Don't Sell Books—Sell Benefits: 3 tips for increasing sales, revenue and profits by focusing on content
Brian Jud will be speaking on the Publishing Business Conference & Expo's "Retail Sales in an Evolving Market" panel. More info at publishingbusiness.com.
Stop selling your books and make more money.
This may sound like an odd notion to a publisher, but you can achieve the most success by not selling your book, but by selling the benefits potential customers will get from your book’s content. In other words, the form in which your content is sold is less important than the content itself—particularly to non-retail buyers (in corporations, associations, etc).
Frank Fochetta, the Vice President and Director of Special Sales and Custom Publishing at Simon and Schuster, agrees.
“There is only one way to increase your sales, revenue and profits in the non-trade segment," says Frank. "That is, sell content.”
Businesses are less concerned about the place your title holds in your frontlist or backlist than bookstores are. Instead, they want to know how the information contained in your product line can help their business more than that of some other marketing tool. The following list contains three areas that signify the importance of your book’s content in the non-trade marketplace:
- Brand association. A book should have the same image as the outlet through which it is associated. For example, a book sold through Dollar Stores will have a much different image than a book offered as a premium for a $300 suede coat from Eddie Bauer. Additionally, the concept of product placement functions as much, and as well, in the publishing industry as it does in television shows and movies. If a brand name is mentioned in a book, the owner of that brand becomes a likely sales prospect. Furthermore, the capabilities of print-on-demand publishing make it easier to customize the name of the product if it is will help you sell it to a different buyer.
- Repackaged content. When selling to non-retail buyers, the starting place for your negotiations is the information that your book provides. If a prospective buyer decides that your content has value, then you settle on the form in which the content will be disseminated. Yes, this may be as a book. But it might also be as an ebook, booklet, DVD, audio book or other form. Even if you do choose a book as the final form, it can still be customized by changing its size, reducing its paper weight to lower shipping costs, creating a custom version using the client’s product as the hero of the story, changing the binding to meet a specific function, or many other options.
- Value for the customer. Books are valuable to non-retail buyers for two reasons. First, the information in your book can help them improve, educate or entertain their customers in some way. Second, they can purchase books inexpensively in relation to their perceived value. People generally hold books in high esteem and are reluctant to throw them away. They keep books, which gives them long shelf lives in customers’ homes, schools, libraries and offices. In the best case, this will stimulate positive word-of-mouth advertising, leading to more sales for you and your clients.
The non-retail sales process is not about you or your book. Rather, it is about providing your customers and readers with valuable information. Learn how to sell what your content will do for your readers by looking at it from their perspectives. Once you change your marketing focus from “me” to “them,” you will go a long way to increasing your sales, revenue and profits.
Related story: 16 Tips for Selling Your Books to Businesses
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."