The Janine Bolon Show with Mary B. Simon - 99 Authors Project, Season 5, Episode 2

The 99 Authors Project – Season 5 – Episode 2 with Mary B. Simon

Mary B. Simon

Mary Brunelle Simon is a Senior Executive Coach with 20+ years of international experience. She has expertise in building and capturing professional legacy is the cornerstone of her business career. She has served as faculty/staff for The Wharton School MBA program, authored a book about negotiation strategies for your next job, and has advised senior leaders in 15 industries.

See Mary’s website here.

Transcript of the Show

Bryan Hyde
Welcome to the Janine Bolon show, where we share tips from around the globe. As we guide practical people with their finances using money tips, increase their incomes through side businesses, and maintain their sanity by staying in their creative zone.

Janine Bolon
Hi, Janine Bolon, here and welcome to today’s show where we’re going to bring you some quality content on saving time saving your money. How about staying sane? That one is a really good one with the way things have continually been changing, right? So the Janine Bolon show is a syndicated program of four different podcast shows that were combined in October of 21, 2021. Three Minute Money Tips, The Thriving Solopreneur, The Writers Hour Creative Conversations and The Practical Mystic Show. These were all programs that have been running since 2017. We’ve produced over 300 episodes, we’ve interviewed over 218 guests, and today we are spotlighting one of our authors that is contributing to our 99 Authors Project, Mary Simon.

Janine Bolon
Now Mary is a respected and trusted executive coach with over 20 years of experience who focuses on results, and she wants you to make sure you get a return on your investment. How nice is that? She’s recognized as an enterprise-wide partner, who has coached leaders and teams in 17 different industries, just go to her website, and you’ll see some big names there. She’s authored a book about negotiation strategies for your next job. I highly recommend that is a read. And she’s required a certification in brain science and neuroscience. She’s also a former member of the faculty of Wharton School of Business, her experience translates into confidence and momentum toward outcomes and goals. Now, she earned her reputation and skill by spearheading alignment between individual contributors and executives and has facilitated resolution of sensitive and let me tell you, when she says high stakes, critical business situations, just think big, big dollars, like more than you think you will ever see in your lifetime. Thank you so much for being with us today. Mary.

Mary B. Simon
Great to be here. Janine, as always.

Janine Bolon
Yeah. Thanks for taking time, because I know you travel extensively and the fact that you have landed for a short period of time, just so you can talk with us today. I very much appreciate it. So we’re just gonna dive right in. And one of the things I wanted to just talk to you about was, what do you do to help you with saving time because you are a jet setter, literally a globe traveler, right, globetrotter, as they like to say. Yeah.

Mary B. Simon
Well, one of the things I do was I get out of the environment that I’m in in front of the camera. And when we’re on video, and we’re on Zoom, or teams or whatever it is that the platform requires, I find that I have to be curious about how to turn off some of what’s going on in the narrative with one call and the narrative I have to prepare for. So I leave physically leave the environment, I walk to an area that either has nature or water, and I let what I’ve done go and I take the refreshing kind of breath that you need to get onto a new path. And no matter where I am, there is something to focus on. It might be up in the air or bird, it might be a pool, it might be a tree, but it just puts a grounding for what’s next in the place. And people pay a lot to be in those kinds of environments and to unplug. So I feel like I every time I do it, I’m actually saving 1,000s.

Janine Bolon
You are, you’re saving 1,000s of dollars. Now, when we were in the green room, Mary said, well, I’ve got something that I think will save people lots of money, but it sounds kind of frivolous. And I’m like, ooh, that’s exactly what we’d like. Because it’s those frivolous things that we do that end up saving us 1,000s of dollars now for me, because you know, and with Janine Bolon show, I like to give you guys the perspective of the author as well as myself. And that is for me a vision board. Now, vision boards have been really beaten up lately, like, oh, they don’t work, they’re not appropriate. Well, maybe they don’t work for you. Okay, that’s fine. But have you really given them a go for some cardboard that I will go to my grocery store and pay two bucks, three bucks for and then taking about an hour with my kids or with my friends and sitting around a table and dreaming of what kind of a life we want for the next year. It keeps me on task. I have saved myself 1,000s of dollars just like you, Mary, by using a vision board because anytime I thought about well, maybe I need to do “X” or maybe I need to do “Y.” If I’m confused, it means I don’t have the clarity I want so I’ll stop everything. And just like Mary said she goes out into nature, which I heartily applaud, okay, but I’ll go to my vision board and go okay, what is really the goal for me this year, and it’s amazing how much money is saved by that. So thank you for your money tip, Mary, it’s really on point.

Mary B. Simon
I love your vision board.

Janine Bolon
Yeah.

Janine Bolon
But okay, so talk to us about this book that you wrote on the negotiating your job, I mean, your, your next job offer and all that kind of stuff. What prompted you to write that book because I know what kind of work you do. And it’s like, you’re such a killer negotiator that people hire and spend a lot of money on. When you wrote this book on the job thing, I’m sorry, that to me, it’s just like, amazing.

Mary B. Simon
Well, the part that I believe is that every book is born out of a bigger story. And in that, one, when I was growing up, my family was in the diplomatic corps, different countries, different periods of time, sometimes of civil war, other times, just unsettling kinds of political circumstances, but not a war. So you know how people put little tags with a safety pin on little kids jackets, when they go to school, if there’s an important item that has to be communicated? Well, I kind of had my passport on me.

Mary B. Simon
And therefore, I learned early on, that I had to be ready for anything in any environment and had to be able to communicate what I wanted, when I needed it, and why it was important, no matter who it was I was talking with. So that passport and the image of it, for me meant always be alert to not just what you’re asking for. And what’s underneath that, why it’s so important to you. But pay attention to how it’s going to land, and what the other side is going to hear that might work for them.

Janine Bolon
I highly recommend to people that you get on Zoom, and you talk to the camera, and then listen to it 24 hours later, because that’s where I learned that I had a very non-direct way of speaking to which would shock anybody today. But like Mary, I realized the way I communicated was inaccurate. And it wasn’t expressing really what I was or what I needed. And so if you struggle, I highly recommend that you take some of the advice that Mary is sharing with us today. About, it’s important to know and communicate what you need. So how did you get to a point where you learned how to communicate what you need, because especially for women around the world, I’ve lived in several countries. That’s not a skill we’re given access to much less taught?

Mary B. Simon
Well, I cut my teeth a few years later, when I taught at Wharton. And Wharton is a place that is competitive. And there were only at the time, at most about 23% women in the class of 700. Many of them were from Asia, where you double that challenge about what it means to put what you want out there. Because it’s not always easy to do that in like culture. And, and it’s not easy for anyone, let alone when you have loads other kind of values that go in. So in that environment, the lights that went off for me and why I wrote this particular book was there was no relationship between any one’s level of real intelligence and talent and kind of analytical ability and their ability to negotiate on their own behalf. And that was there’s a vacuum, there’s just a big wide opening in between those two, and I was getting ready to leave to work externally with the institution. And I thought there’s a legacy I can leave behind. And a publisher came along and offered an advance so that there could be something that anyone who was ready to find what they needed to communicate and what’s underneath it, kind of a mission, why it’s important. And then put it in the context of what somebody else is going to need to hear to work with you. I could produce something that could be a relevant and immediate resource for some of the brightest individuals I’ve worked with.

Janine Bolon
Cool. So you talk about a publisher and an advance. Those are terms that haven’t been heard of since 2000, so when was this book published?

Mary B. Simon
Well, it was a few years ago. And the more than a decade, and the thing that I have been completely surprised by and delighted by is, I’ve had people reach out to me to say that they were in the prep part of a kind of negotiation journey. And they picked up the book, and they read it cover to cover, had all the dog years, and all the little, you know, yellow papers hanging on sides for relevant places for them in the book. And they were 100% successful in what they wanted and needed to achieve. And so it has stood the test of time. And it’s done so in a way that one of my hidden goals was to empower other people to be able to do this. And to do it in a way that they could repeat.

Janine Bolon
Right. And one of the things I’m going to share with the listeners was the fact that this book is very good at just helping you with negotiation period. So whether you’re negotiating for a new job, even though that’s what it’s focused on, for our debut authors that are going to be listening to this, it also helps you negotiate deals, and as a authorpreneur, which is what they call us. Now, as an authorpreneur, you need to learn how to negotiate for yourself. And so I highly recommend the book. That’s why I reached out to Mary and said, look, I don’t care how old this book is, we need to talk about that. Because you had a publisher who paid in advance, which he’s just not going to find that these days, you know, you have to be very different type of person at this time. So anyway, well talk to us a little bit about what did you have any kind of marketing background before when you got this book? Or did your publisher help you with marketing it?

Mary B. Simon
I took out every book that I could get my hands on, I looked at every YouTube video, I looked at every webinar, every TED talk that I could to get an idea about how to really hone in and target. And and the other thing that happened was that there was kind of an organic interest because of the fact that I had been faculty staff at a leading MBA program. And there’s a kind of relaxing that happens when people look at that. And they think, okay, I’m gonna get something from this. So there was a little bit of inherent marketing that went along with it. But the other part, I had to be willing, like anyone and everyone to be out there all the time, and to make sure to amplify it and get it in to every on every platform I could.

Janine Bolon
Yeah. And at that time, you don’t have near the plethora of platforms to do now. That was one of the fun things you were talking about.

Mary B. Simon
Yeah. And you know, Janine, one of the things that I am so glad you brought up is that the book is one element of what the world presents when it comes to negotiation. And what I do is actually a good testament to the transferability of the skills and the approach and the mindset. For example, I have worked with sellers of businesses in a merger and acquisition kind of process from a letter of intent to change of control. And I walk with a seller from the very beginning, I’m invisible to all the others around the table. And my work is to get the seller to be equipped, and comfortable and courageous enough to actually put forth on the table, the real issues and not be intimidated by all the people who were on the buyers side. And so that 24/7 kind of journey is all about negotiation, and all about what it actually takes to get the brain ready to be effective in that.

Janine Bolon
It’s definitely a learned skill. I don’t think any of us pop out into the world and go ta-da, I’m a negotiator. No, it’s something that definitely is an art. Yeah. So kudos to you for doing that. So, with the marketing of the book, I’m gonna kind of harp on this just a little bit. Yeah. What surprised you the most about writing, you know, marketing and publishing your book?

Mary B. Simon
Well, it is kind of interesting. I know that there are a lot of different ways to publish a book. And there are motives that go along with each of the ways and their motives on the writer’s side and on the publishing side. And I was amazed at how little my editor knew about what I was writing about. And how tough and aggressive they were in the way that they were conveying what they wanted, because they were looking at the dollars. And this was going to be a book that would be available in many different places. And so that was their mission. And they were the ones putting everything up front. So there was actually kind of a sophisticated negotiating during every interaction with the editor, because they were going to have to market with their own resources. And they were going to have to collaborate or get me to collaborate with them, and all the effective ways that they typically would have done things. And so marketing is incredibly important. And it has to do with being flexible, being curious, picking the right words, the right rhythm, the right tempo, the right cadence, and being in the right place at the right time, and actually creating the right place at the right time.

Janine Bolon
And so for you, did you have any surprise that you were surprised by the editor and the assertiveness?

Mary B. Simon
You put it politely.

Janine Bolon
But then the marketing, would you say to kind of use a gamers term, you know, it’s a grind. It’s like, you just have to do it consistently.

Mary B. Simon
Yeah. And um, it’s a full-time job. Yeah, you live it, you eat it, you breathe it and you dream about it.

Janine Bolon
You’ve ticked all my boxes. Yeah, exactly.

Mary B. Simon
So you know, there’s another, there’s another point to all this because I think, one of the real hiccups when people think about this type of topic negotiation is sort of, either I can do it, because I’ve got bravado and I’ve got push. And or, I’m not going to do it, because I know that I’m gonna get tongue tied, and my hands are gonna get completely sweaty, and everybody’s going to be able to tell that I am at a total block. And so I often take anyone who is going to do that sophisticated kind of stuff around negotiation, because it’s kind of like learning a language. And there are different classes of languages like Arabic and Chinese are classified languages, they’re really tough to learn all new structures and content and language. And, and then there are simpler pieces of learning around how to communicate and what type of wording to use. And those are great to start with. But often I will start with, have you ever thought about who’s a new client hypothetically here? Have you ever thought about having negotiated an offer and how you felt about it afterwards? So if you have done that, what did it feel like? What worked what what one thing or two things worked for you? And that gets them going in terms of brain science on the front part of their brains, where they kind of expand their curiosity and their openness. And then I say, well, if you haven’t, why didn’t you what stood in the way for you? And it goes to that fear that and that self-protection, like kicks in when people hear the word negotiation. So I use the book in a lot of different ways. And that’s one of them.

Janine Bolon
And that is a brilliant way to be able to increase your income via clients through the knowledge base that you have of your book. So your book ends up being kind of like a business card on steroids as people share with us. So out of curiosity, what would you change in your marketing strategy? If you were to say be a debut author today versus when you were what what are some of the different things you would do?

Mary B. Simon
I would put two-minute video clips out probably two to three times a week at minimum. I would use LinkedIn and particularly I would follow the threads from people who are part of my network because well, those who might be second or third, removed, connected. And in doing that, I would comment more, I would also do polls, I would put out probably once a week, once every two weeks a poll around, what are the initial responses when you’re about to do something that is part of the mission, part of your values, part of what you know you want to be doing. But everything in your physiology says, whoa, hold up, and I would continually update the sense of the marketplace. And I would write short articles, some of them would be transcripts of the videos. And some of them would be from the poll results I would come in. And some of them would be from very brief interviews with people who have come out the other side. And I’ve been really kind of going bonanza when it comes to good negotiation.

Janine Bolon
Right? Those testimonials that really do show you that yeah, I know what I’m talking about when it comes to this stuff. You got it. So out of curiosity, what worked the best for you, when it came to selling your books? I love these questions. It’s like, what worked well, what didn’t work, right? Because you’re talking to debut authors write? So what was it that worked well?

Mary B. Simon
Believe it or not, you know, you started the whole time together today with your vision board and rather than a vision board, what I put together was a wall size Gantt chart. And it had the entire process, and the timeline, and the deadlines and the milestones and the anticipated hiccups and detours on that huge wall chart. So covered a good six to eight months of back and forth. Second thing I did was I got a nudge team together. So I had people who were in my corner, who wanted to be part of that rallying cry, here’s a syllabus, here’s your outline. This was where you’re supposed to be on this particular day, are you there? And they wouldn’t do it directly, they would leave it on voicemail, or an email. And that provided that kind of getting over the hump and getting out of my own way, like I’m too tired to write today.

Janine Bolon
Right?

Mary B. Simon
Forget about it, you’re not gonna get too tired for anything, you’re gonna stick to a schedule. And it added human dimension that made it more of a collective undertaking, because it can be pretty darn hard to be a solo writer, you know, task and pen and hand are at the keyboard. So I used to get huge Gantt chart, I put together a team of nudge people who really were terrific at making sure every milestone was met, every deadline, in a kind way. And then I also had a team that I used to hand off to and then get back and do my own editing so that my vision for what it needed to look like would be at least partly present in the final product. It was out of my hands once the editor got it but my copy editor but I wanted what I envisioned out first.

Janine Bolon
Right, that makes sense. So this is my all-time favorite question to ask people. So what process did you try in your marketing that was an epic failure? Because as a scientist, I was always trained to only present positive results. But a lot of times those positive results were at the cost of six years of negative results. And I always felt like, hey, I’m going to be able to publish my negative results. So anyway, this is Janine kind of being a little bit of a rebel. So what didn’t work?

Mary B. Simon
Um, one of the things that didn’t work was the fact that I ended up doing a lot of radio interviews, and a lot of syndicated interviews with major outlets around the country. And sometimes it was impossible to get good information about who I was going to be interviewed by. And so the extemporaneous, you’re on, two minutes, right before drive time. If I was at all relaxed about it, I didn’t quite fly as well. So there’s this whole process I would go through to decrease that risk and, and the chance of that happening. But there were times when I would have a two, or maybe three, four-minute kind of segment. And it could be, you know, in between commercials and whatever it is. And so my thought about what needed to be conveyed was not with that person interviewing me wanted to have conveyed, and so I got a little bit tongue tied a couple of times. So preparation is really the takeaway, you know.

Janine Bolon
Being prepared, I tell you what that was back in the day, where you would get the magazine called RTIR, which was Radio Television Interview Report. And I remember authors like you and I were on live radio, and they would call you on the phone. And you would be like, and you’d hear the producer going, and three, and two, and you’re just like, I don’t even know who I’m talking to. I don’t even know what city I’m in. I mean, I remember that. So yeah. Kudos to you for yeah, you were one of those.

Mary B. Simon
One other, there was one other area, and it might seem far field and it wasn’t. I was actually working with a group of undercover internal revenue people who are going after criminals of

Janine Bolon
Undercover, oh, the White-Collar Crime Unit, oh, my gosh.

Mary B. Simon
I was extracting pieces from the book about how you build rapport in order to make good contact. And working through the concept. I didn’t call it negotiating, but the concept of negotiating because they were going through the training that involved having wires and getting the right kind of information from a target and 98% of them failed. So the after they fail, I was on and for about three and a half hours. And I was working with them on shifting how they look at the world and how they get information. And what it means to actually get the right information without divulging and being transparent to the person, the target, that you’re trying to get that information. And there were people who were very, very, very intimidated. And, and I had the CIA observing me, I had the royal mounted police from Canada, I had the NSA, I had the FBI, I had everybody in the federal government. Every branch practically that was corollary in the audience, and they were evaluating me. And so the intimidation level really got pretty high because of the failure to cut through one of the pieces about the book and one of the pieces that’s really essential around the whole idea of negotiating is that you have to know how to deal with your feelings. And so here are these people who are going into undercover work with mafia bosses with big ring criminals. And I’m asking them from the center of the room, how do you feel? 98% of you failed, how do you feel? And for a little while, I almost failed at it because the psychiatrist who was observing me, didn’t like the fact that they were actually engaged as participants. And they wanted to pull the hook because I was not on the right side of the thin blue line. So that’s a long story that goes to know your audience before you start doing anything with negotiation.

Janine Bolon
Know your audience. Yeah, that’s rule one with authors. But yeah, not you don’t always have that, right. You don’t always get that.

Mary B. Simon
Marketing, that marketing piece that went into the prep could have been beefed up. And could have really been more powerful by digging deep for what does it mean, to not be on your side of the thin blue line, and yet to get the credibility that’s needed in order to tiptoe over to that side?

Janine Bolon
Yeah, so give if you don’t mind, let’s kind of wrap all this up in a nice little bow for somebody. So what are some five tips that you would give authors about selling their books now?

Mary B. Simon
I think first of all, you’ve really got to keep your own flame lit for why the book is important, and to drill it down to the fewest words possible. So what is it that that flame of real push inside of you continues to be lit by how do you keep that alive? And that more than anything of something to pay close attention to, because that’s where the energy is going to come from.

Mary B. Simon
The second one is to really pay attention to being resilient. There will be people who get their joy from looking at any Achilles heel and any kind of area that they might come across, looking like an expert about. And they will do it at your expense, particularly if you’re in a public forum, whether that be on a large call or any other kind of large setting.

Mary B. Simon
Third, would be to make sure to have fun. Because it is only when the marketer is having fun with it, that people begin to be drawn in with curiosity to the story, or to why the book was even written and how they might get something out of it. Then I would make sure to have a posse, a whole group of people who are echoing what you’re doing as you market the book. And that can be sure family and friends, it can also be a whole other group of people, whether it be on LinkedIn, or on Facebook, or whatever platform you use. But make sure you have a posse of people who get, who amplify the messages, you want to make sure get out there. And then finally, I would make sure to have a heck of a lot of thank you cards, because every gesture and every effort from anybody who is on the bandwagon with you, in the marketing effort, and the journey is going to really be motivated and they’re actually going to be gratified by getting a thank you card.

Janine Bolon
Yep. Thank You cards are big in our follow up of direct mail. Let me tell you, I think I spend about $147 a month on card sending. Yeah, but my business reflects that. Yeah, that’s the thing I know. Is that because people know I appreciate them. Yeah. So that’s not me just flexing, it’s like no, it’s it’s good business. Well, tell us about what’s been the biggest reward for you becoming an author?

Mary B. Simon
Opening the way for another book. And knowing that, once you’ve navigated a journey that’s important to you and you’ve actually put something together that fits this kind of framework. You can do it again, and again and again. And so there’s a kind of virtuous cycle that takes hold, and it can just even looking at him saying, you know, it’s there. Nobody can deny that. And so when those voices come up in the back of your head that say, Oh, who are you? What are you thinking? What is it that you think you can do that other people aren’t going to already have heard about? It helps.

Janine Bolon
It really does. I totally agree with you on that one. So if somebody wants to find out more about you, or get to know you better, where do they go?

Mary B. Simon
Number one would be LinkedIn. I am a big advocate for LinkedIn. Another one would be the website. And I think that there are many, many, many people who have burning desires and questions around how to get their book project done. That would be a second. I would actually love to have a long waiting list of clients who are the rock stars who know they can’t negotiate. And I have a few of those ideal people. And the book is actually, together with speaking, is a great, great, great thing to have. And so I think those are the main ways to get that across and people can have access in those ways.

Janine Bolon
Thank you so much for your time today as you’re one of our spotlighted authors Mary.

Mary B. Simon
Thank you, Janine.

Janine Bolon
And so that’s it. Mary’s answered our questions and has got more information for you. So just go hop over to her website at MaryBSimon.com. You can also find her there on LinkedIn and if you are an author or you know of an author that you would like us to spotlight, please visit our website at AuthorPodcasting.com, where you will find the 99 Author Project listed. We talk to authors of all walks of life as we build out book number 12, which is Advice from Authors to Authors. And we close these interviews as of December 15 of 2022. And this is Janine Bolon signing off with you today and all of us here at the 8 Gates that produces the Janine Bolon show. We wish you a wonderful week. And we encourage you to get your message, your story or your knowledge out into the world and make it a better place just like these authors have been doing that we’re interviewing this year. We’ll see you again next week. And until then, keep sharing what you know with others, keep shining that light that is you and don’t forget to go out today and just do something for yourself that’s absolute fun. We’ll see you next week.

Bryan Hyde
Thank you for listening to the Janine Bolon show. Be sure to subscribe to our show notes by going to www.theJanineBolonshow.com, where you’ll find additional resources as well as the opportunity to sign up to receive our program in your email each week. Be sure to visit our sponsor at www.the8gates.com.

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