This Saturday I wanted to introduce something new: Sales Saturday. Being an independent author comes with a lot of responsibilities, and one of those is sales. As I’ve said before, I’ve heard a lot of indie authors claiming hermacy (which isn’t a word, unless you look in the Urban Dictionary), and saying that the thing they hate the most is sales. As a person who has worked their way up the ladder at a financial institution, this isn’t the first time I’ve heard the same thing. I’ve been coaching my staff members in sales for over three years now, and most of it is from my own experience. There’s a lot of excuses for not selling something, and some, I admit, I have used myself. The classic one “We’re too busy doing other things”. I can see this in the writing world “I’m too busy writing.”. In banking the answer to this suggestion for not selling was, well, it’s a part of the job, and in the author world, to be blunt, it’s the same. No one is going to read your novels if there is no marketing behind them. I understand the fear of promotion, but I can honestly say the more you do it the more you get comfortable with it. It’s more than selling a product though; anyone can feed a customer, or reader, a list of items that might interest them. You need to own the product and this is something that I’ve had great success with in my coaching session. What it really is, is changing the salesperson’s prospective of their job. If you own what you’re talking about, you truly believe in the product, so instead of selling it, you are having a casual conversation that includes the product and your own feelings on it.
I’ve just entered the life insurance sales field as a life insurance representative. Let’s say, life insurance wasn’t the easiest thing to sell for me before, but my sales record at the bank speaks for itself and it was a natural expectation for me to excel at this as well. To supplement the training I currently have received I read books like Crucial Conversations, and I read articles in a monthly life insurance magazine. What I’ve found is each month that I read this magazine, I am able to highlight sections that are very pertinent to my life as an author and marketing entrepreneur. One of the monthly articles is by Brent Welch, in the September 2012 article “Is This Life Insurance,” he talks about 5 Success Truths. This article grounded my feelings on “Owning Vs. Selling”. Mr. Welch states, “By being grounded with truth, honesty, generosity, love, care, service and other-centeredness, you build character that is seen before it’s heard. Marketing starts with you.”
In banking, as with being an author, marketing is just as much about selling yourself as it is about selling a product. Brand yourself as a human being who genuinely cares and everything else comes naturally. He goes on to say “Always be building relationships with those you serve and would like to serve.” As an author this means you must put yourself out there. In my mind, readers are more connected to you if you try to let them get to know you. That’s why social media is important, not saying “I ate a cookie,”, but talking about your experiences as a writer and showing that you truly care what your readers feel.
You’ve already taken the risk and put your book on the market, you’re selling yourself short if you don’t try to “own it”. Brent talks about thinking about things bigger than yourself, look at the little picture, but also at the big picture. Where are you and where are you going? “Taking risks in your business will separate you from the competition.” Whether or not we want to admit it, writing is a career, and therefore, you as an author are a business. If you don’t look at it as business, and you’re successful, kudos to you. I don’t think that I can be successful without looking at myself as a business person and an author.
So, hermacy aside, “owning vs. selling” shouldn’t be so hard. Think of it this way, you do own the book you wrote, you already do love it. There’s no farce there, you don’t have to pretend to believe in the culture, you are the culture.
How will you sell yourself, if you’re selling yourself short?
*Brent Welch is a CFP, ChFC, CLU and is a founder and managing member of Welshire Capital LLC. You can learn more about him and life insurance at http://www.welshirecapital.com
- Selling Your Soul… (cgiovanniwrites.wordpress.com)