Does the idea of marketing cause you heartburn?

Marketing and sales cause heartburn for many business owners

Written by Kalleigh O'Togher

Kalleigh is the founder and CEO of Zealous Social and The Growth Fix. Her expertise in sales and marketing comes from 25 years of working with, and coaching, mid-size businesses in the trades, services and retail industries.

August 22, 2020

Most business owners get heartburn just thinking about marketing and sales. They don’t want to deal with it, so they ignore it or do a half-hearted attempt. This is why so many businesses fail.

Most business owners are “Technicians.” They know their product/service inside out, and that’s what they focus on. A baker bakes, an auto mechanic fixes vehicles, a plumber fixes your plumbing, and they do them exceptionally well.

Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are “Business” people. They don’t focus on the product or service, they focus on running and growing the business itself. They can step into any industry and succeed, regardless of whether they know anything about the product or service.

The difference between these two mindsets is that the Entrepreneur knows Marketing and Sales are the keys to a successful business, no matter how great the product is. 

The business owner believes that having a great product or service is enough. It’s not. The saying “build it, and they will come” doesn’t work in today’s world.

The business owner has to shift their focus to marketing, promoting, and selling their service or product if they want to have a successful business that supports them and their families into the future.

The Essentials of Marketing and Sales

Understanding the fundamentals of marketing is an essential part of success, even if you plan on outsourcing most of your marketing needs. That way, you’ll be able to hire the right marketing company for your business.

The fundamentals of marketing.

The most important things to do:

  • Brand Promotion: You have to get your message out there loud and clear for prospective customers to find. You will need a website and some social media campaigns like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, to name a few. A marketing firm will be able to direct you on which platforms will work best for your particular business or service.
  • Competitive Analysis: Look at how other companies in your industry are marketing their products or services. Check out your competitors to see what they are doing. Use this to give you an idea of what your business needs to start doing.
  • Education and Learning: Read Blogs and books and educate yourself on at least the basics of how to do today’s marketing and sales. 

For most small business owners, marketing is a mystery and sales is a dirty word. The reality is that a small business will succeed by understanding and implementing marketing campaigns consistently that works in tandem with your salespeople. Those that don’t will struggle and eventually fail.

You have to understand that marketing and sales aren’t wrong. You need to change your mindset to “I have a great product/service that will bring VALUE to my customer’s life.

You will see many guru’s online proclaiming instant sale or marketing success by using their tools or buying their “proven” strategies. They don’t sell you the knowledge you need to learn and understand marketing for your business. 

However, the truth is this: There is no shortcut to overnight success. There is no magic button when it comes to marketing. It takes time, hard work, and consistency. 

The Belief We Were Raised With

Sales has a bad reputation, and it goes against what we were raised to believe. We raise our children, “don’t talk to strangers” or “strangers are bad.” As parents, that’s our way of trying to ensure our children remain safe. 

This mindset carries through into our adult lives, whether we realize it or not. So when you know that you need to market and sell to “strangers,” you automatically revert to that mindset and instantly reject it. We need to retrain ourselves to overcome that belief.

We are also embarrassed, nervous, and fear rejection and don’t know how to market or sell. Most of us don’t have the right tools and techniques to do it successfully, and we aren’t sure where to find the right tools because of our inherent fear of the snake oils salesman. So, how do you get “strangers” to know you, like your offering, and trust you enough to become a customer?

The Importance of Brand Recognition


Marketing the right message for your brand on Social Media.

You do this by consistently marketing the right message about your brand. This will take the ‘suspicion’ out of the stranger’s mindset to start trusting you to make that first purchase eventually. It’s breaking the ice with people you haven’t yet met.

A lot of well-known brands have leveraged their social media to show their human side to customers. For example, Wendy’s doesn’t use its Twitter account to send out new menu items or deals. They use it as a way to connect to users and have become famous for their ability to roast users.

The more users see your brand/service out there, the more comfortable they will be to engage with your company and develop a positive association with your products or services. Easing their suspicions by letting them know who you are and what you are about, you can make sure you provide the right information they need to make an informed decision about you. 

This includes product and company information and referrals. Once they’ve gotten to this point, they generally decide to give your company a chance and become a customer. This is where you make sure your customer service is top-notch and provide a great first experience.

Follow Up with Your Customers

Once a customer has purchased from you, don’t stop there. You need to turn that first-time buyer into a loyal, long-term customer. Make sure you follow-up with them. Call, email, send a satisfaction survey, or even a thank you note. This follow-up will set you apart from others who don’t take that next step.

We’ve all gone to a mechanic to get our cars fixed. After you paid the bill and left, did you ever hear from them again? Most likely not. So the next time you needed your car fixed, you looked around for another mechanic. The reason? The last mechanic didn’t stand out in your mind to inspire any kind of loyalty with you.

The reason companies don’t follow-up is the fear of something being wrong, or the person maybe didn’t like your product or service.

Instead, you should be looking at it as a way to show your customer that you appreciated their business. If something was wrong then listen, acknowledge, and try to improve upon it in the future. If they left happy, they would be even happier knowing you took the time to make sure they did (i.e., the car was running great, or the product/service was working for them). This will set you apart and help build loyalty to your business and long-term clients.

Other Resources

To learn about using emotional brand intelligence (EBI) in your sales, check out my blog “Human Authentic Connections in Your Sales Using Behavioural Targeting” or “8 Steps to Increased Sales”.

Check out my other blogs for more sales and marketing tips you can use in your business. Let me know if this helped shift your mindset in your business. Contact me at or through the website. I love feedback.

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