5 posts categorized "Writing"

June 02, 2014

Call For Interviews: Have You Bought From A Sales Genius?

I'm writing a new book on creativity in the sales process.  Its premise is that in today's business environment, it's getting complicated to get good deals done.  Standard approaches or tactics aren't working.  This is why creativity is needed in deal making and sales.  

While the book will share some of my personal experiences, it will mostly feature profiles of creative sales geniuses.  They have exhibited the tendency to employ creative thinking to move the deal forward.  

Right now, I'm looking for sales genius nominations from buyers.  You've purchased products and services for your company, and along the way, encountered a highly creative sales genius.  By creative, I mean that he or she has comes up with ideas/solutions that are unexpected, but appropriate to the situation.  

As a buyer, you encounter all types: Interrupters, Reminders, Power Pointers, Hasslers, Listeners, etc.  But the sales genius left an impression on you that still lingers (in a good way).  The genius took a novel path to get to you.  The way he presented his product/service was visual, impactful and armed you to sell it forward.  He inspired you to think creatively as well, especially when you encountered internal problems trying to get the deal finished.  

If you've bought from a sales genius, I'd love to interview you!  I'm happy to give you a gift certificate as a token of my appreciation.  Also, if I feature your nomination, it will likely be a big promotional boost for him or her as well.  

Send me an email if you have a story to share.  You'll be paying it forward. 

April 11, 2011

A New Way To Write: Friend Sourcing

When I starting writing Today We Are Rich, I had one goal: Share my story to validate and encourage others to be bold, live positive and cultivate confidence. 

I’ve been talking about Abundance versus Scarcity my entire career on the lecture circuit, and with this book, I’ve finally hatched some contemporary ideas for a new generation – based on the classics of the 30’s and 40’s. 

Right about the time I started the formal writing process, I created by first Facebook (fan) page.  After inviting my friends my regular account, newsletter group and Twitter followers, I had about 800 people ‘liking’ my page.  I used it to put out unedited ideas as I wrote them – sort of a proving ground for my book’s concepts.  I’d post short pithy things my grandmother says, then note which ones resonated and which ones didn’t.  Same went with my advice points.  I found out pretty quickly that people are much more interactive on Facebook than they are with a blog – or Twitter for that matter.

One of my Facebook Like Friends contributed a saying her grandmother had, another offered a tweak to one of my ideas and soon, I began to rely heavily on this focus group for the evolution of Today We Are Rich.  Sure, I was still telling Billye’s story, and mine too, but by making room for others it was much easier to achieve my goal as an author – validate, encourage and empower.

This isn’t typical crowd sourcing, where a group of people are aggregated then polled – with their answers being tallied up into a group-point-of-view.   This was different, because my Facebook community was comprised of long time friends, colleagues and supporters of my work.  When I called for some personal stories to help drive home some points, I received great ones from people I’ve known for years such as Jay Beckley (Myles Dad), Paula Cooper (Gratitude Exercise) and Stacey B. (The Quitter).  They help this book become your book as well.

Maybe Mark Zuckerberg’s right: Facebook may be the way we find, buy, research or communicate things in the future.  Think of crowd sourcing as a Google approach to writing (search, funnel, select from a pile) and Friend sourcing as a way of opening up your work to people that know you and care about your work – the Facebook approach to creating content that resonates. 

These days on my author Facebook Page  I’m sharing tips from my talks as well as details about the book launch tour for Today We Are Rich


This is a concept that's included in my next book, Today We Are Rich.   Visit the book page and you can order a copy and receive a free eBook excerpt with an entire principle!  You can also visit its facebook page too.


March 23, 2011

Just be good at the one thing you do well

Authors, speakers, bloggers: Don't get caught up in the Triple Threat Conundrum. 

If you can speak, soon, you are asked to write a book.  If you write a business or advice book and it sells, you'll be asked to speak. If you do either, you'll be expected to blog well, terrifically Tweet and master Facebook and/or LinkedIn.  Whew.  

Comedian Mitch Hedberg once lamented that agents would approach him with: "You are really good at telling jokes, can you act?  He said, "That's like saying to a great chef - wow, you can cook, but can you farm.?" His point, just do the one thing well and don't sweat the product or career extensions. 

I've met several authors that aren't really very good a speaking, but they do it anyway (poor audiences).  I've met several great speakers that write awful books (poor readers).  And many of the author/speakers I know slave away over social media, wondering why their blog isn't as big as Seth Godin's or their Twitter following isn't swelling like Gary Vaynerchuk's.  To them I say, relax: Just do your thing really well and you'll find a way to make a living - and a difference. 

We cannot fall prey to the Triple Threat challenge (sing, act and produce) that entertainers deal with.  Blogging has it's own special skill set - just ask Chris Brogan.  If you are a great writer, find a way to make your money selling books and don't think that you have to hit the lecture circuit.  If you get exponentially better at one thing, like Gladwell's done with writing or Tony Robbins has done with speaking - you'll be just fine. 


September 07, 2010

Ask Your Followers And They'll Gladly Tell You


For many fellow authors, social media is a way to sell books, a marketing platform.  Same goes for many companies: It's just another sales channel.  This is a shallow way to think of this opportunity. 

Over the last few months, via a Facebook page, I've been sharing ideas from my next book (Today We Are Rich).  In several instances, I asked my followers to pipe in on a topic or share a story.  A remarkable number have eagerly participated and added tremendous info-value to my book.  I've received stories, links to articles and statistics through my following.  For writers, Help A Reporter Out has also offered similar services - although not to friends and colleagues.  

Companies can/must do the same thing.  Build up a followership by being helpful and interactive.  Ask questions that honor the follower.  Do something useful with the information.  Keep on giving and make sure your questions are few and far between - otherwise, you might become a question-spammer that just wants to create network activity (likes, comments, mentions, etc.) 

You'll also find your following happy to recommend local services, product reviews etc., in you day to day operations.  In most cases, they'll be better than anything you can find on Craiglist, 800-Dentist or the Yellow Pages (remember them?).  For some people, your social media network will replace Google as a way you source services, products and high level information.  That's what Mark Z's vision of Facebook is: A Search Killer.  Ask your friends, and they'll give you better answers than you'll find on the Wild Wide Web. 

One last idea: Make sure you contribute information to the network too.  When one of your friends or followers asks for help, jump in with useful insight.  It's like Amazon, Yelp or any other collaborative platform - we have to feed the system to be able to get nourishment from it over time. 

September 02, 2009

What I learned from my agent

Jan Miller is my literary agent.  She found me working at broadcast.com, put me with Gene Stone (my writing partner) and got me my first book deal (Love Is The Killer App).  She's a super-agent, with a star studded stable of best selling authors, celebs and gurus. 

For the last few months, I've worked with her on my new book proposal.  If you follow me on Twitter, you likely know what I'm thinking/tweeting/writing about.  Along the way, she's share some pearls of wisdom, gleaned from her work in the industry.  

For aspiring authors, here's a few solid takeaways she's recently given me: 
1. Write for Betty in Boise - She learned this working with Dr. Phil McGraw.  It sounds simple, but most authors cannot pull it off.  Instead, they write for Marie-Claire in Manhattan or Cindy from Seattle. The key is to have a broad appeal from rurual to surburban to urban and beyond. 

2. A great book is a presentation given a thousand times - Stephen Covey Sr. told her that, probably reference his master piece (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People).  His training company conducted hundreds of seminars prior to writing the book.  The value here comes from audience feedback.  Each presentation gives you a chance to discover what works, and hone the bits and stories into gold.  Don't write, then speak about it ... like most modern day authors.  You get weaker books that way. 

3. A book must work, promotion just gives it a chance to work - She learned this working with all of her authors over time.  Her point is that books must connect deeply with readers, so the reader tells all of his friends to buy the book.  Without word-of-mouth or BIG media, books languish in obscurity. Marketing and promotion places the book into enough hands for the resulting word-of-mouth to make a big difference.  To write a book that works: Write what you know and then show us who you are: 
More on this in my previous post on this subject

4. Words that sound good don't always look good on paper - To understand what will work, you need to look at the words and imagine you are a reader in a bookstore or online.  She shared a few stories about authors who had a killer seminar, but when it was transposed into written format people didn't get it. 

5. You are as valuable to a publisher as your last book - This is the cold reality of publishing.  The biggest advances usually go to unknown quantities or bankable authors.  Most editors create a P/L to calculate an advance.  When there's a known sales figure from the last book, it becomes the driver of that formula. If you have a track record, and it's mediocre, you'll get mediocre offers for your next book. Yes, the timing might have been bad, but that doesn't really matter - you are still only as valuable as your last book.  There are, however, 2 ways out of author jail if you publish a book that doesn't work:  A big/unique idea that's formulated into a kick-butt proposal OR you get famous/infamous.  

Read: Write The Perfect Book Proposal