Below are 15 Things You Prob’ly Didn’t Know are Marketing
for Sales People
in Travel, Vacation Real Estate and Rentals
One of the few smart things I did in my career in Marketing and Advertising was to work closely – like down in the dirtiest trenches – with hard-nosed sales people. They were absolutely no-nonsense in a world that is the creme-de-la-creme – of bullshit.
And what we were selling was… Marketing and Advertising. This too, though was the downiest and dirtiest of marketing (back-of-the-paper recruitment, real estate, and used cars). But at least these Sales People – my mentors – had a notion of what marketing and advertising meant. For us, it meant holding on for dear life to newspapers that were sinking fast and selling a service that would have to change even faster. Any mid-sized firm employing more than 25 people was like another vessel passing in a particularly mine-laden harbor. There was no going home. And pass they did. If you didn’t live through the past 20 years of marketing, (not hospitality or real estate but marketing) then I am not sure you’ll have a good idea of what happened.
Things changed. Today, I find myself with sales people working usually in far smaller firms, hocking everything from weekly hotel rooms to yachts and condos. They range in size from tiny start-ups to three people working out of cars and hotel lobbies – and who aren’t really planning on expanding. I also often work with mid-sized firms who get taken for a ride by the same SEO and social media shysters who I’ve also worked with, and for, and about. Usually this work was based on promises that wouldn’t hold up even at the height of the Internet Spam era (around 2007).
But here’s the point.
Sales People very often have a few things in common with one another and they’re not good.
Most sales people I work with have no idea what marketing means.
I’m not talking about good marketing versus bad marketing.
I’m not talking about good ideas and bad ideas and “If we just had a good idea, we could make it into an advertisement and the sales would follow.”
Bad marketing comes because people don’t understand what marketing is.
Almost the only thing these sales people need to understand is, again, what marketing is.
Marketing is the creation and maintenance of an environment in which Sales are More Likely.
That means the following things, in addition to the promotions that you do, are “marketing”. Think about this carefully… and remember it through everything you do in 2014.
- Your Customer Service.
- The math you do on a napkin.
- The small talk you do before, during and after a sale.
- The good-mornings, the “how-you-doing?”, the “how’s your kid doing in school?” and “How was your vacation last year?”
- Marketing can be a better hair-cut.
- Marketing is the article about the alligators that show up behind your development. How many? How big? What do they eat? And what are they doing on my lawn?
- Marketing is how quickly you can reply to emails.
- Marketing is how you celebrate clients, and how you welcome them back.
- Marketing is how you resolve problems, publicly, and honestly.
- It’s your reputation, and what your people are doing to earn you a better one.
- It’s your ability to bridge gaps, make connections and bring people together.
- It’s your ability to tactfully present all of the above in a few sentences published a few times a week.
- Marketing is the ability to always prioritize what your customer wants and provide it. Give up on that sale, and many, many more will follow.
- Marketing requires a brand that stands for something bigger than you.
- Making your brand about freedom, aspiration, caring, respecting and reaching, could be marketing. Arguably it should be.
The Marketing I’m describing is a little slower than I think most sales people would like. But results are long-lived and exponential. All of the above can also go onto your website and make you perfectly capable of competing, admirably, with much bigger bullies in your market.
If you’re trying to sell in front of something less than all of the above, good luck. But if you’re building something like this, reach for the people whose goals are aligned with those in #15 above.