Here is a fundamental difference between sales & marketing. Traditional marketing has always been about grabbing your customer's attention and getting them excited about your product or service; being interesting.
Sales, on the other hand, is all about conversation; two-way dialogue. And one of the hallmarks of conversation is that both parties have to be interested in what the other has to say.
All too often, marketing messages fall on deaf ears and blind eyes because the marketer failed to engage their client before giving the pitch. They simply told the client all about their product and service without any opportunity for the consumer to provide feedback.
Despite this fundamental difference between sales & marketing, the two processes are intricately linked. Sales is the best and most easily accessible form of immediate feedback for marketing. The reaction of the customer influences the message. Smart companies realize this, and commit to utilizing customer feedback to develop their business strategy.
Many people fear the process of selling. Often it is for the same reason that people tend to fear public speaking. They don't feel comfortable engaging in conversations, especially with strangers. Others are skeptical of sales, because sometimes it is perceived as disingenuous. People don't want to sound like they are selling. Both of these fears are grounded in the traditional marketing side of promotion, not sales. Relationship marketing is not about striking up interesting conversations, as much as it is about being interested about what your customer has to say.
It is better to be interested than to be interesting.
By remembering this phrase, you will immediately become a better conversationalist, and in turn, a better salesperson. By focusing on conversations as the substance of any relationship, you open the opportunity to truly engage your clients, which will lead to more sales, better customer retention, and referrals.