What I learned writing a children's book about tech sales
If you work in Partnerships, BD or Sales then you know that explaining to a child what you do at work can be harder than closing a big deal.
That is why I wrote The ABCs of Sales - a children’s book about tech sales. The book makes a great holiday gift for both parents and young children.
Below is the backstory on how this book came to be and the lesson I learned writing it, a lesson that may be useful to you and your family.
Early pandemic I sit down next to my daughter at breakfast one morning and she asks me to read her a story from the digital library on our ipad.
She taps the screen and randomly selects an ABCs book. I start reading aloud.
Suddenly, I sit up after I read this:
“C is for Customer Research - Product Managers conduct customer research to justify things they’ve already decided to build.”
As I continue reading aloud, I realize this book’s colorful animal characters distract kids from the spoonfuls of workplace humor for parents.
After we finish, I find online that this book - The ABCs of Product Management - is part of a series of books that also includes the ABC's of Law, Consulting, Investment Banking and Data Science.
I then realize what I need to do next.
The ABCs of Sales
First, I get my daughter out the door and on her way to school, which had just resumed in-person classes.
Then, I carefully craft my first ever book proposal. I pitch The ABCs of Sales and me as the author.
The next day I get a reply email that my proposal has been accepted! The authors of the other books in the series become my collaborators and editors. And eight months later, the first printed copies of my book The ABCs of Sales arrive in a box.
As we tear open the box, my daugther’s face lights up upon seeing my name on the front cover.
The ABCs of Sales is the story of Darcy the Dog - a saleswoman who faces an angry customer (Billy the Bear), an impatient product manager (Pablo the Parrot) and a daunting pitch to a C-Level executive (Clare the Cat). Readers (and child listeners) learn sales concepts along with the letters of the alphabet. A is for Accountable. B is for Beta. L is for Listening.
The book is for parents as much as it is for children.
Today, I'm proud of the positive Amazon book reviews from total strangers, like this: “I honestly enjoyed it more than my daughter! Gave 3 copies to friends who are in sales.”
And it is an incredible feeling when colleagues tell me about reading the book to their children.
But the most important part is what I learned while writing a children's book.
Give the gift of a story
I had fooled myself into thinking that writing for children would be easy. It is not.
But what I realized is that my girls do not care that what I wrote is not in the same ballpark as Dr. Seuss or Mo Willems. What mattered to them was that I took the time and energy to try and share a story from my world with them.
Building a relationship at work typically starts with sharing a story about myself. The same is true at home with my kids. It doesn't require publishing a children's book. But it does involve reframing a moment from my day at work into a story they can understand. Offering them a view into my victories and setbacks at work, I believe, helps them make sense of their world and know me better. It is also the best way to get them to tell me about their day at school.
After many hours of video calls and partner negotiations, it can be hard to remember to share a story from your day with your family. But it is worth it.
Stories are the seeds that grow relationships.
The ABCs of Sales can be a fun way to start a conversation with your child about what you’re up to when you’re at work, and the proceeds go to Give Directly, working to alleviate global poverty.
Here is where you can find the entire Very Young Profesionals book series.
Huge thank you to Amit, Raamin and Varun!