Kindle User Experience Upgrades Empower Authors

It’s not a secret that digital technology and the internet are the bomb! Totally disruptive. Totally innovative. Totally liberating. Totally exciting… to some of us.

We, the unapologetic self-publishers of 2019, who want to tear down the barriers to success with getting our books published and in the hands of eager readers.

The User Experience Matters And Kindle Makes Good

Lots of people are afraid of technology because they find it cold, counterintuitive, and awkward to use. But technology is always improving, so shunning it does us no good. When we can find an instance of a place where the user experience of online design—an abstraction called UX by graphic designers—is logical, straightforward, and flows seamlessly in a clear progression, we should celebrate that to the max. Kindle Direct Publishing has drastically improved its UX.

Whatever you think about Amazon “taking over the world” and Jeff Bezos’ rapid climb to the top of the social hierarchy in the United States, I think you’d have to admit that he understood the possibility of online technology to make our lives simpler and flowing before we did. That’s why he is such a powerful influencer—and so wealthy.

Enter Kindle Direct Publishing

The admirably seamless user experience is nowhere more evident in the Amazon stratosphere than in its publishing arm, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). When all the other stores were poo pooing self-publishing, KDP started studying our writing and marketing habits and finding ways to serve us and invite us into partnership with them. It was an early opportunity missed by the arrogance of Barnes and Noble, which had the largest brick and mortar footprint across the nation. Now that everyone buys books online, B&N has been playing catch up. And as B&N catches up, KDP is forced to become even better so that we (self-publishers) remain loyal to it.

DIY authors are a hot commodity because we drive a lot of internet traffic to online stores.

Self-Publishing Resources Expand

In this “space race” of self-publishing, Amazon smartly bought a group of smaller companies and fit their offerings together to create a publishing jigsaw puzzle—the original print-on-demand paperback company, Book Source, was renamed CreateSpace. It remained as such until Fall 2018, when this system was retired and all the production files in it started to be rolled into Kindle Paperbacks—where royalty rates have increased to a desirable 60 percent of retail price!

Amazon/Kindle also bought Goodreads (a social platform where authors can interface with readers), Audible (an audio publishing company), and more. At each step self-publishers have been invited to participate and empowered to do it for little to no money upfront.

There were a few elements that had to be done exterior to the web-based platform until now, but as software designers cobbled those together, these features have been integrated into KDP. Now it is quite robust. One of my favorite words!

Learn more at our free webinar!
Learn More Social Buzz U is featuring Stephanie Gunning’s webinar  which will go in depth into the Kindle Direct Publishing changes and how you can take advantage of it. If you miss the live training and want access to it, consider joining Social Buzz Club and gain this training and hundreds more in our library of high content trainings to grow your business from top experts.

Writing and Design Come Together

A tipping point has been reached where the upgrades to the back office publishing experience have made it possible to write and design simultaneously, and with a push of a button have a respectable-looking book published in a manner of days.

The improvements benefit consumers too—because frankly, as convenient as portable reading devices like the Kindle are, the appearance of self-published ebooks was always pretty awful. it was hard to add more bells and whistles to a book design that had to be converted into a software that couldn’t accommodate them. Until. Recently. Now conversion of ebooks is better.

Progress leads to perfection, I suppose.

Advertising Tools Join In

With the upgrades to its systems, DIY publishers have access to advertising tools on Amazon. Beta testing is being done on features like the X-Ray, where clickable links add value.

The thing I like about KDP is that when the company wants us to adopt a new behavior they create an inducement to do so. And those inducements usually are tools that increase sales.

Savvy self-publishers need to know their own goals to discern which tools matter for them. Having tools available may empower some people more than others, depending on aptitudes for technology. But the good news is that help is definitely available, so authors can delegate the tasks that lie outside their own comfort zone to support personnel if they want to.

Stay In the Know

Where taking a good close look at KDP’s dashboard every month or two can be beneficial to those who recognize the space is constantly evolving, the best publishing practice is to be mindful of your books and not neglect them. Try thinking of online publishing as a video game. The more you know about the possibilities the more likely you are to be a winner.

Stay in touch with your books. Modify your description, pricing, and keywords periodically. And try out new tools to suss them out. It all exists because someone like you wanted it.

Come play with the rest of the kids in this DIY playground.

 

Turn Sales Conversation Mistakes Into Opportunities with Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a critical component of sales success. With awareness, knowledge, and building key skills, you can increase your emotional intelligence to close more sales.

Have you ever had a sales person talk their way out of a sale with you? You know your problem, are convinced of their solution and ready to go and they just keep on talking. They fill your head with so much information that somewhere along the way you lose interest. It now seems way too complicated and you need time to sort through the details.

How often do you do this with your potential clients?

Many sales people just like to hear themselves talk. They have a script to get through whether anyone is listening or not. Most often the script includes the products and how they resolve the client’s (assumed) points of pain.

This need to fix, heal, convert, teach or direct clients is the biggest mistake made by unsuccessful salespeople. We call this Corrective Complex.

The Impact of Corrective Complex

Corrective Complex is the knee-jerk reflex we all have during many of our conversations. Corrections cover the spectrum from the desire to fix a problem, heal someone’s hurts, convert them to our beliefs, teach proper information and direct the overall outcome. It is said that typically 90% of all energy in conversations is devoted to convincing others of an opinion.

Think of all the recent conversations you’ve had. Can you think of people who seem to talk at you versus with you? Chances are you’ve done the same. This is an example of Corrective Complex in action.

When in Corrective Complex, you develop a complex, others develop a complex, and the conversation ends up becoming more complex than it needs to be.

Think about it this way—when someone corrects or directs you, especially on issues you know need action or change, what do you think is our instinctive response? It’s human nature to naturally want to do nothing—or worse—do the exact opposite.

How do you respond when someone interacts with you in Corrective Complex—wanting to fix, heal, convert, teach or direct you?

Highly successful sales people achieve their results by working towards Collaborative Change with their clients.

Collaborative Change Offers a Solution

The opposite of the Corrective Complex is Collaborative Change. This occurs when both parties work together to resolve the issues at hand. It’s when everybody is intrinsically motivated to participate in change.

Collaborative Change requires trust that the client is an expert on themselves. You may have more knowledge, insights or experience; however, they are the ones who know what it takes to motivate them for change.

Collaboration makes getting things done so much easier because it calls in intrinsic motivation which is far more powerful than extrinsic correction and direction.

Learn more at our free webinar!
Join Brenda for a FREE live webinar, August 23 2018.

Three Key Skills That Increase Emotional Intelligence

To increase the capacity for Collaborative Change, one must increase emotional intelligence. The key is to develop three skills: a robust emotional vocabulary, self-awareness, and empathy.

Robust emotional vocabulary is otherwise known as emotional literacy. This provides access to a broader set of words to describe feelings. It is the first step and primary sign of healthy emotional intelligence. It also helps build resilience.

Self-awareness is the conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires—knowing one’s internal states, preference, resources and intuitions. Self-awareness is the ability to monitor our inner world, our thoughts and emotions as they arise.

Empathy  is the experience of understanding another person’s thoughts, feelings, and condition from their point of view, rather than from your own—the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.

EQTunement is the Key to Sales Success

EQTunement is the skill we need to avoid the Corrective Complex and move a conversation into Collaborative Change. To do this, we combine emotional intelligence and the act of attunement.

Here are the dictionary meanings of each:

Emotional Intelligence: the capacity to be aware of, express and control emotions – responding appropriately and helping others do the same.

Attunement: to bring into accord, harmony, or sympathetic relationship; simply sharing a common understanding and feeling.

Emotional intelligence is extremely important for success. It can be the single greatest determining factor when negotiating a sale. While this is true, combining it with attunement creates a powerful accelerator for Collaborative Change.

Putting EQTunement into Action

Putting these two skills together, we develop the ability of EQTunement. To achieve EQTunement, we want to communicate the following in every conversation:

  1. “I see you.”
  2. “I hear you.”
  3. “I understand you.”
  4. “I care for you.”

With these and other emotional intelligence skills you will supercharge your sales process and watch revenue accelerate.

Incorporating emotional intelligence key skills into your professional development and practicing the strategies that lead to Collaborative Change strengthen your ability to master sales conversations and close more sales.

5 Keys to Branding For Small Business Success

Branding represents a tremendous growth opportunity for any type of small business owner, including entrepreneurs, independent professionals, and especially “thought leaders” such as speakers, coaches, trainers, and authors. So, why is branding such a confusing topic to so many?

What’s So Great About Branding?

Well, for starters, most owners think that branding is about having a logo, perhaps a tagline, a website, and anything else you can see. Branding, however, goes much deeper than this, beyond what the eye can see. When done correctly, it can place your product or service miles ahead of the competition and breathe new life into your business. Owners are always looking for an edge and the “visual stuff,” quite frankly, is not going to bring home the bacon. But, when done correctly, branding paves the way for rapid sales growth.

So, what exactly does it mean to “brand”? And does it require a lot of time, money, or energy?

Branding, in a nutshell, is about promising an undeniable experience to your customer. And, in the process of doing that, making sure your customer gets instant recognition of that promise and how your brand will benefit them.

Branding allows us, as owners, to stand out and get noticed in our marketplaces by differentiating our products or services in a distinctive way. We can say, “I’m different” and really mean it, demonstrate how we’re superior to other alternatives, and ultimately make a bold promise to the customer about what we can be counted on to deliver. Through effective use of the English language, we can attract even more customers by putting out a brand message that connects, engages, and moves people to take the actions we want them to take.

As consumers, we have thousands of choices across an array of products and services all over the globe. Our ability as owners to get noticed and preferred by the people we wish to sell to as if we were recommended by a trusted friend is our end goal.

While it seems that many owners are doing some, if not a lot, of marketing by creating websites, utilizing social media and other business-building tools at their disposal, they are also neglecting the use of branding as a sure-fire way to help get new customers, increase sales, and improve cash flow. It kinda doesn’t make sense, right?

Learn more at our free webinar!
Join Gerry for a free live webinar on June 23! “Brand Like Your Life Depends On It!”

Why Isn’t Every Owner Branding?

So, why isn’t every small business owner branding and how is that good news for you?

The answer is one of the basic reasons so many of them fizzle out and ultimately fail: lack of knowledge.

Specifically, lack of how branding works, why it’s crucial, and a general misunderstanding of the vital role it plays to not only keep your business viable but contribute to its success.

The good news is that as owners, we face sales and cash flow issues every day and branding is a critical tool in our “customer acquisition toolkit.”  Reprogramming our mind to focus on how branding can change the trajectory of our business is often all it takes to build the confidence you seek to overcome those issues. The even better news is that many owners are still not cashing in on branding (and perhaps never will) so by utilizing this tool you have a golden opportunity for mega impact than those not willing to get on the band wagon.

Making sure you avoid the pitfall of believing that branding is reserved for corporate brands with big names and giant budgets, and not underestimating the power of a powerful brand, you can still mirror similar success for yourself.

Now, I know that may sound pie-in-the-sky-ish. However, the sky’s the limit if you know how to create a strategically-based powerful brand.

Here are 5 Keys to Branding Success for Your Business

1.  Strong Brand Purpose Statement

Successful branding starts with establishing an inspiring, underlying purpose for your brand.  A well-crafted vision and mission statement that connects with your core audience on a deeper level can motivate them to purchase your brand.  Every component of your brand stems from it – a call to action for exceptional performance consumers will fall in love with.

2.  Clear Differentiation

Creating a distinctive brand that offers something distinctively beneficial to your customer will generate more sales. This allows you to be, do, and say something different so you are seen as the preferred choice. It means you can avoid being perceived as cookie-cutter, rubber-stamped, or carbon-copy in an era where consumers want unique, fresh, and original.  It also means later on you can present your brand “marketing content” in a manner that screams how you are different and better.

3.  Unrivaled Value

Great brands like Nike, Amazon, and FedEx market and sell “me-only” value. The allure of what makes your brand innovative and the ability to say to your market you offer something others can’t (i.e. they can imitate but cannot duplicate) are incredible draws.

4.  Irresistible Promise

Everything you want someone to buy is captured in your brand promise statement. Although telling consumers about the product or services you provide is great information to share, this is not what they want to buy per se. All you want to tout are mouthwatering benefits, staggering value, and outstanding, desired customer outcomes that make a heart-connection, not a head-connection, for rapid sales to occur.

5.  Compelling Message

If there is any step in your branding you don’t want to gloss over is your messaging. Is it engaging or dry and boring? Does it send a lightning bolt to the heart of your targeted buyer? Your message is how people connect with your brand so you’ll want to be as emotionally-based and value-driven as possible. With the objective to load up your messaging on any communication platforms you choose (i.e. websites, social media, videos, etc.), you’ll find attracting buyers, getting leads, and more conversions easier and a lot more fun.

Are You Utilizing the Power of Branding?

Why not?

I truly hope that you’ll consider branding so you can join the many small business owners who are getting more customers, increasing sales, improving cash flow, and growing their bottom line.

I’d love to hear your questions and comments about creating a strategically-based powerful brand. Please respond in the comments and let’s keep the conversation going.  I hope you’ll connect with me via email Gerry@dare2bdifferent.net.

The #1 Key to More Sales

jana-keyWhether you’re a coach like the students and many of the clients I work with, or if you have a service-based or a product-based business, there is one thing that will often keep you from making all the income you could, and having to put a lot more time and energy into your marketing, resulting in burn-out and frustration.

What is it?

Generalization.

Huh?

The “I can help anyone with their problem” mindset.

Let’s say you’re an auto mechanic. You CAN most likely help everyone with car problems, right? But so does every other car repair shop in the city, so why should they choose you?

jana-megaphoneMany people compete on price, making them struggle to make enough money. Not a great solution.

Some people will shout “I’m the best!” from the rooftops. People don’t really believe you.

So what can you do to stand out from the crowd? It’s so simple, but so many businesses resist doing this…

SPECIALIZE.

Yes, you heard me.

Look at the difference between these two examples (both from my real life as a health coach):

1.       Hi, I’m a holistic health coach. I use nutrition to help people with migraines, digestive issues, chronic pain or other discomforts in the body. If you want to feel better, come see me.

2.       I help busy, stressed-out professional women with 5+ days of chronic migraine pain per month get control, reduce or eliminate the pain for good, and get their life back. Who do you know with chronic migraines?

Which one is most direct and compelling? The second one, right? Now, I had people come up to me and say:

“I don’t have chronic migraines, but I have chronic digestive issues – do you work with that?” – YES

“I don’t have migraines but I do get almost daily stress headaches – can you help?” – YES

“I have chronic food allergies – do you work with those?” – YES

So while my message had one single point of focus, others would come to me with different issues and I could decide if I could help on a case-by-case basis.

Nice, right?

jana-doorBeing specific is the key to getting clients coming to YOU.

So, going back to that auto mechanic I mentioned earlier, I’d find out where their strengths are. Maybe they hold a unique certification for All-Wheel-Drive vehicles, or maybe they can boost engine performance or gas mileage in ways others don’t. So, do they stop serving all customers? That’s a great question.

The answer is yes or no.

Yes: If you want to be known as a generalist who has a side specialty of boosting Japanese engine performance, then you can still market generally, as well as in that niche.

No: If you want to be seen as THE true expert in your field, and have all the generalists sending clients to you, then you would ONLY work on those jobs. Of course, until you have enough of them, you’d do both, but then cut back on the general as the specialty work comes in. Then you can also charge more money for what you do, because you’re the best in the area. They will happily pay more money to work with you, as long as your work is really top-notch and your customer service is excellent.

See how that works? You get to choose.

The next step is bringing them into a conversation where you can decide if you are the one to help them, and I’ve developed a system for that which I’ll be sharing on Social Buzz Club, called More Sales, No Selling. If you’d like to get clients asking how they can work with you before you offer them anything, be on that free call! Sign up here: http://goo.gl/bb5T8l

There are a few steps to having a really powerful conversation with a prospect that draws them in, and gets them to ask “How can I work with you?” before you even offer them a program or service.

Want to learn about the #1 Key to More Sales?
Join Jana for a free live webinar on May 12! “How to Sell Without Selling”

I’ll be sharing a lot of info on the call, but let me share one key to spending LESS time on conversations and getting more sales:

Don’t talk to everyone.

jana-networkSee how this kind of goes back to what I mentioned before about specializing? It’s the same here. In order to thin out the prospects to those who need and want what you offer and are ready to take action to work with you, you use a qualification process by using a questionnaire.

You can either send them a list of questions by email, or you can send them to a questionnaire on a service like Survey Monkey (www.surveymonkey.com), and find out a bit about what problem they are trying to solve and what they want instead. Be sure to get their contact information too. You can ask what you need to in about 7 – 8 short questions, with contact info being the first 3 – 4. You can also ask a qualifying question like: “On a scale of 1 – 10 with 1 being ‘I don’t really care’ and 10 being ‘I HAVE to find a solution now’, how important is it to you to solve your issue?” (or ask about reaching their vision).

jana-headphonesNow you can choose to spend your conversation time with people who really need and want a solution. Now, this doesn’t always work with every business, but I would bet you can find a way to make it work with yours. If you have trouble, email me and I’ll help you find a path to success.

Again, join me Thursday 5/12 for my live webinar where I’ll be sharing the details on how to have a powerful conversation. You can sign up here: http://goo.gl/bb5T8l.

I hope to talk to you on the call!

Warmly,

Jana

How To Profit Through Speaking

tonyahofmannI run into people all the time who have the same questions:

  • Can I really be a speaker?
  • How do I perfect my presentation skills?
  • Can I really make money as a speaker?

So, here are the answers for so many of you: YES!!!

The Bottom Quarter of Your Audience

Anyone … I mean ANYONE, can be a speaker. If you really have a desire to help people and to change their lives, businesses, families, health or whatever, then you can be a speaker. Get over that you want to be like Tony Robbins or Oprah Winfrey and just be yourself. In all scenarios when you speak, there will be about 25% of the people who automatically don’t understand you, don’t get you, and just don’t like you. STOP focusing on that bottom percentage because in reality … YOU don’t like them either!

The Cream of the Crop Audience Portion

This was so hard for me to get over because I was so focused on getting everyone to like me that I completely missed the point: the top 25% of the people LOVE you! They love everything you say; they “get” you; they adore you … focus on them!

 

The Gold is in the Middle!

Now, what most people do is they ignore the left over … the 50% who haven’t decided or need more information or time to decide which camp they want to jump into. So, bring those people into your data base, social media and keep the conversation going until they decide to opt-out and go away or buy from you. By the way, never look at who opts-out! Focus on the positive and the amazing people who are your community and want to be a part of your community.

Connection Over Perfection

Please stop trying to perfect your presentation skills and, rather, just get really good at connecting with the audience. If you have a perfect presentation and get a standing ovation, then you messed up! Yep, If I get an audience who jumps on their feet, I know I didn’t connect with them enough. I want them, rather, in their thoughts, filling out forms and I want them running over to me to create momentum in their lives. Not to buy a book because they think I’m “awesome” but because they know I can help them make a huge impact in their business and help them go out and change lots of lives. So, stop perfecting and just start changing lives with your words. Get used to tweaking and improving but never, ever, to perfecting.

Speaking to Sell

To make money as a speaker these days is different than it was ten years ago. Now, speaking is just part of your marketing for your business. There is some philanthropic speaking where you just give back but, for the most part, you are looking at driving those in the audience to something they can buy into. In reality, there is no way in thirty to sixty minutes on stage you can change those people’s lives forever. They MUST go further with you which means your sales offer. So, yes, six and seven figures a year is not only reasonable but a must to really make an impact and change lots of people’s lives with your message.