Aloha from Karen
This fall I did several events where I had a booth or shared a booth. I didn’t try to simply hawk my books. I wanted to meet people and network so I focused on the people walking by. I greeted each one and made comments, such a s complimenting their clothing, and asked how they were doing. I tried to engage people in conversations.
I write to help meet needs of people and want to keep people first. It’s not about selling a book now,
but developing relationships.
At one large event a couple came by looking a bit frazzled. I asked what was happening in their lives. They shared some great needs of one of their children. I suggested that the books my friend offered might help and mostly listened. Then when my friend was free I introduced them. They bought some of her books. They returned to ask a bit about my books and bought one. They also sent other people to my booth to buy books.
Another couple asked if I knew how they could speak to Dr. Ben Carson who was a speaker at the event. I knew which booth represented him and brought them over to meet the person who could connect them. Dr. Carson had successfully operated on their son several years earlier and they wanted to update the doctor on the son’s progress. The connection worked out and they had a private chat with Dr. Carson. They returned and bought some books from me plus gave a generous donation to my friend who has a ministry.
I spoke with another women who wanted to chat about girls. She expressed interest in my books for girls that I did not bring. I brought some the next day. We exchanged business cards and now we’re talking about my being a speaker at an upcoming event of an organization she chairs. I’m hoping she’ll want to endorse a future book.
Marketing is so much more than one sale. It’s about helping people and building relationships. Even if someone I speak to doesn’t buy my book because they are not the reader for it they will have a positive impressions, take a card, and often recommend me to someone else.
Beware of being pushy. At one event my booth was next to a woman who accosted each potential buyer with her book. She tried to push each one into buying and only sold one set of books all day. I chatted and laughed with people. I asked what they liked to read and pointed out booths that had the type of books they might like if I didn’t carry what they wanted. It was a Christmas event so I asked about favorite holiday traditions and books. I sold over forty books in the few hours of the show and many people asked for my bookmarks and business cards.
Prepare to connect.
- Don’t focus on numbers and book sales. Focus on the people coming by and getting to know them.
- Think of questions that might draw customers to look at your books. I have a book about the home front of military wars, so I ask if they know someone who has served or is serving in the military. I have a book for little girls and ask if they have a little girl in their life. If they do, I ask if the girl likes the princess theme.
- Notice people. If someone looks sad ask how she or he is really doing and show compassion. They may need someone to listen. It doesn’t matter if they buy a book. You are there to connect to people.
- Have something free to hand out like a bookmark or sample from a book. I gave out samplers at my events. Other times I’ve handed out humorous quizzes or tip sheets.
- Smile and thank people for taking time to stop and chat.
- Make your table/booth eye catching and inviting. Add a few decorations and display something free.
Thanks for stopping by!