I have an amazing friend, Therese Skelly of Happy in Business who teaches "How to Sell - Without Being Salesy!" I have been watching her work, listening to her seminars and promoting her program lately because in my heart, that is exactly how I believe the exchange of goods for money should be managed. I also feel the hard sales pitch of yesteryear is an insult to today's savvy shopper, applying even to how authors distribute their messages. When I coach around treating your book as a business, it is with the belief that a book is a profit center and should come under the basics of best business practices.
All these teaching points about selling causes me to think about how difficult a task this might be when an author first experiences being on stage or in front of the microphone for the first time. Virtually every author holds tightly to that aspiration to make some Best Seller list; the media interview becomes the perfect opportunity to SELL to a large, awaiting audience! Little do authors know that is the last action to take, and could do far more harm than good. Media hosts expect their guests to inform, educate and entertain their audience - not sell.
Best Business Practices
Each industry has a number of aspects under the umbrella of "best business practices" that are specific to a particular area of commerce - the publishing industry included. The following tips are included in today's post to ensure you understand the protocol for selling your book - without being salesy - when it comes to taking advantage of what may be a rare opportunity to get your book before a media host.
First time authors, who have not been around the block when it comes to being interviewed by a stellar media host, have the mistaken impression that an interview is an opportunity to sell their book throughout the program. An easy, and almost natural response, is to "refer" questions back to their book!
For example, you finally made it to FOX news - you look your best, the host is doing a spectacular job of leading you through a myriad of great questions that showcase your expert status, but rather than generously sharing your knowledge, you become frantic sensing that nothing has yet been noted about your book, so you respond to the host's next question, for the hope of selling your books, "The answer can be found in my book."
I can tell you, not only will you incite ire in the host who is looking for something "meaty" for their listeners, but you will lose the perfect opportunity to relate to and perform for the audience...
Why Did You Write Your Book?
Embrace the reality that virtually every author is inspired by the idea of making a Best Seller List, setting up a perception in our minds that we must sell; a mindset that must be shifted! However, before you set foot on that stage or get in front of that microphone, I would like to put you in a frame of mind where you remember, "Why did I write my book?"
If you are a non-fiction writer, you sat those long hours with pen in hand because your readers have a problem that is creating havoc in their lives, and you have experience, wisdom, tools, tips and resources that become the solution to that problem. It is a given that simply marketing your book as a "great read" will never get the job done... you have to take your marketing message deeper - show the reader the benefit of the investment you propose in ultimately purchasing your book.
The Natural Benefit of Media Opportunities
The best advice about media interviews is to make your message SHOUT a response to viewers' subconscious questions, "What's in it for me?" (WIIFM) Don't invest your energies in making a sale, there are a number of other really valuable benefits that far outweigh that natural instinct!
- Media publicity for the most part costs nothing, and is EVERYWHERE...
- If you do your job right, every listener will be inspired to spread your message FOR you...
- People start talking about you, see you as more of a celebrity and are more willing to pay a bigger price for you/your services/products...
- Once you have been successful in one media appearance, you will have no trouble getting to the GATEKEEPERS - they begin to call you...
- Media appearances have an almost magical way of increasing the effectiveness of all other marketing.
Be Media Worthy
Media hosts have a preference for guests whose messages are timely, bring a flood of interest to the program, and can be very clear in delivering their message in "sound bites." The best you can do is create a 'teaser" phrase that is a blend between your book and what your show host can use - bringing viewers BACK from the commercials. The sooner you understand that concept, the sooner you will have extended opportunities to WoW! media hosts and their loyal listeners... and those book sales - they will be a natural extension of your revealing your expert status and get your remarkable message to an awaiting world.
When the author meets the media... magic happens that extends beyond selling. Get your book noticed the smart way; learn to sell without being salesy!