How To Sell Board Games
Selling board games is quite different to selling toys or other consumer products. While some of the same basic communication points apply i.e. what’s the pricing, category, consumer target and so on. But, above all selling board games is about succinctly & effectively communicating the essence of the gameplay and the resulting social experience. Demonstrating gameplay is in itself a bit of an art, because too much information and too many rules can turn people off, but too little and they are left wondering what the point is. It is also really hard in business circumstances e.g. during a hurried trade show meeting of a few minutes to effectively recreate the actual setting for playing games. Not many games companies manage to get their buyers to a home with dinner, wine, music and some friends. Instead, the entire sales process relies on a conceptual leap on behalf of the buyer.
There are though 4 key tips we have identified after speaking to people across the board games business which can help to give you the best chance of selling your games:
- Let the buyer win!
Nobody likes to lose at games, so it is only logical that you find a way to help your buyer to win the game you are demonstrating to them. Maybe you need to stack the cards, perhaps you need one of your team to sacrifice themselves to facilitate the buyer’s success – but however you do it, make sure your buyer wins. Ok, this is a little disingenuous, but your competitors are doing this (or if not, more fool them because plenty of companies do this).
- Distil the explanation of the gameplay & general concept
We spoke to one industry veteran who told us about asking a demonstrator at Essen Spiel to give a quick introduction to how a game played. 15 minutes later, and the full rules having been regurgitated in a purely one-way fashion, and even the hardiest of gamers would have glazed over! To sell a game you have to quickly communicate what it is, why it is a good idea for them to buy it & then quickly demonstrate how it plays.
- Be clear on specific competition & why your game is different/better
There are tens of thousands of board games on the market! So, why is your game different enough or better in some way to merit selection? Don’t forget your buyer (whether a retailer or distributor) is seeing many other products, so you ned to have a clear answer to the following question: why should I buy this product versus all the others I can choose from?
- Succinct & compelling video presentations are essential
Sometimes you can’t be there to present in person, sometimes you need to share a gameplay demonstration & sales pitch remotely, so you had better have a great video for each game you are trying to sell. Moreover though, in a world where Amazon & other e-tailers play an ever-greater role and have ever increasing market share, you need a bespoke video demo & advert for use online.
There are of course many other factors in selling board games – not least of which is having really good salespeople who can create the opportunity to pitch in the first place, but the bottom line is that you need to plan and practise the art of presenting gameplay and game concepts to be successful.
We run a Consultancy business helping board games companies to grow. We have experience of most major board games markets around the world and our team has developed more than 200 board games including versions of classic games like Monopoly, Clue/do, Risk, Game of Life etc. For more information on our services (including our Export sales Consultancy) please just click here: https://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/services/
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