Before we know it, Valentine’s Day will be here. Chocolate will fall from the skies, the birds will sing love songs, and relationship problems will cease for twenty-four hours. Or maybe that’s what should happen, right?
The complicated topic of love may get the spotlight in mid-February, but people look for relationship guidance year round. With so many guides available on a wide variety of relationship issues, from bitter breakups to crushing crushes and other matters of the heart, do customers need your advice in choosing the right one?
We invited Cyndi Dale, author of Beyond Soul Mates, to discuss the tricky—and rewarding—process of guiding customers towards the books that will meet their unique needs.
Booksellers as Love Counselors
By Cyndi Dale
Remember Lucy in the Peanuts comic strip? Lucy sat behind a table and dispensed advice for five cents a pop—usually about love. You’ve probably figured out that your role as bookseller is comparable to playing therapist for the starry-eyed or heartbroken.
|Beyond Soul Mates|
January 2013 release
Most of our relationships are soul relationships, including friendships and companion animals. Inherently soul relationships challenge us to work through our “stuff.” That makes many of them, especially the romantic variety, especially challenging.
Instead of soul relationships, we can seek out true love relationships. These relationships reflect our true selves and because of this, are more joyful and purposeful than those reflecting the soul. Following are ways you can help your buyers select love books, potions, and principles that will put real smiles on their faces. Why not play Lucy and help all their relationships reflect the highest truths about themselves, others, and love?
By-Way or Highway: What’s Your Buyer Going Through?
Sometimes buyers need a book that is a bandage. Their love life was smashed on the rocks or they lost someone important. Maybe a dream just died and with it, a part of their soul. They need to veer of the main road and sit in a “by-way” for a while. The selected books needs to provide warmth and solace, like a comforter.
Other times, a buyer is comparable to a highway driver. They are ready to get on the Indy 500 and attract a mate, new friends, or network the heck out of their jobs. These individuals require a book with action steps, complete with a ticket to a cheerleader rally.
Setting Up the Sections
It can be hard for buyers to figure out exactly how to find the type of book they need. Imagine two women. One is pregnant and excited about the next few months and the other just miscarried. The first woman needs a “highway” book and the other a “by-way” book. Think through how you place books according to these needs. Are they both under parenting? Or is there a sub-section on grieving?
If you’re standing in your store, you most likely double as a therapist, not unlike a hairdresser or bartender—or Lucy. Because I’ve written books about relationships, people constantly tell me what’s going on. I’ve learned a few stock phrases, like, “I can see that you are feeling (sad, excited, scared, overwhelmed, etc.,” or “It sounds really hard, marvelous, challenging, confusing.”
You’re the lucky one because you then get to make a difference. Placing that special book in their hands is a sure way to help them soothe or express their hearts.
The Symptoms of Heartache
Sometimes your buyers are heart-broken. There are telltale symptoms, such as shoddy dress, a woebegone face, and the ever-present Kleenex. Maybe they’ll come right out and say it, like my 14-year-old son recently did in this exchange.
“Mommy, what are the symptoms of love?” Gabe asked me recently.
“Well,” I began. “They include thinking of the other person all the time, not knowing what to say around them, and getting used to having your heart beat too fast.”
“Why?” I asked after a moment.
“I think I’ve caught it, Mom,” he whispered.
When people feel “cursed” by love, they need a special kind of book, one that helps ground and anchor them—that tells them it will all be okay.
The fantastical dreamer inside each of us believes in magic. Candles, potions, oracle cards, runes, and other devices are inspirational and tap into our invisible side. I’m a big believer in empowering people with ceremony and tools to heal and open their hearts.
Ultimately, those seeking relationships books are searching for hope. Yes, this time, they will fall and stay in love. For certain, their kids or moms or dads or co-workers will respond and accept them. Believing in the power of love can help your buyers do the same.
Cyndi Dale (Minneapolis, MN) is an internationally renowned author, speaker, healer, and business consultant. She is president of Life Systems Services, through which she has conducted over 35,000 client sessions and presented training classes throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Visit Cyndi Dale online.
Cyndi Dale on her favorite bookstore:
I love Breathe Books in Baltimore—full of mystical, zany, lovely energy and best of all, Susan and Larry.