3 Steps to Selling Large Book Deals to Corporate Buyers
Selling books to corporate buyers offers independent publishers an enormous – and somewhat untapped -- opportunity for increased book sales. But many book publishers fail to approach this segment because they are unfamiliar with the steps involved in the sales process. Once you understand how the system works, making a successful transition to large, non-returnable sales may be easier than you think.
The foundation of all selling is to define the people who are most likely to need your content. The answer to this is rarely “everybody.” Instead, describe your prospective corporate buyers with the Five W’s.
- Who makes the buying decision? Typically it is a Product Manager, Brand Manager or Manager of Human Resources (HR).
- When do they buy? Consider their budget periods or start dates for marketing campaigns.
- Where do they look for information? Corporate buyers look to salespeople, trade shows, industry magazines, association meetings for ideas about promotional tools.
- What do they buy? It is not necessarily books. They want content that helps solve a business problem. This could be delivered via keynotes, workshops, printed books or ebooks.
- Why do they buy? Marketing manages want to increase sales and HR managers want to help employees.
Once this foundation is in place you can start the process of selling to corporate buyers, which involves three steps:
Step One - Search for Names of Prospective Buyers
There are two ways to generate the names of prospects. First, get them to come to you by exhibiting at relevant trade shows (find them at www.10times.com ), advertising in industry journals, and increasing your exposure through social media (blogging, podcasts, and LinkedIn). Second, search for them at www.manta.com where you will find detailed contact information. Also join applicable associations to network personally.
Not all prospects are equal in their ability or desire to purchase books as promotional products. Some may be entrenched with competitive products, have no budget to purchase, or may have recently concluded a promotional campaign. Qualify and prioritize your list of names according to those who are the best sales prospects at this time, and concentrate your efforts where you should get the greatest return.
Step Two - Present Your Recommendations.
Next, arrange a meeting with your top prospects to discuss the potential opportunity. You may conclude small sales of a book in this initial meeting, but large sales usually require a later, formal presentation describing why your content can solve a problem for these prospects.
Your presentation is not about your book, but about the problems it can solve. The words you use to connect emotionally and rationally should be customized to the individual needs of each prospect. Be creative yet credible, persuasive but not pushy, and complete but concise. The way in which you deliver your content is more universal. Control your vocal delivery by varying your volume, inflection and rate of speech. Use body language strategically by managing your eye communication, posture, facial expression, and gestures. Close your presentation by asking for the order.
Step Three - Negotiate the Sale.
Rarely will your initial proposal be accepted in totality, and both parties negotiate in good faith to get the best deal for their sides. Before entering a negotiation, define the terms that would be ideal for you. These could be high price, large quantity, long delivery period, no customization or returns, and the customer pays the shipping charges. Know which of these you are willing to discuss, and on which you will remain firm.
These are the three basic steps required to make a large-quantity sale. Although they are applied differently in each situation, they have one common objective. That is, do not attempt to make sales, try to make customers. Build long-term relationships that result in larger orders, recurring revenue, and increased profits for your publishing business.
Brian Jud is an author, book-marketing consultant, seminar leader, television host and president of Premium Book Company, which sells books to non-bookstore buyers on a non-returnable, commission-only basis and conducts on-site training for publishers' sales forces.
Brian is the author of "How to Make Real Money Selling Books (Without Worrying About Returns)," a do-it-yourself guide to selling books to non-bookstore buyers in large quantities, with no returns. He has written many articles about book publishing and marketing, is the author of the eight e-booklets with "Proven Tips for Publishing Success," and creator of the series of "Book Marketing Wizards." He is also the editor of the bi-weekly newsletter, "Book Marketing Matters."
Brian is the host of the television series "The Book Authority" and has aired over 650 shows. In addition, he is the author, narrator and producer of the media-training video program "You're On The Air."