By k | September 25, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

One of my writing buddies
gets excited about
a new marketing or sales strategy,
tries it for a week,
doesn’t see any results
and quits,
declaring them unsuccessful.

The reason she tries these strategies
is because they have worked
for someone else.

That someone else, however,
has stuck with the strategy
for years.
She hasn’t jumped
from strategy to strategy.
Strategies often need time
to work.

Strategy loyalty
requires patience
and a great deal of faith.

It is easier for me
to have faith in a strategy
if I understand it,
if it makes sense to me,
if it meshes with my core values,
if I would employ it
even if it didn’t result in sales.

The first book in a series
for free strategy,
for example,
makes sense to me.
I’m asking readers to possibly invest
in a 12 book series.
Giving them the first book
for free
minimizes their risk,
shows them that I realize
I’m asking them
to make a huge investment.

Implement marketing and sales strategies
that makes sense to you
and then stick with them
for at least a year
(or until something significant changes).

By k | September 24, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

There is a photo floating around
social media.
A quick service restaurant
has a hand-written sign posted,
saying ‘No Frise. Sorry.’
The message on this photo is
‘The guy that wrote this sign
wants $15.00 an hour.”

The guy who wrote that sign
DESERVES $15.00 an hour
(either now or eventually).

Does he have a spelling error
in his sign?
Unless he’s selling decorative items,
yes, he does.

But some of the
most successful entrepreneurs
on the planet
have learning challenges.
Richard Branson, for example,
has dyslexia.
That didn’t stop him
from building an empire.

In today’s world,
with spellcheck loaded
on every device,
knowing how to spell
adds little value.

Having drive, however,
is rare.
This ‘guy’ had the initiative
to put up a sign,
to solve a problem,
and
he had the customer service savvy
to say ‘Sorry.’

This is an employee
any business builder
should be happy to employ,
to train,
to advance.

The average person
sees the trivial
- the spelling error,
the mistake.

The business builder
sees the important
- the initiative,
the customer service,
the exceptional employee.

Think like a business builder.

By k | September 23, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

There is a growing group
of readers on Amazon
who buy my books,
read them,
and return them.

Amazon has a very inexpensive
unlimited borrowing option
but
these readers pride themselves
on paying nothing for their entertainment.

Readers pay nothing
Amazon incurs costs.
They send the eBook.
Invoice the eBook.
Process that payment.
Process the return.
Deal with customer service issues.

Amazon is a big company
and can, I guess, absorb these costs.
You and I have smaller companies.
These costs are significant for us.

AND this method of legally stealing
from our businesses
is contagious.
I’ve heard readers boast to others
about what they’re doing,
saying if companies didn’t approve of it,
they wouldn’t allow it.

Track the information
around returns.
Look for serial offenders.
Have a return policy.

By k | September 22, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Cash flow is king.
If our businesses run out of cash,
we’re done.

If you sell to businesses,
one of the things tying up
your cash flow
could be your customers.
They’re not paying their bills.

Brian Moran
suggests

“Consider starting with
the customers
who owe you the most money,
as well as those
who are the most delinquent
in paying you.

It’s possible their business
is struggling,
or maybe they never received
your invoice.

Regardless, a phone call
may help clear up
most of the problems.”

They might, also, be simply
waiting for that phone call.

I’ve worked with many companies,
some of them big brands,
that had the policy
that they wouldn’t pay vendors
unless the vendor asked
to be paid.

Their thinking was
‘You must not need it
if you’re not asking for it.’

Ask for payment.
You DO need it.

By k | September 21, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

As a writer,
I’m surrounded by people
who love creating drama.
It’s what we do for a living.

Drama is often good
for getting publicity
but it can be detrimental
for getting things done
and it can be extremely distracting,
especially in the workplace.

My tactics for reducing drama
include

- Being as open and as transparent
as possible.
When I hear a rumor,
I address it.
Often I’ll do this indirectly.
For example,
if I hear that a writer
thinks I’ve stolen her plot,
I’ll write a detailed blog post
about how I crafted my plot.

- Not naming names.
I won’t mention the originator
of the drama
because if I do,
she’ll be forced to go
on the defensive.
She’ll post a counter argument
and the drama will continue.
Also I don’t want
anyone attacking this person.
That, again, feeds the drama.

- I don’t contact the drama starter directly.
She clearly likes drama
and will twist any conversation
into more drama.
Any private conversations will be shared
and manipulated to create more issues.

- Once I’ve addressed the drama,
I don’t address it again.
I focus on the next issue,
the next task I have to do.
If anyone talks directly to me about it,
I simply link to where I addressed it.

-Act professionally.
Professional people are boring.
They aren’t great participants
in drama.
And there are plenty of people
who aren’t professional
for the drama creators to focus on.

The good news is,
if you are open, honest,
act professionally,
drama should pass.

Don’t feed the drama
and don’t let it engulf
your business.

By k | September 20, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

Unless you have taken
the photos yourself,
bought the photos
from a photographer,
or purchased the photos
from a stock photo site,
don’t use them.

It is that simple.

Photography is art
and art is copyrighted
as soon as it is created.

Five years ago,
you might have gotten away
with using the photos.
It was difficult
for photographers
to monitor all of the internet.

Today, with image recognition software,
it is a mere click of a button.

Thinking of using random-sourced images
in your sales presentations?
Don’t.
Everyone has a phone.
Eventually the presentation
will be been recorded
and placed online.
Add an aggressive competitor
in that mix
and you have a very bad situation.

Stock photos often cost
pennies per image.
Don’t risk your brand
and a huge lawsuit for pennies.

Ensure you have permission
to use all images.

By k | September 19, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

One of my writing buddies
recently held a reader (customer) poll,
giving readers
a choice of two titles
for her next story (product).

Sounds like a great idea, right?

It wasn’t.

At first, readers were super excited.
They voted.
They asked friends to vote.
There was quite a bit
of buzz around this poll.

Results were tallied.
Approximately 60% of readers
loved Title A.
40% of readers
loved Title B.

My buddy announced that
Title A would be the book’s title…
…upsetting 40%
of her readership (customer base).

Think before hosting
polls and contests
that might influence
how customers feel about your products/services.

By k | September 18, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing, Sales

As a romance novel writer,
I sell fantasies.
I sell alternate realities,
worlds built around different concepts,
different ideas.

These worlds aren’t practical.
They’re not based in reality.
And, while many people THINK
they’d want to live in these worlds,
the reality is…
they truly wouldn’t want this.
It is doubtful they’d even survive.

Seth Godin
shares

“The irony, then,
is that people
who have been cut off
from clean water,
from things that actually work,
from the fruits of
a reality-based system
that changed everything—
these people are hungering for it,
want it for their children.

But for those that have
taken it for granted,
who have the luxury of using it
without understanding it,
the pendulum swings in the other direction,
seeking an emotional response
to economic and technical disconnects.

The more that reality-based thinking
has created a comfortable existence,
the more tempting it is
to ignore it and
embrace a nonsensical,
skeptical viewpoint instead.”

This, of course, explains
the success of Donald Trump.
He’s not selling reality.
He’s selling a fantasy,
a fantasy none of us truly want to live in.

Selling fantasies can be
a very successful strategy.

If your motto is
‘Do no harm,’
you might wish, however,
to clearly communicate
that it IS a fantasy.

By k | September 17, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

I received an email
from a romance novel blogger,
asking me to sign
a petition that would be sent to publishers
encouraging more diversity
in romance novel characters.

Ummm…
Publishers aren’t necessary anymore.
If you want more diversity,
buy books with diversity
(they already exist).
Writers will see these books are profitable
and write more books with diverse characters.

It is that simple.
And it’s true in many industries.

There aren’t gatekeepers
and the market is fluid.
The only thing stopping many businesses
is sales.
(If there are enough sales,
business builders will find the other resources.)

If you truly want to see a change,
support that change with sales.

By k | September 16, 2016 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Part of my branding
for one of my pen names
is being the feel good writer,
the person people contact
when they want to be happy.

It’s a great branding to have.
Usually, I’m surrounded
by optimistic, happy
prospects and customers.

However,
I’m not always happy,
not always light and relaxed.

When something goes wrong
with my products,
I’m very serious.

When I make a promise,
I keep it.

When a customer
is experiencing a tragedy,
I’m there with a hug.

When it comes to quality,
I’m extremely uptight.

Just because
your brand is light and fluffy
doesn’t mean
you should always be cracking jokes.

And you should think seriously
before you become the clown.

As Seth Godin
shares

“The challenge,
as PT Barnum, Don Rickles
and the National Enquirer
have found,
is that while the suit
is easy to put on,
it’s almost impossible
to take it off.”

Know when to joke
and when to be serious.