OK, I realize it’s bowl season, so let’s just get this out in the open right now: I love watching football; I’m just not that into college ball.
Maybe it’s because during my undergraduate career I worked at a bar that was stumbling distance from a dry, but very popular football college stadium, whose team was mired in scandal that my tuition helped pay for.
Or maybe it’s the professionalism of NFL players, or the closer games, or the fact that I always seem to be busy on Saturdays. Regardless, I was a little worried I wouldn’t “get” Jeff Beals’ new book, Selling Saturdays: Blue Chip Sales Tips From College Football.
On the contrary, I really enjoyed learning more about college ball (without having to actually watch it). Beals’ first five chapters are almost exclusively stories from the gridiron and the recruitment trips that back it up.
While the stories are interesting, the initial advice Beals pulls from them lacks the specificity that leads to inspiration. “Adapting to unfamiliar surroundings” and “keeping up with the changing game” are vague action items that lack the “easy-to-implement sales and marketing techniques” Beals promises in his preface. Later in that same preface, Beals encourages readers to picture themselves in the situations he describes throughout the book and “imagine how the situation relates to the marketing and sales work you do.”
Wait. If coming up with my own brilliant analogies of how your sports stories relate to me is my job, I’d rather read a Vince Lombardi biography. Continue reading »
Back when her life ran smack into the foreclosure crisis, Stephanie Alison Walker started blogging. It didn’t stop offers from evaporating or credit scores from plummeting. It didn’t keep her and her husband out of bankruptcy court. But it did turn out to be a great little love story.
Walker strung together her blog entries and created a book called Love in the Time of Foreclosure. You ride with her and her husband, Bob, down the rocky path that millions have traveled since the start of the housing crisis. Originally they had put 20% down on a 30-year, fixed-interest loan, with the income to back it up. Then, Bob lost his job and their dream house wasn’t too far behind.
Here at the Book Scan blog, we’ve covered the real estate + romance novel mashup. But Walker’s story isn’t about poofy blouses or forbidden trysts. This memoir is about how to keep a marriage together and romance alive under one of the most stressful situations a couple can go through together. And this isn’t about the perfect couple that can handle any of life’s problems, either. Stephanie and Bob have almost broken up before. What’s to say the end of homeownership might not also be the end of their union? Continue reading »
You’re no doubt familiar with the concept of an elevator speech; you’ve probably been told you should write one for this or that idea, or to snag such-and-such a client. But did you know that Ronald Reagan, the U.S. president nicknamed “The Great Communicator,” used a similar technique for connecting with his many audiences?
This factoid is just one way in which Terri L. Sjodin touts the unsung importance of the elevator speech in her new book, Small Message, Big Impact: The Elevator Speech Effect. She marries the succinct communication tool with the butterfly effect, a scientific-turned-cultural meme that insists one seemingly-insignificant action can have outsized effects.
Sjodin posits that the elevator speech has changed significantly since it was first “invented” (likening the difference to that between Pong and Wii). She also insists that the tool is suited to all kinds of professionals (not just in sales situations) and demonstrates examples of how it can be employed outside the elevator to great success.
But really, the book itself and the messages in it are not exactly revolutionary. But that’s OK; Sjodin doesn’t need to convince us that quick, well-thought-out speeches are potentially game changing and worth having in one’s rhetorical back pocket (especially in this era of shortening attention spans). She just needs to show us how to do it.
This is where she excels. You can tell right away that Sjodin is the consummate coach. Once you dive into the chapters on creating your elevator speech(es), it feels like Sjodin is your own personal communications trainer. Readers won’t find it difficult to believe she wants them to succeed.
That doesn’t mean your intentions will be realized at the end of your three minutes. Sjodin both acknowledges the long preparation hours required to perfect effective communication packages and notes that the speech really functions as a step toward your ultimate goal. That first speech, if executed properly, should get you more time with the object of your pitch, or a step up the decision-making ladder. “Just advance the ball. Don’t go for the touchdown,” Sjodin says. Continue reading »
Content is king, as the cliche goes. But writing blog entries can seem so unrewarding when you factor in the time and talent it takes to compose them. Sure, they may bring readers your way, but is it worth it?
One way companies skirt this value proposition is to make their blogs work double duty by publishing the best pieces in physical and/or digital formats. This way, they bring in people who prefer paper or tablets to desktop reading (who might even be convinced to pay for the privilege of alternative access to content).
This tactic was recently undertaken by real estate marketing and design firm 1000watt. They grabbed 40 of their blog posts and republished them in Turn On: Selected Writings About Real Estate 2007-2011. While you can buy the “booklet,” as Inman calls it, direct from the printer or via Kindle and iBooks, 1000watt also put out a free PDF version on their website. Presumably they asked themselves how many people would pay to read content that is already freely available online.
But just because it’s free doesn’t mean there isn’t a transaction involved. In exchange for giving away their content in this new format, the firm gets new eyes and new mailing list members. And, on a personal level, I received four lessons in how not to repurpose blog content in PDF form in return for reading this online version.