Meet the Salesman–Every Deal Needs a Closer

Welcome to WANA Wednesday, based off my #1 best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer. My social media methods are all about authentic human connections. I am also a strong supporter of working smarter, not harder. We need to work together to have true, lasting success. We are not alone! We don’t have to build our author platform by ourselves.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that there were three critical people to know on social media.  First, we talked about the Connector. Connectors are vital. These are the people who seem to know everyone. Then, last time, we discussed the Maven.  Connectors might know everyone, but Mavens seem to know everything.

Mavens are collectors of facts few know. They are brokers of information and they are essential for keeping the marketplace honest. Ah, but just because someone has a lot of connections (Connector) or possesses large treasure troves of information (Maven) doesn’t necessarily mean these talents will translate into much of anything.

Since my social media lessons apply to selling books as an end goal, let’s take a closer look. Just because a Connector knows hundreds of people, doesn’t mean he can exert enough influence to break his network past their inertia. I think NYTBSA Bob Mayer might be a great example of this phenomena. Not that Bob isn’t charismatic. He can be. But, he is naturally an introvert, so selling just isn’t in his nature. Bob has had almost 30 years in the publishing business and he knows a ton of people, but it isn’t his nature to call on that network. He is an artist, not a salesman. Back when Bob first started his Warrior Writer Workshops, I remember having to kick Bob under the table to mention he had a workshop coming up. It wasn’t part of his personality to “ask for the sale.”

What about the Maven? Mavens have difficulties, too. True Mavens are not persuaders. They are teachers and students. I know that, as a Maven myself, we are not always appreciated. We can be seen as busybodies, know-it-alls, or Helpful Hannahs sticking our nose in where it doesn’t belong. @PatrickThunstrom is a wonderful example. Patrick is one of the most generous, kind, brilliant people I am blessed to know. He will go out of his way to help and educate others about Twitter and TweetDeck. Yet, I have seen poor Patrick get his Twitter tailfeathers chewed off on more than one occasion. Patrick was trying to help, but the offended party didn’t see that. They took Patrick’s assistance as an insult. Mavens mean well, but we can get ourselves into trouble, too.

Since Connectors and Mavens can be limited in their scope of influence, we need the third person capable of creating a tipping point–The Salesman. This person is naturally charismatic and highly persuasive.

To start a social epidemic, society needs to be connected (Connector), informed (Maven), then persuaded (Salesman).

According to Malcolm Gladwell:

Peer pressure is not always an automatic or unconsious process. It means, as often as not, that someone actually went up to one of his peers and pressured him.  In social epidemics, Mavens are databanks. They provide the message. Connectors are social glue: they spread it. But there is also a select group of people–Salesmen–with the skills to persuade us when we are unconviced of what we are hearing, and they are as critical to the tipping of word of mouth epidemics as the other two groups. The Tipping Point, pp.70

Salesmen have this uncanny ability to spark action. People listen to her when she makes a suggestion. If this person recommends a book, people buy. If she recommends a workshop, people sign up. If she promotes an event, people attend.

All three of these personalities are vital and work together. Sure there are rare people who happen to be all three, but they are few and far between. What social media allows us to do is to find and CONNECT all three. If a person is a natural Salesman, but he doesn’t know anyone, all he needs to do is connect to a Connector. She has the network and he has the skills of persuasion.

If a Maven wants to sell slots for her writing workshop, she doesn’t have to. She can lean on her friend, the Salesman. In fact, since social media is social, it actually works BETTER if someone else does our selling. It feels less like spam and more like community.

As we mentioned earlier, Bob has a lot of connections and I would qualify him as a Connector. Yet, especially when he was new to social media, it just wasn’t in his nature to go up to random people and start talking. He also had a terrible time “closing the sale.”

But, the cool thing about social media was that Bob didn’t have to be a Salesman to sell workshop slots. He just had to be friends with a Salesman or two or three. @JenTalty, @Jas0n_Myers, and @FredCampos stepped in to help. All of them knew Bob and had attended his amazing workshop and were more than happy to persuade on behalf of Bob. And on top of that, I happen to be a Connector and a Maven. I wrote blogs about Bob’s workshops and we used those first blogs as a hub of information to help the Salesmen sell. Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen all worked as a team.

I called my book We Are Not Alone for a very good reason. Too many social media experts try to change a writer’s core personality. Why? Because their approach makes the writer do everything alone (until she can afford to outsource). E-mail lists, form letters, newsletters, vlogs, etc. give the writer the sole burden of being all things–Connector, Informer and Persuader.

The reason this approach doesn’t work well is that most of us aren’t all things. Thus, we crack under the pressure of trying to operate outside of our nature. Also, even if we can wear all three hats, we still need time left to write books. This is where the WANA approach, in my opinion, is far superior. My approach rests on the power of a team.

#MyWANA was established for the sole purpose of writers supporting other writers. It is a place of love and community. What has been interesting is that some people, when they first tripped and fell into Twitter, wouldn’t have considered themselves to be a Connector a Maven or a Salesman. The beauty of creating a community is that we often will be for others what we won’t be for ourselves. For instance, we might be terrible Salesmen when it comes to our own book or blog, but we have no problem being the Salesman for one of our twibe members.

#MyWANA has helped all of us become Connectors. Blogging has helped us learn to tap into Maven energy. Love for our fellow #MyWANA tweeps has made each of us more of a Salesman than we ever thought we could be and that is what social media is really all about. Most of us feel weird promoting ourselves, but we will wake up early and stay up late to promote a friend. If we all do this for one another, then we can change the world.

Has social media turned you into a Connector, Maven or Salesman? Do you find it easier to take on those roles to support others?

I do want to hear from you guys!

And to prove it and show my love, for the month of October, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner every week for a critique of your first five pages. At the end of October I will pick a winner for the grand prize. A free critique from me on the first 15 pages of your novel. Good luck!

I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . Both books are ON SALE for $4.99!!!! And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in th biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left over to write more great books! I am here to change your approach, not your personality.

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  1. #1 by Christy Farmer on October 12, 2011 - 11:23 am

    Having worked retail, I never enjoyed the role of *sales person* and tend to think that I am more of a maven in training :-)

  2. #2 by jenny lee sulpizio on October 12, 2011 - 11:25 am

    I need a maven AND a closer…anyone? Anyone? Lol.

  3. #3 by H.L. Banks on October 12, 2011 - 11:27 am

    I am not a sales person, even when I try hard, it eludes me. I’m not sure what the problem is, I’m not a shy person, but I can be a bit reserved. Maybe that’s it. Anyway, I see myself more as a connector, I love to keep in touch with others and, of course, give my opnion on all things related to writing.

  4. #4 by tamikaeason on October 12, 2011 - 11:28 am

    WANA saved my sanity! I’m back to blogging and it feels good to just be me.

    I love what social media brings to my day. There are so many gracious people with great information to share.

  5. #5 by the writ and the wrote on October 12, 2011 - 11:35 am

    Excellent post. I am definitely a connector. I know a lot of people, but have trouble making that final sale and knowing exactly what needs to happen. I have your blog book and will be getting your other book soon. I have definitely learned a lot in the last nearly year and a half about being a writing and marketing and pr.

  6. #6 by David Powell on October 12, 2011 - 11:42 am

    Well, I was a sales person before retirement. For over 40 years.

    The first ‘selling’ training I had was the best and based on the mnemonic “IDEA”

    And it ain’t that complex.

    I = Interest, you must gain the persons interest. Well that goes without saying, doesn’t it?
    D = Desire, you must make the person want what they are interested in
    E = Enthusiasm, they must really want it, love iy
    A = Action. . .would you like it in blue or red?

    Similar to writing a book, don’t you think?

  7. #7 by Gene Lempp on October 12, 2011 - 11:42 am

    All very true, Kristen. While I do love meeting people, chatting, joking, learning and sharing; sales is not really my thing. Sure, I can, but it never “feels right” to me for some reason. Fortunately, I’ve met a few Sales types, like Kerry Meacham, my ROWbro. He could sell tires to a man with no car and the guy would thank him and tell all his friends he got a deal. And, knowing Kerry, I’m sure the guy did and probably got a few cool fishing tips as a bonus.

    Thanks for this awesome series, Kristen. It has really helped to keep things in perspective. We all have strengths and weaknesses and by working together we can find strength through unity.

  8. #8 by Piper Bayard on October 12, 2011 - 11:43 am

    Great post, Kristen. Actually, I’m known for being a connecter, but social media has really brought it out in me. It’s always been my way to bring together people from many different countries, cultures, and professions. They gather once a year in our home for our Christmas party, and then go their separate ways until the next year. I was afraid of Twitter, but once I got there, I realized it was a 24/7 gathering where I could meed all kinds of people and introduce them to each other. Something I love doing wherever I am.

    I could certainly use a good salesperson, though. Any volunteers?

  9. #9 by Applied Behavioral Strategies on October 12, 2011 - 11:45 am

    THANK YOU!! I seriously think that half of my twitter peeps are from your recommendations. Thanks for helping me learn the ropes.

  10. #10 by Leanne Shirtliffe on October 12, 2011 - 11:46 am

    Another great post that makes me think (something that’s rare when I’m home for my second sick day in a row). I don’t know which one I am. Maybe a little of all three? That likely means I’m Jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none…which is maybe okay. Or maybe not. More thinking needed when my head is clearer (forecast indicates that might happen in 2014).

    But…One week from Friday, I get to have a Blue Pencil session with Bob Mayer at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference. Hearing you talk about him makes me extra excited. :)

  11. #11 by Shelly Brown on October 12, 2011 - 11:46 am

    I love to promote other peoples work but shy away from promoting my own. But my sister is an AMAZING Closer. Great stuff, Kristen!

  12. #12 by Anne R. Allen on October 12, 2011 - 12:00 pm

    You’ll be happy to know that when I quoted you on my blog this week, I called you a “maven”. I posted about sorting through the dueling information that’s coming from agents and publishing “experts” on how to blog. There’s so much misinformation out there about social media. As you say, a lot of marketing experts essentially tell a writer to change her personality. Not exactly helpful. I think a beginner’s blog needs to be a little different from a published author’s blog and blogs need to evolve.

    • #13 by Author Kristen Lamb on October 12, 2011 - 12:09 pm

      I know…I left a TOME of a comment on your post. LOVED it, btw :D.

  13. #14 by Julie on October 12, 2011 - 12:02 pm

    A great post synthesizing these three social media types and how we sometimes can’t do for ourselves what we can do for others. I am a great salesman for the work of others and abysmal when it comes to my own. Now I understand how the social media “team” can work and what my part can be – namely, help as many others I can when I believe in their work. If I’m also creating a compelling product, perhaps one day they’ll do the same for me.

    Thanks!!

    • #15 by Catherine Johnson on October 12, 2011 - 3:29 pm

      I certainly will Julie, and I couldn’t sell snow to snowmen. Can’t wait until you have a book deal squee!

  14. #16 by Anne R. Allen on October 12, 2011 - 12:13 pm

    Just read your fantastic comment on my blog, Kristen. It’s a blogpost in itself. You’re right that if you’re writing one more blog about narrative structure, and you’re not connecting with other writers, you’re wasting time (or worse.) You also make this great point:”Blogging makes faster, cleaner writers who can adhere to self-imposed deadlines.” A very important part of the process of learning to be a professional writer.

    And I’m so glad to know that even you don’t have the statistics the marketers say you need to publish. I wonder if anybody does? “Oh, no–sorry Nathan Bransford and Neil Gaiman–you just don’t have the Internet presence to be serious writers.” Uh-huh.

  15. #17 by Jessica O'Neal on October 12, 2011 - 12:21 pm

    Loved this post (what else is new ;) ). It’s so true, though. I hate “selling” or promoting myself, but I am happy to do it for others. That’s why I love your message so much. Thank you for another great lesson. I look forward to whatever you have planned for us next!

  16. #18 by bridgetstraub on October 12, 2011 - 12:35 pm

    I think it’s much easier to sell someone else. In trying to sell my Kickstarter project “Room to Grow” I feel as though I’m never sure how much promotion is too much promotion. I don’t want to come off as obnoxious and yet at the same time I want to see this project get funded. It’s hard to balance.

  17. #19 by Elise Massad on October 12, 2011 - 12:44 pm

    I’m so happy I found your blog Kristen. Every post is more valuable than the last. I’ve picked up WE ARE NOT ALONE and am reading it on my Kindle now. I’m interested in learning more about your warrior workshops and am enjoying your guide to social media. Thanks for all of the info!

  18. #20 by Jillian Dodd - Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos on October 12, 2011 - 12:51 pm

    I know that I’ve gone from trying to be a salesman on twitter, trying to sell my own book to more of a connector. I think we if we enjoy something, we can all be successful salesmen. If we’re excited about a blog post, a book, a new kind of vodka, I think even on social media our sincerity shows through. I’m not sure which category I’d fall into. Once I read your book, took your author platform class, learned the proper way to handle social media, I think I’m doing much better. I’ve moved away from trying so hard, to just enjoying it. I schedule just four posts a day about me. The rest are all trying to help others, and enjoying meeting and chatting with people. Never could have done it without a maven like you!! Most of us just need to be pointed in the right direction (or in my case, a swift kick in the backside out into the real world!) I can’t tell you how many people I have told to take your brand building class. Most of them aren’t even authors. One owns a B&B where you sleep in covered wagons!! I think your platform building crosses over into any business trying to build a social media presence. And I just told a writer in Australia about your blog, she’s been struggling with her writing and I was like you’ve Got to read Kristen’s. She did and raved about it!! (naturally!) Keep up the great work, Kristen. Hopefully you know how much your books and blogs help all of us!!

  19. #21 by EmilyR on October 12, 2011 - 12:54 pm

    Great post and wonderful way to think about how to use a website for book promotion. Thanks, Kristen!

  20. #22 by Jami Gold on October 12, 2011 - 2:09 pm

    Great post, Kristen! You make great points here about the real power of the #myWANA tribe. Because although I’m a Maven and not a Salesperson, I’ll still go out of my way to help promote my friends. :)

    • #23 by Tamara LeBlanc on October 12, 2011 - 3:18 pm

      You are TOTALLY a MAVEN, Jami!! I think you’re amazing in every way!
      Thank you for being you,
      Tamara

  21. #24 by CC MacKenzie on October 12, 2011 - 2:57 pm

    This is true, very true, Kristen.

    I’m a salesman and can sell ice to the Eskimos. But only if it is THE best ice in the world and I truly believe in it and have personally experienced the taste of that fabulous ice.

    Therefore it is no problem for me to sell a fabulous blog or spread the word about a certain Guru (do the initials KL mean anything?) However, I do have a problem selling myself. I can be a maven and if someone asks for help and I can, I will.

    There is a huge amount to learn, but that’s what has me leaping out of bed in the morning, to see what’s in the next class of wana1011

  22. #25 by Valerie Brooks on October 12, 2011 - 2:58 pm

    Thanks, Kristen! Again, piecing all the important parts together. I’m a connector, but also a saleswoman for my fellow writers. In this marketing world, we all need each other. That’s what I love about the social networking site SheWrites. We pull in our specific ways each other up and out into the published world. And you’ve been a leading force in doing this, too. Brava!

  23. #26 by Tamara LeBlanc on October 12, 2011 - 3:17 pm

    Hmmm, what’s a vlog? Never heard that one before.
    That’s why I luv you…I learn new things all the time.
    And the Connector, Maven & Salesman monikers are no exception, all new to me. (I missed three critical people to know on social media) grrr, that’s what I get for letting life get in the way of visiting my favorite blog.
    I suppose I’d be considered a salesman. I’m not one of those lucky people who can sell ice cubes to Eskimos like CC Mackenzie, but I can RT and support and booyah a fellow Tweep’s book or blog or good news like a champ.
    Hopefully my contributions as salesman have helped a Tweep or a FB friend here or there.
    I’m still learning every day though, and someday it would be nice to also be known (or at least think of myself as) a Maven or Connector. How cool would that be!
    Thank you so much for your wisdom and for the Twitter handles you wrote down. Do you think they would mind if a newbie salesman followed them?

    Have a wonderful WANA Wednesday!
    Tamara:)

  24. #27 by Christine London on October 12, 2011 - 4:08 pm

    Thank you for the life preserver. I am one of those people you mention as ready to ‘crack’ under the pressure of having to do it all and be good at it all. I know I have a great product from my reviews and readers that have contacted me, but a salesman I am not.

    As an introvert I even find it difficult to approach folks ‘cold’ on the internet. Thank heavens for the relative anonymity inherent. As a former kindergarten teacher, I very much am a person with amazing patience and love of helping others. If you can keep a classroom full of five-year- olds entertained and learning, adults who are interested in reading are a breeze. lol.

    The Titanic has gone down and I am clinging to flotsam trying to stay warm out here in the sea of promotion despair. *sigh*

    Christine London
    www**dot**christinelondon**dot**c**o**m

  25. #28 by Julie Glover on October 12, 2011 - 5:53 pm

    After reading more about these three types (and I had read The Tipping Point), I think I fall into the Maven category. A salesman, I AM NOT.

    I was that girl with fundraiser candy who tentatively knocked on the neighbor’s door and mumbled, “You don’t really want these, do you?” It’s SO out of my comfort zone to sell. On top of that, authors are basically selling themselves! (“Buy me! Buy me! I’m a great writer.”) I’m growing more and more comfortable with it, especially since I believe in my product (novel) much more than the bad chocolate we tried to peddle as kids. But a salesman on hand would be a welcome addition. I would happily in turn research ANYTHING the salesman wants to know about.

    Thanks for breaking it down for us, Kristen!

    • #29 by Author Kristen Lamb on October 13, 2011 - 8:36 am

      LOL! I can so relate! My parents always ended up buying all my candy because I couldn’t sell food to a starving man. I think all of us have a little Salesman in us. This is why it is so vital to write “sticky” books. When we love something, human nature compels us to share. I think if we write really good books, then we bring out the Salesman in others.

  26. #30 by jacquelincangro on October 12, 2011 - 5:55 pm

    I’m a maven, though I’d never thought of myself as one before. I teach creative writing classes. I’m right there with Christine because I’m not a connector or a salesman (and I’m not sure I know any personally) so I have a hard time getting people to come to my classes. I’ve tried to be all three, but because it’s not my nature, I’m uncomfortable in those other roles.
    Thanks for this eye opening post. I’m still not sure how to get people to attend, but now I think I have a better understanding of why the word isn’t spreading.

  27. #31 by Tahlia Newland on October 12, 2011 - 6:26 pm

    I’m great at selling others books, or I would be if I had more followers to sell them too, but I’m not so sure how good I’ll be at selling my own. First one’s coming out next month, so we’ll see. I never thought of myself as a salesman until I found social networking online though. It just seems natural to me that if you like something, you’ll tell others about it and retweet their tweets and stuff. Thanks for the follow by the way.

  28. #32 by Ali Dent on October 13, 2011 - 7:51 am

    I appreciate your writing so much. I’m still having a social media identity crisis. I am especially grateful for the 3 posts on Connectors, Mavens and Salespeople. What I liked best is that you shared names of people who are really good at these skills, naturally, and you suggested to watch how they interact. I adore giving people what they say they need or want. I’m pretty intuitive and in person it’s a snap to hear your heart and help but for the life of me I’m having a hard time developing internet eyes and ears.

    People who know me well would never consider me to be an introvert but in unfamiliar situations like a party or luncheon where the purpose of the event is loosely defined, I look for a corner to hide and try to spot someone else who feels lost and strike up a conversation with her. My feelings of disorientation coupled with my loss of hearing and eyesight are RULING me in the social media realm and making me very ineffective.

    I am truly encouraged with your advice to watch those you mentioned and learn how they serve others. Thank you.

  29. #33 by Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson on October 13, 2011 - 8:49 am

    So crazy that I am showing up here (late per usual) after just going to a new blogger’s page and suggesting she update her ABOUT page because it is really one of the first pages people go to when we go to a bloggers’ site. (She still has that WordPress general message set-up after being on 3 months!) I seriously hope I did not offend her; my intentions were to help her to create a more effective site.

    But now that I read this post, I’m thinking maybe I should go back and have her read your blog — so she doesn’t think I was being Little Miss Bossypants.

  30. #34 by lanceschaubert on October 13, 2011 - 10:35 am

    Something I’ve been wondering with this series:

    It seems in Tipping Point that Gladwell emphasizes how rare these three – “the rule of the few” – are in actually society. Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen aren’t everywhere and aren’t everyone.

    Do you think that we all have aspects of each? Do you think they are rare?

    For me, the persuasiveness of tipping-point social phenomena (what we call “viral”) starts with a few, not many.

    Thoughts?

  31. #35 by Reetta Raitanen on October 13, 2011 - 10:52 am

    A great final installment on the trio of influencers, Kristen. We are not alone indeed. I’m a maven and I feel very uncomfortable tooting my own horn. So I hope to have connectors and salesmen on my side by the time I have a book out.

  32. #36 by alicamckennajohnson on October 13, 2011 - 11:31 am

    I don’t know what i would classify myself as, but your series here has given me permission to be who I am. I RT things that I like, and only those things I like. I respond to people’s posts- anything that catches my attention. I don;t know if I’m much of a salesmen. I have thought about reviewing books- or even posting just the ones I like, but what about when a friend writes a book I don’t like- what then? Maybe I could review books written by people I don’t know- but that doesn’t really help my social net.

  33. #37 by Barbara McDowell on October 13, 2011 - 1:28 pm

    Another great post in the series Kristen! My maven salesperson mom helped me offload fruit and cookies I was supposed to sale for band and Girl Scouts. I would talk to people, but then share all the stuff I was learning and not push the sales sheet. And while I worked in marketing/business development once, my love was in the writing and coaching of others versus closing myself. Your reminder for us to be ourselves and tap into the talents of others in the community helps alleviate the feeling that we must do it all.

  34. #38 by Marion Spicher on October 13, 2011 - 3:31 pm

    Hmmm. Guess I am a salesman. Reading your blog illuminated how much pleasure results from giving a boost to those who have great things to write/say. Time spent promoting aspects of writing found helpful, including good books, debut novels that rock, how to books, conferences, workshops, you, Kristen, and Bob Mayer … bring me great pleasure.

  35. #39 by Jess Witkins on October 14, 2011 - 10:04 am

    This felt like a therapy session. LOL. I am a Sales Manager, who’s really a Maven, who wants to be a Connector. Suddenly my inability to get everything I want done completed starts to make sense. You know I’ve been battling around for awhile with my current job role and its limiting of my free time to write. I have applied for other positions, and sadly there’s so little out there. I have to remind myself that I’m making progress, even if it’s a much slower pace than I’d like. Communities like WWBC, WANA1011, and Life List Club are great support networks for me to support others and find encouragement because everyone is at a different level. That’s a good thing to keep in perspective when sometimes the blogosphere can be inundated with only writers showcasing their newest book projects. Helpful post Kristen, as always.

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