Sunday, October 31, 2010

Act and Dress the Part with VS Grenier-Part I

There is an invisible side to marketing yourself, which is just as important as strategies and well-timed campaigns. It involves a softer and sometime invisible approach that is not as technical as other methods, but yields long-lasting and fruitful results. This type of strategy is rooted in your look, behavior, your attitude and the rapport you create with everyone around you. You never know which person you meet today is going to connect you to that key media contact tomorrow or line you up for an interview with a mover and shaker.

This is going to be one of the hardest things to do in your writing career . . . walking up and talking to someone about your writing, but it's important to put your fear a side and show you have a great idea to share with the world and that you love being a writer.

Another thing you will need to know is that first impressions are lasting impressions. Part of selling yourself is not only what you say, but also how you look. I know what some of you are thinking, "You can't judge a book by its cover." Guess what . . . people do even if they don't admit it. For one thing, if we were in a face-to-face workshop, I am sure most of you would have judge me right off on the first day. Some might have thought of me as being a snob or standoffish. Others might have found me open and willing to talk. When I'm standing in a room and not actively talking with people I tend to give off an air of high self esteem. I don't mean too. It's just the way I am. However, I have to keep this in mind when I visit schools, bookstores or do speaking engagements because I do not want those I am interacting with walking away with the wrong impression. Luckily, for me . . . I use to work in stores as a salesperson and later as a Store Manager. I learned over those years in selling how to change my body language to make me appear more approachable. The reason I sometimes give the wrong vibes is because when I'm nervous I tend to put up a wall and my wall makes me look standoffish and judgmental. Not good if I want my fans to like me. Therefore, I have learned to smile, not cross my arms and stand where I slightly lean towards those I am talking with.

So let's talk about selling ourselves in those first impression situations today.

FACT: A sale is often made or lost in the first seven seconds!

People need to trust in you before you can talk to them about your idea or product. Many people walk around in conventions, conferences, workshops and stores looking for a person who they can identify with. We all size people up looking for those possible threats. So let's learn how to put those walls down and let people feel comfortable around us.

Proper behavior begins with making the best possible first impression. You need to look the part, act the part and say the right things. That's it! Sounds easy doesn't it. I don't know about you, but most of the time, I realize after the situation has past . . . I think about how much more I could have said or did to make the first impression much better.

Okay, so let's talk about how you should act. The answer of course is professional, but you do not want to seem overly so. I think some people take this too far and then they become unapproachable. Not a good thing. By smiling and taking deep breaths to calm those nerves you will be more relaxed and ready to invite open conversation. You need to feel comfortable in your skin about what you are talking about. If you're not, then you'll come off as unprofessional. The other side is of course feeling so strongly about something that you become overly confrontational. A problem I tend to fight with within myself. Even if you think you are right, sometimes you need to back down or you will chase the person away you are trying to share your idea with. Remember we each have our own opinions and we all need to bend a little. How we act at school visits, writer’s conferences, book signings and everywhere we touch our fan base or support is the intangible side of marketing. It is something to be cultivated in your daily actions and practices. It radiates from within and sets into place the energy to attract incredible opportunities. With this in mind, here are a few things to note:

  1. Be nice to everyone you meet. You never know who will connect you to your next big break. Practice being nice to everyone you meet from the grocery store clerks and food servers to the event planners and media connections. You never know who is watching you and remember Word of Mouth marketing can have a down side if someone is offended by you.
  2. Be gracious to your peers and colleagues. Show kindness and warmth to those around you. The more visible and known you become, the more you need to practice this. Do not develop the superstar ego; remember to show warmth to everyone. It’s good marketing!
  3. Support rising new talent and ride the wave with them. We all know there are people out there who want to be our friend just because now we are famous. However, my advice is to spot the rising talent around you and ride the wave to fame with them. Look around you for people who are as ambitious and dedicated as you are. Befriend them, support them, form a mastermind group with them. You may not know which one of you will make it to the top first! And since you're rooted first in friendship, it's easy and authentic to lend each other a hand up.

Author Jill Evans said, “Even if you have a great publisher, publicist or agent, you still need to sell yourself and impress for success. The only reason Barnes & Noble awarded an Author of the Month in October 2002 status to myself and my unheard of how to craft title - "Creative Containers", was because of how I sold my book in their stores during book signings the month before. If I were to do it all over again, I would utilize the royalty advancement payment toward a marketing fund for the book. The industry is a highly competitive field for new authors, illustrators and even for published veterans. You need to make yourself stand out "tastefully" and consistently sell, sell, sell yourself and your book.”

Selling yourself is as much about your presence as it is about the strategies you employ to be known. The ultimate task to walk your talk and sell yourself is based on your credibility and good reputation. Work your PR from the inside out and you will see what I mean: when others know, like and trust you, they will want to do business with you!

Make sure you come back next Sunday for the second part . . . dressing the part. Knowing how to talk the part is only half of making a great first impression!

To learn more about VS Grenier visit

1 comment:

terri.forehand said...

Great information especially for new writers. Thanks for posting.

Terri Forehand