Try to sell me a slice of chocolate cake for R50, and I’ll tell you it’s expensive. Rather don’t try and sell it, but tell me a story about how it’s made from 70% pure cocoa and baked by your grandmother, and I may just buy a slice.

The problem with how many entrepreneurs approach sales is that they follow the wrong recipe. Typically it looks like this:

  • 0% brand
  • 30 % marketing
  • 70% sales

The outcome is usually a flop. Or a struggle.

A better recipe is this:

  • 50% brand
  • 40% marketing
  • 10% sales

But you can only follow the better recipe if you know the ingredients.

Here’s how I explain the difference between the brand, marketing and sales.


This is what makes your company, service or product different.

Without a brand, you’re essentially a commodity, a “me-too”, and the sales and marketing efforts have little impact. You are telling people the same story that everyone else is: “…good quality, cheap price, lekker friendly staff, call us…”. It’s wallpaper stuff.

The trick is to define the brand first and then do marketing and sales.

To do this, complete the sentence: “There are many companies / products out there doing what we’re doing, but we…”. The answer to the “but we” part is the essence of the brand and the most important part of any sales recipe.

Here’s an example:
There are many companies building cars, but at Volvo they want to build the safest one.

Safety is the essence of the Volvo brand.


This is how you raise awareness of who you are. Great marketing goes beyond promoting a catalogue of products and prices. It should tell the brand story – that thing that sets you apart.

It should also be more than advertising. Marketing is about every little thing that interacts with the customer. Your reception area, the people you employ, how they answer the phone, the way that delivery truck drives on the road…

Inconsistent marketing is where many get it wrong.

It is no use you have a high quality website but a terrible receptionist.


This is the last step in making the sale happen. It should also be the easiest.

Clearly, if your customer knows about you, through your marketing, and why you’re different, thanks to the brand, then the act of selling becomes much easier. They already know that you’re not like everyone else; that there’s something special about you and that this is not just about price.

It’s a bit like baking a cake. The right ingredients make all the difference.

What’s your sales recipe?


Image source: Flickr