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.