In the B2C world, you can have a clever product, market it at the right time to the right market segment and win big. People have sold all manner of crazy things to consumers because they had the right thing at the right time. It’s not quite that easy in the B2B world.
In my experience, good business buyers only buy for one of four reasons: (1) to stop an immediate source of business pain, (2) to invest for future profits, (3) to hedge against future losses, or (4) because the government requires them to do so (compliance).
When a business buyer does agree to purchase, it’s generally not a one-off proposition, which means the prospect’s vendor management or procurement team will move in to assess the qualifications of the vendor before recommending the new relationship.
One of the things they’ll be looking for is the quality of the vendor’s executive management. To prepare for this, our clients are advised to keep their social media profiles up to date, backfill their corporate websites with information about their team, including executive bios, and to make it easy for prospects to find what their executives have written.
A well-written business book is an excellent sales tool as it provides a good overview of the executive’s approach to the business and demonstrates a commitment to the industry. You shouldn’t expect the vendor manager to take the time to read your book, but she’ll make a note of its existence. Here are our guidelines for the creation of a good business book.
1. Keep it short, say 30,000 words or so. This is a respectable size, but also one that a business prospect might feel comfortable reading over the weekend.
2. Structure the book by breaking your message down into 10 chapters, where each chapter represents an important issue for your ideal buyer. For each of these issues, determine the six most important questions that must be answered to keep the deal on track. Write those answers in about 500 words each.
3. Make certain you have answered the right questions. The quality of your book will have a direct correlation to the quality of the questions you ask and the answers you provide (just like life). After you’ve written the chapter, have someone else read it to make sure there are no important unasked/unanswered questions and that the answers are presented in an order that makes sense in regard to the buyer’s journey.
4. Have the book professionally assembled and have a custom cover designed. Buy an ISBN and work with a service that can get your book onto Amazon.com and other online bookstores. Copyright the book and register it with the Library of Congress.
5. Self publish the book, printing it in softcover, perfect bound. Sure, you can shop it to a publisher, just make sure you have a couple of years to wait around until it hits the shelf.
6. Publicize the release of the book and work with a PR firm to get the book found and the author out on the speaking circuit.
Writing a good book can take a long time if the author just meanders through her experience in search of good stories to tell. When the book is well structured around important issues and vital questions, the writing is easier and the book is far more likely to add value to its readers and lead to more sales for the author.
Co-Founder and COO at Content Beacon + President at RGA Public Relations