That's what my last two days effort is called according to The Wife.
Yesterday I was going into London to meet Philip duBarry (of Revolution fame) for dinner. Seeing as I was spending £25 on the train fair into London I figured I might as well make a day of it and visit a few board game shops hawking my wares. Today I've done something very similar in St. Neots and Cambridge - a bit nearer to home.
In preparation for my visits I first rang the shops to arrange a rough time for my visit and to make sure that they were interested in seeing me. With one exception they all seemed quite keen - I didn't feel too much like a cold-calling salesman, which was effectively what I was. I also got together a small pack of information for each store: a business card, and 'sellsheets' for each of my games (a sheet of A4 with information about the price, some art and the blurb from the back of the box). I stapled this information together so that I wouldn't have to be faffing around when I got there.
For each visit I got the name of the person I spoke to (or should speak to on the day) so that I could ask for them when I reached the shop. I hit five shops in London on Wednesday and three today. On arrival I went up to the desk, introduced myself and asked to speak to the person whose name I had got on the phone. I then handed over the information pack (so they've got something to check after I've left and remind them of the salient points) and then spent 15-20 minutes giving a brief overview of my three games: It's Alive!, Carpe Astra and Sumeria.
About half of the shops I visited already stocked one or more of my games, the others generally had never heard of them. As a result of the trips all of them were interested in stocking them, though admittedly some only if I acquiesced to their conditions (in some cases ridiculous). Three of the shops are going to pick them up as a result.
Even in the cases where they already carried my games it was often only one of the two (so it was worth it from an awareness raising point of view) and in most cases the staff had only seen the game box, never the contents and knew nothing about how to play the game that wasn't written on the box. Hopefully in these cases the extra information will lead to the staff recommending my games to some of their customers.
In addition, a couple of the shops wanted me to come in one Saturday and demo my games to their customers. This sounds like a great idea, so I'm going to be visiting them for the day to demo my games - like a mini-convention. The shops will advertise it in advance and get some stock in so that interested customers can buy the game there and then.
I consider these visits to be a great success and I'm now trying to work out which other shops are within range of another day trip.