It's not easy being a writer.
Even if you're as talented as Stephen King, you gotta struggle at the start. Multiple pitches & meetings are routine activities for a budding writer. However, as there's a saying-
Where there's a will, there's a way.
Today, I'm going to share an inspirational story of a writer who made it big after struggling for yearssss.
I recently read a book titled The Introvert’s Edge, written by Matthew Pollard.
Being an introvert, I liked the book’s ideas & the sales processes advocated by the author. However, what I found even more fascinating was the story of Derek Lewis, the ghostwriter of the aforesaid book.
So, what do ghostwriters do?. They write books on behalf of others. Example: If you’re good at something & want to write a book on it, you can hire a ghostwriter.
Yes, being a ghostwriter is a tough job. And, even tougher is getting a client.
To make the matter worse, Derek is a business ghostwriter. That’s a super niche market. You got to find people who’re looking to share their business expertise in the form of a book. Phew!
Before ghostwriting The Introvert’s Edge, Derek was depressed to the extreme. And, rightly so because he hadn’t landed a single deal since a year!
Imagine being in Derek's situation. Being married, not having a job & a dwindling writing career. That's a perfect recipe for depression.
His bank savings were shrinking & credit card bills rising.
The worst part?. His wife had to go through a difficult pregnancy & that resulted in an additional medical bill of $ 10,000.
Things had to change for Derek. He was desperate to find some success. At least, for survival.
Derek knew the problem was his inability to sell his services. Writing & sales are two different games all together.
If you can’t sell, you can’t run a business. Every thing except sales is secondary.
While searching online (as he couldn’t afford a business coach), he found Matthew Pollard’s LinkedIn article on Niche Marketing. He was so impressed with the article that he immediately fired an email to him.
The reply came. Matthew scheduled a call with Derek & tried to understand his problems.
Derek made Matthew clear that he cannot afford a business coach. So, offered him his ghostwriting services instead.
The formula was simple: Matthew was to help Derek in his sales skills & in return Derek was to write a book for Matthew. That’s how The Introvert’s Edge was written.
Anyways, Derek had nothing to lose.
Matthew coached Derek for about 2 weeks. Essentially, Matthew changed Derek’s sales process & handed a proven script that covered the following:
- Trust (Rapport & credibility)
- Asking questions to understand client’s need
- Story-based selling
- Handling client’s objections
- Trial closure
Derek landed a new deal in the very next sales call. In flat 30 minutes. His joys knew no bounds. After disconnecting the call, he sat there cold. He couldn't believe what had just happened.
Over the next 3 weeks, he landed several deals cumulatively worth more than $ 80,000.
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So, what does Derek’s inspiring story teach us?
LESSONS FROM THE INSPIRING STORY OF DEREK, THE AUTHOR:
1. Sales Matter
First & foremost, no matter how good you’re at your skills, sales matter. You got to sell. No body is going to do it for you. Very rightly, there’s a popular saying in business —
Sales fix everything.
I see many aspiring writers so good at their skills. But when it comes to sales, they suck. And, it hurts to see them struggle.
2. Marketing Is Not The Same As Sales
Second, you shouldn’t presume that your marketing will also do your sales. Sales & Marketing are two different things. Marketing can help you only generate leads. Sales, on the other hand, will help convert the leads into customers. Makes sense?
Example: You've written a great blog that gets viral on social media. Yes, that traffic will help you to get a few client inquiries. But, what's the point if you can't win the trust of those inquiries. No trust means no sales.
Look, the problem with Derek wasn't marketing. He was getting enough inquiries (thanks to this website that was decently doing well). What baffled Derek was the fact that he wasn't able to convert those phone calls (he used to schedule a phone call with the leads) into paying customers. So close yet so far.
And, in today's Facebook age, it's not tough to get leads. Pay dollars to Mark Zuckerberg & see your ads reach millions of people. What's really matters is how you nurture those leads & get some real clients. Getting my point?
3. Take Professional Help
Third, don’t hesitate to take professional help. There’s no embarrassment in accepting that you aren’t good at sales. In fact, no body is. A professional sales person was once a beginner.
4. Experiment & Learn
Fourth, keep perfecting your sales process. Prepare a call or email script & keep practicing/improving the same. Once you’ve a winning script, you’ll have your big moment.
5. Never Give Up
Last but not least, never ever give up. Business is not for the faint-hearted ones. You’ll have to struggle & grind until you make it. Keep pushing your limits. Don’t stop learning & trying new stuff.
Rome wasn't built in a day.
Think yourself as an entrepreneur (at least when you sell your services). And, as we know, every successful entrepreneur once had to struggle. Your situation is no different.
Whenever you feel like giving up, remember Chris Gardner's struggle from the movie – The Pursuit of Happiness. Success comes to those who're mentally strong & are willing to go that far. Trust your abilities & keep moving forward.