From the vaults – What’s in it for THEM?, Sept. 20, 2015

It seemed to be time to bring back this blog post of Sept. 2015 from the vaults and remind some people out there that they’re further ahead using “permission” rather than old-fashioned “interruption” marketing techniques to get the attention of their intended audience … Here’s what I mean:

Whether you are writing and publishing a book, writing and producing a song or video, delivering a speech, posting to your blog, writing a status update on Facebook or tweeting a message on Twitter, friending or following someone, accepting friendship or returning a follow—or just connecting with anyone in some way or another . . .

Don’t ask what’s in this for you. It should always be:

What’s in it for THEM!

Always try to make it about the other person, no matter what you do. No one really wants to receive a message from you that they should buy your book/like you on Facebook/check out your website or blog. Really, they won’t want to. Not when they’ve only just “met” you. This is why I will unfollow or unfriend anyone who sends me a direct message (and the automated messages are the worst!) “telling” me to check out their new book or site before even bothering to thank me or having taken any time at all to check out my profile or show an interest in me first.


A fellow sales rep once told me a story of having been seated next to Tom Wolfe on a flight to their publisher’s sales conference. (And, yes, Wolfe was wearing his trademark white suit.) What amazed my friend about Wolfe was that their conversation revolved completely around … my friend: who he was, where he lived, what he enjoyed reading, how his job as sales rep worked for him. Then they talked about books and reading, but not about Wolfe or his books at all. What my friend realized was that Wolfe was completely involved in their conversation, but not at all involved in himself. I think Wolfe, for his part, was probably just acting upon those instincts he’d honed, as a journalist and novelist, and was observing, listening, maybe even looking for a story. Whatever the reason, Tom Wolfe won over a lifelong fan that day.

So what I’m getting at here is that you’re more likely to make friends and influence people, or find new readers/listeners/viewers for whatever it is you are writing and creating, by turning your pitch around and letting THEM know what you can offer that is different from all the others out there who are simply trying to convince everyone to Buy! Buy! Buy! This is so simple to do, too. Offer to review their book, if you’ve already read it, or even tell them you will promote it to your friends. Be like Tom Wolfe—ask THEM questions, show your interest in them. If you write a blog, ask them to be a guest. Share their status updates, like, and retweet what they post. (Although possibly not to the point of being stalker-like . . .) Trust me! This kind of flattery will get you everywhere!

Let’s all become more engaged with our friends and audience by turning the tables and always remembering to let them know first . . . What’s in it for THEM!

(This is actually a concept that is part of Permission Marketing and it’s well covered in the book of that name written by Seth Godin who coined the term in the first place. By following what I suggest above, you will find that people who do become your friends will then want to become readers and, if they enjoy what you write, will then become fans with an interest in anything you may produce in the future. And those fans will also likely look after your future promotion for you.)


8 responses

  1. Wonderful advice. The human approach. 🙂

  2. Such good advice. Thank you. It irritates me beyond when I receive these. Never answer, never follow up.

  3. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    A reminder from Susan Toy that it is not all about ‘us’ but more about ‘them’ when we are looking to win hearts and influence minds!

    1. Thanks for reblogging, Sally!

  4. What a great example. I wish I would sit next to more people like that on my flights.

    1. Yes! I always get stuck next to someone who wants to tell me their life story. That’s when I pull out the ear buds and a book …

  5. Really good post. I also hate receiving those automated direct messages including the ones which are offering me a free download of a sample chapter. I don’t respond but sometimes wonder if I should send a direct message explaining how much I dislike this – but then I think they would probably ignore it or send me another one – life is too short.

    1. Thanks, Mary! And you’re absolutely right about what would happen. They will never get the message so it’s best to just ignore them.

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