... remember the wisdom of Socrates:
I know that I know nothing.
... remember the wisdom of Socrates:
I know that I know nothing.
The Fastest Way to Subliminally Tick Off Your Clients
I'm going to share a professional pet peeve of mine. How many times have you called a friend or professional associate and you get sent to voicemail? No big deal, right? Have you noticed how much less often you actually leave a message? Instead, you might decide to call back in a few minutes or send a text. Sometimes, you may decide that the notification on the person's phone of your missed call will be enough. Regardless, you rarely choose to leave a message.
Why is that?
I think the top reason most of us don't leave a message is either: a) we know the recipient won't even listen to the voicemail and will just call us back or b) they won't even bother with the message, nor will they call back. It's like we sense this is going to happen and decide: 'What's the point?'
Again, why is that?
I think it has to do with the promise nearly every person makes when they record a voicemail outgoing message? What is the one thing everyone says? Check it out:
Hello, you've reached Tom Jones. I'm not available to take your call right now, but if you leave your name and number, I'll return your call as soon as I am able.
Did you spot the promise? They ask you to leave your name and number and then they say they will call you back as soon as they are able. Generally speaking, how often is that? Are they going to call the annoying telemarketer who has an amazing trip for them to take if they just listen to a 3-hour sales presentation? Are they going to call the sibling they are having a quarrel with and it appears there is no resolution in sight? Are they going to call the credit collection specialist who reminded them their payment is overdue?
Likely, no. So what makes you think you're any different? Just like you, I have made thousands of business calls over my career and nearly every single outgoing voicemail message says: 'Please leave your name and number and I'll return your call as soon as I am able' or some other variation of that. However, less than 5% of these recipients ever return the call.
It's a Trust Breaker
The late, great Dr. Steven R. Covey used to compare the winning of people's trust to making deposits in a bank. When we make commitments and promises to others and then we follow through on fulfilling what we're promising, we are making a deposit in that person's emotional bank account. When we break commitments and promises, we are making withdrawals. Is it ever possible to make withdrawals and still be in a good place in the relationship? Of course! But those are usually after many deposits have accumulated over time. It's also worth noting that just like Rapid Rewards points with Southwest Airlines, what you put into it will always outweigh what you take out. In other words, it might take five deposits or even 10 to equal the one withdrawal you make when you break a commitment.
So, the basic rule of thumb here is that if you are screening your calls (even with prospective and existing clients) or you just never get around to calling people back, don't promise you will in the outgoing message. It'll just piss them off. Instead, try something like this:
Hello, you've reached Jane Thompson. I'm not available to take your call at this time. Please leave a message.
See! You made a request, but you didn't promise to return the call. That might come across as being a jerk, but honestly it is better to not make promises you know you won't keep than to try to make promises that you anticipate you likely won't keep.
You know what will impress them most of all when you do this? IF YOU CALL THEM BACK! It's that simple. Try it.
For more information on how to make and keep your commitments, check out my new book:
Well, I'm excited to announce that the book is complete! It was not an easy process writing a book that covers so much on professional services business development. It was a mountain to climb and I am happy to say I completed it.
I have studied the business of self-publishing, specifically self-publishing on Amazon.com, for many years. My first exposure goes waaaaay back to listening to the fun, free-wheeling podcast episodes of Sean Platt, David Wright and Johnny B. Truant on iTunes. Their 'Self-Publishing Podcast' was a lot of fun out of the gate. Since then, I've discovered many more, but all along the way, I have felt that there was a mix of promise, potential and of course, challenge in between the lines of what all of these successful podcasters were saying.
Traditional Publishing vs. Self-Publishing
When you think about the lay of the land, for a long time, traditional publishers have ruled the day. As 'naturally' follows in a free-enterprise economy, the aggressors or rather, the entities that position themselves as the dominant species, prevail in most conflicts and their adversaries take a secondary or tertiary position, if they even survive at all. This is how it went with traditional publishing. I don't fault them for becoming what they have become. It is the way everything seemed to move in this current economy.
However, economies are almost like organisms, living things. Change one element here or there and it begins to affect the rest of the body. This causes movements, some fast, some slow. With that in mind, a shift that causes only a few 'mega-corporations' to take over the publishing industry can lead to another shift where a monolithic digital presence (mainly in the form of Amazon) can create a situation that begins to topple the 'big book' business. Large, nationwide book chains are upturned in the form of Borders Books and others. Eventually, Barnes & Noble starts sending coupons in the mail (something they never used to do) to their members and of course, their suppliers, the traditional book publishers start to watch sales take a hit.
This something that is not new to you if you've been living through the first seventeen years of the 21st Century. Things shift and things change. Some of the now defunct enterprises that were buried by the digital book publishing business might have done well to take seriously the philosophy of Nassim Nicholas Taleb, which many have called The Black Swan. In short, Taleb says that it is always what we don't know that will help us (or more often) hurt us than the things that we do know.
Back to the Question: Why Self-Publish?
I could go on and on about my theories about the book publishing business, but I think most of us are familiar wit the current landscape and honestly, there are probably a number of things that are happening behind-the-scenes that you and I will never really know. I won't fault these big book publishers for what is happening to them. If anything, I feel bad for them, because this economic shift means there will be layoffs and reductions. Many people who work at these places will bear the impact of this shift.
Regardless, I can tell you that Better Business Development Now is a book that would pass the muster of any traditional publisher. Honestly, the book is formatted better than some professionally published books I've seen. It also contains more useful content than most traditionally published business books. Part of that has to do with who wrote it. I'm a real-life practitioner of what I preach. I'm not some theoretical pontificator, nor am I a consultant who 'dabbles in this stuff.' Instead, I'm the real deal. I make deals all of the time for the people I work for. That's how I stay gainfully employed. And that is why I wrote this book. To simplify my non-traditional approach and share it with others. There are multiple reasons why I went with self-publishing Better Business Development Now: A Bare Bones Guide to Get More Clients!
Despite the adoption of the philosophy of Stoicism into my life, I am still an impatient kind of guy. The primary reason for choosing self-publishing over traditional publishing was time. Honestly, when I have studied how long it takes to query and hook the interest of potential agents and then potential publishers, I could have written three more books. I would be lying to you if I said that I never have queried agents or publishers for various books I have written. I didn't waste any time on this one. It seemed like it would have been more time waiting and waiting to hear back from people who already were running low on available time to tell me they didn't have time to read my manuscript.
Instead, I could take my completed manuscript and professionally designed cover and upload it to Amazon.com in a matter of minutes for the reading public to see and hopefully, buy. Nothing that traditional publishers or other types of companies that promise Print on Demand services seemed to compare to what Amazon was offering as far as turnaround and uploading.
Another reason was editorial control. Yes, my book was edited and proofread by separate parties, who helped me with my grammar, spelling and syntax. If there are errors, well, I still take full responsibility. However, I also received feedback on my content. I received pushback on my content as well. In some cases, the pushback was valid. In other cases, I proceeded with my plan to publish the book as I had intended.
Third was money. I won't belabor this point. It's quite simple. The many numbers that get passed around in the traditional publishing world are amounts like 6% on every sale up to 25% on every sale. Of course, this takes place after the advance has been made up in sales. It makes economic sense for traditional publishers to operate this way since they are taking the economic risk.
In self-publishing with Amazon, you the author, take up to 70% of the royalties in each sale. That's a killer deal for the guy or gal who did most (if not all) of the work to get the project out to the public. I have self-published the quote books and Bald n Dashing this way and I have always received a 70% royalty whether it was through Kindle eBook sales or Createspace's awesome print book offering.
Let's Wrap this Up
So, if a traditional publisher approached me about publishing a future work, would I do it? If the price was right, of course! I doesn't have to mimic the kind of deal I am getting from Amazon, but it is something that I think every self-published author should entertain if they are ever approached. At this point, I haven't received that invitation to work with a traditional publisher and I'm not worried about them validating me to know my work is good. I will keep writing and keep publishing, because it is enjoyable, profitable and honestly, a fun way to help others.
I'm interested in what others have to say. There are numerous self-publishing communities out there (mainly for fiction) and I think each indie author has something valuable to say about their experiences if they've even published one book on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo or Nook.
Enjoy the Day!