Tough times. Selling anything? Good luck.
So I conducted a little experiment. What does it take to sell in today’s business climate?
Here’s what I did: Asked four area businesses to take part in a December sales contest. Whoever sold the most copies of my new book wins a $100 first prize and a $50 second prize. Vendors also get to keep half the earnings from their books sales.
The competitors? Not bookstores.
— A self-storage business that also contains a walk-in post office. (Great foot traffic in December.)
— A dental office with four friendly women at the front counter. (Offering books to patients still feeling the effects of Novocain.)
— A legendary gourmet restaurant inside a gas station (Shrimp Scampi, gas and my book.)
— And a hairstylist. (She has a captive audience.)
I helped each put up signs, and they placed the book in prominent locations, usually beside the cash register.
You couldn’t miss my little book. The competition ran for a month. But in the end, there was one clear winner.
Wendy the hairstylist.
Here’s how she explains it:
“The book is right in front of my client while I work, and that starts a conversation. I say, `Have you read Dave’s new book? Sit and have a look at it.’”
While she cut hair, “People would actually sit here and read pages. Others would ask questions. I’d say, ‘Would you like it autographed?’”
Three-fourths of all customers who held the book ended up buying it, she says. Maybe that was the key. The other businesses couldn’t get people to stop for a moment, pick it up and ponder it.
Wendy used her passion about the product. She believes in the book. She also believes in that $100 first prize.
She says, “You have to talk about it. Start off simple. Keep it light. They either love it and want it for themselves or others — or they didn’t care for it.
“You put it in their hands. And then you play off how they handle that. You pretty much go by their vibes. But you’ve got to chat it up.”
What did I learn? It’s not a thousand eyes glancing past a book that sells it. The other places had tremendous foot traffic, much more than Wendy.
It’s the human touch. Somebody saying, “This is good for you.”
That works today when little else does.
Check out Dave’s new book — Dave Lieber’s Watchdog Nation: Bite Back When Businesses and Scammers Do You Wrong — at http://www.WatchdogNation.com