When you’re out at networking events, or when you meet a prospective client for the first time, you probably make sure to leave something behind so that the person you’re talking to remembers you and knows how to contact you. Many of you probably keep a stack of business cards with you at all times for exactly this purpose.
Business cards are a great tool, especially at events where lots of people are in attendance, and you’re having lots of quick conversations. They’re lightweight, relatively inexpensive, and unobtrusive. Receiving a business card from a brand-new contact is not annoying; and it can be helpful later when you’re trying to remember everyone you met at the event.
But what about those times when a business card just isn’t enough? Maybe you’re sitting down with someone for a longer meeting to discuss the actual possibility of working together. Maybe someone is coming out to your office to meet with you and your staff to see if you’re a good fit for their needs. Maybe you’re trying to grab the attention of someone who’s been a long-time contact, but who has never quite crossed into the territory of becoming a paying client.
In all of these cases, a business card no longer makes sense. They already know who you are and how to contact you. You need something more.
The phrase “a book is the new business card” is all over the place right now. If you type those exact words into Google, you will receive almost 15,000 results. Now, if you use a book exactly like you would use a business card—in other words, if you give one to every person you meet at every networking event—you’ll likely go broke.
I prefer to say, “a book is better than a business card once you’ve gotten to know someone a little better, and once you understand their goals and how your company can help them.” It’s not as catchy, but it’s accurate.
A book provides so much more than contact information. A book can give a prospective client insight not only into the specifics of what your business does, but also into your mindset and how you operate. Business is as much about relationships as it is about anything else, and getting a feel for how someone thinks and acts is important when evaluating companies you may or may not want to work with. Reading someone’s own words is an outstanding way to get inside their head and see what it would be like to work with them.
On a more superficial level, having a book is impressive. That may sound crass, but it’s true. If you’re shopping around for someone to perform a particular service, and then you find out they wrote a book on the subject, you will view them as an expert, even if you don’t take the time to read their book. Being a published author puts you in a category that many aspire to join, but few do. Of course, you hope that anyone who receives (or buys) your book will read it, but know that it will still have an impact if they don’t.
Using Your Book as a Marketing Opportunity
As previously stated, using your book like a business card wouldn’t be cost-effective. So what is the best way to make use of your book? You want it to be the final thing someone has in their hand after meeting with you so it becomes your last impression.
Different people take different approaches to this, but what seems to be most effective is using it almost as an afterthought. If the meeting has gone well, and you believe the person in front of you would be a good fit as a client, you can wrap up the conversation by telling them about the book, and putting it in their hands. If there’s a section in the book that’s especially relevant to their needs, point that out.
If you’re on a call with the prospective client rather than meeting them in person, find a way to work the book into your follow-up email. Many of you probably already have specific calls to action you like to include: mailing list sign-ups, links to relevant sites, LinkedIn connection requests, etc. Linking to your book is another call to action. People are more likely to read a book (or even click the link) if they know how it relates to their specific situation, so highlight sections or chapters that you think will be helpful.
Once you have a book, there are many ways to talk about it and many ways to put it in people’s hands. It will take some practice to figure out what’s most comfortable for you, but the key is to not be afraid to talk about it. People receiving it will appreciate the opportunity to learn more about you and your company, and they will automatically see you differently, knowing that you’re a published author in your field.
If you have a published book, and you have questions about how to use it effectively—or if you don’t have a book yet, but you are thinking about getting started on one, contact us at Maven Publishing today. We’re a boutique publishing house of non-fiction for entrepreneurs and small business owners, and we’d love to answer your questions and get you on the path to success.