Tips on Making More Sales at Fairs and Festivals

by Randall Carpenter

  • Dress to impress and be seen. You want someone to notice you and your appearance will be the first step. Don’t overdress for the event, but a nice business casual look draws attention. Color draws attention and shows your style. Black does not.
  • Smile as often as you can, and especially when you are speaking to one of the other authors. People who look happy draw attention. Somber looking people appear unapproachable.
  • Have your display neat and fully stocked at all times. When you sell a book, replace it immediately. When someone looks at your book and puts it back down, straighten it as soon as possible, but not until their attention is elsewhere. You don’t want to appear annoyed that they didn’t put it back where they found it.
  • Stay seated, as much as possible, when you’re not selling. Your seated position needs to be straight in the chair with your back against the back of the chair. Don’t sit leaning forward because it gives an impression you are bored. Try not to cross your arms. It can be construed as bored, impatient, or annoyed.
  • If you must stand up and you’re not selling, step back from the table and it won’t give the impression you are anxious. It will also not distract people who come by the table and see you standing there ready to pounce on them.
  • Don’t speak to everyone who passes by. If someone makes eye contact with you, say hello. If they speak to you, smile and answer them.
  • Don’t try to sell to people who are just walking by. It will sound like a carnival barker to them.
  • When someone stops to look at the table of books, everyone leaves them alone as they look at the covers of each book displayed. If they pick up a book, allow them about 15 seconds to look at it, and then explain a little about your book. Your explanation should be direct and pointed, not rambling and telling them the whole story in the book. You want to intrigue them with your explanation, not educate them about the book. People will know within the first 30 seconds of your explanation if they want your book. If they want to buy it, thank them, take their money and then remind them there are other books on the table they should look at as well.
  • In #8, I mentioned let them look at the covers of the books on the Your cover is your best-selling tool. If it is uninteresting, lacks something eye-catching, or dull, your chances of selling the book are diminished. Make your cover draw attention. If you go shopping for a dress or shirt, the thing that draws your attention first is the color or style of the shirts/blouse hanging there. It works the same for your book. Make people notice it by putting forth the effort to make it worth looking at. People must be impressed with your cover before they can be impressed with what you wrote.

Do’s and Don’ts of Selling in a Group

  • Be respectful of each other’s space
  • Don’t let your display encroach on theirs
  • Don’t dominate the table by talking to people who have not shown an interest in your book.
  • Don’t get involved in the discussion between a customer and another author.
  • Don’t distract a potential buyer of someone else’s book by standing up for no reason.
  • Stay on your side of the table. Don’t come out from behind the table and do your selling. You will be blocking the table from others who are looking at books.
  • Don’t act like you have the best book on the table by saying anything derogatory about someone else’s book.
  • Silence is golden when people are looking at a table full of books. The longer the silence as they are looking at books the longer, they will stay looking at the books. People want to be left alone when they are trying to make decisions. Your idle chit chat or questions to them diverts their attention, and breaks they desire to keep looking.
  • Don’t speak loudly when people are at the table looking at books.
  • Don’t speak loudly when you are explaining your book. Stand up when someone shows an interest in your book and explain your book in a voice that is pleasant and conversational.
  • Lastly, everyone is there to sell their book(s). Be considerate and encouraging to them. We’re supposed to be friends, not enemies.