The authors who stay around for decades-like Zig Ziglar, Stephen Covey, Rick Warren and Robert Kiyosaki-build enduring careers, lasting legacies of impact, and millions of dollars based on sharing their message using a basic sales cycle.
Some authors are okay with publishing their message just to make it available and see what happens. But if you are passionate about your message that you feel compelled to share because you sincerely believe that it will improve the lives of others as soon as they hear it, then you might want to keep reading and learn more about turning that passion into a career.
Can a Book Really Lead to a Career?
I have to give credit to Brendon Burchard-author of The Millionaire Messenger-for opening my mind to the idea of authors being able to make a living-even a lucrative one-from sharing their message. But Michael Port’s book Book Yourself Solid receives credit for helping me understand why authors need a sales cycle to jump-start that career.
Burchard explains how to choose and define the message you want to share. He goes on to explain the overall process of building an information empire and lists the different information products you can create to help you solve other people’s problems. He illustrates how a message can become a career by using the examples of highly regarded experts like:
- Zig Ziglar is renowned for his first book “See You at the Top,” but this salesman and motivational speaker has published over a dozen books between 1975 and his death in 2012. His publications led to training seminars, keynote speeches and consultation services that carry his message to the people who need it most-even years after his death.
- Stephen Covey turned the message in his 1989 publication entitled “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” into a million dollar empire that has serves so many people that he even has stores dedicated to selling his products. His sons Sean and Stephen have even contributed to the family’s leadership and productivity empire.
- Rick Warren is a pastor who wrote “The Purpose Driven Life” as a tool to help fellow pastor’s teach the message to their congregations. Since the book’s publication in 2002, it has become the bestselling hardcover book in history. His message has also grown his congregation to an average of 20,000 in attendance each week.
- Robert Kiyosaki is a financial educator who is best known for his 2000 publication “Rich Dad Poor Dad” where he talks about the financial lessons he learned from his rich dad-who was really the father of a close friend-and his poor dad-his biological father. This businessman and investor used the book to build a million dollar empire that promotes his educational boardgame, educational training program and one-on-one coaching programs to help people learn to stop living paycheck to paycheck.
With examples like these, Burchard makes a clear argument that it is possible to turn your book’s message into a career.
But it is Port’s book that helped me to truly appreciate how a sales cycle makes the difference between using what you know to help people, and trading what you know for money so you can afford to continue helping people.
What Is a Sales Cycle?
If I were to show you an ad for a new product right now, would you run out to the nearest store and buy it right away? Chances are that you wouldn’t.
Before you buy the product, you might visit the product website to read about the features and any comments you may find. Any time you visit the website for a product, they will usually ask for your contact information so they can follow-up with you. They may use a contest, a discount or a freebie as an incentive for you to give up your contact information. And although you might not be ready to buy the product, you just might give them your contact information if you value the incentive enough.
Over the following days, weeks or months you may receive emails or phone calls from the company with more details about the product or special offers that entice you to buy. If you like the product, you just may take advantage of their special offers and buy it. If you are still undecided, you might let them keep sending you information until the day you finally decide to buy.
And once you buy one product, they may show you offers for add-ons and moreservices.
If any of that process sounds familiar, then you already know what a sales cycle is. It is a series of offers that gradually increase in the level of commitment.
The first part of the sales cycle was getting you to their website. Then getting you to give up your contact information. Then asking you to buy. And then asking you to buy more-maybe even to buy something bigger than the first product.
Example of a Sales Cycle for an Author
I read my first book by Robert Kiyosaki because my husband had one on the bookshelf. I was so intrigued that I raided the local library and read every book they had by the author.
After I finished reading the books I could get my hands on for free, I decided to visit his website. The website would allow me to play the online version of his board game Cashflow if I registered by sharing my contact information. So I did. And I played regularly for weeks.
Because I was a registered member of the website, I received email offers to attend an upcoming seminar in my area by the Rich Dad team. This would finally be my chance to connect with other people who are as intrigued by Robert’s message as I am, so I grabbed a couple of friends and I went.
During the free event, I received free information on a flash drive and an invitation to register for live investment training at a discounted price. I never heard of the Rich Dad live training events before attending that seminar, but I was glad to learn that my education was not limited to books.
I did not sign up for one of the paid training events, but I did learn a valuable lesson about how an author can use their book as a business card.
For most authors, they will probably try to get potential readers to their website, then try to get them to share their contact information in exchange for something valuable, then try to get them to buy the book, and then offer teleconferences, webinars, live seminars, coaching, online courses, a conference, or a number of other offers that allows the reader to learn the message more in-depth.
Writing and publishing a book is only the beginning of sharing your message. Like a mentioned before-and as I have heard Robert Kiyosaki say about his books-the book can be the business card that promotes your message. If people like your message, they will probably want more and more interaction with you to learn more.
So if you want to build a career out of sharing your message, your challenge will be to:
- position your message so that you are distinct from others with a similar message,
- package your message into information products-other than your book-that you can sell, and
- promote your message.
Question: Are you ready to turn your message into a career?
Cover Image Attribution: Derivative of Abras2010 (FMI Show_Palestrante_Stephen Covey) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Disclosure of Material Connection: The links in the book widget in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."