What is Selling? How is it different from Marketing?

By Vikas Mehra December 16, 2019

Selling is a transaction between the seller and the buyer where money is exchanged for goods or services. This definition is true but not complete. For example, when you go to buy fuel from a petrol pump, in spite of the fact that there is exchange of money for fuel, no selling is involved.

However, when you buy a car, you go through the complete sales process. The sales process involves the following steps

  • You study the customer to find out his/ her needs, products being used right now, problems with the existing products, budget etc.
  • You create a catchy call opening statement which talks about solutions to existing problems of the customer
  • You probe the customer to uncover his needs
  • You position the product most relevant to customer needs in terms of product features, budget, timeline etc.
  • You handle customer objections effectively. You treat objections as signs of sales call progress
  • You make it a point to attempt a close and ask for the business
  • It not closed in the first attempt, you make a note of customer queries and revert back with the answers. Once this is done, you again attempt a close

Eli Lilly and Company very aptly describes sales as

“Making a person do, what you want the other person to do, in a way, the other person would like to do it, well and willingly."

It is clear from this definition that people who are good at persuading are the best sales people. Whether selling a product or service, focus your selling efforts on communicating the benefits to the consumer. Customers buy products for what the product will be able to do for them and not for what the product is

Difference between Sales and Marketing

According to Philip Kotler, Professor at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, marketing is a system of activities designed to price, place (distribute) and promote products and services that satisfy the needs and wants of target customers/markets in order to achieve business objectives.  In contrast, Kotler describes sales as the process of persuading customers to purchase the company’s product or service. Sales can be considered part of promotion in the Four Ps (product, price, place and promotion).

Kotler’s explanations though helpful, need to be simplified for better understanding. Following are simplified versions of difference between Sales and Marketing

  • Marketing drives demand for the product or service while sales fulfils the demand and helps build mutually beneficial, long term relationships
  • Marketing involves getting the customer to the product or service while sales involves getting the product or service to the customer. For example, an advertisement drives a customer visit a showroom and the sales staff there helping the customer find the right product as per his/ her needs and budget
  • Marketing is the activity of opening while sales is the activity of closing. This means that marketing opens the mind of the customer for its products/ services through various advertising channels. Sales, on the other hand, persuades the customer to go for the purchase by matching product benefits with the customer requirements

Leave a Comment

Please note that your comment will come to us for approval and if it is found not related to the topic or offensive, it will not be approved. Please note that fields marked with Asterisk (*) are mandatory: