By k | August 18, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I was invited to join
a boxed set
yesterday.
Stories are due
November 15th
but the organizer told me,
because I’m a ‘big name’,
I can submit my story December 1st.

I’m not a big name.
I’m solidly midlist.

But being called a big name
made me smile.
It caused me
to seriously consider
the opportunity.

And it didn’t cost
the organizer
a dime.
There is a possible
15 day delay
in putting the boxed set
together
and that is it.

Treating your customer
like a star
is often free.
Why aren’t you doing it?

By k | August 16, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

Some writers were hesitant
about posting
about the KKK
(or White Nationalists
or whatever they’re calling themselves
this week)
marches
this past weekend.

They didn’t want to
‘alienate’ readers.

There’s no need
for hesitation.
Readers (customers)
already know your stance
on race.

If there are no people of color
in your ads, your marketing material,
your products
(in the case of romance novels),
your stores,
your businesses,
people notice.

I notice and I’m white
because it doesn’t reflect
the world around me.
It is unusual
and stands out.

If your prospect is a racist,
he/she will notice
if there ARE people of color
associated with your business
and he/she will likely not be
your customer.

So you’ve already alienated
one type of customer.
There is nothing to lose
from embracing your stance.

By k | August 13, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

The entire point
of negotiating
is
one party gives a little,
the other party gives a little,
and
the two parties agree
somewhere in the middle.

What this means is…
we have to allow
the other party to give a little
without looking weak.

We keep negotiations private.
We don’t,
for example,
threaten the other party
on Twitter,
where the entire world
can see.

We make it easy
for them to relent.
Maybe we point out
how one of their demands
can be met in a different way
or
why it isn’t that key.

We might give a little first.
We are the stronger party
and back down
on one of our demands.

Create a situation
where the other party
can give into some of your demands
without looking like they ‘lost.’
THAT’s how negotiations happen.

By k | July 21, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

In the Romance Novel business,
we ‘fire’ customers
all the time.

There are readers
who are never happy.
They never want
to pay for books.
They leave bad reviews
on EVERY release.
They load books illegally
on pirate sites.
They complain
on our promo posts,
which discourages other readers
from buying our books.

So we gently tell them
they should try other writers’ works.
We might quietly
unfriend them on Facebook.
We might quietly
unsubscribe them
from our newsletters.

It has to happen
for our happiness
and for the health
of our business.

Gord Woodward,
in the July/August 2017
The Costco Connection,
shares
advice for firing a client.

“Be sensitive and tactful.
A phone call is more personal
but a letter works too.
Thank the clients for their business,
then let them know that
the relationship isn’t working.
And apologize -
‘We’re sorry
we’ve been unable
to satisfy your needs’
- even if you’ve done nothing wrong.

Finish up by suggesting a solution
- namely, referring the buyer elsewhere:
‘The other companies in town
may be better able to help you.’”

The Company/Customer relationship
has to work for both of you.
If it doesn’t,
consider firing the customer.

By k | July 19, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

The longer you work
for a company
or in an industry,
the more you become
immersed in business jargon,
the unique language
that company or industry
speaks.

You use acronyms,
words, phrases
only insiders know.

Which can cause a problem
when communicating
with prospects
and others on the outside.

Erika Napoletano
shares

“When you use jargon,
you run the risk
of making people feel dumb
because they don’t get
what you’re saying.

No one likes
having someone talk
over their heads.
When that happens,
we usually take a step back.
We stop listening
and get defensive
—which is the last thing
you want people to do
when you’re trying to
establish a connection.”

A loved one in sales
tests all of his sales pitches
on me,
someone outside his industry.
I tell him when I don’t understand
an acronym, word or phrase,
and he eliminates that
from his vocabulary.

Jargon can kill a sale.
Be wary of it.

By k | July 16, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

If I have 1,000 release week readers
for each romance novel,
I’m satisfied.
That is a large enough readership
to start word of mouth
and it earns me
twice my production costs.

Having this minimum target
allows me to invest in
brand new series.

Because the customer base
of a series
grows with each release,
a brand new series
will never perform as well
as an established series.

If I compared the two,
I would never release books
in a new series.

Comparing sales
to my minimum
is more productive.

Seth Godin
shares

“Stake out
the smallest market
you can imagine.
The smallest market
that can sustain you,
the smallest market
you can adequately serve.
This goes against everything
you learned in capitalism school,
but in fact,
it’s the simplest way to matter.

When you have your eyes
firmly focused
on the minimum viable audience,
you will double down
on all the changes
you seek to make.
Your quality,
your story
and
your impact
will all get better.

And then,
ironically enough,
the word will spread.”

What is your minimum customer base?

By k | July 14, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

One of my buddies
is very wealthy.
You wouldn’t know it
if you looked at him,
however.
He wears average clothes,
average watches,
drives an average car.

Why does he do this?

Because the people
who befriend him,
who are nice to him,
when they think
he’s an average guy
are often the people
who will stick by him
if something goes wrong,
if he loses his wealth,
if his business implodes.

Those are the times
he’ll most need friends.

As business builders,
we’re in a similar situation.
Our businesses are likely
still small.
Our brands aren’t well known.
The people/companies
who do business with us
now
will likely stick by us
if (or, rather, when)
we go through tough times.

The people/companies
who will help us
when we can’t help them
are the people/companies
we should value.

Don’t forget them
as you grow.

By k | July 12, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I’ve built my romance novel readership
one reader at a time.
I’ve interacted in some way
with everyone who buys my books.

No writer wants to hear this.
They don’t want to hear
I’ve put a gazillion hours of work
into fighting for every reader.
They want the short cut,
the secret to instant readership.

It is a secret
I continue to search for.
Until I find it,
if it does exist
(which I doubt it does),
I build readership the slow way.

A loved one
is a salesman for a huge tech company.
He builds his customer base
the same way
- one call or email or meeting
at a time.
Even when he hosts events,
the customers he reaches out to
during the event
and talks to one-on-one
are the customers
who are most likely to buy from him.

There are very few short cuts
to building a customer base.
While you’re looking for them,
consider also employing
the tried and true method
- building your customer base
one person/company at a time.

By k | July 2, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

It is July,
BBQ season,
a time for many salefolks
to mix it up
in a more casual environment.

Body language
is as important
as words in these situations.

Crossing arms
is a ’stay away’ signal.
Leaving arms loose
at our sides
is more welcoming.

Kit Pang,
Founder of
BostonSpeaks,
shares

“If you face someone squarely,
with your shoulders parallel to theirs,
the two of you are most likely
having a private conversation.

If the two of you
want to open the conversation
to others,
both of you will face
slightly away from each other,
creating an opening.”

If you want others
to join your conversation,
ensure your body language
communicates this.

By k | July 1, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

We all know
why we, the sellers,
want a sale.

Why do
your prospects
want a sale?

Knowing the answer
to THAT question
might make a difference
between a sale or no sale.

Sarah Robinson,
CEO of
Fierce Loyalty,
shares

“Your reasons for
wanting a yes
aren’t interesting to anyone
but you,
so never forget
“the fastest way
to get what you want,
is to give someone
what they want.”
Discover what their reasons are
for wanting a yes, too,
and you could significantly
increase your odds
of making it happen.”

Why does your prospect
want this sale?