Are You Listening?

The best marketing is relational. People will usually not remember much about a conversation they had with you, but they will remember how they felt when they interacted with you. Marketing is about identifying a need and providing a solution for the need. Promoting a book is all about responding to someone’s need.

When I recently attended Christian Book Expo (CBE) in Dallas, I met a gentleman who had self-published a book. This author was very enthusiastic about his book and its potential. He showed me his promotional material and the many endorsements and reviews he had received for his book, pointing out the big name authors he had secured endorsements from. He told me his book was “going places.” At the end of our conversation, I had no clue what his book was about or how I would benefit from reading it.

This particular author did not have a booth at CBE. He was an attendee walking around with a briefcase stopping to talk with people about his book. As I do with most contacts I make at a tradeshow, I sent this gentleman a follow-up email telling him it was a pleasure to meet him and wishing him the best with his book. His response was a return email requesting that I promote his book on my website.

Why would I promote this man’s book on my website? What benefit would there be in this for me? If this author had but taken the time to look at my information and my website, he would see that this is not the sort of activity I routinely engage in. The lack of a relational approach and personal connection in his interactions with me left me feeling like I was not a fellow author, but merely a marketing vehicle.listening

On the other hand, I met a children’s author while I was browsing in the kids’ section at CBE. This author noticed that I had stopped to look at her books and came over and introduced herself as the author. She then proceeded to ask me about my interest in the books and if there were any questions she could answer for me about the books. This author shared with me why she had written the books and the message she wanted children to take away from reading them.

We chatted for a few minutes and this children’s author allowed me to share about my own work. Upon hearing what I was doing, she immediately took me to meet someone who turned out to be a very beneficial contact.

Guess what? I am in the process of purchasing those children’s books by that author largely because she made a personal connection with me. I left feeling like she had a passion for her message and that she also cared about the people she came in contact with. I was more than just another sale to her.

You can promote and promote a book, but if your promotional efforts are not relational, your efforts may well fall flat. Listening to your potential customers and their needs is key to keeping your marketing efforts relational.

Are you listening?

2 thoughts on “Are You Listening?

  1. Thank you for the article, insightful marketing ideas! I agree that being relational is being humane and respectful to the sensitivities of book fans and readers. In the zeal of promoting their works, sometimes authors forget that they are dealing with people who have biases and sensitivities that should not be taken for granted, and certainly not to be treated like mere “statistical target market” with no feelings at all. Thus, marketing skills should be complemented with people skills to establish a sincere rapport with book readers and enthusiasts alike.


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