This week we start by looking at how a book can be your very best lead generation tool, including some of the common pitfalls to avoid.
Transcript - Book More Show 001
Susan: Good afternoon, this is Susan Austin and I'm excited to again be here with Stuart Bell. Stuart and I are going to be talking to you about the greatest lead generation tool you'll ever own: a book. Welcome, Stuart!
Stuart: Susan Austin, how you doing?
Susan: I'm doing fabulous. So today we're going to be talking about how to use a book to engage with an audience as a lead generation piece, rather than ... How would you answer that?
Stuart: I think the key differentiator is, people often think of writing a book in order to sell the book as a profit center in its own right, to make money from it, which is obviously very difficult. Or sometimes they'll think about it in terms of authority, they're doing it for - not so much a sense of bravado, but the cache that it brings. We're talking now specifically about a book as one of the best lead generation tools you can have. So it definitely has all the credibility, all of the benefits of those other things. It brings you credibility. It's an asset in its own right that other people don't have. Certainly there are people that do sell the books that they create, but those are all secondary benefits. The main purpose that we're looking at in this context is as a lead generation piece, because really unless you're an author as your main job, we're talking about books to support other business activities: as a supporting role for the real money generator of whatever your business is.
Susan: Very good. This reminds me of the distinction of getting your name out to your greater audience versus the opposite of that, where you collect their name into a database. So the lead generation book is meant to be, generally speaking, given away to someone in exchange for their email address or contact information, so that you can build a tribe of people that have a following that know, like, and respect you, and then you can further communicate with them. So you don't need to put everything you know about a process into a book, because that's kind ... Dare I say old school way, George? (Laughs) where you would write a book to almost get famous, right? That was the old model, and now the new way, I think, is to write a smaller book that gives them just enough to get to know and like you, and understand that you're someone that they should be speaking to - and then you take them to (as we said on the last podcast) to the next step with you.
Stuart: Absolutely, and I think there's a number of underlying things that support this. First thing is the context, as we started talking. The context of this is for lead generation. It's a very effective way of doing lead generation. The main job of work, the primary purpose, is lead generation, and therefore you want to give it away as much as possible, to give it away in a way that you can collect some leads, because then once you have those leads you can do something else with it. The book as an article in its own right, as a thing in its own right, an artifact - some technology things have changed there in the last 5 years, whereby ... We talk about the old school model, I think about 10 years ago, one of the main practical ways of getting a book written was to go to a publishing house, have those people sponsor the book. You would then go off and write it. You might get a retainer up front. It would take 12 months, and then because of all of the overheads of creating the asset, creating the book, it almost made sense to put as much as possible in there, because it was almost a one shot deal.
It was very expensive, very time consuming, therefore the overhead of additional content was negligible, compared with the overhead of actually doing it in the first place. Whereas now, in a world of self publishing, of direct to print publishing, so that I've had - whether you do 5000 words, 1000 words, 10,000 words - it didn't make that much of a difference from the mechanics of printing it, because it's print on demand. So particularly from a lead generation point of view - and again, it goes back to the point we were making last week, what's the job of work of this? The job of work is lead generation, therefore ... Because actually what you said, this is the beginning of a conversation. You don't want to give too much away, for a couple of reasons: One, most importantly, for engagement. This is just to start the conversation. But two, you don't necessarily want to give everything away in the first blush of someone's contact with you.
It makes more sense to start the conversation, and then as you sift and sort people down through the process, offer them more information in a way that builds more reciprocity, adds more value afterwards, rather than pushing it all out there in the first go, and them being left with nothing to follow up with.
Susan: Very good, and a book ... A lead generation book is nice, too, Stuart, because it gives the reader an experience of you. When you meet someone for the first time you don't want to go into this hardcore pitch, so the way the lead generation books are designed, they're meant to introduce a problem that the reader's having, and then solve that problem for them. I'll give you an example: Lisa Sassevich did a book with us called Boost Your Sales, and Lisa's book ... A lot of people speak from stage, they go around the country or their market and they do talks, but they don't know how to always close and turn that talk into a money generating tool for them, because they don't know how to close and sell at the back of the room. So Lisa's book gives them the blueprint for that, and it walks them through how to do the secret close, so that the audience is being sold to but they don't feel like they're being sold to. She covers all of that.
But there's actually a lot more to that process than meets the eye. She covers the topics probably from a 10,000 foot level and gives them the blueprint, but really if they want to get really good at it, they probably should join Lisa's program where she goes into more coaching and will work with them and tweak their particular topic so that they walk away with an hour talk that they can do in the front of the room anywhere, and have it lead to sales at the back of the room.
Stuart: Yeah, spot on. It's interesting, isn't it ... We talked about the context of a book, so the podcast is obviously focused on this as a tool in your arsenal to generate leads. There's a lot of other podcasts that talk about other individual subjects. But the book itself is almost irrelevant to the user journey. I think you might have said this last week as well, it's almost like the Trojan horse. The wrapper around the message is a book. The book itself is just the convenient delivery mechanism to get that message across. When we look at every presentation guidance out there - Lisa's book particularly talks about this in the closing of a presentation - it's all around the story. It's all around where you're trying to lead people. It's all around giving people enough so that the feel comfortable to take the next step, but nowhere in any sales training (for example) would you ever get someone saying that, "Yes you absolutely need to beat the guys over the head with as much detail, as much information as you can, share everything you've possibly got, and then at the end of it stick your hand out for a check," because that's not the way the world works.
The objective - exactly as you said - is just to give people a start, an introduction like we say in the 8 profit activators framework, the Breakthrough DNA book (we'll put a link in the show notes to that, if people haven't read that) - but choose a single target market. So you're tailoring your book towards one set of people. In Lisa's example, this was people who do presentations already but are struggling with the close. So Lisa's book didn't try and convince people why presentations are a good thing to do - that's outside the scope. Choose a single target market, start to engage them in a conversation in a way that makes it easy for them to raise their hand as interested. So the presentation of a book that deals with that one particular issue is a very risk-free way for people to raise their hand as interested in the subject, and then slowly start to educate and motivate them towards the next step.
It's not that the book is trying to give them all the possible answers. With Lisa's book again, it wasn't that she went into all of the mechanics of how to sell the back end of something once you've made an offer. It wasn't about some presentation skills as such, and how to deliver the message. It was specifically about delivering the secret close. Her one strong message, that if it resonates with people that she wants to talk with - people who are already speaking but are struggling to close, they'll raise their hand because they're interested, and there's enough valuable information there in this first point of contact for them to want to or be interested in taking the next step. I think before we finish the show we should quickly talk about the close of the book as well, as we talk about closing.
Susan: Meaning how the lead generation book has a close to it?
Stuart: Yeah, definitely. It's absolutely a case of start with the end in mind. We occasionally get people who are looking to write a book, so whether they've got a concept of writing a large book that's containing all the information they could possibly know to try and overstate their expertise, or whether they get the point that they're trying to do this just for lead generation. Quite often people will start to talk to us and just want to start the book, start to get some words down on a piece of paper, because they see that as the outcome, rather than the more effective way of creating any presentation - whether it's from stage, or in a book, or on a website ... To start with the end in mind, to know what your next step is, and then have the book lead towards that is a far more effective way.
We quite often say to people, "You need a strong close, a strong call to action at the end of the book in order to allow people to take the next step." Even with saying that to people, it's still the case the first draft of those call for actions that we see is often quite weak. It's, "If you'd like more information, phone us up." Or, "We'd love to help you out. Phone us up." So that as a step, if you think about this as a ... I can't remember a word for this analogy. Forgive me for not attributing it correctly, but it was the dating analogy. So if you're in a bar looking to find someone to talk to, if you go up to someone to say, "Hey can I buy you a drink," and they say, "Yeah, no problem." You start talking, and then within the first 10 minutes you say, "Right, let's go back to my place and jump into bed," that's going to be less successful than, "I've had a really nice evening, perhaps we can do this again next week."
The call for action at the end of the book should be for the next valuable piece in a funnel, because to expect someone to get to the end of a book and then want to jump into bed with you - make a phone call, make an appointment - whilst that will happen for the most motivated, that is going to lose ... A large number of people aren't going to take that step because they're not yet going to be comfortable. Especially if you're attracting an unknown audience, if they've got no rapport, if this is the first time they've come across you. Whereas if (for example) ... Let's stick with Lisa's. I can't remember how Lisa's close was, so this probably isn't accurate specifically to her book. But you could get to the end of her book and she'll say, "For more information, join up for this $5,000 course." Now the people who she knows already, who know her, where there's some sort of rapport, may well take that action step. But the large majority of the people won't, because it's a big commitment.
If the next step was, "If you've enjoyed this book, obviously we're introducing a new topic to many people, so this is just the first step. However the best next step you can do is go to this URL and download the secret closed template that we've got, where we walk you step by step through building your own close based on the model that we've got here," then once they've done that - the next step, then the next step, and then start introducing offers to a larger program. So by thinking of this not as an A to Z step, jumping right from the beginning right to the end, but think about it as ... I talk to people quite a lot about this concept of a minimum viable commitment. Like the minimum viable product lean startup approach that most people are familiar with, think of it as the minimum viable commitment. What's the smallest step that you can take to the next stage to build rapport with people, move them towards a buying decision, but not necessarily ramming it down their throat. It makes sense, that kind of small steps approach, rather than trying to jump in too soon.
Susan: Absolutely, and I think you're making a good point here, Stuart, that the books are geared ... I think this is underlying the point you're trying to make, is that we're not trying to write a book. When you're writing a lead generation book, the scope of it is very different than if you were going to sit down and draft out 15 chapters about your topic that you're an expert in. That is a different animal and a different beast altogether. This book is going to be much thinner. It's going to be made to be read in just a couple hours. In fact, the reason we call it the 90 minute book is because you can write it in 90 minutes. I want to make that point here, that it's a much thinner book, but that doesn't mean it's less effective. We're finding from the feedback we're getting from the authors, it's more effective, because people actually have a chance to read it when it's a thinner book.
As a matter of fact, one author told us that he had written one of those more traditional, 250 page books in the past, and you would hand them off to clients, and then when he would follow up with them 3 months later or 6 months later and said, "You never booked an appointment. I was hoping to see you." They said, "Well we never read your books - we were embarrassed. We didn't want to come in and talk to you because we never read the book." That was my point, that a thinner book, they'll have a chance of reading it and taking that next step, so that's a key distinction here.
Stuart: And knowing from your own experience ... I'm just turning around looking ... I'm back in the UK at the moment, so back in my apartment here, and I've got bookshelves full of books that I've got every intention of absolutely loving and digesting, but I've maybe read the first 20 pages of each of them. And I don't want to throw them away, because I'm sure there's some useful stuff in there, but the likelihood of me getting around to reading it is very very slim. Whereas a book that I know is only going to take me 20 minutes to read, I've been offered it for free, haven't been charged for it, but there's some value to it because it's talking on a specific subject that I want to know about - I'm way more likely to engage with that, even if it's only to the case of reading it, and then the information went in, and not being in a position to take the next step. I think everything that we've talked about, it's ... As we're talking now, my hands are gesticulating around, trying to put into the physical space in front of me where all these pieces tie together. But the challenge with people wanting to ...
From a lead generation perspective, as we started off saying, depending on what you define as the job of work, a bigger book might be the correct answer. But from a lead generation point of view, the reason people get tied into this concept of writing a huge book is because they're tied into the concept of their call to action at the end being wanting to sell a $5,000 product, or the big ticket item. To do that they think that they've got to push as much information into the book as possible, because rather than compelling people to take the next step, they're trying to convince them that they're the expert, they're the absolute best person, they're everything that they have talked about in the book. They're trying to overwhelm someone with information and almost beat them into submission, to buy the big product at the end of it. The overhead of writing that means that the statistic of ... I forget what the statistic is. I bet that the small number of people actually complete a book writing project. The tiny statistics on the number of people who actually finish reading a whole book like that, and the cost involved.
You look at $10 to 12,000 to write a big multi-chapter book that gets edited through many stages, and then printed and then sold for a cost on Amazon, versus the low thousand dollars to write a 90 minute book which is quickly and agilely to engage one particular target market to significantly increase the number of leads that you get that you can then engage with in a different way. It really is a different beast, and I think that's why people get tied into this big book mentality, because they see it as a one shot deal. It has to be convincing. The call to action is misplaced because it's too big a step. So think of everything in terms of a minimum viable commitment: an easy way for people to raise their hand, a small commitment to the next stage, lots of small steps to educate and motivate people towards making a decision, and make that decision ... A lot of our audience has a crossover with the [Aleph 00:18:58] Marketing audience, so this concept of a mafia offer - a way that makes it easy and irresistible for people to get started with the ...
So if there's a simple way for people to get started, not necessarily push the big product down their neck to begin with, all of that builds to build credibility, build rapport, build a sense of reciprocity, and build a relationship with someone - not just try and do it all on the first date and jump into bed. This is Match, not Tinder.
Susan: It was Tony Robbins who said that even after he puts on a performance and sell a boatload of materials at the end of his programs, and workshops and weekends and seminars, that 94 percent of the people that buy his books never crack the cellophane off of it. That's a pretty staggering number, and that's Tony Robbins, who's got some pretty compelling things to say. So what do the rest of us mere mortals have? I think that the authors that come to us, Stuart, that want that bigger book - and I have to arm wrestle them a little bit to get them to see - it really comes down to, find a problem that you can solve. A problem. It doesn't mean you can't solve 40 other problems for these guys, but the book really should be aimed at that one problem. Those are the ones that are super effective. Very similar to the 90 minute book. Dean could have wrote a book about how to run a successful business from the ground up, and how to launch an online ... He could have done a ton of books. But he did the 90 minute book because that solved one problem that people are having, which is not enough time, energy, and capacity to write a book, but know that they want a book.
I think that really letting go of that need for that bigger book, or saying that maybe this is that first step to creating that bigger book - there's no reason why you can't write 3 smaller books and then turn that into that bigger book that you want. We do have guys that are working on their second book along that same line. But each book, because the reader ... You're going to overwhelm most readers if you try to do too much. They just want to know about the problem they have and a solution that they hadn't thought of, and then how can they continue to engage with you?
Stuart: Absolutely, and it really does go back to the job of work, what you're trying to achieve with this book. If you are trying to achieve things that would be better serviced by a substantial ghost written book that's got a lot of cited facts and backed up information, the just be truthful. You could always say, "That's the purpose of the book." Whether it's to establish authority in a marketplace where other people are doing similar things, so therefore it becomes like a minimum barrier to entry. If you're dealing in a particular academic market where cited sources are more commonly used... That's the norm within the industry then you might have to do it. But if that's the case, then understand that this isn't the right solution. It's going to be more expensive. It's going to take a lot more time. I think the worst case scenario is where people miss the 2.
The whole focus of what we're creating is lead generation towards a greater business goal, and to our mind with this model this is absolutely (like you start off) - this is one of the greatest lead generation tools you're ever going to own, because it ticks a whole number of boxes, insomuch as you get in the Trojan horse, the delivery mechanism - the book itself - it's a very lean way, a quick and easy way to target a single target market, and then target a second and third and fourth market after that. It's a simple way to help people get started. It's a way of being the first minimum viable commitment and then offering the second, and then offering the third. One of the feature shows that we'll do is going to talk about the beyond the book process. Once the book's now written, how can you best use that as a marketing tool as part of a larger funnel?
But understand what you want as the job of work first. If it is lead generation, this approach is the best. If it's for authority, authority is the primary purpose, or ego is the primary purpose, you might be better suited looking for another solution. But as far as lead generation goes, without doubt this is absolutely the best.
Susan: Very good. I wanted to share a couple titles with our listeners to try to get them to see. One of our authors, Dr. Gerdes, wrote a book called Getting Relief: A Consumer's Guide to Relieving Neck and Back Pain at Home. He wanted to gear this toward people that are reluctant to go to see a chiropractor. They have nagging and chronic pain, but they're not quite ready to make that appointment. So he shares with them supplements that they can take, exercise that they can do, and all these things, knowing that if their problem is bad enough they're probably eventually going to have to come in and make an appointment, more than likely. Even though this may improve the posture at sitting at the computer right, and taking breaks, and everything you can do to prevent some of this neck and back pain. But he wanted to do it as a handout, and a way for people to be introduced to him, so that when and if they do find themselves in pain that they already know him, they already ... It's probably a 60 page book, just on what you can do to avoid neck pain and what you can do if you have back pain.
Stuart: You mention that, writing that book knowing that some of the people are inevitably going to need services that he provides, so to best engage with those people, a book offering some self help service knowing that a number of them will eventually get to the stage several minimum viable commitments down the road, where they need some service. Writing the book for 100 percent of those people means that you can offer it to the other 90 percent of people where the time isn't quite right for them. But you've also managed to collect the details of those people who are broadly interested in the thing that you're offering. Again we talk quite a lot about the long term value of a bundle of leads. People possibly heard it again on the I Love Marketing podcast, where we talk about the survey that was done by the event management company. This is the Good Home exhibition, where vendors will go into an exhibition space. The organization will then collect the details of the people who've been there, and over the next 2 years will contact them to see at what point they bought, if they bought at all, following the event.
The majority of leads buy in the 90 to 365 day space rather than the 0 to 90 space. So collecting leads now, although the people might not be ready to convert today, they may well be ready to convert in the next 6 months, 12 months, 18 months. Again, the main job of work is lead generation, and this is a great way to start that relationship with people, regardless of whether it's a long or short journey for them to convert, whatever convert means.
Susan: Very good. Let me share another example. Tyler Osby did a book with us called The Rent Free Solution: How to Stop Renting - Buy a Home in Des Moines and Live in it for Free. He's going to take that book and do a postcard that he will send out to apartment complexes for people in apartment complexes maybe poised to buy, and show them in just an hour conversation with me how they can get out of apartment living and into their own home for free. That's pretty exciting, and he gives them many different scenarios, and gives them specific examples in the book of other people that have done this. So then from the postcard they'll click on a link or go to their phone or their computer and go to a website where they can download the book and read the book right there on their phone or iPad or wherever, and he'll now have their email address. He has their contact information, and then he's going to invite them on a first time home buyers' seminar. So it's a nice little funnel: You send the postcards out, maybe a week later after they sign up, you ask them a question, a 9 word email, or spring them into a webinar. So he's constantly building this little sales funnel that the book is part of.
Stuart: I think it's probably the best example of one of the books that illustrates this campaign type approach of a very targeted market with a robust campaign on the back of it to lead people towards a conversion. I think it was one of the quickest books that went through our process. He didn't get bogged down in doing lots of edits or iterations. There's not a whole load of additional information there that was added after the recording. But as a receiver of the book, you can imaging renting in an apartment complex, seeing a postcard that tells you how you can swap your rent money to own your own home ...
Susan: Yeah, and it's interesting!
Stuart: Well I was just going to say, if I was even remotely on the fence of being interested, that would be a very specific noncommittal way to start learning more about the subject, and for Tyler to start engaging with me. It really is one of the best examples of what we're talking about, a minimum viable commitment at each stage, where the book is the very best lead generation tool at the beginning of the process. You can imagine those people who were then taking him up on the next step. Once they've read the book in the first place and they're feeling educated about something they didn't know about before, then they're getting the follow up information, then they're attending a free seminar that talks about it even more. By the time Tyler actually gets to meet those people, almost the first engagement ... All the rest of it can be automated. The first engagement he's had with them as the business owner. They've raised their hands 3 times. They are hot prospects, and that as a business owner is astonishingly powerful.
Susan: And he actually is a mortgage broker, not a real estate agent, so he gets them set up on a ... If they're interested, he's partnered with a real estate agent in the Des Moines area that will ... If someone's going to raise their hand, the first thing you want to do is, "What kind of home can I ... What are we talking about here?" So he sets them up as part of the process if then want it on an automatic ... Here's homes we could get you into. They can go work with this real estate agent, and then Tyler closes the deal, so it is quite brilliant.
Stuart: Smart guy, smart guy.
Susan: Yeah. Let's get Tyler on a future podcast.
Stuart: Definitely. I was talking to him a couple of weeks ago. He has a great process, we've touched base a couple of times, so definitely.
And that brings us past the 30 minute mark, so we'll start wrapping up…
Susan: So next week, as a matter of fact Stuart, we're going to have a special guest on our show. We're going to be talking to Glenn McQueenie. He's going to join us and talk about his real estate book, Double Your Income.
Stuart: I think that's going to be an exciting call. Glenn's done a couple of exciting things with the book. We've talked quite a lot today about positioning the book as a lead generation piece, and we started off by mentioning the Trojan horse type of fact of it's a good way of delivering the message, but you also get some of the ancillary benefits that a book provides you. Although we don't talk about a 90 minute book as being an authority gaining device, you do by virtue of the fact of being a published author get some authority from it. I think Glenn's definitely a good example of that, where as well as it being a great lead generation device in its own right, he's actually benefited quite a lot from some of the ancillary effects of being a published author. So it'll be a nice follow up to this episode, to talk about some of those extra benefits.
Susan: It's funny, a lead generation book gets you the famous part and the lead gen part. It's a better model in that respect, because it does ... And of course if you did write the 250 page book, you will get business from that. But there's something about solving the problem in a very narrow scope that is very attractive to clients, because in the case of ... People are busy. In the case of Tyler's people, apartment livers, people who live in apartments ... If you hand them a 250 page book? Maybe. But hand them a 50 or 40 page book about how they can get out of apartment living, now we're talking. That's just about right for today's kind of ADD world we live in, right?
Stuart: Attention span, yeah exactly. 50 pages, though, it absolutely targeted what they're interested in. It's 100 percent on message, because the scope of the message (as you say) is narrow. Rather than being 250 pages and a fifth of it being interesting to me.
Susan: Well, thank you again, Stuart. I look forward to ... I think a couple calls after that we're going to open this podcast up to questions, so we're going to invite readers ... Listeners, excuse me. I'm used to calling everyone readers. Listeners to ask questions that they have about either their first book, or if they're not sure what book they should write, or ... What are some of the questions they can ask us, Stuart? They can ask us anything, but are we looking for certain types?
Stuart: No, I think pretty open. We're going to do a few Q and A calls through the year, but I think for this first one, whatever questions people have got. We want to make it valuable to everyone, so we might not ... As the scope of the questions drifts further and further away from the 90 minute book we might have less and less to say, but if one's got questions about the funnel and how to best utilize the funnel, then feel free to ask that.
Susan: Yeah, and I'd ... Sorry Stuart. I'd love if they haven't taken that first step to write their book, I'd love to know what is stopping them. I don't know if there is a fear there, or if they're uncertain about something. So if you're listening to this and you've always wanted to write a book, or you have it in the back of your mind but you haven't taken that next step, we'd love to know what is blocking with you. Not so much to sell you on the idea of a book, but so that we can educate others that are also having similar concerns or questions.
Stuart: Yeah, absolutely. That's going to be in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, if anyone's got any questions, they can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and then we can work those questions into a future recording if people can't make the live call. We'll, as I say, definitely make the call available to people. It should be some really interesting points that we can answer, and help people move forward - whether it's with a 90 minute book or whether it's just with their funnel, using publishing and their funnel in a different way.
Susan: Right, and if someone's interested they can go to 90minutebooks.com/gallery, if they want to see some of the books that we've already completed, and what the titles and subtitles ... We call the subtitles the amplifier description for the book, so they give you an insight. And you can even tell, if you're curious, you can read through this list of books on the website and tell: Some of them are not lead generation by their very nature, just by their design. And that's okay too, but we really really like when authors understand that there's a sales funnel here, and the book is a piece of that, and how they can write that book that solves the client's problem, and get it into the hands of people that want to do business with you.
Stuart: Fantastic. Like you said at the start, it's definitely the greatest lead generation tool that people will have in their business.
Susan: Very good. All right, thanks everyone.