Bragging rights: the right to boast after winning a game or beating an opponent.
I really did earn bragging rights. The game, which I won, is getting my new book published. The opponent was a sometimes overwhelming desire to, well, procrastinate.
I don’t think I have ever undertaken a project more rewarding, harder, more humbling, more bloating and deflating to the ego than getting this book published.
After all too many years, Hot Prospects will be published by Scribner (an imprint of Simon and Schuster) on August 12, 2008.
“Hot prospects” are, of course, the lifeblood of any sales professional. That’s the subject of the book, but not of this article. Rather, this article is about some of the extraordinary people met along the way.
Any book worth its salt needs endorsements. These are the testimonials, the advance sales people, the touters, shouters and, from the author’s point of view, the good guys.
Given that you’ll receive your copy of Research around the start of July, rather than my usual “how to” piece, I thought some lighter summertime fare might be in order. I wanted to share some stories with you about the people I asked to endorse my book.
Chris Gardner: If you don’t know Chris’ story — and I certainly did not at the time — you just have to read The Pursuit of Happyness and see the movie, starring Will Smith, who played Chris.
Years ago, when he came through the class I taught for Dean Witter in their San Francisco training center, Chris was literally homeless. My job was teaching rookies how to cold-call by offering new issues of stock and tax-free municipal bond funds. There’s a scene in the movie where Chris is cold calling. It’s right out of the course Chris took.
As Chris tells the story in his book, the pizza Dean Witter ordered for our calling session was part of the “meal plan” for him and his son.
Much later, when I learned of the full Chris Gardner story, I remembered very well talking to a very sharp African American who just soaked up what I taught. I can’t say at the time that I thought “He will go the distance.” But of all the people who went through those classes, there was something about him that burned itself into memory.
Chris, like the other five people noted in this article, was kind enough to write a blurb endorsing my book.
David Bach: David Bach wrote the books Smart Women Finish Rich, Smart Couples Finish Rich, The Automatic Millionaire, Go Green/Live Rich, and Start Late/Finish Rich. He is another I remember. We had several phone conversations in which he picked my brain hard.
Our relationship started in 1991, when I got a call from a young man whose dad was legendary in Dean Witter. David was going to take over all but the very few top clients that his father kept. He drew upon Dad’s clients, started his seminar helping women “finish rich,” and managed the process with the Bill Good Marketing System.
I had dinner with David earlier this year. He told me that before he bought the System, he kept a file of the prospecting letters I sent him, and that the method we used to market to him was an important reason he signed up for the System. He went on to be a New York Times bestselling author with such books as The Automatic Millionaire.
Al Ries: Al Ries is co-author with Jack Trout of Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind.
Probably about 1982, I read the Positioning book. It explained so much. I’ve read everything Al Ries has written since. In 1986, while preparing my first book for publication, I decided I wanted an endorsement from him. For me, this was going to the mountaintop. I really could not imagine pulling it off. But shyness has never been a problem I’ve had to deal with. So I cold-called him. I got right through. I told him, “I have some really nice things to say in my book about your book, and I would appreciate it if you would write me an endorsement.” Boom. Right to the point.
He replied, “Send me a copy of your book.” To my complete and utter surprise, a few days later, I had a great endorsement.