The Biggest Sale I Ever Made

May 2004
by Robin Bartlett

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The biggest sale I ever made happened in 1998 at SAMS Club, and it was huge.

Publishing colleagues had told me that an individual publisher representing just a few titles would never be able to make an appointment to pitch the SAMS buyer. The only way to sell to SAMS, they said, was to go through a distributor or wholesaler. I took this as my challenge.

Naturally, when I called the SAMS buyer I could not get through, but I did leave a stream of upbeat and positive messages about my books. Women’s health was very hot at the time, and the titles I was pitching were from the Physicians Desk Reference (PDR) product line, including The PDR Family Guide to Women’s Health and The PDR Family Guide to Health and Nutrition (both listed for $24.95) as well as PDR itself (then priced at $64.95).

After consulting with management about inventory levels, we decided to offer SAMS a shrink-wrapped package of the two paperback Family Guide books at “two for the price of one.” The shrink-wrapped package featured a big, Day-Glo sticker with the special offer on it, and the books would be shipped freight-free if purchased nonreturnable.

Buying nonreturnable was also something that colleagues told me SAMS never did.

A Dozen Calls Does It

I started with voicemails, and I left a bunch. I pitched the currency of the information in these books, the relevance of the content to the…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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