By far, the best way to sell books, products and services is to meet your buyers in person. There are three reasons for this:
1. There’s a strong level of trust that develops immediately when people meet you and respect what you have to say.
2. Live events are exciting. Enthusiasm creates the impulse to buy.
3. Frankly, people hate to say no in person.
While you may meet folks in the grocery store lines and have conversations that result in sales, this one-on-one tactic is haphazard and time consuming. A better approach is to create opportunities to speak to people interested in your topic of expertise in large numbers at one time. Live seminars and workshops, either in person or via teleseminar, are the perfect way to reach your niche topic audience.
It’s easy to develop a seminar. The goal of most seminars is to provide help or answer questions that interest your topic audience. Think about the 10 questions you’re most frequently asked about your topic. This is the material that your audience will be most interested in and your answers will form the core of your seminar.
Remember, most folks don’t like to sit through a lecture. Instead, they want to feel like they’re part of the event. Encourage your audience to participate by letting them ask questions and designing exercises that involve individual and team participation.
If you’re not comfortable speaking in public, improve your skills by joining a local Toastmasters or find a professional coach. Two of my coaches are Judi Moreo and Patricia Fripp.
Judi Moreo advises that you be yourself when you speak. Your audience has come to hear and see you because they want the information you have as a topic expert. Patricia Fripp often reminds that the audience wants you to succeed. Audience members want you to do well because when you do that reinforces why they came to see you.
Before you get up in front of a room of strangers to present your new seminar, invite a few friends to be your test audience. Ask them for honest feedback. It’s easier to try something new and stumble with people who care about you.
With your seminar material in place and your speaking skills honed, it’s time to line up speaking opportunities. Start locally, and after you gain some experience, expand regionally. The places you can speak will depend partly on your topic. If you’ve published a book, contact your local library which is always looking for author speakers. Contact your local chamber of commerce; most invite speakers for their meetings. Clubs and organizations related to your niche topic would love to have an expert come and speak to their groups. With these local experiences under your belt, start contacting similar organizations in nearby cities.
While you’ll make sales right after you speak, you’ll also encounter audience members who want more information. Before you speak in person, be sure to have a Website or blog in place. You need somewhere online to send the folks you meet. You can encourage traffic to your site by offering a free, special report to those who join your email list. When folks get there, they’ll be reminded of your expertise and will have another opportunity to buy your books, products and services.
Gregory A. Kompes, author of the bestseller 50 Fabulous Gay-Friendly Places to Live and the Writer’s Series, speaks at conferences and teaches Internet self-promotion courses online. Gregory is editor of Queer Collection: Prose & Poetry, Patchwork Path, The Fabulist Flash, and Eighteen Questions, a Q&A series that collects published authors experiences (chosen a “101 Best Website” by Writer’s Digest ). In Las Vegas, he hosts the Writerpreneur Workshops and co-host’s the Writer’s Pen & Grill. Gregory holds a BA in English Literature from Columbia University, New York, and a certificate in Online Teaching and Learning and an MS Ed. from California State University, East Bay.