Beyond the Bookstore Extra: Two More Traps to Avoid When Negotiating Large-Quantity Book Sales
I promised to discuss the top six negotiating traps. But I just couldn't stop at six: Here are two more traps to avoid when seeking a large-quantity book sale with a corporate buyer.
Negotiating Trap #7: Not seeking common ground
You will run across varied personalities on your path to negotiating large-quantity sales. Some of these people will have hidden agendas when dealing openly in front of their colleagues, and may assume a more confrontational behavior. This may stem from a desire to perpetuate—or establish—a reputation for “playing hardball,” and not compromising easily.
They view a negotiation as a zero-sum game, i.e. “your gain is my loss.” It’s difficult to work under these conditions because it is politically incorrect to point out another’s irrational bias. Try to manage the tension between cooperative actions needed to create value and competitive ones needed to claim it. In essence, the pie must be both expanded and divided.
Negotiating large-quantity sales generally involves give-and-take on both sides. You each start from your initial position, and then compromise gradually until you find a mutually acceptable middle ground.
Negotiating Trap #8: Negotiating the sale of your books
There are two concepts that come into play here.
- First, as has been consistently noted, you are not selling books, you are selling the information in your book and its benefit to the reader/buyer.
- Second, when you enter a negotiation, you are no longer an author or publisher. You are a consultant trying to solve your prospect’s problems using your books.
Do not go in thinking, “If I sell this many books, I’ll make $X0,000.” That puts your focus on your books and takes it off the buyers’ problems. In addition, you may miss other opportunities. While your attention is on your book, you may not hear (or choose to ignore) a reference for the chance to work with another division of the company, become their spokesperson or write a new book to solve a different problem. Keep your ears, eyes and intuition open for suggestions or innuendos that point to other opportunities for you. And equally important, if you're thinking only about a number of books sold, you won’t project sincerity. You will come across as just another salesperson trying to make a buck.
The remedy? Negotiate a solution to the buyers’ problems such that you are compensated fairly. For example, HR may want to motivate the company’s employees. But a large company may have three generations of employees, not all of whom are motivated in the same way. Your content may be appropriate for only one part of the employee population. Offer to suggest or acquire other titles more appropriate for those you do not serve, and get a percentage of the sale from the other publishers. Your total compensation will probably be greater than you would have made by selling only your book, and the HR manager will end up with a better solution.
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."