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Make It Personal: A Three-Step Program for Increasing Sales

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You can sell more books when
you answer two questions honestly. First, how often do people think about your
book? Second, how often do people think about their own problems and desires?
If you can show people that they can solve their problems, learn something, be
entertained, improve their character, or otherwise help themselves by reading
your book, you are likely to increase sales.

 

A three-step process can help you
focus your marketing efforts on the real reasons people purchase anything.

 

Step
one: Define your target reader.

Consider Gloria Boileau?s Stop The Fear! Finding Peace in a Chaotic World. Everyone
is afraid of something at some level, but trying to tell ?everyone? about how a
book will help them is not realistic. A better approach is segmenting your
target readers in categories, as described in my article ?The Segmentation
Strategy for a Better Bottom Line? (June). Market segments for <span
class=95StoneSerifIt>Stop the Fear
might include people who are afraid of flying, dying, or being in a
relationship.

 

Ultimately, though, you are
marketing to people, not to segments. You need to be able to describe the
people who will buy your book and the problems that face them so you can
communicate the ways the content of your book can help.

 

What if soccer moms were targeted
in terms of their fears for the safety and health of their children? In this
case, the publisher would try to create a composite, typical mom by seeking
answers to the following questions:

 

·      What is her average level of
education?

·      About how old is she?

·      How much money does she have?

·      To what ethnic or religious groups
does she belong?

·      What leisure activities does she
participate in or watch?

·      What magazines and newspapers does
she read?

·      What current events or issues
interest her most?

·      Is she likely to be facing a
particular life event (e.g., childbirth, career vs. childcare choice, divorce)?

·      What makes her happy? Unhappy?

·      What are her problems or important
issues?

·      What organizations or associations
does she join?

·      What radio and television shows
does she listen to or watch?

·      Where is she likely to live?

·      How can you reach her?

 

Step
two: Analyze your target reader.
I
recommend conducting what I call a PAR? analysis, which is designed to provide
a brief description of your target readers? Problems, the Actions they can take
to solve those problems, and the Results they can expect.

 

Using your research from Step One,
list the major issue, situation, or circumstance facing the targeted readers
and the ways your book will help them take action to resolve it. Then explain
the likely results.

 

The key to success is the Results
column, because it conveys the benefits your target audience will get from
reading your book. Rank problems in order of importance to the reader. Then
focus on them in your publicity, advertising, sales promotion, and personal
selling, and on your Web site and the book?s back cover.

 

For example, let?s assume you are
selling a book about how to get a job. Here is how the PAR analysis might
unfold:

 

Problem

Action

Result

When do I use a functional
resume and when should I use a chronological resume?

Use the book?s checklist to
decide exactly when each should be used.

Using the best tool at the right
time means you will probably get a job more quickly.

What questions should I ask an
interviewer?

Select from the book?s list of
sample questions.

Asking good questions means you
are more likely to make a good impression and get a job offer faster.

How do I write a cover letter,
narrowcast letter, and thank-you note?

Use the advertising copywriters?
formula the book describes that shows how to write a variety of convincing
job-search letters.

Writing persuasive letters means
you will enhance your chances of getting a job quickly.

 

 

Step Three:
Use your analysis to develop a benefit statement.
It is important to tell potential readers quickly and
briefly how they will benefit by reading your book. Here is a formula for
writing a one-sentence benefit statement:

 

I
help_________________(your target audience)

Who
want______________(problem they want to solve)

Get___________________(results
they want)

 

Using the PAR analysis above, your
benefit statement for the job-search book might read: ?I help unemployed people
who want practical answers to questions about finding a job learn effective
job-search techniques and get the best job quickly.?

 

Keep this statement in mind as you
create your promotional material. Say it when people ask you what your book is
about. Recite it on the air when the host asks you to describe your book.

 

Your benefit statement will also
be useful in telemarketing activities. When you call someone, either that
person will answer the phone, or you will be transferred to voicemail. In any
event, you must get the person?s attention and give a reason for listening to
what you have to say. If a human answers, lead with your benefit statement and
then ask if the person has time now to learn more. If you are transferred to
voicemail, lead with your name and benefit statement and add a request for a
return call (perhaps with specific suggested times), contact information, and a
thank-you.

 

And since people buy for their
reasons, not yours, remember that media people have a recurring problem: Where
will I get material for another show or issue that my audience will appreciate?
When you explain how you can help them take action to resolve that problem, the
results should be positive for everyone concerned.

 

Brian Jud is host of the
National Special Sales Summit? sponsored by Simon & Schuster, <span
class=8StoneSans>Publishers Weekly,
and R. R. Bowker, and the author of <span
style=’font-size:11.0pt’>Beyond the Bookstore
(a Publishers
Weekly book) and The
Marketing Planning CD-ROM
. His Book Marketing Monthly? teleseminars
describe ways to sell to special-sales buyers. For more information: P. O. Box
715, Avon, CT 06001; 800/562-4357; brianjud@bookmarketing.com; or
www.bookmarketing.com.

 

 

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