By Guest Blogger, Jay B. Myers, CEO/President, Interactive Solutions Inc.
My book, Keep Swinging: An Entrepreneurs Story of Overcoming Adversity and Achieving Small Business Success (www.keepswingingbook.com) has exceeded my wildest dreams for the impact it has had on both my business and professional life. How so?
First off, I recognized early on after my book was published, that as a first time author, I simply wasn’t going to sell a million books and get a guest appearance on Oprah! Does that make writing the book and going through all the effort to get it published a waste of time? Absolutely not! Here’s why.
My book has sold about 5000 copies since 2007 so I’m certainly not giving John Grisham a run for his money but in that same period of time my company, Interactive Solutions (www.isitn.com) has grown over 50% to $16m in sales despite the worldwide economic recession. Did we grow because of the book or was it a mere coincidence? You be the judge.
ISI is in the high tech video conferencing/ audio-visual industry and sells and installs products all across the country to hospitals, schools, universities and larger corporations. Video conferencing in particular is a very competitive industry and as mid-sized company we are constantly looking for “an edge” over our competition many of whom are very large companies (Verizon, ATT etc) That’s where Keep Swinging comes in. Since 2007 my book has been used as our best business card and a competitive differentiator. Here are just a few ways we have used it in the past few years.
Customer/Partner Appreciation Tool– Every ISI client and business partner has received a copy of Keep Swinging as a token of appreciation for their investment /support for the company. We also enclose a letter explaining why the book was written (company history, adversity, values etc) and many of our clients remarked how it reinforced why they do business with ISI, want to do more etc. We also have used Keep Swinging as a premium giveaway at industry trade shows which has resulted in several new sales contracts (Federal Government) and a recent speaking engagement.
Speaking Engagements– Before Keep Swinging was written, I may have done 2-3 speaking engagements in a couple of years and all were in the local area. Since the book was published, I have booked over 40 speaking engagements all across the US telling the ISI story and giving the company priceless exposure This activity has generated several new sales prospects on a nationwide basis. Another way we have leveraged speaking engagements is using them as a recruiting tool which resulted in a recent hire for the sales team from an MBA class at the University of Mississippi.
Public Relations/Media Coverage– ISI has always done well with the local press with coverage of various awards (Small Business of the Year, INC 500 etc) but since Keep Swinging was published the company’s exposure has been truly “off the charts”. Highlights include an appearance on Fox Business News and articles in the Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal as well as 25-30 other radio and TV interviews all across the country(Chicago, Atlanta, New York City etc) And that’s the key in using your “book as the hook” Most, if not all of those TV , newspaper and radio shows would not have booked me on their shows to talk about ISI and video conferencing (or if they did we couldn’t afford it) But they all had interest in my book and the message that it delivers. And the best part for the company? ISI received several sales inquiries as a result of these PR activities in areas we would have never been able to have access to without the book.