If you were to conduct a poll asking people what they believe to be the most exciting method of marketing promotion, nearly all will select advertising and not sales promotion, public relations or personal selling. The reason advertising would likely be the overwhelming selection is because it is the most familiar form of promotion. Thanks in large part to our frequent exposure to ads (possibly hundreds a day) and also the entertainment value ads can present (e.g., Super Bowl ads), it is easy to understand why advertising would rate as the favorite promotional method.
However, while most people may favor advertising, it would be a wrong to say advertising is the most important method of promotion for all marketers. The fact is, in many marketing organizations and especially those in the business-to-business market, the most important promotion exists with the sales force. Without effective salespeople, it would not be realistic for these organizations to operate a viable business, no matter how much is spent on advertising.
In addition to appreciating what salespeople do and the contributions they make, understanding certain skills that lead to sales success can benefit all marketers. In particular, as we point out in The Selling Process tutorial, the process salespeople follow to make a sale may be "beneficial for many others who do not view themselves in sales roles." This is particularly true for anyone who finds themselves in a situation that requires they persuade others to perform some action (e.g., convince boss to provide more funding, get staff-wide buy-in on new product). In other words, selling an idea or action rather than selling a product.
With this in mind, this story from Entrepreneur Magazine discusses ten mistakes salespeople regularly make that can lessen their chance of generating business. The mistakes include not asking the right questions, missing buying signals and not understanding key influencers. While the message in this story is clearly directed to those who sell, the insights provided can apply to anyone looking to improve their persuasive communication skills.
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