Archive for Wednesday, July 5, 2000

Decade of writing produces 10 books

July 5, 2000

For Byrd Baggett, the writing life began at 40. And now, 10 years later, Baggett's 10th book is appearing in bookstores.

Having been in the sales business for 20 years, and at the encouragement of his wife, Jeanne, Baggett began writing down his insights on how to be successful in the sales business.

In 1990, Baggett self-published his first book, "Sales: It Ain't Brain Surgery."

He took the book to a bookseller in Huntsville, Ala.

"He recommended that I send it to Rutledge Hill Press in Nashville," said Baggett, now 50.

"Less than two weeks later they contacted me and said despite the fact that it had a lousy title and terrible cover design, they liked the contents."

And so Baggett's first book was republished by Rutledge, and called "The Book of Excellence." So far that book has been printed in eight languages and has sold more than 200,000 copies. Altogether, that book and the eight others published since then have sold almost 400,000 copies. Now Baggett's 10th book, "The Complete Book of Business Success," has just been published.

He's hoping for as big a success with this book as he's had with the others.

"Usually, if a book sales 12,000 copies in its lifetime, it's done well," Baggett said.

He thinks it's likely his books will continue to do well.

"The content has no shelf life," Baggett said. "The quotes are timeless."

His books are full of quotes. In fact the new book has 245 pages with three quotes on every page.

Here's some of the insights to be found:

Mediocrity is an organizational disease. Don't tolerate it!

Accept the challenge of satisfying the most difficult customers.

The receptionist should not put customers on hold.

Never compromise quality for a lower price.

Keep your car, especially the interior, clean at all times.

Be willing to create openings for exceptional people, even when a position isn't currently available.

Baggett's business common sense comes from his wide range of experience, he said.

The Texas native who in 1968 graduated with a bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of Texas at Austin, has moved 11 times since 1973, and has held 12 jobs in seven careers.

"My life story gives people hope," he said.

The Baggetts, who moved to Tonganoxie in 1996, are in the process of moving to Fairhope, Ala.

"We are both from the South," Baggett said. "Our goal ultimately was to retire in the South. The way things have worked out, it's a good time for us to go ahead and move."

But Baggett said he's not ready for retirement.

Because of the books he has published, along with his public speaking skills, Baggett now receives frequent invitations to work as a professional speaker.

He fulfills about 40 speaking engagements each year and is paid about $5,000 for his corporate keynote presentations. It's not unusual, he said, for professional speakers to be paid from $3,000 to $25,000 for engagements such as these. And, he likes the work.

"I love speaking, I love people and I love being in front of people," Baggett said. "I can be worn out, but when I see an audience, it's energizing. I don't see flesh and bone I see hearts and souls."

On a personal level, too, Baggett likes to talk.

When asked what it's like for someone to sit next to him on an airplane, Baggett, paused, then grinned, and said:

"I wear them out."

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