At London airport, going back home from our legendary SCC (Sales Champions Club) event, I was browsing through the book store for something to read that would spark my interest. With literally, hundreds of books to choose from my head started to spin. I looked at so many titles crying out murder, robbery, love and suspense. I went over to the business books section. It didn’t get any better. They all looked the same to me. How do publishers attract potential readers to grab their book, browse through the pages and make their way to the check-out for payment? How do they stand out from the crowd?
Then, out of nowhere, really, my eye caught a book with the subtitle:
Fantastic facts that are stranger than fiction
Opening the book to the content page it had 99 questions starting with Why, What, Where and How. For example:
- Why does football reduce civil wars?
- How can Big Mac’s measure the true size of China’s economy?
- Why have tea sales boomed in Johannesburg?
- Why is Black Friday not what it used to be?
- What can bosses learn from a hostage negotiator?
Soon I realized that this publisher was selling with the buyers perspective. Where most books on the bookshelves did not stand out from the crowd at all, this book thought about ways how to enrich potential readers with new information to change their perspective on facts.
Publishers are sellers. And although it sounds that this publisher found a niche in the market, the reality is the truth for a vast majority of salespeople: Getting customers interest is not a matter of shouting louder or producing brighter colourful presentations. Customers, prospects, buyers, stakeholders, buying groups, procurement teams… are all in the Why Change? Phase when you meet them for the first time. They don’t need to buy anything because they have something that works in place. Why are they still looking around? Why should they buy from you? The secret is not in what you sell but how you create interest to explore a change with you.
Like us in airport bookstores, prospects want to know what else is out there. They are browsing for insights because making decisions to change and eventually replace what they have or purchase something totally new is not easy. But, they are also overwhelmed with information and their business challenges are not getting easier. They look for something that sparks their interest. They do not want to attend the run of the mill kind of sales meetings. They are looking for someone that can help with bringing new perspectives through new information, new insights and stories. Are you someone that stands out from the crowd? How do you do that and what do you need to change about yourself?
PS: The title of the book is “Truly Peculiar” by Tom Standage as part of the series “The Economist Explains”
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