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Often it is appropriate to offer our books or other collateral for sale when speaking in public.  Here are some tips on the best handling of the sales.

Preparation:  What to take:

  • an assistant (or the venue’s host) who has agreed to handle the selling activity
  • lots of business cards
  • Books or other saleable items
  • Receipt booklet (with carbonless copy) with name of item and dollar amount written in (in advance).
  • Small sign (in clear plastic photo frame, 3″ x 5″ or 4″ x 6″ in which is printed in bright red or black letters:  “Book <title>:  $20 ($28 SRP)” or some such announcement, “Special for tonight (or, for tonight’s audience):  Discount: $20”).  Note on the sign if you take cash, cash & checks, or cash, checks & credit cards.
  • Accept cash (or cash and checks) only, unless you have a credit card set-up.
  • Take lots of smaller bills for change.  Lots.
  • Take a box or closed file folder for the smaller change-bills and for the cash received from purchases, and for the credit card copies and receipt copies.

Set up:  At the venue before you speak:

  1. Set up a table with the retail person/assistant at the back or side of the room.
  2. Put a stack of books or other collateral on the table, with at least one book standing up and facing out to the audience.
  3. Place a stack of business cards at the front of the table, or insert one into each book before arranging on the table.
  4. Place the pricing sign in front, with any notes about discounts.
  5. Have the receipt book and a pen ready.
  6. Determine if you will take cash only, or cash and checks, or all of those and credit cards (say so on the sign).

Conducting the sale: before and after your presentation

  1. Have your assistant handle the retail end of it — the selling, money handling, the receipt writing. You must stay free of this to handle the prospects who want to speak with you.
  2. Have your host announce the availability of the book, and its discounted price, during the introduction before you begin your presentation.  Do not mention the selling or the book yourself, unless you are well-known to the audience members.
  3. Proceed with your contact with the audience, with your presentation and with the crowd of prospects and fans who want to speak with you after your presentation.
  4. Do not pay any attention to the selling (as you will have set everything up in advance so as not to distract yourself from your prospects).

While the selling is going on without you, after your presentation, speak with the audience and work with any prospects in the room.  Here is a related article on handling these crowds.

Good luck.