Larry Mullins

August 7, 2009

99% of Salespersons Lack these Two Ingredients for Super Success

The supreme alchemy for success is a perfect balance of confidence and love. The more confidence you have, the better. Provided you have an equal degree of compassion. The more compassion you have, the better … provided you have an equal degree of confidence.

Leading salespersons have this perfect alchemy. Great leaders have it. It’s not true that you can have too much confidence. You need an absolutely impregnable self-respect. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this provided, that is, you have an equal degree of respect for others. Compassion tempers confidence, and changes it from being overbearing and annoying to being gracious and passionate.

It is equally true that you cannot have too much compassion. Provided, that is, it is balanced by an equal degree of confidence and self-respect. Impregnable self-confidence changes saccharine and deferential behavior into a spiritual fragrance that engages and allures other personalities.

This is the ultimate formula, the fail-safe alchemy for success. Simple, yet profoundly difficult. In fact, only one percent of humankind learn to master the elegant balancing act of enlightened self-interest and service. They are known as self-actualizers.

Learn how to become one at www.MetaValues.net .

August 3, 2009

Book Publishing will Never Be the Same

How David Hancock is Helping Authors Get Published
While Re-Inventing the Book Publishing Industry

When a group of street performers observed the declining customer appeal of the circus, they re-invented it. In less than twenty years Cirque du Soleil achieved a level of revenue that Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey took more than a hundred years to achieve.

In a similar way, Walt Disney had a bad experience when he took his daughters to a carnival, and he created Disneyland. Disney revenues and stock began to soar. Walt Disney did not improve the carnival, he revolutionized it. David Hancock had negative experiences becoming a published author a few years ago. This triggered much the same creative process, resulting in a new publishing company that is quietly and dramatically transforming the publishing industry.
While major publishers are foundering, closing divisions and canceling titles, David Hancock’s fledgling company, Morgan James Publishing, enjoyed a 52% increase in sales last year. Morgan James is still one of the fastest growing publishing companies in America.

How did David Hancock do it?
David had studied the cutting edge techniques of the top marketing experts and applied them to a successful mortgage banking career. He then wrote two excellent marketing books. “Publishing a book helped me double my bottom line in less than eight months, and I enjoyed the positive reinforcement that came from my book helping other people. But the traditional publishing process was a terrible experience.” David then self-published and distributed a third book. This experience was not encouraging. The self-published book lacked the prestige of a recognized imprint.
Hancock became convinced that the world needed a new kind of publishing company. He decided to create it himself. His vision was as daring and revolutionary as that of Walt Disney and Cirque du Soleil. With a slight twist. David added what may seem to some a Quixotic vision, one of service. He wanted a publishing company that put the author first. When David Hancock founded Morgan James Publishing in 2003 the odds against success appeared formidable. The industry was not robust, and David’s experience as a publisher was limited to a single book.
Unconventional from the beginning, David and his wife, Susan, named his new company after their two children, Morgan Renee and Ethan James. Much in the manner of Disney and the Cirque du Soleil team, David began developing a business plan by identifying the industry’s costly sacred cows and then chasing them off the reservation. First, the traditional publishing model of the expensive long-run printing of titles was discarded in favor of a blend of printing technologies with short runs to cover demand with print on demand as a back up strategy. Market demand would dictate quantities of each title. Morgan James became the first high-volume title publisher with Ingram Publisher Services and Lightning Source, a finely tuned print and distribution combination owned by the Ingram Book Group. In one stroke, Hancock addressed production problems and achieved distribution venues. Eventually, his sensitive management of book store relationships would result in returns of less than 25%, compared to the industry average of 50%.
This was clearly an innovative approach to the economics of publishing. But David Hancock had insight into something more—something that the publishing industry, and many other industries, have too often neglected. Like Disney and the Cirque du Soleil team, he realized that successful business models have dimensions beyond pure economics. Disneyland and Cirque du Soleil passionately focus upon serving customers with extraordinary creative products of value-enhanced significance. David appreciated that publishers’ most important assets are the creators of their books—their authors.
Hancock’s new model would cultivate talented authors, both known and unheralded, with uncommon consideration and respect. Morgan James would become the world’s first Entrepreneurial Publisher™. The old school patron-clerk relationship between publisher and author was discarded. In its place, a collaborative entrepreneurial team would be formed to develop each publishing project. The author would be consulted and in the loop during the entire publishing process, including the design of the cover and interior of the publication. This was virtually unheard of.
And there is yet another dimension to the Morgan James’ Entrepreneurial Publisher® model. David understood that it is self-evident that a publishing business model would not work unless it could sell an appropriate number of books. David was aware that all successful marketing and advertising theories turn on this principle: Nothing happens until a sale is made. Mainstream publishers today are unwilling to risk large budgets to market books. Unless authors happen to be celebrities, they will find it necessary to market their own books. A few years ago this involved considerable time, expense and arduous grunt-work. That obsolete model was pre-internet.
Today a savvy author has access to Amazon and a host of other internet options to interface with prospective readers and sell books. But few authors have the sophisticated knowledge necessary to make the internet work with maximum efficiency in their behalf. As internet guru Mark Joyner (a Morgan James author) might express it, authors had the will and the internet gave them the means, but they lacked the knowledge. Hancock decided upon another breakthrough solution. He would put the tools of the internet at his authors’ disposal and teach them how to use them.
Here David had distinct advantages. He could draw upon his extensive study of the proven principles of marketing, especially those state-of-the-art techniques that involve the internet. He could use his precious connections with the best internet teachers and make their products available to his authors. Suddenly it became possible for talented unknowns as well as top authors to interface with untold numbers of readers in cyberspace for little or virtually no cost.
The result was electric. Authors have generally proven to be better than publishers at marketing their books. And the publishing world will never be the same.
How to Win Friends and Help Authors Sell Books
I had the good fortune to see David’s philosophy operate in real time recently in Phoenix. I attended a three day seminar featuring internet guru Armand Morin. Several Morgan James authors were in attendance, courtesy of the Morgan James Author 101 University marketing program. David attended the seminar, and I found him to be remarkably accessible and gracious. So much so that my fascination about self-actualizing personalities kicked in. I wanted to know what drove David’s passion to help authors. Fortunately, I learned more during several brief encounters with David over the three-day period.
In one particular instance, David and I sat down together for an informal chat in the hospitality center of the hotel. We were soon joined by several authors. In this circle of eager writers, David patiently listened as one after another discussed his or her book and unfolded their goals and visions. During a lull I asked David to reveal his secret for working successfully with authors, he replied: “I try to catch their dream.” Indeed, one must watch David in action to appreciate the significance and depth of this, his own passion.
I came to realize that perhaps what I was observing was an example of servant leadership. I know some will sniff at this remark and even regard it as corny. But those who are not embarrassed by this concept will find the next few paragraphs of particular interest.

The Remarkable Power of Organizational Values
I believe it is the company’s core values that make Morgan James a different kind of organization. I am not referring to a list of principles in some formal document, unread and gathering dust in an executive’s credenza. They are values that are more lived than formally stated. They begin with David Hancock and they permeate the entire Morgan James organization … operations and production, sales; and relationships with associates, vendors, authors, and the general public.
First is the pragmatic core value of excellence. From a material perspective, the operational essentials of profitability and well-crafted products are basic. The company focuses on four book categories: Business, Self Help, Inspirational, and Health. Morgan James is very selective about the quality of what it publishes. The prevailing principle is that the company will not publish anything that David would not feel comfortable showing his children. Appropriate content, character, and family values are weighed to determine whether an author’s work makes it. And making the team is not a lark. Over four thousand five hundred manuscript proposals are submitted annually, and an average of 163 survive the cut.
Once accepted, however, an author experiences a second essential core value: integrity. Trust is cultivated and fostered. What David Hancock promises, he delivers. What the organization says it will do, it does. Author relations are funneled through a single individual, and responses to inquiries are swift and reasonable. An entrepreneurial and marketing training program kicks in. Authors retain rights to their intellectual property, and books stay in print. Royalties are generally larger than those common in the publishing industry. There are a host of other benefits, such as group health insurance, that are too numerous to list here. The bottom line is that authors are made to feel valued as important assets, as part of a family.

There is a third core value that should not be overlooked: caring and mutually beneficial relationships. On the practical side, strong relationships with authors and vendors have resulted in authentic strategic advantages. Yet Morgan James goes beyond the pragmatic and embraces community responsibility. A percentage of the revenue of each book goes to Habitat for Humanity. The company places the Habitat for Humanity logo on the back and inside of its books. David appreciates the Habitat for Humanity’s life-changing work of helping low income families build homes they can afford to buy. Many Habitat for Humanity home dedications are visited by a large van with Habitat and Morgan James logos, featuring imprints and authors. New homeowners are gifted with a small library of books. David explains that these activities help his authors and raise public awareness of Habitat for Humanity’s work for the less advantaged.

The core values of integrity, excellence and caring—vibrant and in pragmatic balance—seem to form the essential foundation of Morgan James Publishing.
In the first five years, the Morgan James business model moved from start-up to a 15 million dollar company. Many well-known writers have joined its author base, including Jay Conrad Levinson, Robyn Spizman, Rick Frishman, Mark Victor Hansen, Dr. Robert Anthony, and Tony Alessandra. Morgan James was ranked 44 on Fast Company’s “Fast 50” in 2006. David Hancock was a finalist in the Best Chairman category in the 2006 American Business Awards, hailed as “the business world’s own Oscars” by the New York Post.
Hancock has proven that the publishing industry was ready for his entrepreneurial author concept. The pubic is obviously hungry for his products. Of the future, he says: “Of course, we are watching, planning and positioning ourselves for this new economy, but we are optimistic in our continued growth and reach in the marketplace today and in years to come.”
One thing seems certain to me after meeting David Hancock. He is loving every moment of working with his authors and actualizing his mission to “catch their dream.”