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Archive for April 28th, 2012

Authors, if you want to sell books, you must embrace your marketer within

Years ago, I met a gal at a networking group I belonged to who, when asked about her BHAG (big, hairy audacious goal), publicly declared that she intended to be the first Mary Kay distributor to build a million-dollar business. Later in the same meeting, she publicly stated that she fast-forwarded through commercials, had signed up for the Do Not Call List, and pretty much eschewed any attempt by anyone to market to her.

I haven’t seen her since then, but I don’t have to guess whether she ever reached her goal.

Interestingly, many people – authors chief among them – are horrifically averse to the moniker “salesperson.” This in spite of the fact that, as marketing master Adam Urbanski says, “All business owners are in two businesses: the business they’re in and selling and marketing the business they’re in.”

My friend Connie is an international sales trainer who specializes in helping clients overcome Sales Call Reluctance®, which is defined as the emotional hesitation to prospect or self-promote. There are 12 identified forms of Call Reluctance, including one called “Role Rejection.” According to Connie’s website, people with this form of Call Reluctance “are secretly ashamed of any kind of selling. They deflect any association with being a salesperson and tend to believe that society dislikes salespeople, and they themselves get irritated and annoyed when salespeople solicit them.”

If you’re an author who hopes to sell books, it might be a worthwhile exercise to take a personal inventory of your attitude toward salespeople. If you deliberately skip commercials, hate telemarketers with a venom, and reject all attempts to sell or market to you, you may be experiencing Role Rejection – and inadvertently jeopardizing your book sales success.

This is not, however, meant to be an indictment – just an opportunity to reframe your thoughts about sales and marketing. I’ll admit that some marketers are devious, and not all salespeople are scrupulous, but no one is suggesting that you ally with those types of folks. I am suggesting that you consider your sales goals for your book and look for ways to see marketing as a positive – perhaps even fun – enterprise. Trust me, if you view it as a chore you hate, you’ll be a lot less successful at it.

One thing I enjoy is watching and critiquing TV commercials. Some of them are absolutely fantastic; in other cases, I wonder whether the creative departments at certain ad agencies even watched their commercials before airing them. In either event, though, I am honing my marketing skills by noticing what works, what attracts me, and what makes me cringe.

You can do this too, whether it’s with TV ads, radio commercials, banner ads on the Web, or calls from telemarketers. One man Connie recently interviewed for the book she’s writing told her, “Those calls certainly don’t irritate me, because, at the end of the day, I’m a conversationalist. … So if someone wants to call me and open the door to a conversation, I’m willing to have that conversation with them.” What a refreshing way to view a phenomenon most of us see as an irritating intrusion.

We spoke a long time ago about learning to think like a marketer. In order to do that, it might just be time to retire your inner Role Rejecter and instead embrace your marketer within.

Laura

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