Many businesses seem to believe that marketing starts with their efforts to find leads for sales. Well this is true in one sense, but only if those efforts begin long before a project is even conceived. Because all marketing starts inside each and every one of us.
I always discuss marketing as relationships, and the first relationship you have with anyone is the relationship you have with yourself. That relationship determines your entire worldview and how you will consequently interact with the world. And your interactions with the world -- your relationships with anything outside you -- are all marketing touch points.
This is why self-development is such an important part of sales. If we mature with wisdom, we learn more and more about needs like listening, and for inviting rather than pushing (you cannot change people, but you can have them discover a need or want inside themselves). But if our internal relationship involves fear, self-doubt, or a lack of self love, we'll project that on the world with cynicism, neediness, and a desperateness to close sales. Things that inevitably push people and sales away from us.
So the next time you're thinking about marketing your business, remember that the answers are holistic -- it involves you, your people, company culture and communications; it involves the past, present, and future of what you're doing; and of course, from all these, it involves the relationships you build with potential and actual customers.