denise and I would love to have a conversation with you so you can get on track to getting the right clients who are paying you what you’re worth.
We’ll cover everything from the current strategy you’re doing to maybe putting a game plan in place to getting to what you want. Head on over to TheAbundantCall.com to get your booked session with us. We’ll get to the truth of where you’re at or maybe what’s keeping you stuck and look at where your firm is and where you want to be so you can get paid upfront and first before anything else before you lift a finger and do any work. Let’s welcome Denise to the show.
You are in store for a great topic because I received an email saying, “Michelle, can you please send me your marketing service offerings?” I said to Denise, my partner in crime who is joining us, “Denise, we need to do an episode about what is the difference between sales and marketing because there’s a lot of confusion.” That’s what we’re going to be talking about in this episode. Welcome, Denise, to the show. It’s an honor to have you here.
Michelle, I’m so happy to be here.
I also got this other email and I want to make sure that we’re all on the same page. If you’re new to the show and you would like to know who we are, we help accounting professionals who own their firms, 1) Make more money, 2) Increase the fees to their current clients and collect all the money that’s owed to you. 3) Get out of debt and have no accounts receivable moving forward without having to get any new clients in the door so that you don’t have to dread working another 14-hour day to 18-hour day anymore, finally go on a vacation and completely disconnect from your laptop and phone. If that’s you, that’s who we work with and you must own your firm as well.
This topic is for any accounting professionals. You might be in a job. You might be 1 foot out of your job or 1 foot into wanting to start your firm. You might be a tax resolution expert or auditor. It doesn’t matter. If we’re talking about sales and marketing and you’re in business, then this applies to you. That is our topic. We’re going to talk about the myths that we believe are confusing when it comes to what’s the difference between sales and marketing in your accounting firm.
Denise, before we start, I’m going to share a quote from Seth Godin. If you have a yellow notepad next to you, you might want to grab it and write this down because this is how Seth Godin explains it. I love how he explains it and this could be the basis of our conversation. Seth Godin likes to say that, “An interruption marketer is a hunter while a permission marketer is a farmer. The difference between hunting and farming is well-known in the sales community. There are salespeople or AKA accounting firm owners who are hunters, who go and seek out clients. You have other farmers who nurture relationships with people that eventually grow into opportunities.”
Both of those are a function of sales with a slight twist on marketing because the marketing part is hunting the prospect and gathering your leads. It’s like putting all the seeds in a basket and then you’re going to go plant them in the dirt. That’s all the marketing piece. When we go grab our plant that’s grown out of the dirt, that could be our sales piece. If we think about this as the farm, we have the gathering and planting of the seeds. We have something that sprouts and then we have to go and harvest.
The harvest is going to be our sales piece. To harvest, we have to first nurture either the relationships or spend money on advertising. That’s going to be the marketing. The marketing, as Seth calls it, is farming the leads and the sales part is hunting the leads. That was a lot and we probably feel like we should be on the island of Maui in a garden somewhere instead of talking about sales and marketing. That is what we’re going to talk about.
Denise, let’s hop into if we think about the seeds planting in the dirt. We’re going to use that for the visual of the marketing, where we have to go gather our seeds, plant them and allow them to grow over time. We have the sales piece. The sales piece is the conversation that we have with our clients when you get the referral. Let’s say you were planting some seeds and gathering some referral inquiries or maybe if you’re on our email list, you might have received an email from us. That would be our marketing efforts.
When you talk to Denise and me, we’re going to harvest. That’s our harvesting time and sales piece. Let’s break down the difference between the two. Denise, do you want to share the definition that you pulled from the dictionary? Starting with the definition of sales from the Webster Dictionary is a good place and then the definition of marketing. If the garden analogy didn’t do it for you, hopefully, this will.Sales and marketing both work together. You can't have one without the other. Click To Tweet
It’s easier to define what marketing is first because, in my mind, they both work together. You can’t have one without the other. One good definition is that marketing is all about getting people interested in your company’s products or services while sales are specifically about offering those products and services and having an exchange because there’s always an exchange of value. When you think about planting the seed, even before you plant the seed, you got to make sure that you’re in the right field.
You can’t be wanting sunflowers planting seeds in a potato field. You won’t get that. You have to be watering the right seeds and marketing is the watering of that. They do go hand-in-hand and so many accounting professionals we talk to get confused because they always ask about our marketing services. The marketing services, in my mind, is more of like how all of you would get a new client.
Let’s say you’re a tax resolution expert and you help people negotiate what they owe to the IRS. If you’re planting your seeds with clients who need an audit, you might be in the wrong field and field, meaning like a potato field, sunflower field or apple orchard. You’ve got to be fishing and swimming with the same place and people. For example, where would someone do some marketing activities based on your definition if they were doing tax resolution work?
That’s the thing because my skillset isn’t in the marketing area. It’s in the sales area. There are two different skillsets here. One is about marketing, which is identifying where your clients and prospects are. Being that I’m not a tax resolution specialist, a good question is, “Where would they be?” It’s somebody who has a tax problem or has gotten a letter.
Maybe they’re on the list. They’ve gotten an IRS notice. That would be a great place to start and there are lists that you can buy. There are so many different areas but it’s identifying where your client moves during that time.
It’s even identifying like, “What is the problem that you’re solving for people? What is it that they are looking for?” It’s about, “What do they want to buy? What problem can you help them solve?” That’s the field we’re looking for.
Your marketing efforts are there to encourage people to take action to contact you. Once that contact happens, it goes to what Denise was sharing. That becomes the conversation where then you can share how you’re going to solve their issue with the IRS, how you can negotiate with them with an IRS agent, how you can do an offering compromise and how you can do something to solve the problem.
The marketing could be that you get a list. You send an email about how many people don’t open their mail from the IRS. I’m making things up. The marketing would be building the relationship part. We got to water. It’s the education, emailing, building the relationship and educating them. If you don’t pay the IRS, they could garnish your wages or put a lien on your house. Some people have lost their houses.
Those are all of the areas that you would want to educate on. That’s the difference between marketing and sales. A lot of people think that’s what we do, Denise. We don’t do any of that. There are plenty of marketing companies to help you find leads. Here’s one other myth I would like to share. We can’t do the marketing unless you have the tactics, strategy and knowledge to do the sales piece. Denise, how would you define sales?
Sales is knowing when the seed has grown enough in the right field. We know when is the right time to pick it out of the ground. In other words, identify like, “We are the right fit. We are the best provider to bring this to market, harvest and eat it. It is the time.” Michelle, what’s the best way to harvest? You can’t just pluck stuff out of the ground. It might hurt the plant. You got to do it in the right way so that you maintain the balance.
Doing it the right way is, “How do you have the sales conversation so that you have cashflow flowing consistently all year long, so you don’t have to justify your fees or start discounting your fees to get a client and then eventually end up resenting them in the future? How do you have the conversation or not avoid the sales conversation because you’ve been paralyzed by your fears or completely scared out of your mind because all the times you’ve done it, you gave or caved in per se?”
All of that is the sales piece. I believe 1,000,000% that if you don’t master that piece, it’s difficult to do the marketing piece. Plant all these seeds, water them and then go to harvest. They’re all rotted out and deformed. You’re not getting quality produce. Your potatoes have brown spots on them. They have ferns coming out. You have a horrible-looking garden.
Knowing how to harvest your clients is what will set you apart from everybody else and be able to have the confidence to say no to clients, command those higher fees that you know you deserve and never put yourself on sale anymore and discount your services. That’s the difference. What is another myth, Denise, that you have heard or seen that people get confused about between sales and marketing?
There’s so much confusion. It’s interesting, Michelle. I’m on my phone like all of us are. I’m looking at emails and things like that. I get a private message from someone saying, “Denise, how are you?” Mind you, I haven’t heard from this person in years. They happened to see I was online and I was like, “How are you?”
The next thing you know, she was asking me, “Do I know about Forex investing?” I’m thinking, “She is trying to go right to the sales without doing any marketing. No relationship, no nothing.” That’s a good example of understanding that brand awareness is like, “What are you up to? What is it you’re doing?” It’s finding out if I’m even interested.
That’s finding out if not only they’re interested but can you even help that person? If you don’t need whatever, then you’re not the ideal person. She is in the wrong garden.
It was annoying and probably I’m going to delete her off my list.
Another myth to discuss is that a lot of firm owners think they can generate clients through maybe marketing efforts alone. However, we have helped hundreds of accountants where that wasn’t the case. They did it but they were underpaid, underappreciated, frustrated, burnt out and feeling like you got run over by the bulldoze out in your garden field. It doesn’t feel very good.
Deep down inside, your clients know that they’re getting a good deal because your fees were so low but a year or two later, you’re completely terrified to raise your fees to your current clients because you think they’re going to leave you. That’s the problem that if you can generate clients through your marketing referrals and everything, it’s fantastic, but there is a need for selling. Selling doesn’t have to be pushy and annoying.
We’ve helped plenty of introverts do this because the introverts, all of you, are the best at it when you have a step-by-step system and process to do that. A lot of extroverts talk too much. They have a challenge with the harvesting and sales part of the conversation with a client. Think about marketing as you’re nurturing the relationships, sending out emails, making sure they’re interested and a good fit.
You’re in the right field. You’re not looking for sunflowers in a potato field. If you’re looking for sunflowers, you’re in the sunflower field. If you’re looking to grow apples, you are in an apple orchard and you’re not looking for the Granny Smith. If you’re looking for Granny Smith clients, you better be in a Granny Smith orchard field.
My favorite kind of apple is the Honeycrisp. If you’re in the Honeycrisp field, you might be dealing with an apple but we need to get more specific. Getting specific and dialed into who you want to work with is part of the marketing side of the field. That’s planting the seeds, having your tree grow and making sure that the apples on the tree are green. Once we have that, then we can go pick them.
That’s also going to differentiate you. How many accounting professionals that we talked to, Michelle, that all sound like cookie-cutters the same? They’re wondering why they’re not getting premium clients and it’s because they sound the same.Even before you plant the seed, you need to make sure that you're in the right field. Click To Tweet
We have to be able to differentiate ourselves in many ways. One of the first ways is understanding the difference between marketing and sales. I hope that this is slowly starting to make a little bit more sense.
Another key point is that marketing is when you’re doing the talking and sharing about your stories, successes and how you’ve helped people. When you’re selling, you’re not doing the talking. You’re doing the listening.
That’s a huge point to make because a lot of times from a lot of the accountants we’ve worked with, they think that the sales part is when they have to talk and brag about all of the credentials you have, “I’m a CPA. I’m an EA. I have a Master’s in Tax. I have this and that.” It’s the listening that becomes the most important part. That’s when you can have someone get connected to, “I need to solve my problem now.”
If you want to toot your own horn and share all of your knowledge, that’s the great part to do in marketing. However, it’s a fine line because we don’t want to share too much information where you’re solving everyone’s problems for free. That would be like us telling you for ten hours on a podcast episode exactly how to have a conversation with your client. That’s the part that we teach.
If you would like to help with that, we would be more than happy to do that. You can book a call over at TheAbundantCall.com but we’re not going to sit here and give away the farm because then, you probably wouldn’t follow through on it anyway. After all, that would have been for free. When you give away something for free, there’s no monetary exchange.
Another myth that we’ve heard a lot is, “Michelle, I shared with them this. I was smart. I helped them with something and then they never called me back. They disappeared. They ghosted me.” I said, “The reason why is that when we give away something for free, there was no synergy in the value exchange.”
Sales mean money in your top-line revenue. The number one thing on all of your P&Ls is either sales or revenue, depending on how you label it. If you did something for a client for $0, then your P&L did not increase. If your P&L doesn’t increase, then there’s no commitment from your prospect, from the person you were wanting to help. They don’t take action and don’t do anything you share with them. It’s burnout, not sleeping at night and being frustrated.
You probably think, “Michelle, maybe there’s some time that I thought I should probably go get a job.” If you’re in a job, you might be terrified of thinking, “I got to do my sales and marketing.” All the partners in your firm are doing that for you. The number one thing to focus on is your top-line revenue within your firm. As that goes up, that means that you are selling, serving or helping your clients at a high level.
Those are some of the myths between sales and marketing. We would love to bust through any of these myths to make sure we are clear as to the difference between the two. If you’re an abundant accountant, you know the difference. You are super-duper clear of where you are in your field. You’re either in the first stage, grabbing seeds, planting them, putting dirt and watering them over time or you’re in the harvesting stage where you’re picking apples off the tree, those Granny Smiths. You’re chomping on ones like getting a new client. It is delicious when you can help somebody. What’s another one, Denise?
This all flows together. It’s like, “If I keep watering, then they’ll pop out of the ground.” One of our students said, “I talked to them. I have conversations and give good feedback.” He expects them almost to bow down and be like, “Please, will you work with me?” It doesn’t work that way.
Another myth with those of you reading is that you might think you have to be an extrovert or someone who can convince somebody or talks a good game is good at sales but in reality, those people don’t do very well in the world of enrollment and sales. The introverts, the compassionate and the ones that want to help people the most, which are all of you, do the best. Where you can learn to have compassion and be a good listener will outperform any of the extroverts, the people that can talk a good game or any of that.
For me, I’m an extrovert. I’ve been told by a lot of you that I’m a good listener but I have to be honest with you. It takes a lot of effort for me to be a very good listener. I practice empathy once a week. I volunteer at the suicide hotline. It doesn’t come naturally to me. The benefit for all of you is that when you focus on tooting your own horn, talking about your designations and all of your knowledge and credentials, do that on the marketing side.
When you end up harvesting and having your sales conversations, you get to listen, learn about your prospects, hear about what are their priorities in their life and what’s important to them. That’s where you’re going to have the most success. Your chances of having a new client who is paying you the right price are onwards and upwards. I want to share that with you because that’s an area that I have to work on. Someone didn’t agree with that but most of you shared that with me and I hear that feedback a lot. Denise is a naturally great listener. Anything you want to add to that, Denise?
This is a powerful topic that the more you understand and develop both skillsets, sky is the limit. Understanding how to build your brand awareness and be visible in the marketplace with what you offer to attract the right people is always a good thing to invest your time and resources in. You can attract tons of the right people but if you don’t have a system to have those conversations to convert them into clients, then that’s the other skillset that we work on the most. When you can perfect and master that, that’s the key that you can build the firm of your dreams.
I share this in the courses that we teach. Making sure that you’re confident on the harvesting side and the sales side of things will diminish the amount of time you waste or maybe the amount of money you throw at the wall. It’s like throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. The more confident you are on the harvesting side and the sales side, it will generate you a higher ROI, gross margin or net income for you on the effort you put in.
The efforts would be your time or money you invest. Maybe a Facebook ad, an article in a magazine or buying an email list. If you’re doing tax resolution and seeing everyone who got an IRS notice, those would be the marketing efforts. It’s imperative to understand that the harvesting, listening, sales conversations and having a step-by-step plan is extremely important to have dialed in and nailed in.The more you understand and the more you can develop both marketing and sales skillsets, the sky is the limit. Click To Tweet
With that being said, I want to share and say thank you to everyone who is reading. If you want to see how we can help you, we would love to share that with you. Denise and I have set aside some time to speak to you personally about how you can figure out your harvesting side versus planting your seeds side in your firm to make sure you have a high ROI and profitability. We’ll also talk about whatever your biggest challenge might be. I promise you. We’ve seen them all and we do know how to overcome them.
If you’re interested in that, head on over to TheAbundantCall.com. We’ll chat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. We’ll get to the truth of what’s going on in your seeds and garden and about what’s going on on your harvesting side of your firm. We’re also going to look at where you want to be in your firm to ensure you’re paid upfront and first.
You’ll be able to craft a step-by-step process and game plan so you can hit your firm revenue and get to hopefully six figures and beyond. If you own a firm, head on over to TheAbundantCall.com. We would love to talk to you. It was an honor to be here with you. Thank you, Denise, as always, for being here with you and me. It goes both ways. Hopefully, you take some good notes and this separates the difference for you about what’s the difference between sales and marketing.
About Denise Mandeau
Denise Mandeau, Business Growth Strategist and has proven success as a Business Owner, Financial Planner and award-winning Sales professional for over 35 years. She has learned what it takes to produce results and has been working with professionals and sales teams over the last few years helping them to generate millions of dollars in new business. She has personally closed over $1.8 million in new business in the last 12 months. Denise is passionate about teaching others to learn how to sell without being salesy!