This week Dean & I talk about Information Goldmines. The knowledge you have at your fingers today, that will enable you to create a book that reveals invisible leads and starts conversations.
Even if you don't know where to start, there is a simple process to identify the most pressing questions in your customer's mind and follow up by answering the questions the should be asking.
Transcript: Book More Show 023
Stuart: Hi everybody, welcome to another Book More Show. Excited to be joined back by Dean this time. Dean how's it going?
Dean: Hey. It's all very exciting. We've been seeing a lot of great books come through the office, so I always love to see that.
Stuart: I love seeing the Facebook videos every now and then, the real time update on what's going in the door.
Dean: There's a big stack there. I need to do another one.
Stuart: It's always exciting. You get so caught up on the production side of things, getting them to the stage that they go out the door and physically miss them getting shipped to people but it's definitely the exciting stage of the process, letting them get out of there. Then the feedback as well. We just had a big spike in the number of reorders in the last couple months, so there are a few people particularly who are ordering books in the thousands.
Dean: That's awesome. There's nothing like it as a business tool, you know? That's really the thing. If you're doing that, especially as a lead generator, imagine. Those are all new people that you have a start of a relationship with. It's fantastic.
Stuart: That's the thing, isn't it? It's not just that it's a physical book that you can put on the shelf, it is the beginning of that conversation.
Dean: That's the most important.
Stuart: Definitely. I thought we would talk today about information goldmines. I've heard you refer to those before, the kind of books that we can create that really offers that value and captures information.
Dean: When we talked about the ... went to the call about book titles. One of the categories of titles is what I call "information goldmines" right? The thing that people are going to say, "Oh, that's very helpful." We've used a lot of these for things where there are questions about things or things that somebody has to do or something that's coming along, but if you can think about it as the place that somebody who's starting a process would go or be looking for research, that's the way it goes.
Most people, when they are starting a new process, first thing they do is they start gathering information about it, right? Having an information goldmine that's a magnet for those people is a great place to start. We've used them for Social Security, with financial advisors. We've got quite a few financial advisors that have done different versions of a Social Security benefits guide. We've used them for hockey scholarships. When you're putting a date on there, especially if information is constantly changing, when you say that the "2017 Guide to U.S. Hockey Scholarships" that is now, "Oh, this is the up-to-date information here." There's so many opportunities that you can be the source where people would be looking for information that way.
Stuart: I think that's the key, isn't it there? Understanding that user journey. That people, their first contact with a subject that they're either interested in or they unavoidably have to do something about, it's just that vacuum. That sucking in so much information that they can get about it because they're coming from a position of being completely unavailable, unknown. There's a real sponge-like effect of trying to draw in all of the information.
I can always remember when I was in school, I can remember that far back, but when I was in school there was a friend of ours who every summer would come back as the absolute expert on a new thing, whether it was computer games or programming or BMX bike riding or calligraphy, I remember one year. The reason was because he was an only child, he lived a little bit further away from everyone else - this is before the days of the internet - so he would just spend all summer consuming whatever he could on a particular subject. Magazines and books, any information.
Dean: On one topic.
Stuart: Exactly. There was a real ... not desperation, but a real desire to consume as much as possible and I think even in later life now as we've got situations where you're either interested in the subject or you have to deal with something, that first gathering phase, finding a reliable, trustworthy source of complete information, there's a real need out there.
Dean: How that works awfully ... There's a good framework for it, if you use it as an answer book. You just imagine that there's the opportunity to think about, "What are the questions that people are going to have about this?" Whatever the topic is. What are the questions that they're going to have at the front of their mind? Then I like this idea of, and I got this from Mike Koenigs for sharing information, of answering the 10 questions that people should be asking but don't even know that they should be asking.
A lot of that, when you start out with the 10 most frequently asked questions, the ones that everybody's got at the top of their mind, and then the next 10 being the questions they should be asking but don't even know that they should be asking. That's a nice segue. He talks about it for videos but I like it as a book and information guide outline. It's a really great thing.
The way we do our books, the process that we use for doing our 90 Minute Books is perfectly suited for that kind of audio interview format to give people an easy track to run on with asking the questions and answering them. Always of course leading to the next step.
Stuart: Absolutely. I think we've said, I was talking to Susan, last week or the week before, it's so easy for people to forget how much knowledge they've got and how much value that knowledge can provide, even it seems the most basic of things.
Dean: Especially when all you have to do is just a little bit ahead of somebody else.
Stuart: It's like the story of the two guys walking through the jungle and spot a lion and the guy starts putting his sneakers on and his mate turns to him and says, "I don't know why you're bothering doing that, you'll never outrun a lion." He looks at him and says, "I don't need to outrun the lion, I just need to outrun you."
Dean: Right. Exactly. That's the whole thing.
Stuart: Just be one step ahead.
Dean: As long as you're one step ahead but these are really great ... This is a great format for a book if you can think like a chess master. As a financial advisor it's not the most prudent thing to have a book about "How to Let Me Manage All of Your Money." That's really what the underlying desire is but that's not the thing that your clients want, right? They're gathering information, so what's going on in their mind? As they're approaching retirement, Social Security is certainly a top-of-mind thing and everybody's going to be affected by it. They have questions about it. It's not crystal clear. To present those questions and to offer the solution for them in one easy place, now you've turned an invisible prospect into a visible prospect.
I talked about the hockey scholarship guide. When you have something that is focused on providing something that is a little bit complicated or a little bit hard to initially explain, it's often the best thing to gather a list or group of people who, by virtue of asking for that thing, asking for that directory, are now your ideal audience. You know that the only reason somebody would ask for a 2017 U.S. hockey scholarship guide is because they are or have a child who wants to get a hockey scholarship. Now you're positioned to have a conversation about showing them how your branding and packaging and social media services can help their kid stand out over all the other kids, which is a message that's harder to convey through just cold advertising.
Stuart: Particularly on a subject like that where there's a certain element of underlying knowledge needed before that conversation steps up to the level of "Come and work with me because I can put you in a position of standing out above the crowd." That audience, they're the unknown, knowns. Or the known, unknowns. Whichever one that would be. It's the group of people who are perfectly suited but don't necessarily know that they're perfectly suited.
Dean: Right. The thing is you can't get a list, so you can make your list of them by offering something that ... What would they definitely be looking for? What are they interested in and what are they? What would they be searching for if they knew enough to search for it, you know?
Stuart: That's the thing is they're starting the conversation. The information goldmine-type books suit such a broad range of target audiences. We talk a lot about thinking of a book in terms of an individual funnel rather than an overall business, by targeting one book at the unknown knowns, the people who might not even understand they need the service, and then there's a follow-up book which is positioned with a different set of 10 questions and a different set of 10 questions that they should be asking but don't know yet.
Dean: You can have them for each step along the process. When you look at it, I'm not holding this romantic idea of what we're helping people do is create these masterpiece books that are going to be in the Archival Library of Congress and all of that, even though they will be because they all have ISBNs, but just on that, I don't have any illusions that that's what we're doing for people. What we're doing is helping people create marketing tools. You look at what we do for 90 Minute Books. There are three books in the process. We have "The 90 Minute Book" that explains exactly how it all works, and then when people are coming onboard, we have "Preparing For Your 90 Minute Book" to show how to get the most out of the experience and then, when people are done we have "Beyond The Book." Now that you got your book, here's what to do to turn it into the best tool that you could ever imagine for your business.
That's the way that you want to think about the information is just to start the conversation, right? The guide is just to get somebody to raise their hand. Now that you have that person's attention, now you can have a book as a companion guide or a book that goes along with it that helps people think a new thought. There's a psychology around this is, we're triangulating. That we are using information that we know absolutely for sure that they want, and then we're providing them that information but that information now is a gateway that we're in that relationship with them and we can use that to now introduce some new information along with it.
I was saying to somebody the other day, it's like if you're trying to break through as a band or a performer. One of the best things that you can do is start doing cover versions of songs. Where you can do songs that you already know they like and they're already ... If you're an artist that is like a particular other artist, you can do a cover version of their song to start the conversation and now that they know who you are and like what you do with that, now you can segue over to a new thought. It's very similar. This information we know for sure that people who are doing anything that is especially a big financial commitment, anybody who's doing anything like that I always going to feel better by having gathered all the information. That's the responsible thing to do.
Stuart: Starts the relationship off by giving something useful first and slowly taking them along the journey. That minimum valuable commitment, step to step to step. It's difficult if it's the first point of contact no matter how big or compelling or comprehensive the book could potentially be, there's no way it's going to be big enough or compelling enough or comprehensive enough for someone to sign over a $2 million portfolio. It's jumping straight to that biggest transaction. Isn't the most effective way of leading people through the conversation.
Dean: That's right.
Stuart: It's starting identifying the invisible prospects and then continuing from there.
Stuart: I think the idea of ... I was talking to Betsy yesterday. It was actually one of Mike's guys, dropped us message and Mike had started to reach out, but the chap particularly didn't have that clear an idea on what the next step should be and I think a lot of people find themselves in that position. They perhaps get the premise of the book and why it can be a valuable tool to identify invisible prospects but don't necessarily know what to put in there or are concerned.
I think this framework that you were talking about of the 10 most frequently asked questions, which people can get from many sources, if nothing else Google something and look at what the auto-complete says. Or the service desk, support desk in your own business, you're bound to get many of the questions. Just looking back to something I said earlier about not necessarily undervaluing or dismissing something. If it seems so basic to you as being in the business day in and day out, there's still value to someone in that gathering phase.
I think that model of answer the 10 most frequently asked questions but then think about the questions that they should be asking, that type of model is really going to help people who are perhaps struggling to come up with what to include to really be able to create something and leverage it, because it works across any industry.
Dean: You're absolutely right.
Stuart: I think we've seen it with the real estate business that we have, the old question that we ask of "Would you prefer to be rich or famous?" The point that he made about there's no illusion here, we're not trying to win any awards, we're trying to win business. This is a good way of doing that well than getting too bogged down in the process of becoming an author. It's less about being an author and it's more about a business owner that writes a book to generate more business.
Dean: You're absolutely right. That's really the thing and the good news is, and I said it before, that part of the thing if you do it right, just get the title, the thought that "What would it be that somebody would be looking for?" When we talked about titles, this was one of the categories, was information goldmines. What would be the ... Does your thing fit in that? Is there something where people are gathering information about it? How can you present that in a way that makes them feel like, "Oh, this is ... I need to start here."
Stuart: I think the point that you were making earlier about the having a date around it as well, so the "2017 Guide to Social Security." Even though the majority of the information may remain broadly the same year to year, there's still usually always some legitimate things that change within a particular industry. Even if there isn't it's still accurate to say it is the "2017 Guide" to something even if all the information is the same as last year because nothing has changed…
Dean: You're absolutely right. I think you're right.
Stuart: The pre-suasion. I think the last time we talked on the show we were talking about Robert Cialdini's "Pre-suasion" book. A number of those little cues that can be included to predispose people to understanding that this is the resource of value for this year.
Dean: The book itself is one of those. The book itself is that. The book itself is a pre-suader. Somebody who asks for a book on "U.S. Hockey Scholarships Guide" is now much more likely and open to a conversation about the next level, which is how to win scholarships.
Stuart: Right. There's a whole raft of follow-up information that can be provided then to move the conversation forward.
Dean: Which now positions Jay's branding and packaging and social media services. That all makes sense now in the context of winning a scholarship whereas gathering the information makes it safe for people to raise their hand. I always think about that same thing, having those things we did ... I remember, I think you met these guys at the I Love Marketing conference where we did the mainframe outsourcing. Those guys, that was a big win for them was doing "The Quarterly Guide to Mainframe Outsourcing." That was a big thing with corporate clients. Each client was worth $100,000 or more, up to several hundred thousand dollars for a full migration, but they were starting out by realizing that the first thing that somebody's going to be tasked with is, "Well, get all the information together for what are our options for mainframe outsourcing."
Stuart: Particularly in service ... I know we talked before about the example of the dental continuing education requirement. Something out there has triggered this need, so it's not like this is discretionary. In the example of the mainframe guys, there's the ... use the tool where you can imagine them being sat around the board table, twiddling their thumbs and then, "Smith, go find out about mainframe outsourcing."
Dean: That's right.
Stuart: All of a sudden there's an immovable object meeting an irresistible force of "Here's a deadline. You've just been tasked with, 'We've got to find out all of that information.'" That's a real driver as they start the conversation of presenting something that's accessible and easy to use. It doesn't show any whiskers, to use the cheese-and-whiskers metaphor. It's just all about providing information in order to start the conversation.
Stuart: I was just looking back on the gallery page on the 90 Minute Books site and looking at some of the titles that have gone out recently. I'm thinking about that bridge between people providing answers and people providing information. There's quite a mix of presentations on the covers of that type of thing. I think the "answers" ones really stand out as, if someone's searching for a particular question, the answer books really stand out as being the answer to that. I think there's a ... I'm struggling to think of the right words to define it, but there's a definite difference between "Here's a book that is almost broadcasting information versus here is a book that answers a question."
I think as an outsider coming into understanding about this particular subject or even someone who's got some degree of understanding but needing to know more, there's a feeling of certainty or comfort that you get when you see a title that clearly answers a question. A relevant question from something that's almost more statement-y.
Dean: I agree. It's charge-neutral, is what I call it where you're not trying to necessarily get somebody to think a new thought, you're meeting there where they are.
Stuart: This is why I have you here… Your two words very much more accessible than my 22 words.
Dean: That's so funny.
Stuart: It's true, it's like the old judge ruling of pornography. You might not be able to describe it, but you know it when you see it. It's that charge-neutral, that term of, you're not trying to get someone to think a new thought, you're just joining the conversation that's already going on. Particularly for the fellow in the context of almost like cold lead generation where there isn't necessarily a conversation going on with you particularly, where they don't necessarily know who you are, so there's no brand recognition or value in the name. It's just trying to start a conversation. That comfort that you get of seeing a title that answers a question that you've got some concern or anxiety about having answered really stands out particularly. When you look at 150 or so covers next to each other, it jumps off the page.
Dean: Absolutely. That's a good idea to go ... If people look at our 90-Minute Book gallery. There's great examples there. If you go to 90minutebooks.com and click on the gallery link, you'll see laid out, there's hundreds of books there that you can see the titles and you can see the ones that really stand out. It's a good exercise.
Stuart: I think both in terms of look and feel and the feeling that you get from answering those questions. Asking questions.
Fantastic. We are just heading towards 30 minutes, so I'll cut you loose. I know you've got lots of things to get on with today. Thanks for your time again, Dean. We will catch up again. We're going to make this more regular than in the past.
Dean: I love it. Perfect.
Stuart: If people want to follow along with the show links, head across to 90minutebooks.com, this episode, 023. 90minutebooks.com/023 and there'll be a transcript of the call up there along with some links to some of the things we've talked about. Dean, thanks again, and everyone thanks for listening in. We'll catch you next time.
Dean: Thanks, Stuart.