Category Archives: Book Musings

19Mar/15

Congratulations! You’re in Sales, and You Didn’t Know It!

If you finished writing and publishing a book, and it was available to purchase, what would you do? I know some writers just let the books sit there and hope people will find them. But others try to get the word out: “I have a book! Buy my book!” Now that I have a couple of books out, I find myself in the position of trying to tell people about them. Even though my former career was in PR and Marketing, I am finding this a difficult task. I hate trying to sell myself. So I checked out a couple of books to see what I could learn.

First up is Daniel Pink’s To Sell is Human. I checked it out based on the premise: that everyone is in sales in some way. We’re all trying to move others to listen to us, buy from us, or do things for us.

To Sell is Human

The first half of the book was incredibly slow. I almost didn’t finish it. Pink spends most of the time hammering on the idea of everyone being in sales. The best part of it, though, was a focus on how the information age has shifted roles.

Ten or fifteen years ago, there were people who had knowledge about things, and the only way to get that knowledge was to ask the experts. In person. Learn from them. Buy from them. Teachers, doctors, even used car salesmen had their areas of expertise that no one else could have without their training.

Enter the internet. Now, everyone has information at their fingertips. People can look you up and know in a heartbeat whether your product is good or whether they want to do business with you. The paradigm has shifted. You can’t use those slick marketing tricks to get people to buy anymore. You have to offer things in a different way.

When Pink gets to the actual ways of offering products, I started taking notes. I filled 3 pages in my notebook. This is where the good stuff is. This is where all the tips and ideas are that will help you become a better marketer and probably a better person. It has already changed how I plan to proceed with my next books.

He spends a lot of time talking about asking the right question. This is going to require a lot of practice on my part, because I’m so used to telling. This technique is all about listening.

Pink also offers six different types of pitches that you can use, and recommends preparing them several times until you get it nailed down the way you like it. I thought I’d heard all of it before, but I still liked the way he presented them. The six types are:

  1. The one-word pitch. (I’m not joking. One Single Word.)
  2. The question. This one is great for social media.
  3. The rhyming pitch.
  4. Subject Lines. (as in email or blog titles)
  5. Twitter. (140 characters or less, buddy)
  6. The Pixar Pitch. (tell a story)

You’ll also get a quick overview of how learning about Improv can help you with marketing.

This isn’t my favorite book by Pink, but my brain has been buzzing for the last two days since I finished reading it. There are some new ideas here, and I’m glad to have them.

If you’re trying to learn more about marketing, I highly recommend you check out this book and see if it doesn’t alter the way you think about your customers. Come back next week and tell me what you thought of it! I’d love to have someone to discuss it with.