On Wednesday night, members of my small group and I went to Reston Town Center to hand out fliers to The After Party. When we arrived, a security officer told us we couldn’t solicit on the premises. Since we didn’t feel right about disobeying the officer (we easily could have walked to another street beyond his view), we decided to head across the street to the Best Buy/Barnes & Noble shopping center.
I wasn’t sure who of the four of us had prior experience doing cold approaches to people on the street, so I figured I should make the first approach. A tip I learned from my pickup days is to purposefully get some “rejections” under your belt as soon as possible. So, expecting to be rejected, I stopped two young girls walking past us, handed them a couple of fliers, and simply said, “We’re having a party this weekend. You’re invited.” And that was it. They very willingly accepted the fliers, said “cool,” and continued walking.
One of the members of my small group flat-out said he didn’t feel good about walking up to some hot chicks and inviting them to a party — without explaining what it was all about. I disagree. Not only did I consider the approach “practice,” but even such vague invitation attempts can be a valid way of witnessing, should the girls go home, check out the website, and consider what The After Party is all about.
Our group of four split into two groups. Two guys went over to Barnes & Noble, where they had several interesting encounters (including one Hindu yelling at them and accusing them of “false advertising”). My small group leader and myself walked in the opposite direction towards La Madeline. I had seen two girls sitting outside there during our walk over from RTC, so I wanted to go speak with them.
On the way over, my partner approached some folks standing outside of a hair salon (who accepted the cards graciously and thanked us), as well as an older gentleman standing outside La Madeline (who accepted out of politeness only). We bought a couple of drinks inside, then sat at a table outside, near the two girls. We weren’t close enough to talk with the girls from our table, so we chatted a bit ourselves, then got up, and on the way out, did a double-take (another pickup trick) to say, “Oh, you girls might be interested in this…”
I pulled out two cards and told them they were invited to an event our church was putting on. The first girl surprisingly admitted that she already had two of those fliers. Apparently, she had been invited to the event by her small group leader (she was in a non-Frontline small group). The other girl said she didn’t have a flier, so I handed her one. We made some additional small talk, then departed.
We handed cards out to more folks on the way back to Barnes & Noble… A surfer-type dude, a punk rock girl sitting at an outdoor table, and possibly another. I can’t remember.
After reuniting with the others, we headed back to RTC. On the way, we handed out more fliers. I started to understand that it’s much easier to hand these things out while on the move, rather than standing in one place, targeting passersby.
We spent some time at one of our small group member’s condo (he lives in RTC), then on the way back to our cars a few hours later, I ran into an improv buddy of mine, Matt, and his gal pal. He was actually the one who spotted, then called out to me. I have a feeling he totally knew what I was doing there (thanks to my Facebook status), so after making small talk, he specifically asked what it was we were handing out (what a kind fellow!). We told him about The After Party, and handed him and his friend a card. Matt exclaimed that he would be there, but he’s always generous with his words. His friend, on the other hand, seemed very reluctant about the whole thing.
Leaving Reston Town Center, I felt like the whole task of handing out fliers was a piece of cake. Once you get over the fear of rejection and become immune to actual rejection, it’s a walk in the park.