Giving Candy To Strangers (published 2015 by Next Century Publishing), is one of the best books that I read in 2015, and I highly recommend to everyone, and if you’d like to buy a copy you can find it here on Amazon.
Here is a Q & A I got to do with my friend and author of the book Stan Holden, which offers some fascinating insights.
1. How did you come up with the concept of the book?
As a professional artist most of my career, it occurred to me that there are not a lot of business books written by artists (and for good reason, many of us are flakey and not necessarily good at business)! I took a long look at the successful design studio I ran for years and realized that one of the major reasons I succeeded was not because I was such a great designer… but, because I was a connector, I was easy and fun to work with and I enjoyed helping my clients (and competition). I had written a few stories for Chicken Soup For The Soul and thought that a business book written with more sentiment and emotion (from the perspective of an artist) was needed. I also realized that as an artist I tend to do things outside of the box… why not apply and teach that to others as it applies to business and relationships in a practical way?
2. Where did you get the title and what does it mean?
Many of my advertising agency clients would come to me as a hired gun—so-to-speak—for conceptual writing and fresh ideas. Meaning, I would create catchy headlines, ideas and concepts for campaigns that their internal creative people would take and then expand on. (I also specialized in internal Human Resources Communications for Fortune 500 companies). I am fond of “double entendres” and playing with words, so I wanted a title that would make people think and then be attracted to. In this case, I took what is normally seen as a negative (Taking Candy From Strangers) and turned it around into a positive, Giving Candy To Strangers. Which is also the core philosophy of the book—turning things around and giving! As a side note to that, as a visual designer I created the cover of the book before I ever wrote a word. Normally, you do not design your own cover… much less do it before the book is written. But I like to do things differently.
3. How important is the heart to the marketing process?
Easy answer, it’s the most important part and the beginning of everything! It is where all ideas and creation start. Whether it be choosing to do something creatively or creating a new relationship. Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” even as a scientist he understood this. It all starts in the heart, including imagination, and then moves to your head. Apple computer understands this at a deep level. Their products fill a need at an emotional level before a practical level. I have had the pleasure of working on many projects for Apple and that philosophy permeates throughout the entire company… from accounting, to marketing. You have to move people to move business and that starts with the heart.
4. What part do emotions play into the process?
Generally speaking emotions play a big roll. However, over time you can learn to control your emotions in a positive way. For instance, there were days when I had to draw cartoons when I wasn’t in a particularly good mood—not exactly a great combination—but as a professional, I leaned tricks over the years to overcome that and get the job done. In the case of sales and building relationships, you always want to be upbeat and in a good mood. But, there are times when I am not in the best of spirits so I go out and “give candy to strangers” and it immediately puts me in a happy place. The point is that everyone has their own boundaries in terms of emotions. You need to know what yours are and how to manage them.
5. What are some of the mistakes you see being made in sales?
It’s all about the close… No it’s not! People are not a commodity… so don’t turn them into a quota. They will see through that anyway. Another thing is… be yourself! My book is not a recipe for success but a menu that you can use to pick and choose what works for you. Many people in sales and business, in general, go about the business of their business without ever thinking about it! Bend the rules and throw out those pre-conceived ideas and do it differently, from the heart and with purpose.
6. What does the book say about abundance and why?
Abundance may mean something different to everyone. Most people immediately think money… but abundance can come in many forms. If you are following your purpose and passion and using it to also help others… abundance will flow back to you in the form you need it—which may or may not include money. Abundance really comes down to living a joyful life… Notice I didn’t say happy. Sure, everyone wants to be happy. But happiness is external and fleeting, whereas, joy comes from within and therefore lasts longer. It’s the same with being motivated and inspired. Motivation will help you move towards abundance but inspiration will keep you there—and others will be attracted to that.
7. What can a mom who wants to start a business take away from this?
Your circle of connections is your greatest asset. Don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone, ask questions and start conversations. Many moms, especially new moms, tend to segregate or isolate themselves. But, why not join a Mom’s club? Or, here’s an idea… instead of a Master Mind group, why not form a Master Mom group for networking and sharing ideas? You can have that one, I haven’t trademarked it.
8. What is the single greatest message that a person can learn from your book?
Picasso once said that it took him 4 years to learn to draw like Rafael but a lifetime to draw like a child. Let your hair down and play in the sand box just like a kid! The reason sales came easy to me is twofold: first I expressed my playful artist side and applied it to sales and secondly, I didn’t know any better as to what not to do. My lack of experience became a blessing because I tried and did things that experience would have told me not to do. Be childlike, figuratively speaking, let down your guard and run amuck.
9. Why is humor so important throughout your message?
Depending on the context, of course—and that could be geographically or culturally speaking, which you always have to be sensitive to—humor is one of the greatest common denominators we have as humans. It’s also what make’s life fun and healing. I am working on a project right now with the great comedian Craig Shoemaker called Laughter Heals. Laughter really is the best medicine… but it is also the greatest glue!
10. If connections are our most valuable resource, how does one nurture a large number of connections.
The most important thing to remember is that people just want to know that they are in your thoughts. You will have close friends—those are the first relationships to nurture—and acquaintances and everything in-between. As you go about your routine of Giving Candy To Strangers, that circle of influence will grow! Manage it wisely. Be a connector. and introduce people to one another like a matchmaker. The internet is a great way to stay connected, say hello, stay in touch or send an “eGifts” (which I explain in the book). Whereas, with a close friend… pick up the phone! Don’t let your existing friends become strangers!
If you’d like to know more about Stan you can follow him on twitter here.