Why should a salesperson think about publishing an eBook?
Yesterday, I had the privilege of being a guest on the BlogTalk Radio show of my friend, the elite sales coach and trainer, Connie Kadansky. Connie specializes in teaching sales people to “get their ask in gear” and helping them overcome Sales Call Reluctance®. It’s something almost all of us who are in sales (yes you, my dear SBMs*, are in sales!) face at one time or another: the fear of prospecting and/or self-promoting.
The topic of our conversation yesterday was “Build Your Credibility with Prospects by Publishing an eBook!” As many good talk show hosts do, Connie offered me the list of questions she would ask in advance so that I had time to prep my responses. Her questions and my prepared answers are below. However, you should still listen to the interview: (a) to see how closely we stuck to (or varied from) the script, and (b) because she threw in a couple of great examples that were unplanned.
I think that’s the key to a great talk show – preparation that allows for flexibility and impromptu questions and responses. It’s also why when you’re preparing to do live radio or TV, you’ve got to be ready to answer any questions the interviewer might throw your way. I had a client one time who wanted to know how to be “absolutely sure” she would know in advance all of the questions the interview would ask. She was extremely worried that she might receive a question to which she did not have a prepared answer, and she was quite unhappy when I told her there would never be such a guarantee. You always have to be prepared for anything because a cagey interviewer may hit you with something utterly unexpected. (I understand Phoenix’s own Pat McMahon has a reputation for this type of surprise questioning.) Generally, though, the interviewer wants the show to go well, which is much more likely if the interviewee has an idea of what’s coming.
Here are Connie’s pre-planned questions and my planned responses:
1. Laura, the first thing that comes to mind when salespeople think about writing anything is anxiety around not being a good enough writer. How can you ease the anxiety so people will open up to the opportunity to write an eBook that could put them on the “map” so to speak?
Writing is the technical skill of putting words together so that they make sense and properly convey our ideas. But we do that – put words together and convey ideas – every day when we talk to people. So if you can talk, you can probably put a book together fairly easily. It’s just a matter of getting someone to help you organize the words once they’re on paper. I think that putting the book together is the easy part. I – and lots of others out there – can help you with that. But what I cannot do is give you a meaningful message if you don’t already have one.
2. How important is the “why” behind what they are wanting to accomplish?
Many people will tell you that they’re in business to make money. But money, while important, is ultimately an empty motivator. Being emotionally connected to the “why” gets you energized – you can’t wait to go out and talk to people about what you’re selling, and they will see your genuine enthusiasm and respond. Even if they don’t buy from you, they’re more likely to recommend you to someone else who might need your product or service.
3. You indicate that salespeople must know what their message is. . . how do you help salespeople get clarity on that message? They just want more customers and to sell more of their product or service. How do you help them dig deep into understanding what their market wants?
The first thing I do is ask questions. Then I listen to the answers. There are three important ones to focus on first: (1) Who is your audience? (2) What is the ONE thing you want them to know – the thing they’d go home and tell their spouse about, or post on social media? (3) Why are YOU the person to share this message?
4. You indicate that people need to know who their audience is – audience meaning who is going to read their material – what are the different components on knowing who the audience is?
Most authors’ goals are to sell books – to lots of people. Makes sense, right? But the best way to hone in on your audience is to know the ONE person you’re trying to reach with your message. Studying their demographics and psychographics. Demographics are the measureable things like age, education, and marital/parenting status. Psychographics, on the other hand, are the things that make your reader unique, such as their personality traits, values, and attitudes. I encourage my authors to know that they are writing to Jane Kowalski – a 32-year-old teacher, no kids, master’s degree, who lives in a Chicago suburb, attends church occasionally, works at an animal shelter on the weekends, and aspires to climb Mt. Everest.
5. This eBook can be a PR tool – it connects them with the “outside world” so to speak – a credibility tool. How important is it that they be specific on what they want to accomplish going back to “they just want more customers?”
It’s essential. The thing is, we all want more customers. We wouldn’t be in sales – or in business, for that matter – if we didn’t. But we need to get underneath the thing we’re selling to the reasons we’re selling it. What will it do for the customer? How will their life benefit from it? How will their life change? What will they be able to do after buying your product or service that they couldn’t do before? Your eBook will answer those questions – or it will explain why you are the best person to provide them those answers. Hopefully both.
6. How does someone share value without “giving away the store?” Recently, I heard a marketing coach telling people to stop blogging, because they are solving all the customers problems and people don’t need to buy from them. What are you thoughts on this comment?
I hear this all the time and I couldn’t disagree more. This is a perspective that comes from lack. “If I share what I know, you won’t hire me because I just gave it to you for free,” rather than “If I share what I know, it demonstrates my expertise so you will know I’m good enough to hire.” Not to mention that a typical blog post can only scratch the surface. If all you know is what you can put into a 500-word blog post, you’re not very good at what you do, are you? Your eBook should demonstrate the problem and offer the answer in broad strokes. The customer will still need to hire you (or buy your product) for implementation of the solution.
7. If someone were to call you today with a vague idea of an eBook, what process would you put them through and how long would it take?
I would arrange a phone interview with them and begin by asking the 3 questions I mentioned above. I would ask them what, besides “Do Business With Me” would they want their prospect to do after reading their book? What information does their reader need to know? In what format do they already have that information? Is it written down somewhere? Could they dictate it? Put it into bullet points? Write it as one long 6-page paragraph? Would a series of recorded interviews be the best approach to getting it down? What call to action would they want to leave with their readers/prospects? Depending on the author, it can be a few weeks or a year. We’ve turned around eBooks – cover design, content, editing, layout – in 3 weeks for the right clients.
8. Do you have an offering for our listeners so that they can connect with you?
Your listeners should check out http://bit.ly/Anatomy_Launch for access to a free special report I’ve written to guide them through the launch of their book. Don’t do what far too many new authors do and wait till you have your book in your hands to begin marketing it! Read this report so you can learn how to start marketing the second you start writing.
* Savvy Book Marketer
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