The Power of the Pen: Using Books, Reports, and Scripts As Sales Tools
By Roy Rasmussen
The old adage about the pen being mightier than the sword was recently put to the test in a GEICO commercial. A ninja armed with a samurai sword faces down a man wielding only a pen. The pen holder signs a delivery slip, opens a package, and pulls out a taser. Zap! Point: pen.
When it comes to sales, there are many less dramatic but more practical applications of the power of the pen. Written or scripted info products like books, short reports (often called “special reports” or “white papers”), and scripts for live or recorded presentations can serve as powerful weapons in your sales arsenal. Here are seven ways you can use writing to empower your sales presentations.
Generating leads is the first step in the sales process, and it is one of the most important sales functions of books, reports, and scripts. You can get prospective customers’ attention and persuade them to give you their contact information by offering free information in the form of a short electronic document, a short scripted video, a Kindle book, or a self-published print book.
This technique combines well with public forums where you can offer information to a group of prospects at one time, such as a seminar, a webinar, or a blog. You can invite your entire audience to supply their contact information by offering your free information giveaway during the course of your presentation. (And by the way, you can script your presentation, too.)
A free information giveaway can include a bonus offer geared towards booking a sales appointment, or the equivalent of a sales appointment. For instance, a free report can conclude with an offer to schedule a free initial consultation. This gives your prospect a no-risk motivation to schedule a sales appointment with you.
Depending on your industry you might use other incentives for booking appointments. An exercise club might offer a free month trial program, while a real estate agent might offer a free appraisal, or a software company might offer a free version of their premium package. This type of offer provides an opportunity to deliver a follow-up sales presentation after your prospect has become more familiar with your product or service.
Previewing Your Presentation
You can build a preview of your sales presentation into your free information giveaway. A report, video, or book gives you a forum to introduce your prospect to the basic elements of your sales presentation. You can establish rapport, identify the problem you’re offering to solve, highlight benefits, or anticipate objections. Your sales presentation can then build on the foundation you’ve laid in your preview, following up with reinforcement.
Qualifying Your Audience
Another sales function of an information giveaway is qualifying your audience. The most efficient way to do this is to build the name of your target demographic into the title of your book, report, or video. Wiley’s bestselling “dummies” series has an appeal to non-technical readers automatically built into every title. Other titles address women, seniors, workers in specific industries, or other target demographics.
This strategy isn’t necessarily limited to your title, either. The body of your info product can follow up with more details about who might benefit from what you offer.
Addressing Your Market’s Needs
The title and body of your giveaway can also pinpoint the needs your product or service addresses. Whether your offer is to alleviate arthritis pain, trim fat, save money on insurance, or convey some other benefit, mentioning this in your info product can give your prospects a preview of what your product or service can do for them.
Establishing Your Expertise
One of the most important sales functions of an info product is establishing your expertise. Once you’ve written a book, you’re instantly recognized as an expert. Likewise, if you can point to a website where someone can download your report or watch your video, that automatically enhances your authority.
Positioning Yourself Against Your Competition
Last but not least, an info product helps you position yourself against your competition. If you’ve written a book or you have a blog and your competitor doesn’t, you have several distinct advantages. Not only do you command more authority, but you possess a promotional platform you can use to pitch your own product or service as well as characterize your competition. When you’ve got your own info product, a competitor going up against you is like a knife fighter walking into a gunfight–or at least a ninja facing a taser.
Roy Rasmussen is a freelance writer and marketing consultant who helps create promotional material for small businesses, professionals, and entrepreneurs. You can read more of his writing and promotional tips on the website Publishing for Publicity, named after his book of the same title (cowritten with book designer Marian Hartsough and available on Amazon).
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