When I attended the Inc. 500/5000 conference last month my favorite presenter was Guy Kawasaki, who (along with being incredibly witty) offered an informative session about cultivating and maintaining “enchantment” in your customers or clients (or in our case at Outskirts Press, authors). A month later, I continue to find his presentation to be just as applicable for the entrepreneurs sitting in that huge conference hall as it is for us at Outskirts Press, and as it most likely is for published authors attempting to build their author platform and sell more books.
To that end, over the next few weeks I will summarize each of the steps Guy discussed, along with how it is applicable to our self-publishing company, Outskirts Press, and perhaps it will also help you apply the information to your own entrepreneurial efforts (starting a business, running a company or yes, even marketing a published book). And, in the meantime, you should get Guy’s book, “Enchantment” for the total skinny.
Step 1 is to achieve likability.
According to Guy Kawasaki wisdom, one achieves likability by accepting others and, most importantly, “defaulting to yes” as Guy says. This is one of the cornerstones of what I try to instill in our author support folks at Outskirts Press, but – to be honest – it is more difficult in practice than it sounds. We have a pretty systematic approach to custom publishing (which I realize sounds like an oxymoron), so finding creative ways to say “Yes” when the obvious answer is “No” can be challenging. Nevertheless, Guy encourages everyone to enter into a conversation or meeting or interaction with this one single thought: “How can I help this person I’m speaking with? How can I assist this company I am meeting with? How can I say ‘Yes’ to them?” And in all instances, regardless of what the other person says or does, try to find a way to say, “Yes, I can help you do that.”
For us, at Outskirts Press, I have long been trying to communicate internally the concept of the words/concept, “You’re right.” Beginning any conversation or email correspondence with those words is much the same as Guy’s “Yes” ideology. It’s a difficult habit to master (and I’ll admit we have folks here who are better at it than others), but once it becomes ingrained in your customer service psyche, you will be surprised at how much easier every communication becomes. I will often start an email with the words “You’re right” and then after composing the rest of the email, simply remove those two words if it doesn’t seem to be entirely applicable. But, more often than not, those two words are the perfect way to begin nearly any communication. People like being right. They like hearing the word “Yes” and it immediately forces me to find a common ground with the other person (which, perhaps not coincidentally, is another step to enchantment we will cover later). It is a relatively easy way to enchant them. Do we have room to improve in this area at Outskirts Press? Of course. But I feel, in general, this is a step we perform well. Practice it yourself. You’ll be happy you did (and so will your customers/clients).
Step 2 to Enchantment next time….