Investment sales is a highly competitive business full of type A’s who sometimes need to expand their universe in order to bring balance to their lives. That was the message from a senior vice president of a very large investment management firm when he asked me to speak to his sales force. He had read my first book and wanted me to share how hiking the West Coast Trail created a pathway for change in my own life. I was only too happy to comply but I was in for a surprise.
Invited into his spacious office by his assistant, he offered me a coffee before my presentation and we sat down to get to know each other. He knew that I had been a stockbroker in my younger days and felt that gave me added credibility and trust to speak to his people in an environment that I understood. He was convinced that my message would help them in both their personal and business lives. I was flattered.
We exchanged the who, what, where, when and why of family and professional life and then he gave me surprise number one: a hard copy of the book that he had written. He, too, was a published author. What a powerful business card because that was what he told me. He used his book as a business card. As I glanced through it, I was surprised to learn about its contents – surprise number two, it wasn’t a book extolling the features and benefits of his service or product. It was a story about a young boy who wanted a new bike. Instead of going to the store and buying it, the boy’s father showed and supported his son in learning how to save for something he wanted.
My host’s book created a learning moment and a teaching moment giving great value to people everywhere. Sure, he included a personal bio and contact info so that readers would be able to discuss their own financial needs with him but he gave value FIRST. I learned that he would often donate copies to various schools and youth groups in addition to giving them to prospective clients. He had not scrimped. This was not a “digital only” book but rather, a professionally bound hard copy with pictures and illustrations that would be impressive to adults and children alike and it taught a lifelong lesson to the reader. Brilliant!
He shared with me the fact that he credited the book with his fast rise up the corporate ladder of his company as the book not only attracted clients but the attention of his superiors (heck, they were using his book to help them in their own families). What a powerful learning lesson this presentation became for me. What an outstanding idea – create a book that offers real time value to its readers as a calling card to attract more business. It had set this gentleman apart from his fellow salespeople and his competitors in other companies. It resulted in more clients, more income and a better position. It could do the same for you.
The big take away here is that in order to make this work, your book needs to give the reader value not just a sales pitch. If you give them the value first, they will give you the time to offer your product or service. Here’s my pitch: if you need help organizing your book, you can find help here. And if you want to float an idea by me, use the contact form on this website and I promise to get back to you with any help that I can give. Oh, and if you think this little story has merit, please pass it along using the “share” buttons.