PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 2017
by Brian Jud, Director, Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS) —
Knowing the most productive ways to find prospective buyers is the first step to selling books in large quantities.
In the February issue of IBPA Independent, I described three steps to selling books in large quantities. The first step is to find the names of people to contact; the information here describes how to do that.
The starting point of special sales is prospecting—the process of searching for people who can purchase your books. Prospects are the individuals who decide to buy from you. They could be in corporations, schools, associations, the military, or non-bookstore retailers (airport stores, gift shops, supermarkets, etc.).
Your description of your target buyers leads you to prospects who could benefit most from your content. Once you organize your target buyers in those segments, you are ready to search for the names of people to contact in each. Here are some of the most productive ways to find the names of prospective buyers.
- Generate inbound leads by getting prospects to come to you (called “expert pull”). Make personal presentations, publish articles, and get niche reviews. Perhaps the most ubiquitous form of expert pull is the use of social media—this includes blogging, podcasts, forums, discussion groups, and social networking. Join LinkedIn to find and connect with business people with whom you can form a relationship before making personal contact. Also, perform on television and radio shows. Explore usnpl.com, a free directory of TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers worldwide.
- Meet with people personally. One-on-one networking is an organized way to make links from the people you know to the people they know, expanding your base of prospects. Click here to see some programs that can help you get in contact with prospective buyers.
- Attend trade shows. You do not always have to exhibit, but you can frequently attend trade shows to learn about the industry and network with the exhibitors and attendees who may be prospects. Find a list of conventions for your target segments at 10times.com.
- Advertising can generate leads economically. For example, associations need content for their monthly newsletters. Allow them to excerpt from your book in exchange for free advertising in their newsletters.
- Associations offer other sales opportunities. Search “List of industry trade groups in the United States” on Wikipedia for those related to your topic, and work each website for the name of the bookstore manager, newsletter editor, local chapter president, and meeting planner (who may hire you to speak to their meetings or become a spokesperson). Contact the membership chair to use your book as a fundraiser or premium to increase membership.
- There are many sources of leads for business prospects. Visit manta.com for quick access to the names and contact information for people in businesses of all sizes. Get a free supplier profile in the Thomas Register of American Manufacturers at thomasregister.com. Search for companies and individuals at hoovers.com.
- Search the internet for potential buyers. If you want the name of the vice president of marketing at Company X, then perform a Google search. Go to a company’s or an association’s website to find a list of their staff and board members.
- Employ direct marketing to reach large numbers of people via postcards, letters, and email. List brokers such as infousa.com sell lists in many categories.
- Get referrals from your customers. Ask them for the names of people in other divisions of their company, or their suppliers and customers who could use your book as a promotional tool.
- Read trade magazines in your target industries. Look at the ads for companies that could be prospects.
- Conduct teleseminars, webinars, and seminars. Use these to reach prospects and capture names for your list.
- Build a prospecting element into your website. Place benefit-laden descriptions of your titles there, and make your literature or catalog easy to download. Gather names by offering something for free.
Authors of fiction have even more prospecting opportunities. People read novels while traveling, vacationing, in hospitals, and while serving in the Navy onboard ships. Search for buyers at cruise ships, travel sites, bus tours, airlines, limousine services, B&Bs, and other places, as appropriate to your title. Suggest your book as a premium or gift to be given to people for doing business with them.
Prospecting for new business is similar to exercising. It will produce positive results if you do it routinely. It takes time, but if your sales pipeline is always filled with potential customers, then you are in for a future of positive revenue flow.
Brian Jud is the executive director of the Association of Publishers for Special Sales (APSS) (bookapss.org) and author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books and Beyond the Bookstore. Contact Brian at email@example.com or premiumbookcompany.com, and on Twitter @bookmarketing.
Locating Contact Information Online
Once you get the potential buyer’s name, the next step is to get in touch with them to arrange an initial meeting. Here are two Chrome extensions you can use to locate contact information for a prospective buyer before reaching out:
- Hunter will only find work-related emails, and you are allowed 150 free uses per month.
- Lusha will find both personal emails as well as phone numbers. Lusha only allows 10 free uses per month; however, for a price, you can upgrade this option.