After you have done your pitch, the last and most important thing you can do is have a close. I battled myself for a year before going for a closing line in my sales pitch. I thought: “If I cross that line, I become a salesman, and is that really what I want to do?”
So I compromised. I decided to make my close fun, plus I enticed people with free stuff.
So my closing line is: “If you buy the book now, it’s only 19.99 plus a penny, and you get a free poster. That’s it. People giggled a bit, then they looked at the posters, and took their money out.”
This final bit of showmanship gives you a higher percentage rate of success on your sale. If all you do is your hook and your pitch, people feel no compunction to buy. I’ve heard: “I’ll think about it” a million times. I’ve heard: “I’ll come back for it. Honest.” 5 million times. Although, to be fair, one in ten people to come back, but it’s not in the millions. You’ll get maybe 10 to thirty sales from people who promised to come back. Kudos to them.
Remember I was talking about elements? Well, the elements in question are those that will lead to a successful sale, which, in theory, is what you want. If you picture it like a needle on a speedometer. The higher the speed goes, the more the needle rises. For sales, it’s the same thing, but with elements instead of a foot on a pedal. You start off at zero, and the more positive elements you have, the more the needle pushes up, toward a sale. I’ve been mixing and matching the elements to try and have it go up as well as it could.
Now, I have also discovered that a lot of people will walk away when you use your “hook”, and it is important for you to be able to answer back to them. Some will actually turn around and be curious because you had the wit to answer to their put-down.
I recently did a panel for Can Con a few weeks ago. Can Con is the Canadian Convention of Speculative Fiction. If you ever get the chance to go there, do so. Even if you are not a science fiction or fantasy author. The panels alone are more than worth the price of admission. I thought I was missing out by not selling at this convention, but then I attended the panels, and now I never want to sell there. I just want to sit in on the panels and hear what amazing authors have to say.
In any event, I was sitting on a panel with the aforementioned God of comics, Jay Odjick (I’m sure he would say full demi-God, but he’s humble that way), as well as Pat Flewelling, a great sci fi author. The panel was hosted by Robin Riopelle. I do get sidetracked. On this panel, where I was talking about selling books at conventions (fancy that), I was told I sounded like I’d want to put a book in the hands of anyone who’d buy one. That is true to a degree, but that degree is whether or not the potential reader is someone who A) reads, and B) likes sci-fi. I don’t want to just sell books. I want to have people read what I buy.
That’s why I tailored my sales technique the way I did, so that those who do buy, get to enjoy the thing that I enticed them with. The last thing I want is someone to go home and take their loot out of their bags, look at my book with disgust because they felt they were cheated by some author guy, throw it in a corner, or use it as alternative toilet paper (which I strongly recommend against. Paper cuts are nasty in certain areas).