Okay, you paid lots of dough to have a table at a con because you want your work to be noticed. But having a table doesn’t mean each registered attendee is going to automatically walk up. Sorry, but the real world “stumble upon” isn’t as efficient. Now, you’ve got to get the convention goers’ attention. And the best way of doing this is offering your free item. (I will go in depth in another post on free item ideas.)
Whatever your free item may be is not important. The emphasis here is “free”, and convention goers are there expecting and hoping to get as much “free swag” as possible. This is trick-or-treating for them. So they’ll take what they can get. The goal of offering them a free item is simple, getting their email address. (See: HOW TO GAIN NEW FANS AT CONVENTIONS)
Here’s the reason why getting their email address is the goal: because you probably will. Success breeds more success. If your goal was to sell your art, the probability of getting each person to open their wallets for your work, no matter how amazing it is, drops dramatically. And for each person that doesn’t buy your work, you will become less and less confident in yourself, and you’re day will be a bummer.
You’re going after people’s emails, this is doable; these people are already fans of art and comics. So, you’re confident. Now you’re a “confidence man”, or woman, and if you didn’t know, this is a euphemism for a con artist. That means using whatever you’ve got in your personality to get people to like you. Get them to like you first, not your work. If attendees like you first, they will be more inclined to rationalize reasons in their creative little minds as to why they should like your work. Now, you’re a con artist, or a sales person. Either way, congratulations.
How do you do this? Back to the free item. How you offer your item is key. Remember the old, “its not what you say, but how you say it?” It applies. The brain of a convention attendee is on overdrive, they are getting hit in the face with way too much stimulus and they have no idea where to go. You have to tell them. Directing them to you will give them a sigh of relief; they can make one less decision in their day of hundreds of choices. (People aren’t overwhelmed after going to conventions because of all the walking, but because of all the decisions they had to make in a small time span.)
You make eye contact. You smile. You hold out your free item and tell them, “Here, have a free [insert your item here]…” You don’t ask. You tell. This is Child Psychology 101, folks. If you say this with confidence, they will accept your offer. Good work, you’ve got them. But wait! Don’t let them grab it and run off!
You hold on to your [item] for as long as you can. Maybe the piece you have is just for display, and you have to grab another one. Or, maybe you have to “prepare” your merchandise; it comes with something else, or you put it in a bag. There’s many options depending on what your item may be, get creative. The easiest thing to do is to literally hold on to your free merchandise for an extra awkward second, even if its already in their hands.
Why? You keep talking. You are holding their attention a second longer so that you can start your pitch: the story to your comic, the type of work you do, etc. You’ve gotten their attention, now you maintain it and make the best of it. They will be polite and hear what you have to say. Then you put your comic or artwork, or whatever it is you are selling, into their hands. If they don’t buy, you get their email. Now you’ve made a new fan. A success! And you will use that confidence to talk to the next hundred people that you con to “stumble upon” your work.
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