I was sitting with the best selling non-fiction author of all time. My wife and I were in his palatial home in Santa Barbara, just down the way from Oprah’s house.
During the sidebar conversation the legendary author dropped a little nugget that I picked up on and haven’t been able to get out of my head since.
Let me tell you about it.
Jack Canfield, co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book empire was telling Beth and I about all of the publishers that turned down he and his partner, Mark Victor Hansen. I’m not sure of the exact number of rejections, but it was in the hundreds. I’m so new at the book publishing business that I didn’t even know that many book publishers even existed.
(Watch a video of Jack and Joe B. discussing The CAP Equation sales methodology here: https://youtu.be/EtRRzG2ntLc)
So after every publisher in the world turned him down—telling him that nobody wants to read books made up of a collection of short stories—he and Mark decided to self-publish. I’ve learned a few things about self-publishing. My first non-fiction book, The CAP Equation, A Foolproof Formula for Unlimited Success in Sales is self-published and when you publish your own book you have to do all of the marketing and promotions yourself. There’s nobody else to do it for you.
The timeline of Jack’s story was 1993. He explained that it was just him and his partner, Mark. They had to start moving the book copies that were freshly printed and sitting in the boxes piled up on their office floor. With no traditional publisher to do the advertising, promotion or marketing, they were left to figure out what to do and how to do it.
Now, Jack wasn’t a superstar salesperson. He was an ex schoolteacher that had made the decision to become an author. He and his partner had to take action and sell some books. So what they decided to do was build a list of every entity they knew that may have interest in buying their book in some volume, large or small. The list included retail bookstores and any other type of institution that might be interested in handing out an inspirational book to their employees or members.
Then Jack told me that he made the promise to himself to do one other thing…
Jack made the commitment to do at least 5 things each and every day to sell his new book!
That meant that he probably mailed out at least 5 books every day with a letter advising the prospect to expect a call from him. Jack was committed to contacting a minimum of 5 prospects each day in some manner—come rain or shine—until those books started moving out the door. He knew an unknown book called Chicken Soup for the Soul wasn’t going to sell itself and after you’ve received hundreds of rejection letters from traditional publishers you don’t have any better options but to dial for dollars.
Think about it, with that one simple magic self-made commitment of Jack’s, he employed at least 5 of the practical sales tactics that we teach inside of The CAP Equation methodology.
Here’s a short list of the powerful actions Jack’s magic idea was made up of:
- He made a definite decision to prospect every day
- He didn’t allow the fact that he had no prior sales experience to stop him
- He made a conscious decision to have a FULL calendar
- He put the work on his OWN desk–he woke up employed each day
- He engaged the law of large numbers to work in his favor
By instinct, Jack did all of the things a new professional salesperson should do each and every day they get dressed and leave the house. And he wasn’t even a professional salesperson.
Whether you are a brand new commission based salesperson or you’re a veteran that needs to re-fill your pipeline, you can take away a ton of wisdom from Jack’s resolve.
Are you making a definite decision to prospect ‘x’ number of prospects each and every day? All pros know that success starts with a crystalized decision to go to work. Beginning is half done. After the decision is made, the creativity flows.
Are you identifying the 5, 10, 20 or 40 prospects that you know you need to call today and ask for the courtesy of a few minutes of their time? Jack identified the 5 or 10 prospects that he was going to reach out to each day. The magic compounds when you have a volume of definite targets identified.
If you are new, are you using the old excuse: “I’m waiting until I have my pitch down just perfect before I start picking up the phone or going out in the field.” I am quite sure that Jack didn’t have the smoothest pitch in the world. He simply didn’t use that as an excuse not to get started calling people. Your skills will improve. You have to be willing to stumble forward. You can’t allow yourself to be be paralyzed because your front talk isn’t perfected yet. Your VERSION ONE is better than your VERSION NONE.
Are you making the solemn commitment to having a FULL calendar or are you defaulting to a FOOL’s calendar? Jack was determined to fill his calendar–take personal responsibility to sell some books. It helped that he had no other choices.
Are you putting the work on your own desk? Do you wake up employed each morning? Are you planning ahead and hard-wiring the work into your calendar several days in advance? If you aren’t, God help you. You aren’t going to last very long at the gig you are in. Jack removed the need to think too much. He simply set his calendar on the 5 or 10 prospects he was going to call each day and then he ran on autopilot. he woke up employed each day.
And finally, are you allowing the law of large numbers to work in your favor? Think about it…if you make the resolve to contact 10 prospects each day, that will amount to 200 in a month and 2,400 in the course of a year. Do you think a few of those 2,400 prospects will say, “Yes” even if you suck at what you do?
I know, I know…lots of good questions, right? I’m preaching to you, right?
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a sales geek. I have some very crystalized ideas of what works in commission sales and what won’t work. Please forgive me. I’ve squandered 35 years of my life studying sales. This is all I know!
Here’s the point I want to get across to you. Regardless of where you are in your career and what your position is, if you want to move to the next level and get your pipeline flowing, it’s all about doing the work on a consistent an persistent basis—just committing to it first, then figuring out how to hard-wire the right actions into your daily routine.
Maybe you should start by just doing 5 things every day this week to promote your business and products.
Of course, there is always the rest of the story.
How did his decision to do 5 things every day to promote and sell his book work out for Jack?
Well, they finally sold enough books on their own that a small, self-help publisher in Florida offered them a modest publishing deal.
The rest is a publishing legend!
Currently, the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series includes more than 200 titles. Eventually, Jack and his partner sold their powerful brand to an ownership group in Connecticut for many, many millions of dollars. Jack and his partner, Mark, hold a Guinness Book world record for having seven books on the New York Times best-seller list at the same time. Jack also co-authored The Success Principles and was featured in a self-help film called “The Secret”
I guess Jack’s simple, but magical decision to do at least 5 things each day to sell his book worked out pretty well for him.
Are you doing at least 5, 10, 20 or more things every day to promote your business or sell your products? or are you just waiting until you “feel like it” or “get around to it”?
How would it change your career and your life if you decided to employ the magic of doing 5 or more things every day?
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Joe Buzzello is a nationally recognized expert on direct selling and sales leadership. He has built legacy sales teams and experienced unprecedented success in individual and business-to-business markets as well as the network marketing industry. Joe has held executive level positions for Fortune 500 companies, but he has never strayed far from the art and science of selling, which he loves. In early 2014, Joe began writing, speaking, and coaching through his proprietary platform, The CAP Equation©. Please visit Joe at: http://www.CAPequation.com