This month’s Marketing Treasures, a newsletter about library marketing, has a good piece on the importance of getting to know a user’s needs before making the standard “library sales pitch.”
From the conclusion of, “Promotion Gems: Forget the Slides”
Your goal during a presentation to a prospective library user is to find out how the library can make them look good and solve their information problems. So introduce yourself with only a business card, a pad of paper and pen. Take good notes and ask probing questions. Only after you have a profile of your library customer should you pull out the brochure and handouts to help you make a tailored presentation which shows the value of the library from the user’s perspective.
This is a good reminder for anyone in a service profession, not just librarians. People will be much more receptive to your message if you make it clear what’s in it for them.