Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sell A Book Like A Car Salesman

I recently had the displeasure of buying a car, having to go through the process of shopping at car dealerships. Next to the banks, casinos, and realtors, there’s no one as untrustworthy as auto dealers. They never prove that assertion wrong. But my most recent buying experience leads me to this blog post topic: What really influences a sale to take place?

They tend to get done with the consumer acts under a mindset of fear and insecurity, with a heaping of ignorance.

Perhaps you expected me to say sales take place based on price, quality of product, filling a certain need, fulfilling a desire, buying on a recommendation, etc. Maybe you thought I’d say sex sells anything or that things get bought because people see a way to turn around and resell them at a profit.

Certainly there are many factors at play, but if I learned any strategies from car dealers about how to sells something, even a book, here they are:

1.      Draw them in with a misleading or an  incomplete offer.

2.      Make someone feel they deserve to buy your book, that they should treat themselves.

3.      If price is an issue, just highlight the perceived benefits of the book or product and then eventually get to the price. Make the consumer feel they have to have your book -- and then they’ll pay anything.

4.      Whatever price you charge, add on fees. Throw in an extra service or something that sounds mandatory or standard, just like when you buy a concert ticket and pay the ticket price, tax, handling, shipping, processing, arena fee, and other BS that adds 20% to your ticket price.

5.      Use neutral chit-chat to disarm the buyer and make him or her feel like you’re a friend. 

6.      Be ready to substitute one book or product for another, in case you see the consumer is undecided on exactly what he wants.

7.      Plant seeds of fear in the head of the consumer. Tell them what they’ll lose if they don’t buy from you.

8.      Pressure them with made-up deadlines and deals that are only good for a short time.

9.      Always smile, be courteous and pleasant. It never hurts to laugh and seem like you’re at ease. Calm begets calm.

10.  Sound knowledgeable. Just keep citing facts and throwing in some convincing stats to sound like the experts declare your book or product as peerless.

The truth is, many sales occur because the buyer didn’t do a real price comparison and shop around extensively. Too often buyers want to trust others and buy on instinct and short-term thinking. They transfer their abilities, skills and desires onto the sales person and desperately want to make a connection and act on the assumption that the salesperson is really trying to help.

But most transactions, especially bigger ones, occur out of blind faith and a level of ignorance. The buyer may not be IQ stupid but he or she is not really fully informed of what to ask or look for. They make assumptions and don’t make the salesperson prove much of anything. A good salesperson sells you back your own words, hopes and concerns. He becomes your therapist.

As a consumer, I try to reverse the process and look at it that I’m the salesperson and I’m selling them a buyer. I think about their ignorance, fears, concerns, needs and challenges in the marketplace and ask questions that plant doubts in their heads. It works most times, but I'd pay a price of burning time, energy and mindshare in order to discipline myself to engage in this process.

When buying a car I usually take 20% off the MSRP or sticker price. Anything less than that means the negotiation wasn’t tough enough. They will tell you about their invoice and how they are losing money selling you a car baloney. They have all kinds of incentives from the government, the parent company, etc. that we don’t know of. They have all kinds of costs and competitive needs that influence their moves. Even if they take a loss on a car, they do so to move a car out and get a better one in. Or they make it up when they give you a loan. You get the picture. Once you see things through the eyes of a salesperson and a business, you can more effectively be a consumer and salesperson.

Good luck in selling your books or marketing your services. Remember, your consumer may not be fully informed and under some type of mental strain. Seize their weakness as a selling opportunity Everyone else does it.


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

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