SpeakerNet News Compilations

Selling Products Back-of-Room

Dave Sherman

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Following are the responses I received for my request for how to better sell products BOR (back of room).

Note: We have a later compilation on back-of-room selling here.

-- Jean Krueger

I collect business cards and use them for a drawing just before the break. I hold up each product I'm giving away and tell a story of how it helped someone. I recently sold a huge amount of my new CD by telling how a musician in New York attributed it to his being selected to play for the Emmy Awards. It doesn't sound like a commercial, because you're telling a helpful story at the same time you are giving a gift to someone in the audience.

-- Pat Foltz (Fred Pryor Seminars/CareerTrack)

We train all our speakers how to sell from the platform without sounding like an infomercial by doing several things:

  • Teach from those resources and let your audience know you are. We call them pink spoons. (Baskin-Robbins taste tests) When you teach them something that they can use tomorrow let them know what resource it came from and that it is only one of the many ideas in the resource.
  • Let them know up-front that today is the beginning of a process and they will need resources to execute their action plan when they leave or the day will have been only an extended coffee break.
  • Let them feel the pain. Ask them questions which bring up the pain they feel with their current way of doing things. Making them remember and feel the pain (stress, overwhelmed with multiple priorities, disorganization, etc.) will make them want the remedy: your resource.
  • TELL THEM HOW TO USE THE RESOURCE! Many people don't know how to use a resource. They know they could listen in a car, but what if they have no commute? When they listen, should they take notes on one thing, should they listen in little doses, should they use the resource at consecutive staff meetings, should they use it with their children, can they be doing work around the house or yard and still use it, or should they be focused only on the resource? Help them to see themselves using the resource.

-- Janie Jasin

In a large suitcase I have Visa/MC/Discover stuff, clear glossy bags, bookmarks, order forms, signs and small token pewter coins as well as glass stars, hearts and trees. The table setup is in the hallway or a well-lit area and I have glitzy cloths to display my stuff on.

The tokens and glass items create the sparkle, which causes folks to look and stop and paw over the items. I display items as I like displays to be when I buy stuff.

I sell CDs of music by others at 60-80 beats a minute.

On the platform I read from my book -- just a few lines -- and tie it into the point of dazzle, enlighten, spark, etc.

I actually use the meditation based on one of my products and ask who would use this in their life and give one away.

I warm up after the breaks with one of my CDs.

I refer to a book I sell as a book that changed my life.

I read from another of my books -- one short piece that applies to that audience. I end with the miracle of how my bestselling book was written and personalize it FOR THEM.

In a two-hour speech I can pull the whole thing off. In one hour, less. I never SELL from the platform -- I just use the stuff and handle it like gold when I am holding the book or CD.

I ask for a volunteer up front to help. Afterwards I have a rush for SIGNING ... not buying. I always say "Please see Janie to have your books autographed."

Never SELLING... that word is forbidden. All introductions include "See Janie For Signing..." before and after the speech. I had nothing to sell until I was 50 when I had a long talk with myself about "If you believe in your message why are you so shy about producing it?"

Caution.. if you have only a 15-minute break between you and the next speaker it is not productive. You need to be in the crowded well-lit area or registration or hallway. Not buried in an expo, and not buried in the back of the room. I make sure the planner knows that the reason they can receive a reduced fee is because I will have my books there. They become a partner with me and help orchestrate the sales. I learned this from Liz Curtis Higgs who is a master of sales.

-- Joan Stewart

I do a drawing for a set of my CDs in their own carrying case. Before the drawing, I open the case, hold it up and list the title of each CD one by one, even if I'm giving away 10 CDs.

Somebody from the audience ALWAYS asks where they can get the CDs. Then I tell them "I have a limited number at the back table, or you can buy them from my Web site at...."

Also, during the presentation, read from a book or a special report or a newsletter or other product. In other words, incorporate the tips from the product into your presentation.

-- Ted Rogers

My question and suggestion is how many times do you pick up one of your products while on stage to refer to its content? I always use one of our books a minimum of 3 times for each program... not to sell it but to position it as a resource/guide/information so the audience realizes this is something they should have. We consistently sell a new audience at 75% or higher. And I simply remind them in the last 10 minutes of our program that the book is available for them to take home. You'll never have to sell from the platform when you position your products as solutions for your audience!

-- Peggy Duncan

Ed Peters is the man! Last week, I started researching this same topic. I found Ed's site, and it is a gold mine! He has tons of articles written just for speakers, and great ones on this very topic.

-- Patricia Wiklund

Fred Gleeck is not only a master at selling from the platform, but can teach others how to do it.

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