Explore the Edges of Your Market

I worked as a book seller in Cleveland after graduating from college (that early 90s recession looks so cute now!). Working retail like this got to be a bit dull after a while.

To entertain myself on a slow day I would pick one book with at least three copies on the shelf and try to sell it out. I thought of it as David’s Book of the Day. This was great fun, in that I tried to come up with a good reason, a good hook, for anyone to read it no matter what they were looking for. Not everyone bought a copy but I was usually able to find enough people to sell it out before my shift was over. It made the time go faster and I helped a lot of people discover genres they wouldn’t have considered before.

A few lessons from this:

  • You really don’t know if someone will value your product until you offer it to them. Those who ask tend to get.
  • The customer will often judge a book by its cover. Be sure to educate them on the full value inside so they can make an educated decision.
  • The process of turning down one product or offer can often provide a lead to sell something else. Whenever I encountered someone who absolutely, positively, did not want to buy my book of the day, I usually knew enough about them from that conversation to offer them another book that they would buy.
  • Marketing and sales should be fun! There is no reason you can’t inject a little levity and personal challenge goals into it just to see if you can do it.

Push your market. Twist it. See what happens on the edges.

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3 thoughts on “Explore the Edges of Your Market

  1. What good advice. You said, “I usually knew enough about them from that conversation to offer them another book that they would buy.”

    Listening to customers pays off big time. It helps develop products that meet their needs.

    Thanks for the post.

  2. Pingback: Earn Your Salary

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