Tagged conference

My table at Message, Mingle, & Masquerade: Southside Church of Christ's Singles' Conference, June 2015

Confidence & Conferences: Day 1

My table at Message, Mingle, & Masquerade: Southside Church of Christ's Singles' Conference, June 2015
My table at Message, Mingle, & Masquerade: Southside Church of Christ’s Singles’ Conference, June 2015

I have a not-so-secret secret to share: I’m not very good at vending. This is not to say that I don’t sell things when I vend, but I’m still working on being the type of person who can sell people something they didn’t know they wanted when they came up to the table.

I find that I do best when I’m able to speak to a captive audience about my book, even if only for a few minutes. It doesn’t matter if I’m just introducing myself as a vendor and saying what I’m selling or speaking at the event, when I have an opportunity to tell people about the book, people will stop by and get a copy. But when it comes to someone casually walking up and glancing at the table, I’m not as good translating that into a sale.

For this conference, I wanted to try to improve on my “cold sales.” This is my target audience–single Christian women (and men)–and they’ve come to the conference to learn more about what God has to say to single Christians, so it’s not as if I don’t have an “in” with this group.

The first area I decided to focus on was making my table stand out with signage and by hosting a giveaway. Unfortunately, my banner didn’t arrive in time for yesterday’s table (and it probably won’t be in my mail until after I’m at the event for the day today–grr!), but my other signs are out and ready to go. I added a price list sign and a guestbook sign. Today I’ll make a sign encouraging people to enter the giveaway with the prizes listed. I’m hoping the giveaway will draw people to the table long enough for me to begin a conversation with them.

The second thing that I’ve added was gifts with purchase. The gifts aren’t much and are while supplies last, but I thought it would be a good idea to have a little something to give to people who buy both the book and the devotional as a special thank you. They aren’t pictured with the table because they are behind the table.

The one thing that I’m still lacking is confidence. I didn’t call much attention to the table or to myself. You know how you’re in the mall and those pesky phone people call out to you? The really good ones, instead of asking if you’re happy with your phone service or yelling out free phones, get you to stop by complimenting you or remarking on a bag you have from another store. They know how to get you to linger at their display before they launch into their spiel. I didn’t inherit that gift of gab, and it’s not the easiest skill for me to acquire. As much as I love to talk, when it comes to selling things, I usually flake.

I know I can’t depend on my attractive book covers and signage to make all the sales, nor can I depend on being able to speak to a captive audience if I want to reach the people I should be reaching. Not everyone who would benefit from reading Altered before the Altar is going to walk up and plunk their money down on the table. I have to do better with reaching out to women and letting them know what this book is really about: being a satisfied single woman who’s open to love & loving God’s way, with an eye on eternity and Christ’s coming for His bride, the church.

Day one wasn’t a success for me because I didn’t reach my goal of engaging more of the people who walked by my table. I didn’t show my confidence in the product I was selling. It’s not about the numbers; I’ve been at events longer and sold less. While I have a monetary goal, my ultimate goal for this conference is to be more active in spreading the message of the book.

It’s time for me to grab breakfast and get things together for day two. Pray for me to have the boldness to share my heart for singles with each individual who comes by today.

XOXO,

Erica

Facing Your Giant Ladies’ Conference, Opportunity, and the Next Book

I’ve committed myself to making sure that I post here more frequently to keep everyone up to date on what’s happening with the book and me in general. That starts with this post. Way back when I had my book release party in November, a sister in Christ reached out to me regarding going to some conferences to promote the book and get it out beyond Orlando, Florida. Most people don’t know this about me, but I am an introvert by nature. I don’t like being out front talking and I’m horrible at selling people on things (at least, this is how I see myself, but more on that later). The last thing I want to do is go to a bunch of conferences. I agreed to speak at my aunt’s conference because I knew it would be mostly family and others I’d met before, but I didn’t have anything else planned beyond mailing some flyers to churches.

Well I decided in January to try and attend some conferences and events and sell my book. I called up the sister who had invited me to a ladies conference and got the information on it. Then I registered for the conference and a vendor spot. I didn’t know how many women would be attending.

In between when I asked and the conference the next weekend, this sister called me and told me about a minister in Tampa who was looking to develop a program centered around remaining pure until marriage at the request of a young lady in his congregation. This sister mentioned my book to him and wanted me to go to Tampa to present my book to him for consideration. At the beginning of this month, I went and met with him, explaining what my book was about and leaving him copies of the book and the devotional study guide. I will be hearing back from him later this month, but I was so proud of myself for being able to speak about my book to him confidently.

The Facing Your Giant Conference this weekend was a whole different animal. Instead of introducing my book to one person, I stood in front of hundreds to give a brief description of what was available at my vendor table. The other unique thing about this event, other than the massive size, was that it was my first “away” event. I only knew a handful of the women that attended. It was truly the first time I stood in a room full of strangers and was able to share with them a bit about what I wanted to accomplish with this book.

Afterwards, many women came up to purchase books and offer words of encouragement. So many of you told me how important you felt this ministry was to the church. Ministry? My book was a ministry? My mind immediately rejected that idea. I didn’t think writing a book qualified me to be one of those people who had a ministry. I’m still not used to thinking of what I do that way. But I appreciate the encouragement. I also appreciate how many of you are waiting for the next book. I am working on a couple of projects now. One will be for married and single people and will speak to dealing with life transitions examined through the lens of the children of Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage and wanderings in the wilderness. I’m still studying and mapping out where I want to go with it, but if the book is half as powerful as my study has been…look out!

In my pursuit of my goal of attendance for this year, I’ve reached out to several people about coming to conferences to sell the book or possibly speak. Some of those inquiries have been enthusiastically received and responded to, and some haven’t turned out the way I imagined. At first I was a little disappointed at the opportunities that didn’t line up, but I’m learning more and more on this journey not to worry about the things that don’t work out or come to pass. Whatever is in God’s plan for me will happen. I don’t have to force the fit in this anymore than in a romantic relationship. The opportunities that are meant for me will come to fruition at the time they are supposed to come to fruition. So I’m resting in knowing that I stepped out on faith and took the steps to live out my purpose. If it’s a wrong step, it isn’t the end of the world; God will work all things together for good for me because I love Him and am called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). But even with the setbacks, I’m basking in the opportunities that are coming my way and hoping to meet many more of you before this journey is complete.

In Him,

Erica