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

I’m often asked
to calculate
the optimal pricing
for new products
- the pricing which maximizes profit.

I base this calculation
on the behavior of
a TYPICAL product.

A typical product
would sell X units
when priced at Y dollars
and that gives us Z profit.

The product has to be typical.
THAT is key.
It has to behave
like the other products available.

Often our products
AREN’T typical.

I know, for example,
I could charge
another dollar per romance novel.
That’s what a typical romance novel
in my niche
charges to maximize profit.

However,
I also know
I plan to write 20 plus stories
in that series.
That’s not typical.
An extra dollar charged
on a 20 novel series
will decrease readership substantially.

There is no perfect pricing
for everyone.
Calculate the perfect pricing
for YOUR business.

By k | September 3, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

If you’re building a business
for the long haul,
you not only
have to satisfy the customer
of today
but you have to think about
the customer
of tomorrow.

In the Romance Novel Business,
we look at the
YA (Young Adult) market
to help us predict
what our future readers (customers)
will want.

If YA readers are drawn
to books written in first person,
for example,
odds are
they will read those books
as adults too.

We can make small tweaks
in our books (products)
to appeal to our future readers.

Consider
keeping an eye on
both your target demographic
and the demographic younger
than your target.
That’s your future.

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

I was watching
Say Yes To The Dress,
a TV show
that is very informative
for me,
a person who sells
to women.

A bride came in
who called herself
the ‘anti-bride.’
She believed she wasn’t
a wedding dress
person.

And guess what?
She didn’t have
that magical bride moment.

If a prospect is determined
to be negative,
we might move her
to being neutral.
It is doubtful,
however,
that we’ll move her
to loving it.

Focus on the prospects
who are either neutral
or favorable toward your product.
Those are the people
you can wow.

By k | August 20, 2017 - 6:00 am - Posted in Sales

I saw a project
I was interested in.
I contacted the organizer,
asking her
how I could donate to her project.

I received a response
that was clearly cut and paste.
There was no mention of my name
or the details of my email.
I was directed to a link.

Yeah, that’s cold.
I didn’t make
a donation.

I’m not saying
don’t use autoresponders.
Often they’re necessary.

I’m saying,
at the very least,
learn how to use
those autoresponders.
Make the messages appear like
they’re semi-personalized.

A personal request
requires a personal response.

And, for goodness sakes,
if someone is willing
to give you money
for nothing,
spend a minute on your reply.

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?