Have you heard that books are the new business card?
That’s a bit of an overstatement. In fact, though electronic contact lists have replaced Rolodexes for most of us, traditional business cards are going to be around for a long time.
Still, if you have a book, giving away a copy of it (instead of or in addition to your business card) is a great way to promote yourself, market your business, and provide someone your contact information.
Of course, it’s not easy to carry a supply of books in your pocket—even if your book is small (check out “Small Books = Big Results”). And though not every business or social setting is appropriate for handing someone a book, there are plenty of times when it will, and you should be prepared for that.
How do you get your book in the hands of prospective customers? Always be conscious of opportunities. If the conversation touches on a topic you discuss in your book, or if someone asks you a question your book answers, respond to the comment and then add something like, “My book goes into more detail. May I give you a copy?”
Important: Use language that makes it clear this is a gift and you are not asking them to buy your book.
With the book introduced, you need to make the physical transfer. These tips will help you develop a smooth process:
- If you carry a briefcase or large enough tote bag, always have at least one copy of your book in it. Keep it in a plastic bag to protect it so it looks crisp when you hand it to people. A battered book doesn’t make a great impression.
- Keep a supply of books in a sturdy storage container in your car. Be sure you can restock your briefcase and get additional books if needed when you’re out of the office.
- If it isn’t practical to hand someone a book, offer to send it later. Get their address and put the book in the mail no later than the next business day.
- Keep appropriately sized mailing supplies on hand in your office to send books when you want to use them as a follow-up. If you have materials and a shipping system in place, it’s faster and easier to get those books out so they can begin working for you.
One final note: Sign every book you give away. Personalize the autograph with the recipient’s name (be sure to spell it correctly) and a short message.