Do you know that if you want to increase your revenue, you need to understand the difference between sales vs. marketing? Michelle Weinstein’s guest in this episode is Denise Mandeau, the co-founder of P3D Consulting. Denise talks with Michelle about how marketing is everything you do to bring potential prospects through your door. In contrast, sales is when your prospect becomes a paying client. Why is it important to know the difference? Because if you proceed to sales without passing through marketing, your potential prospects will feel violated. Tune in, go through the proper process, and increase your revenue!
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Sales Vs. Marketing: How To Tell The Difference With Denise Mandeau
We have a very special episode talking about the differences between sales and marketing and how H&R Block did a great job at its marketing efforts. We have a special guest, my partner in crime, Denise. Before we welcome her and start the show, I do want to share that if you are discounting your fees, trying to get as many clients as possible, sending out all those proposals, but you want to increase your firm revenue without working harder and doing a lot smarter than I got something in store for you. Many accountants think that increasing their fees will lose them clients and result in lower revenue. I know that everybody thinks that is the way to get more clients, but it is not true.
If you want to see how other accountants are doing this, register for my brand new master class over at TheAbundantAccountant.com/Accountant-Masterclass. It is an investment of 45 minutes of your time to provide a lifetime of increased revenue without working more hours, having to get more designations or qualifications. Let’s welcome Denise to the show and get this party started.
In this episode, we are talking about and defining the difference between sales and marketing. Denise and I are going to have a conversation with you between the sales and the marketing of your firms. If you are an EA, CPA, accounting professional, or none of those and you have a tax resolution firm, whatever it is that you have and that we work with all of the accountants, that is what we were going to talk about now.
There is a clear not understanding of the difference between what is sales and what is marketing? We were going to go over the five myths of each. If you have a pen and paper, you might want to jot this down, but the five myths that might be unknowns, untruth confusion around the difference because we ask every single person. If you want to talk to Denise or I, we will send you a form and ask you a question, what is the single greatest challenge that your accounting, tax resolution, or bookkeeping firm is facing as it relates to sales?
Here are some of the answers that we get. I get a lead generation. That is not sales. The volume of leads is not sales. Qualified leads are not a sales problem. Does it go hand in hand with sales? Messaging is the greatest challenge I’m having around my sales. It is not part of your sales. What else do we get? I think that covers the main one.
Putting together your offer is not a sales piece and a qualified staff person, not the sales piece. I have gotten a lot of these answers and I told Denise, I said, “I think we need to have a conversation about the difference between sales and marketing.” I also got an answer. What is the greatest challenge that your accounting firm is facing as it relates to sales? The answer was marketing.
Do marketing and sales go hand-in-hand? 100%. Denise, why don’t you make a clear distinction for all the readers who have an accounting firm, have a tax practice, do a tax planning, resolution work, bookkeeping firm, or whatever it is that we get these myths busted of what’s the difference between sales and marketing? We were clear on the difference because they do go hand-in-hand, but they were two separate things on your P&L, Profit and Loss Statement. At the top line, does it say sales and marketing as the number one thing? No, it says, “Revenue or total sales.” It is very different than marketing.
Marketing is the category of expense. It is down below your cost of goods, so you have your P&L. You have revenue, cost of goods, gross profit, and then we have expenses. The expenses are where the marketing is going to go. Denise, why don’t you take it away and share with us the difference between how people lump sales and marketing together when they should be different. We’ll go through what our marketing efforts and our sales efforts in this episode.Marketing is everything that you do to bring potential prospects through your door. Click To Tweet
A lot of people collapse marketing and sales like you’re talking about. They think it is one and the same. It’s two separate things. Marketing is simply everything that you do to bring potential prospects or potential clients through your door. Imagine a retail store. There are no sales being made unless they walk through your door. It is about building a relationship and brand. All of those things come under marketing, your messaging, and exposure. That’s like in a broad sense. Think about broadcasting. When you are putting radio signals out there, you are not speaking to one individual. You are putting it all out for anybody to hear.
Sales is when you are speaking to one individual. You put out your broadcast, and then one individual contacted you to inquire or maybe they saw what your messaging was, the marketing efforts that you put in, and now they would like to talk to you about hiring you in your firm. They want to hire you to get them out of jail or potentially get jail with the tax resolution issue, and they have a ton of mail from the IRS. They are highly allergic to their mail, and they haven’t opened to any of it. Now, they are contacting you because they found you in a sea of people. The second they contact you is when the sales conversation starts. That is myth number one. Sales and marketing are not the same.
Sales are turning that lead into profit.
First, whatever money you collect will go to your top-line revenue. Your top-line revenue is when that person converts, the money hits your bank account and now it is at the top of your P&L. We’re 100% clear. Let’s talk about myth number two. I had this example. I was talking to someone, and they said, “Michelle, I’ve been doing my sales and my marketing. I’ve had twenty phone calls and I have no new clients.” I go, “It doesn’t sound like you have a marketing problem.”
The problem is in the sales process. There’s an enrollment challenge. There is the challenge of what do I say when the client calls me to ask me how much I should charge? There is a challenge in the conversation of the process to have them say, “Denise, I want you to help me and solve this problem.” The sales process is also an opportunity to uncover the problems that may be your clients have and in order for them to have an exchange of currency.
The only way the sales process happens is if there is an exchange of money and currency in that conversation, the money goes into your bank account, and then it hits your P&L as revenue. The person I’m referring to also spent about $51,000 to get twenty new clients. That’s marketing expenses. That $51,000 would sit below the revenue line, so they were in the whole $51,000 from their sales effort.
When I asked the question to people, “What is the single greatest challenge that your accounting firm is facing as it relates to sales?” The first place you want to go look is that your total revenue or your total sales line on your P&L. It is not the leads and any of that. The conversion challenge of your leads might be a sales problem in the example that I gave. They have plenty of leads coming in, but the sales are 0 for 20. It’s a horrible strikeout. That is not good odds right there.
That would be the biggest problem, zero sales.
When you think about your sales challenges in your firm, your tax practice, or your resolution practice, whatever it is for you, think about sales is related to the top-line revenue or total sales while my marketing efforts would be the leads and the quality of the leads.
Let’s talk about what marketing actually is.
Let’s go through then the third myth. What is the real definition of marketing? What is the marketing effort so you can understand the difference of where you should focus your time? Until we understand how to answer that question, what is the greatest challenge around my sales? It is hard to define. Do I have a marketing problem or do I have a sales problem? What do you think marketing entails? We’re going to give you ten different things that could be a marketing effort.
Again, a marketing effort would be in the expense category in your P&L. It’s not money hitting your bank account. The marketing efforts could convert into sales and we looked up one of your buddies, H&R Block. Has anyone heard of them before? I bet you all have. Do you want to know why? Denise, how much money did H&R Block invest in their marketing effort?
That was in 2019. We got some data from a couple of years ago. In 2019, they spent $150 million. Those marketing efforts, probably along with some other efforts of emails and other things, generated the organization how much of their total sales at the top of their P&L?
We did the math on that, and I hope we got our zeros right because there are a lot of zeroes in billions, but we calculated 5% of the money they earn, not the money they made. The money they made would be their net income and their bottom line, but the money that hit their bank account before they paid employees, whatever cost of goods are and all other expenses, they set aside 5% for those efforts. The marketing expense was used on such things like this.People don't value what is free. Click To Tweet
I want to also point out something. They are probably spending less on marketing than if they were new, a startup, or trying to become a household name. They are only investing 5% for those numbers but think about it. That’s the first thing, exposure. Marketing is letting people know you are open for business. They have to know you exist.
Marketing is also part of what it is that you do, your reputation and your differentiation. How are you different? If you focus on tax resolution, you are different than someone focusing on tax planning. If you are a bookkeeper and you have added profit first because you became a profit first professional, you have now differentiated yourself. That helps with positioning in the marketplace and changing that. There are also other marketing strategies like going to a networking event. What are some of the other ones, Denise?
It is networking, referral partners, or podcasting.
We are doing a marketing effort right now. If you have been to TheAbundantAccountant.com/Accountant-Masterclass, you have maybe seen our webinar. That is a marketing effort. You are getting to know us. We were positioning ourselves in the marketplace. You are getting to understand that Denise and Michelle know what they were talking about, understand us, and getting to connect with us in a way. If you see an ad on Facebook from me, that is the marketing effort. Denise and I have started our marketing efforts for quite some time now. We never did it before from a paid standpoint. We have had marketing efforts which are asking for referrals, attending events, and speaking events.
Back in the old day, when I was a financial planner, we used to send out mailings to invite people to an event, do the event, invite them to come in, and have a conversation about working with us. We had to build that public relations. That is what marketing is. It is all part of that.
One of the answers I got on my question that I asked, what is the single greatest challenge that your accounting firm is facing as it relates to sales? I got an answer that says, “Mostly how to find clients that need my services.” I want to be clear based on what we covered. That is a marketing challenge. That person doesn’t understand where her or his ideal client is hanging out. We know that some of our ideal clients hang out on Facebook, listen to podcasts, go to different events in the accounting space, and some of you we have met in person.
We have to find out where our clients are that could possibly need our services, so should you, but that is not a sales challenge. It’s leading up to a sales challenge, but it’s not. Based on the story I gave you, we will call her Susie, she spent $51,000 in marketing efforts, which is now in the expense category and had $0 to show on top-line revenue. That would be what we call a conversion problem. Denise, can you share a little bit about what is the conversion?
It is having someone that is interested in working with you and handing over their credit card or their ACH and becoming a paying client. That is a conversion.
I had a phone call and he’s been doing the same thing for many years. He said, “Michelle, I love to give love to people and help them a little bit on the front. I know that they are going to send me my ideal client in the future or they will engage with me at a high fee. Unfortunately, that has never happened before.”
I said, Bob, “It will never happen because there isn’t a high enough value in the exchange of the currency. If you want people to value you and your services, and you have higher conversions, that means there has to be a higher price tag attached to the services that they value it, and they take you seriously.” Any time we do it out of love and for free, I call that a donation.
For example, Denise does it and helps out in the community. She is going to feed the homeless or I help volunteer on the suicide hotline once a week. I am volunteering my time. I’m not expecting any money to come to my top line thing on my P&L, which you will either have total sales or total revenue. That is pretty much all I’ve ever seen.
I have a Finance degree and I was an analyst for a couple of years. I have seen a lot of financial statements. Do you want to continue to be a nonprofit when you’re trying to grow a profitable firm and help more people? The only way we can help more people is if we get our head around this conversion idea and we have to convert our marketing efforts. With Susie, who spent $51,000 in marketing in 2021 to have $0 to show for it, she would need to improve her conversion process. Conversion is part of the sales department.
I think people get a little bit confused because people don’t value what is free. Maybe if you walk into a cake store and they give you a taste. When we were talking about our accounting services are service-based businesses, people have this belief that if I give it away for free, they want more. We know from talking to probably thousands of people, it is not true, and they need to learn how to stop doing that. Time is your most valuable asset.
There is no skin in the game. With the last career I had with my meal prep company, Fitzy’s Foods, we got into Costco and we had to do these roadshows. The people in Costco that are giving out samples and selling things that a deal. It’s different. That’s like a commodity product. You are not a commodity. We are all intelligent human beings that sell a service that we can offer our clients to help them get out of some deep problems.
Some of them might be overpaying in tax or trying not to go to jail. There are all sorts of challenges but if you go to Nothing Bundt Cakes and they give you a little sample of sugar, now you’re highly addicted to sugar. They gave you a dose of cocaine. You are taking more and you want more because you got the free sample.
That is why the samples work at Costco and Nothing Bundt Cakes, but it doesn’t work with a service-based business like yours, where we need people to comply. We need them to get their books cleaned up so you can create their taxes or do their P&Ls. I’ve heard it all. How many of your clients have messed up books? You have to do a bookkeeping cleanup project.If you try to do the sales part without the marketing, the people you sell to will feel violated. Click To Tweet
Michelle, we were talking about this earlier. Have you ever listened to those commercials and you are like, “What is this? Is this for dog food or for perfume? I don’t even know.” You have to communicate what it is you do in a way that people understand in their language and terms. If you do your marketing and branding right and when you get to the sales conversation, it will become very easy.
It will change the game and your conversions will happen a lot easier. The better we are at our marketing efforts, the easier the conversion conversation goes. If you watch our webinar, which is that TheAbundantAccountant.com/Accountant-Masterclass, you see a Facebook ad, new video on YouTube or something, you are going to get to know me.
By the time we have our conversion conversation, if we can help you and if you are a good fit and all that, that becomes the sales effort. The sales get a little bit easier when your marketing is intact. Your marketing is everything from who you help, how do you communicate with them, referrals that you’re getting, all of that would be your marketing efforts, getting the lead.
The sales aspect is converting that lead into dollars. We all want dollar signs. I was on the phone with the gentleman who wants to grow a firm and a practice to $1 million. He has a lot of work to do in all areas like marketing and sales, but here is one thing I will share, and Denise can share her version too with Susie.
If we don’t have the sales piece intact first, the conversion piece or the enrollment piece, whatever word you want to say because I know a lot of us here don’t like the word sales, it is an expense to our bottom line. We’re cutting into our net income, the money we’re taking home and limiting ourselves in the amount of people that we can help. If you throw out a bunch of money in the marketing area, you have a company help, you get leads, but if you don‘t have a process to take them through to convert them into a new client so you can help them, you’re putting spaghetti on the wall and seeing what sticks.
In the case of Susie, nothing is sticking. Not only is nothing sticking, but it gets a little frustrating, I’m sure. She told me that she had never added it up before I took her through a process to add up how much of her marketing efforts weren’t paying off? We were in a catch 22. They go hand-in-hand but the sales and the conversion piece is the most crucial and profitable piece that you could invest in your firm. Denise, what would you like to add to that?
The other thing is it is important to understand. That is what some people do, too. They will go to networking and they are going to be like, “Here is what I do.” They try to go into a selling conversation first without the other steps. What I hear from people is that they feel almost violated. That is where you are feeling pushed or you have to convince people. That is not sales.
There are so many people out there that want to buy but they don’t want to be pushed into a sale. My boyfriend is a standup comedian. He has this joke about pre-diabetic. It is like if the cops pull him over and stuff donuts down his throat, his insulin levels could go a little too high. We don’t want to be that police officer that is stuffing things down people‘s throats. That is not a great sales process and that is probably something that your clients would never appreciate and never want to deal with you.
Think of the sales process as well as your client experience. What experience would you want your clients to go through before saying, “Susie, I do want to work with you. I do know that you are the right person to help me.” Make it a process that has them have a decision that they get to feel good about and that is all we were doing.
I’m not talking about my protein bars in Costco or going to Nothing Bundt Cakes and getting the little sample when you walk in the door because that is the free thing trying to get you to buy more. It doesn’t work in this area. That is the last myth I want to bring up is that giving away something for free or sharing some free information to think that clients will implement what you share or do it, come back and hire you for something is slim to none. I have never seen it happen. The only time Denise and I provide free information is here on a show. If that is good enough for you, that is fantastic.
I had a gentleman come up to me. I was at an event, “Michelle, I have read your blog. I sold five tax plans at $15,000 each.” He did $45,000 in revenues three tax plans at $15,000 each just by reading your blog consistently and taking notes. I’m like, “That is awesome.” How much other money is being left on the table? That is where Denise and I can help, support you and pull back the curtain to figure that out. Denise, is there anything else that you would like to add to some of the myths about the difference between sales and marketing and how they go hand-in-hand, but how the sales process is crucial before we can spend efforts on our marketing and have a very good return on our investment?
We have heard this all the time. You can have so many people to talk to, but if you don’t approach them in the right way and if you don’t have that say that sales process, which we believe, and we teach that sales are serving people. People don’t want to be sold, but they do want to buy. If they don‘t buy from you, they are going to buy from somebody else.
They are going to be stuck doing nothing and stuck in the same place they were the last time you talked to them, which is typically what we see. I have heard it with one of our students, Scott. He did an extra $250,000 between November and December. It was a couple of years ago and he had waited. He thought he could figure it out on his own he came and told Denise and I, “I wish I never waited. I probably missed out on $500,000 revenue.” I’m like, “You did miss out but that is okay.” We were all here to make the decisions that we felt good about.
That is what we want to leave you at. I know it is crazy to think that there are many accountants, bookkeepers, tax resolution experts, tax planners, and profit first professionals out there that think that increasing your fees to your current clients would be difficult. I know that you probably have to discount your fees a little bit to get new clients, but it‘s not true.
If you would like to learn how to triple your base fees and see how the other accountants we have worked with, which has been 102 as of now because we have a new client on our roster, see how they were doing this and getting paid upfront, have a cohesive sales process or a conversion process that feels good, isn’t icky, sleazy, yucky, and without having to chase down clients to have like, “When am I getting paid or how much are my receivables?”
If you have zero accounts receivables, I invite you to go watch our masterclass at TheAbundantAccountant.com/Accountant-Masterclass and see how other accountants we work with are doing it. Have a pen and paper ready when you are there. We would be honored to have you come. If you miss the webinar time, register anyway and you will get the replay. You’ll be able to see it later.
It was an honor to be here with you talking about the sales and marketing thing, and we will do more of this as I keep seeing the comments coming in on our application form. When I asked the question, what is your biggest challenge about sales? I’m like, “I think Denise, we need to do these top topics.” If you have enjoyed the show, we would be grateful if you left a written review on Apple Podcasts. Thank you all so much for reading, and we will see you in the next episode.
- H&R Block
- Denise Mandeau – LinkedIn
- Fitzy’s Foods
- Nothing Bundt Cakes
- Apple Podcasts – The Abundant Accountant
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!