Often, when I’m talking to people, they comment that I should write a book. I choose to perceive this as “You’re so interesting, you should share this information with the world,” rather than “You’re boring me to tears, please go lock yourself away in a room for five years.”
The best thoughts come in the shower. So in the shower the other day I was contemplating “What would I write about if I wrote a book?”
The advice I’ve heard about writing is to ‘write what you know’.
What do I know?
Why, sales, of course. How to be a good salesperson.
I was a good sales person. I have the plaques to prove it!
As a good salesperson I know that sales aren’t about me, or the plaques I’ve earned.
Sales are ultimately about the person doing the purchasing. What motivates the person doing the buying to buy?
Further contemplation on the subject of ‘motivating the buyer’ led me to think about ‘who would buy a book on sales’, and ‘what would motivate them to buy this particular book?’
And then it dawned on me. No one would want to buy this book. And here are (just a few of) the reasons:
1 – Someone buying a book on sales would likely be motivated to buy a book because they want to learn how to be successful with as little work as possible. My sales philosophy, as outlined in the book, would be all about working harder than the other guy. Doing more, not less. Sure, you work smart too, but success is usually found by doing something better than everyone else, and ‘better’ usually means ‘work’.
2 – They’d likely want to be successful as quickly as possible. In my book I’d explain it takes 20 years to build a really good reputation for trustworthiness.
3 – Working towards a ‘win/win’ scenario in sales is a positive thing. My sales philosophy is to try to make sure the customer’s life is better for the purchase. I’m pretty sure an emphasis on ‘Don’t sell someone something they don’t really need’ isn’t going to generate a best seller. Best selling books on sales are all about “How to sell anything!” (i.e. things people don’t really need), aren’t they?
4 – This book would probably be classified as ‘self improvement’. Self improvement books are all about, well, ones own self. This book wouldn’t be about self improvement though. Not really. Although it is good to know what motivates oneself, eventually good sales people get over themselves. They know that it’s not about them, it’s about the customer. I don’t think too many people will be motivated to buy a book on sales where the opening sentences of the first chapter would be ‘Get over yourself. Nobody cares about you. It is up to you to care about everyone else’s needs and wants.’
5 – Every book needs a villain. The story arc requires that good battle evil, and ultimately overcome. In a good book winners win, and losers lose. People buying this book would likely want to know how they could ultimately ‘win the game’. I never viewed my customers as the enemy. Nor did I view my competition as being evil. Competition? You just outwork them. Sometimes they even sell something that suits the customers needs better than the solution you can offer. Is that losing?
At the end of that shower, I’d figured out what would likely motivate (potential) customers for any book I could write. I also knew that anything I would write wouldn’t be what they’d be willing to buy. Saved me five years locked in a room.