Independent publishers must be self-marketers, constantly promoting their books and looking for new ways to increase sales. An unfortunate consequence of self-marketing often results in rejection by the majority of people you contact. Potential customers may not seem to have the time or inclination to read your letters or answer your telephone calls.
However, you need to continue contacting these people in order to sell your books. By definition, you must experience massive rejection in order to become successful. Therefore, you have to stay confident and motivated under these negative conditions if you want to succeed.
The feeling of rejection is most likely to occur at two points. The first is hearing nothing from a prospective customer you previously contacted. The second is receiving “Thanks-but-No-Thanks” letters (called TNT letters because of their potentially explosive effects on your attitude).
Handling Rejection Caused
by Being Ignored
As a rule of thumb, approximately 80% of the people will ignore your initial overtures. It’s up to you to follow up on every contact until you get a response, but maintain a delicate balance so as not to aggravate the potential buyer.
Reach Out and Remind Someone
If you choose to follow up by telephone, prepare a 30-second summary that describes how your book will benefit your prospects. Use it as an attention-getting opening statement if you talk to the person, or as a message you can leave on a voice-mail recording.
But if your reminders are regularly ignored, you may need to revise your summary. People will not respond unless they know why it will benefit them to do so. Make sure they understand what’s in it for them.
You may be repeatedly transferred into voice mail. When this occurs, find out if the person is on vacation. It will not be in your best interest to have several of your messages on record upon his or her return, especially if each transmits an increasing level of frustration.
When you finally reach your potential customers, do not immediately ask, “Have you made up your mind yet?” They may be in the middle of a meeting or may have forgotten your proposal. Under these conditions, they will try to get rid of you by saying they are not interested. Instead, ask if this is a good time to talk. If it is, give your 30-second summary and then mention you have some additional information that will be of interest. That will allow you to resell the prospect on your proposal. If it is not a good time for them, ask when you may call back.
If you prefer to follow up by mail and if you have good rapport with the person who is not responding, try a more creative tactic. Take your direct mail letter and crumple it up in a tight ball. Then flatten it out. Resend it to the person, but on it write the message, “Please don’t throw this away again.” The recipient may wonder if you could have possibly gone through his or her garbage to retrieve your letter in order to send it again.
Handling Rejection that
Included Negative Responses
Approximately 15% of the people with whom you communicate will reply negatively. In these cases, you must remember that prospective buyers are not rejecting you as an individual. Their decision implies that they feel your book does not fit their marketing plans or product mix at this time.
One way to avoid this rejection is to research your prospects beforehand to determine their level of need for your title. But if your book is right for them and they decline anyway, send them a thank-you note. Obviously you do not want to thank them for rejecting you. Instead, thank them for having the courtesy to make you aware of their decision. Let them know that you understand their circumstances (this does not necessarily mean you agree with them) and leave the door open for future business.
Handling Those Who
Show Some Interest
The remaining 5% of your prospects will offer some degree of receptivity. But while rejection is to be expected, it should also be a welcome indicator that you are doing what you must to increase your sales. The key to long-term success is to follow up with the people who reject you and turn them into satisfied customers. Be professional, persistent, creative, and learn from your mistakes. Then you will maintain a positive attitude and grow your business in the face of negativity.
Brian Jud is the author of 17 titles, including, “You’re On The Air,””Perpetual Promotion,” and “It’s Show Time.” He is also the host of the television show, “The Book Authority.” To contact Jud, write to PO Box 715, Avon, CT 06001-0715, phone 800/562-4357, fax 860/676-0759, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. His Web site address is http://www.marketingdirections.com.