As members of the real estate industry, most of us recognize we're in a sales-based profession. We're all selling- whether it's the sale of a commercial building or a residential home, convincing someone to enter into a lease, convincing someone to apply for a particular loan product or, in my case, convincing people to use Stewart Title instead of one of my competitors.
But my eyes were opened a bit when I attended a conference recently and heard speaker Kevin Miller, from the Georgia-based company SalesFUSION, talk about the difference between sales and marketing. In effect, Mr. Miller said, "The purpose of a marketing department is to generate leads for the sales department. The purpose of a sales department is to close the leads supplied by the marketing department."
To the extent we generate revenue through our own efforts, we're all one-person sales departments, even if we're part of a team. But what about marketing? Stewart has a wonderful marketing department, but it is more of a resource to assist with generating campaigns and providing materials- it does not supply me with a list of potential customers to call on. Rather, I generate my own leads and so, per Kevin Miller's definition, I am also a one-man marketing department.
Miller's statements really got me thinking because I realized I had lumped pretty much everything in my job description under the umbrella of "sales"- when that's really not the case. When I attend a networking event, for example, I am usually looking to meet people with whom I can set appointments- I'm not expecting to actually get a title insurance order on the spot. So networking is marketing, not sales. Increasing my visibility and reputation as an expert through online articles such as this is also marketing, not sales.
What I realized is that, while my job description is "sales," I spend a large amount of time on "marketing." Not to downplay marketing- It's exceedingly important! Without leads to call on, there are no leads to close. But a balance has to be struck between the two in order to keep up the bottom line. I have to have leads, but if I don't set aside proper time to close them, they're meaningless.
So, going forward, I can take a look at my calendar and map out which activities are marketing and which are sales, and I can adjust my focus accordingly. Categorizing the two may seem like a fine distinction but, as I know from reviewing property records, details often make all the difference!