Conventions and Events - Get in the VAN!

Posted by: Newt Newport On: Jan 16th 2010

So this year I'm taking D101 on the road.

Conquest (Apr 10th), Games Expo, Continuum and possibly Game 10 are all lined up for attendance for the D101 machine to sell books at.

So once I've booked my stall, got my mate Steve to drive me and the stock down, what other bits should I be taking with me apart from a big smile and a cash tin?

Also what top tips do people who have previously run a stall have for this newbie?

Posted by: Neil Gow On: Jan 16th 2010

Hi Newt

Giving your products some depth without creating a wall of books is useful. Obviously we have out plastic book stands, but you can get similar results by raiding the stationary section of your local ASDA and removing the black point of sale holding material when its accidentally emptied.

Something for behind the stall helps as well. A banner, some posters - something, as long as it looks professional and ironed.

A tablecloth makes all the difference as well. Think about the colour contrasting and enhancing your covers.

People love freebies, so if you have any D101 paraphenalia, that might work.

Finally, and this is the hardest thing usually, you might want to have someone else there - or at least have an arrangement for someone to cover your stall for

(a) food break
(b) drink break
(c) toilet break
(d) shopping break

Unless, of course, you feel the need to sit for 8 hours without food, water or pittle, surrounded by gaming products that you cannot touch, read or buy. A horrendous existence.


Posted by: Matt On: Jan 17th 2010 edited

Tips for stalls, from a couple of years of Dragonmeet, Expo and GenCon:

  1. Get some mates. Really, spread the load as much as possible, your voice and bladder will appreciate it.

  2. Water and throat sweets are your friends.

  3. Set up your stall, then take a minute to stand in front of it and look at it from the angles potential customers would approach from. What is most visible, what is hidden? Rearrange as needed.We noticed that we had lots of black books on black tablecloths that were almost invisible by doing this.

  4. Ask people open ended questions to get them talking. "How are you finding the con?", "what games do you like?", these are good gambits to start a conversation that are non-sales focused ad great for building a rapport.

  5. Have somebody in front of the stall as a wrangler, being mr approachable if at all possible. Sitting behind a pile of books avoiding eye contact is lame, and makes you look like an unapproachable tosspot. Really, make eye contact and be friendly.

  6. Practice a single sentence spiel about each game that really sells its highlights. So if somebody says, "what have you got?" you can reel off what you have in a way that will encourage them to learn more.

  7. If you do demos, for gods sake practice them first. If you say 15 minutes, make damn sure they are.

  8. Never have a bad thing to say about another game. If a punter starts slagging D&D or Warhammer 3rd, be polite but don't do it yourself and move the conversation to other things. Nothing turns off potential customers more than ranty gamer arseholery.

  9. If you mates turn up to chat, they will clog your storefront. Be aware that every minute you spend on them is a lost sale. Move 'em on if they loiter too long. This is actually harder than it sounds.

Posted by: Gary Bowerbank On: Jan 23rd 2010

Some good stuff there.

I'd add (from a punters point of view), Stand Up.

Bad example:
Mongoose stand with man sat behind wall of books can barely be arsed lifting his head.

Good example:
Iain MC at Colective Endeavour getting out of his chair to chat, or even coming round the front of the stall to engage.

Have some business cards or the like with a link to your website, especially if you can say "Go here to download this freebie" - people who haven't got time to chat properly may come back to the virtual store front after the con.

As an aside... Get someone running games. Always. Running = Selling.



Posted by: Iain McAllister On: Jan 23rd 2010

Some good pointers so far.

I think the thing that will sell your stall, and your games, to people the most is to let your enthusiasm shine through. I come round the front of stalls, stand up and talk to people because I believe strongly in the games I am promoting. I let my enthusiasm come through and I pass it onto the customer, making them enthusiastic and hopefully resulting in a sale.

Let that enthusiasm come through and people will enjoy being at your stall, remember your name and that of your games and will pass that enthusiasm on to other people. Word of mouth is a powerful tool!



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