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Baseball Making a large-quantity sale (5,000 or more) of your books to corporate buyers typically entails a formal presentation describing how your content can help the company in some way. You can improve your chances of making the sale with an analogy to the game of baseball. In any one game there may be several different pitchers used, but the same catcher is always there.

How does this equate to selling books? There may be several publishers pitching their books to corporate buyers — the people catching the pitches. The buyers have business issues they need to resolve, and the pitchers who demonstrate how their content eliminates those pain points get the win.   

For example, let’s say you have a book with content that helps to motivate employees and you are making a presentation to a Human Resources (HR) manager. This person wants to reduce absenteeism and increase productivity for the company’s 10,000 employees.

Look at this from the perspective of the HR manager. What is he or she thinking as you are talking? The person is probably wondering about how the company’s employees will be able to use your information successfully. If they adopt your message, will it actually help them reach their objectives? Are you a credible source of the message?

If your pitch is only about how great your content is, there will be a major disconnect and you will lose the sale. Of course, you have to describe your content, but talk about in terms of its applicability to the recipient’s issues. And this will probably be different for each presentation you make. Here are at least five things the manager wants to know in this situation.

Will my employees understand what you are saying? Your presentation should address how your content clearly and concisely explains your message and how it will benefit these employees. Give each buyer an autographed copy of your book with sections highlighted showing your reader-friendly style of writing.

Are you a credible source of information? Prove to the buyers that you are knowledgeable on your topic. Include a handout describing your education and the experiences that lead you to develop your message. A previous user’s testimonial to your sincerity may be worth more than you saying it yourself.

Will my employees adapt it to what they currently believe? In a large corporation there may be several generations of employees and they are all motivated in different ways. According to Professional Solutions, Baby Boomers are most concerned with executive presence and cost effectiveness. Those in Generation X are motivated by collaboration, building relationships and solving problems. Millennials are the most tech savvy. Demonstrate that you understand the differences and how your content will be relevant to each.     

Will my employees actually do it? Show the buyers that your content will motivate their employees to take action because you give examples and instructions that make it easier to do. With your book in hand, point out the pages with explicit step-by-step instructions for implementing your programs. If you have a workbook accompanying your book, show the buyers how easy the exercises are to complete. Offer to work with the employees to make sure they are doing the assignments. Of course, you will be compensated for your time.

Will my employees internalize it for long lasting results? This is something you cannot guarantee. If you have testimonials from other clients, offer them as proof that your concepts had long-lasting benefits in other organizations. If you do not have testimonials, offer to do follow-up classes, seminars or webinars for the employees to instill your instructions and maximize benefits to them and the firm over time.

If your prospects are thinking about their issues as you are talking about your book, real communication will be less likely. They may hear what you are saying but not be listening. Get your prospects to become customers by addressing their unspoken concerns, by demonstrating that you are truly interested in helping them solve their business problems. Address their issues from their point of view and you will prove yourself to be an empathetic partner in the discussion, not just another vendor trying to sell them something. You will sell more books as a result.


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.