Lately it seems that I’ve been having conversations with several clients about not just marketing, but sales. There’s a fine line between marketing and sales. Marketing’s role is to create awareness, excitement and desire for you product or service. Hopefully it will generate some good, solid leads for you. But that’s only half the battle. Most of us will still have to transform that lead into a signed deal. And that means we’re going to have to sell, too.

I decided to go right to the source for advice on this one. Greg Cox is VP of Sales and Marketing for Dale Carnegie Chicago. He leads one of the most successful Dale Carnegie sales teams in the world. And, he has personally coached thousands of folks on how to be better salespeople. So I sat down with Greg to talk about sales advice he could give to entrepreneurs, small business owners, and my fellow marketers.

What’s one thing that entrepreneurs should keep in mind when it comes to sales?

I believe many entrepreneurs lose sight of the importance of selling. It’s easy to fall in love with your product and assume everyone else will love it. Many people naively think that the product is great, the market is ripe, and therefore the sales will come. But, business owners with a fantastic product, a solid cost model, and a ripe market, can still fail if they can’t sell.

Today, our customers are jam-packed and overwhelmed with information. They need to understand why they need OUR product, and our responsibility is to help them see that value. For some of us, that means stretching our comfort zone to sell. But articulating our product’s value proposition is the lynch pin of business success.

What’s one common sales mistake you see?

Most times we’re faced with prospects who are preoccupied or indifferent. So we need to repeat our message often. Even more important, we need to pay attention to them and put the spotlight on them – and what they need. Remember, it’s not about us. There are too many examples of companies that were so caught up in themselves that they lost sight of the customer and ultimately failed (remember dot coms?).

How do you combat the “your price is too high” objection?

If price is a big issue then usually one of two things are going on. Your prospect may not be truly clued in to the value of what you’re offering, which means that you haven’t done a sufficient job of helping them understand the value proposition. Another possibility is that they’re negotiating for a better deal. That doesn’t mean they don’t want your product, they just want to test you to see if you’ll go lower. But keep in mind:

Price will matter to the extent the relationship does not.

Your success goes way up when the level of the relationship is strong, you understand your client, and your solution then fits like Cinderella’s slipper.

Any other words of wisdom?

Salespeople aren’t born. It’s a myth. Too often I hear “I’m not a salesperson.” And usually, that’s because they feel they don’t have the gift of gab. Forget that. It’s not about talking or being born with a certain type of personality. Sales success is something that comes by design.

Good salespeople use a repeatable process that gets predictable results. It allows them to engage a wider range of clients, have more success when the markets swing up or down, or when dealing with a personality different from their own. Successful salespeople ask great questions, are great listeners, and then act to shape a solution based on what they’ve learned.

I’d like to thank Greg for his insights. If you’d like to learn more about the process that Greg mentioned, give the folks a Dale Carnegie a call. Their Chicago office is in Downers Grove – 630.971.1900, or visit them at