How does that saying go? In order to make sales you need to make sales calls. Over the years I have used stories of all my children and grandchildren to help me illustrate a point. A recent trip to Ohio to visit my son in college will help me demonstrate this one.
Last week my wife and I traveled out to visit my son who is a sophomore attending Ohio Wesleyan University. He was being presented an award for being one of the top 50 student/athletes in the university at a dinner on Thursday night and was playing in a lacrosse game the next day. The dinner was a very nice event and gave my wife and me a chance to sit back and smile.
After the dinner was done we spent some time with our son catching up on events, since we had seen him last. “How is the hotel, Dad…? Did you have any trouble getting in today? You know the game is at 3:30PM tomorrow, right?” Then, with genuine concern for his father having a rewarding visit, my son asked, “What do you have planned to do prior to the game…? I have classes all day so I won’t be able to spend time with you until the evening.” I replied that I would be fine and probably just sleep in and go out for lunch, why? In theory, the next response should have been, “Just wanted to make sure you were OK. I’ll see you after the game.” No, not my future titan of industry. My son’s reply was, “Would you mind doing my laundry?”
A weaker person might have lost it at this point but I simply smiled and thought to myself, “What balls… a chip off the old block.” I loved it. I thought about it for a few seconds and realized that I really did not have anything to do in Delaware, Ohio until game time so I replied, “Sure, do you have it ready?” Within about five minutes a huge bag of dirty laundry was in the trunk of my rental car. The next day I slept in… went to breakfast… did a few loads of wash… and made it to the game. My son’s day included attending classes, contributing to a winning effort on the lacrosse field, and receiving a large basket of clean clothes.
What does this have to do with you and selling books? Think about it. I really was looking for something to do. While I always assume my son has dirty laundry it wouldn’t have crossed my mind to offer to do it, as something to do with my free time. I was thinking of something more like visiting the zoo. People may or may not know that you published a book. Let’s go with the “they know” like the laundry example. Just because they know, have you ever actually shown them the book? Have you ever asked them to actually buy?
Your book is not going to sell itself. You need to sell it. You published the book in the first place because you felt it would fill a need for a certain segment of the marketplace. You can’t be bashful when it comes to selling your book. If you know the person you are talking to should buy your book, it is up to you to get them to buy it. Remember, an answer of “no” is not the end of a presentation, “no” is a starting point. Personally, I assume if someone tells me no, they didn’t understand the question. You don’t need to be obnoxious about it but be firm, confident. If your book has something to do with prenatal care and you see a pregnant woman… sell her a book.
Unless you are in the Southern Hemisphere, summer is almost here. It’s prime time for bookselling. Tables at local fairs are pretty inexpensive and present an excellent opportunity for individual sales. Never leave home without a copy or two of your book in your bag. Never miss an opportunity to sell a copy of your book. If it’s as good as you know it is, every copy you sell will lead to additional indirect sales.
If you are anywhere near New York City on May 23rd, you should plan on attending the Publishing Basics Seminar. In addition to the speakers listed at the signup page on www.PublishingSemnar.com, you will get a chance to hear one of the best street book salesmen tell you how he sold over 70,000 copies of his title on the streets of New York. This bookselling is real and very much within your reach. The seminar only costs you $97 to attend. It costs more than that to go to a Yankee game or the theater. If you walk away from the seminar believing you did not get your money’s worth, I will refund your money. As a matter of fact, I’ll round up the $97 and give you $100. Ask the Yankees if they will make the same offer. Meanwhile, make a sales call… sell a book.
Hope to see you in May.