A former prospect got back in touch after a six year absence. We had met back in 2013 to discuss writing his book. He had a lot of things going on in his life and he never got back to me, though I would hear from him from time to time—an email or social media message. He is on my mailing list, so he receives my blog posts and the infrequent emails I send to keep in touch.
So when he called me last week, it was pretty much out of the blue. He is doing more speaking to groups and one of the event promoters is pushing him to have a course to sell at their upcoming meeting. He’s been working on the course in that he is working on having his book ready. He knows his methodology works; he just needs some guidance on what should go into a course versus what goes into a book.
So, what’s the problem?
Writing a book or a course takes time and his speaking events are coming up in less than two months for the first, three months for the second. While I can write a book or a course in a month, he cannot. This is his first time swimming in these waters and he is getting swamped.
Time is Money.
There’s also the time that has passed since we first talked, back when my prices were way below market. If he had hired me back then, he would have had a book or course written for around $5,000. I charge a lot more than that these days, one because that is where the market is and two, I’m better at my job now. So, a much better quality product at a significantly higher price.
But that’s not where the real cost comes in. In business, there’s a thing called opportunity cost. It’s the potential money that you lose when you choose one alternative over another. For example, if I put $50,000 into a single family rental house, I may miss out on putting $50,000 into an apartment building that would ultimately bring in more money. If I spend $500 on a color printer, I might find a better one on sale for $400 next week.
In this case, the lost revenue is measured in opportunities that were missed. How many speaking engagements did he not get because he didn’t have a product to sell? (In his field, groups hire speakers who sell from the front of the room and they split all sales with the speaker.) Because he wasn’t invited to speak, he missed out on finding students to mentor and people to do deals with. At the level of his deals, that cost runs into literally millions of dollars.
He missed out on product sales themselves. He is looking at a low priced product, under $500. But, even splitting with the group that brings him in, product sales can bring in thousands of dollars at each speaking engagement.
Again, the Money is NOT in the Book Sales
What has it cost him not to have a book? If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know the money is not in book sales. At best, he may have made anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars in book royalties over the years.
But a book is a marketing tool and he understands that. Deployed properly, he could have used that to not only get more speaking engagements, but as a lead generator, credibility and authority builder, door opener, and marketing differentiator.
For someone like him, the cost of not having a product to sell is high. One contact made through his book could net him a deal that brings in millions. So maybe it’s not fair for me to use him as an example. Let’s take someone who works on a slightly more down-to earth scale, maybe a consultant who makes high five figures and would like to break that six figure barrier consistently.
The Cost to the “Average” Entrepreneur.
Let’s say her consulting services run a reasonable $1,000 per month and she has bandwidth to handle 20 clients a month. But right now, she only has six clients on average. Some months she comes close to hitting $9,000 or $10,000; other months she only brings in $4,000 or $5,000. The money isn’t consistent and while it is not horrible, she’d like to bring in more money consistently.
The key to consistent money is consistent marketing. In most businesses, you need to continually find new clients, even if you do great work. You need to fill your pipeline so you never have a month where you are looking around for your next client. There should always be people you are working with as well as people you are warming up to work with you.
Having a book as a marketing tool fills the top of your marketing funnel. Not everyone who reads your book will become a top-tier client. They may buy something else from you—an online course or a one-off strategy session. But with enough people in your funnel, you will have a stream of people who DO want to work with you at a higher level. If you think about the Pareto Principle (80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your clients), you can see how all the people in your funnel contribute to your total income. Do you ignore the 80% who are buying lesser products? No, of course not. They are where your 20% start out. Your marketing funnel is your sifter and sorter to find that 20%.
There’s one other cost of not writing your book. It’s nagging at you. It’s on your mind. It’s taking up mental space. How do I know this? Because I have somewhere between three to six books that are part of my mental clutter right now.
How much has your inaction cost you? Do you know?
If you know having a book would help you market your business and it’s something you just haven’t “gotten to yet” it is taking up space in your head. It makes you feel guilty. It hangs over you. You have some choices: you can pay a ghostwriter to write your book for you, you can set aside time to write it yourself (I have a video for that) or you can scale down your expectations and write what I call a “little book”—a short and sweet book that speaks to your target market. It may not be your be-all and end-all business book, but it’s enough to get your business the stream of clients you need—which will free up some of your time to write your big book if you still want to.
I know I’m biased. I believe in using books to market your business. I know how well they work. I know what a difference they can make for a business owner. What is stopping you from getting your book out there? Email me: Barbara@BarbaraGrassey.com and let me know what your stopping point is. (And, if you don’t know, we can figure it out together.)