I’ve been surprised and humbled by publishing a book. Along the way, I knew there would be lessons learned and discoveries made in 20+ years of field research. I fully expected to gain insights and deeper understanding, too, in the actual writing of a book about sales. But I did not anticipate how much I would learn over the six months following the first printing of my book.
Here are 5 of the most compelling reminders, reinforcements and revelations for me since DISCOVER Questions™ Get You Connected was first released in September.
Everybody Has Something to Sell
I wrote this book for professional sellers of all stripes. It’s a good match, an obvious one. That’s why sellers have responded so positively.
Unexpectedly, though, by November I started seeing a flurry of Amazon reviews and e-mails from small business owners. This was followed by invitations to appear on radio broadcasts targeting entrepreneurs and small businesses. The recurring theme in why this audience has embraced DISCOVER Questions™ Get You Connected is, as one reviewer wrote, this “method of sales doesn’t feel like sales.”
More recently, two reviews have been posted that describe how DISCOVER Questions™ have helped non-sellers form stronger relationships and become more productive in cross-functional work teams. These are people selling ideas and influencing co-workers by improving their questions.
I’m reminded that everyone has something to sell, but not everyone is comfortable with selling in stereotypical fashion. I’m glad I was able to offer a book that helps set aside those old school tactics and reframe what selling is really all about.
Sellers Deserve Credit for What They Already Know and Do
I designed DISCOVER Questions™ as a tower of power to elevate (rather than replace) what sellers already know and do. By being platform neutral and complementary to any sales process, my intention was to make the eight purposes of asking questions accessible to sales teams in all industries and channels.
What I’ve been reminded of is how important it is to also dignify individual sellers. Because DISCOVER Questions™ Get You Connected doesn’t indict what is already working for veteran sellers, many have responded openly and gratefully to these add-on skills. One reviewer wrote “I’ve been in the sales field for more than two decades, and the system outlined here gave me new tools for giving excellent value to my clients while hitting my sales goals.” That’s a seller who wouldn’t and shouldn’t stop doing what already works but is seeing success by supplementing with DISCOVER Questions™.
Marketing Is Harder than It Seems
I’ll take selling work over marketing work any day. Marketing is hard to do! In sales, you have an opportunity to personally connect with each buyer, to tailor your message to each buyer’s needs, and to offer relevant value based on very specific needs identified.
The work of marketing this book has revealed to me that the inherently impersonal approach of sending a mass message makes it much more challenging to turn a prospect into a customer.
What I haven’t quite worked out yet is this – why do so many sellers choose mass marketing approaches to selling when all that does is make the job of advancing the sale far more difficult to do?
Suddenly, I have all sorts of new credentials – author, in-demand speaker, finalist for 2013 Top Sales & Marketing Book, sought-after guest on radio programs, and so on. It’s been a wild and exhilarating ride since the book was published!
But those credentials simply don’t open as many doors as I may have hoped. Instead, I’m rediscovering the importance of good, old-fashioned connections with other people. What you know is not as powerful as who you know.
There is solid substance in this book I wrote – all the leading sales experts and thought leaders who have endorsed this book will tell you that.
Despite all their praise for DISCOVER Questions™ Get You Connected, despite the impressive sales numbers for this book, despite the transformational results sellers report when they read and apply this work… despite all that, not a week goes by without someone asking me when the book will be available as an e-book and/or an audio book.
Different people have different preferences, and no book (no matter how good it may be) will override those preferences.
What I’m Doing with What I’ve Learned
It is tempting to say “Here’s this book I wrote. It’s pretty good. Take it or leave it.” I could decide that my product offering will be narrow, limited only to this traditional book format.
It is also tempting to market this book less, to avoid all the work involved in talking to audiences I never imagined the book for and to save all the time spent in marketing vs. direct selling.
I have to admit it is tempting, too, to make the easy pitch. Like any book on selling, there is an eager audience of sellers who are new or struggling. I could focus on them and not concern myself with also trying to get DISCOVER Questions™ Get You Connected in front of experienced and successful sellers.
But I’m not succumbing to any of those temptations. I am learning about marketing, expanding the reach to match the demand from sellers and non-sellers alike. I am going to release e-books and an audio version because that’s what a segment of the marketplace is asking for. And I am going to keep talking to groups of experienced sellers and sales managers about how to elevate their current processes and skills with these additional tools.
The first response to buyer feedback is the second printing, now available on amazon.com with a foreword by Dr. Jonathan Farrington. The e-books and audio format will be released in the summer. Complementary white papers, webinars and more are in development, too, to help you access the information you want about DISCOVER Questions™ in a variety of formats.
In other words, I am going to practice what I preach. Doing so takes me out of my comfort zone. But it allows my buyers to be in their comfort zone, and that is where I have the best chance of truly connecting with them.
The second printing of DISCOVER Questions™ Get You Connected, with a foreword by Dr. Jonathan Farrington, is now available and will help you become the one seller buyers actually want to talk to. Get your copy today!