Have you ever watched golfers look through the assortment of the clubs in their bags before choosing just the right one for a particular shot? Think of the benefits of your content as individual clubs, each to be brandished as circumstances warrant. When your prospects tell you what they want to buy, pull out the appropriate “club” and describe what your content can do for them.
When you are invited to present your proposal to prospective business-to-business (B2B) buyers, prepare all the information they will need to make a favorable decision. This is your Pitch Pack – your golf bag, so to speak. It is your personal selling kit customized to each sales call you make. It includes an array of items from which to choose the most effective combination of benefits for any situation. An organized, concise, and customized Pitch Pack will elicit the response, “I see you did your homework.”
A Pitch Pack has two parts. The first contains general information about the author, the publishing company, and the book under consideration. The second part is customized to each prospective buyer. This includes your proposal, spreadsheets, supporting data, and a copy of the book autographed to each participant.
Part One: General information
Include the information that is applicable to all prospects. Buyers want to feel comfortable knowing more about the content of the book(s), the author’s credentials, and the history of the publishing company. Part One should include a one-page summary. If you have one title, then describe its benefits. If you have multiple titles or a more extensive product line, include separate material or your complete catalog. Your one sheet should include:
- A description of your book. Include a four-color, high-resolution front cover image. Briefly describe its content in 25 words, perhaps with a dot-point listing of its major general benefits.
- What is most memorable or unusual about your book? Show your prospect that using your book will get people talking about it – and as a result, talking about their product.
- What differentiates your book from competitors? This will serve you well if your prospect is considering a competitive title.
- What causes people to read it and say wow?
- What are the top five reasons why it is particularly suited as a promotional item?
- Who else said the book is great? Include endorsements from industry notables, particularly if they are relevant to these prospects.
- About the author. Include an author bio describing why he or she is qualified to write on this topic. What is the author’s experience? Education? Knowledge of the subject? If the author is also a qualified speaker, list the topics on which he or she is qualified to speak.
- About the publisher. In the back of the buyer’s mind will be the question if you can do all that you say you can. Can you produce the book to their standards of quality at the price you have? Can you deliver on time? Can you deliver additional quantities quickly if necessary? Show that you can.
Part Two: Information customized to each prospect
Prepare a one-page handout that describes your proposed recommendation to use your content as a promotional item for this buyer. List the research you have done and why you believe your content will help the buyers solve their problems and meet their objectives. Use this as your “talking piece” during the presentation. It is also a good summary piece and leave-behind for people who will not receive your detailed package. Be sure to include an executive summary to recap your proposal. This can also serve as a guide to help you through the presentation.
One way to prove you are serious about selling your books is to assume the sale. Demonstrate your confidence by having an order form ready to sign. Of course, you cannot know beforehand all the details of the order, but you can complete all the “boilerplate” details and leave negotiable parts blank.
Spaces to leave blank include the order quantity, unit price, delivery date, and description of the customization (i.e., logo to be placed on the cover). If there will be no customization, write that in the blank space. In fact, make sure all blank spaces are filled in, even if it with N/A (Not Applicable). At the bottom, leave room for signatures of both parties and the date of the commitment.
When you are dealing with career buyers and competing against experienced sales people, a professional Pitch Pack will demonstrate that you are prepared and have done your homework. You will be taken more seriously, and are more likely to get the big order.
Brian Jud is the Executive Director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales and author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books and Beyond the Bookstore.