Monthly Archives: February 2011

Why build a team in Direct Sales?

When in direct sales, everyone knows that you can build a team to generate more income.  But that is not the only reason that people tend to recruit.  In reading a message board full of direct sales consultants, many different reasons for recruiting came up and some of the answers were quite surprising.

Helping Others

Helping others succeed is a big reason for many people to sponsor others.  They had someone who believed in them and helped them to reach their goals, and they wanted to do the same for others.  This could be anything from making a few extra dollars a month or making enough income to be able to stay home with children.

Energizing their Own Business

Sponsoring local people is a great thing, as then you can get together and brainstorm ideas to help each other out.  It is amazing how much energy you can get for your own business when you are working with someone else to improve theirs.  Not only can you get together to brainstorm, but you have someone to help you with events, or back you up if you have too many parties or have something come up at the last minute and you cannot make it.  You can also split costs with a local team as you can combine orders and split shipping, or you can share a booth at an event and split that cost.

To Make Incentives

Many companies offer incentives to their demonstrators as they increase their team.  These may be travel, jewelry or even money.  Every company has a different plan but there is typically something offered.  There is not always a sponsoring element to it, but sometimes that is a big part of it.

Recognition

There are some people who are motivated by recognition and not just money.  By sponsoring people, they get recognition from their upline and the company in a variety of ways.  Their name may be mentioned in the company newsletter, they could be honored on stage at the company’s convention for their achievements, and they could earn rewards such as money and other incentives.

Perks

Some companies have different perks as you reach different management levels.  This may be something such as being able to purchase special items or certain perks that are only available to those at that level or higher.  There could be a bonus program or other incentive program that is only for those that reach this level or higher as well.   One of the perks that many companies are now offering are cars or house payments.

Remember that every type of personality has different things that will inspire them.  While someone may do everything that gains them money, others may not care about the money but want the recognition.  When you are ready to sponsor, knowing why you want to sponsor and why others choose to sign up will help you to have better results.

Basic Accounting

Close-up of a graph from the financial section...
Stock market from Yuri Arcurs Website

In Direct Sales, you wear all sorts of hats unless you are willing to contract them out and pay someone else to do them.  As a result, you also have to do the accounting that comes with your business.

Fear not, it is not as scary as it may seem, and if you keep up with it on a regular basis, then it will not be as bad come year end.

There are a few tools that you should arm yourself with before you start:

Pen/Paper/Ledger book or Spreadsheet

Folders

Staples/Paperclips

Time – If you only have 20 minutes, do not start on your accounting.

Everyone does their accounting a bit different so I am going to share with you how I do my accounting, and you can adapt it for what works best for you.  Keep in mind I do work in accounting for a living, so I may do things a bit more complicated than need be.  Some direct sales companies actually have forms to help you with your accounting that you may find work better for you.

I use a spreadsheet so that I can easily add things up or add new columns as my business changes and progress.  I also use a double entry system so that means that each line I enter equals 0 so I know that I have recorded it properly (but it could still be in the wrong account).

When I buy product from my company, I enter it as this:

Purchase         Tax      Shipping          Visa

100                  10        10                    (120)

The reason that the Visa is a negative is that the total has to come to 0.  This is due to the fact that you have increased your purchases but your Visa is a negative because now you owe money on it.

When it comes to paying your Visa, the entry goes like this:

Visa        Cash

120    (120)

As now you have gotten the balance back on your Visa, so it’s a positive, but you have decreased the amount of cash you now have.

Regardless, you need to input the items into your spreadsheet in some sort of order.  How you choose to do this is up to you.  Ask your upline if they have any materials than can help you.

Recruiting Online

The Internet can be a great source for recruits.  Many people have successfully built their direct sales business by using the Internet for both sales and sponsoring.

One thing you have to remember is that email is impersonal, and easy to ignore.  You will get inquiries, and not necessarily many sign ups.    Try and get phone numbers for follow up if at all possible.

Free advertising – Some companies do not allow you to pay for online advertising.  Write up ads either based on info from your company website, from your own head or use other ads for inspiration.  If you are not using company ads, make sure to verify your information from the company website if it is a more factual advertisement.  Make sure you check the terms of the classified site you are using, as some are very fast to delete your ads if they feels they are against the terms.

Finding Free Advertising – You can get bogged down with finding free places to advertise.  Try and find sites that are popular and people around you have heard of.  The more eyes that see your ad, the more likely you will get a response.  If you aren’t sure of what a good site might be, ask friends and family what sites they use when looking for something.

Disclaimer:  If you are doing any online promotion, you need to make sure you get online at least once or twice a day to check emails.  The Internet world is a fast one, and if you don’t respond quickly, they will find someone else or lose interest.

Message Boards/Yahoo Groups:

There are a lot of these out there, and a person could spend days on them.  When you are on message boards to recruit, there are a few pieces of advice to follow.   Get onto the site, introduce yourself, and get involved.   Don’t just post your business, post in the chatter threads – ask questions, get known.   Make sure you check out their advertising policies.  Some boards only allow you to advertise in certain folders, or on certain days of the week.

Social networking Sites:

Do you have a profile on Facebook/MySpace or any of the other popular sites?  If not, you should have one.  If you already have a profile, then create a fanpage.  This is a great place to post when there are promotions, monthly specials – both sales and recruit, and any other information.   On a fanpage, you can keep all the information strictly about your business.  On a regular profile, you should have both personal and business, you don’t want to sound like an ad only and have people ignore you.

Nowadays a business must have an Internet presence, but they can also use it to their advantage to advertise and build their business.

How to Fill your Calendar with Parties

How to Fill your Calendar with Parties

Step 1 – Figuring out when you can do parties

You are going to need two different calendars to do this – one for you to mark up and one for you to show to your customers.

Mark Your Version

On your version, mark any commitments that you have such as meetings, kids activities, family events or appointments that you have.  Don’t forget to mark off the days you already have parties scheduled!  Once you do this, mark off any days you do not want to do parties.  I know some people that will not do parties on Sundays but you may prefer to book off Tuesday nights.  Mark whatever is appropriate in your life.

Select Available Days

The days that remain are those that you are willing to book parties.  From here, you may want to mark off a few other things.  For instance, maybe you have 14 days that are open on your calendar, but you only want to do 4 parties (book 6 in case of cancellations).  Take 4 of those free days and mark them off.  Now you only have 10 days left for 6 potential parties, which will allow your hostess a bit of choice.

Create Booking Calendar

Next, you want to move to the calendar that your possible hostess is going to see.  Put X’s on the days that you are not available.  When your hostess is looking to book a party, she will see that you only have the 10 days left and will pick one of those.  If you have a day that you really want to do a party for whatever reason, you may want to red circle that one and offer an extra hostess reward.

Step 2 – Booking your Parties

When you go to your parties, you want to take the clean version with the unavailable dates X’ed out and the ones you really want to book marked as well.  When you have a hostess that says she wants to book, you can ask her if she has a date in mind and go from there.  If she wants a date that is already X’ed off, you have to turn her down gently and tell her that date is already booked but you have the next date available.

Book a Hot Date

If your hostess is not sure what date she wants, try offering her one of the red circled dates first.  This is to her advantage as you are offering her something extra and it books a date that you really want to have a party on.  It may cost you a few extra dollars, but you will easily make that up by having a party instead of sitting at home on the couch.

When using this method, you will have bookings on the days you want them and days off when you prefer.  It is also easier for your hostess which they will be thankful for, even if they do not thank you.

Tupperware, Avon and More: 4 Questions to Ask About Direct Sales

When you’re 30 years old and bankrupt, a mom to two small children and living with your in-laws because the bank took your house, you need to take matters into your own hands – fast. For Ellen Lewis, beating the recession meant reaching for Tupperware.

Lewis admits she was hesitant at first to work with the 60-year old direct selling company. “I’m younger,” she tells me. “I really didn’t feel like I could make money in Tupperware. It’s one of those things you hear people talking about, but I thought the market was surely saturated.”

She and her husband, residents of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, had declared bankruptcy in late 2007 after their coffee shop went under. “Am I really going to be a Tupperware lady?” Lewis asked herself. If she couldn’t sell lattes, would plastic pie containers be any easier? But time was of the essence. “We needed to make up a lot of money fast,” she says. So rather than waiting to get hired elsewhere, she invested an initial $100 or so in Tupperware products and signed on as a Tupperware ‘consultant.’

To read more:

http://moneywatch.bnet.com/saving-money/blog/so-money/tupperware-avon-and-more-4-questions-to-ask-about-direct-sales/1332/

Why do people leave direct sales?

Life happens and sometimes direct sales does not fit in with a person’s life anymore.

Of the people I know, it has not been an easy decision but due to whatever is going on in their life, they ultimately decide that it does not work for them anymore.  It could be an illness in the family that takes away any free time they have, it could be that the company changed some policies that made it impossible for them to continue, or it could be that direct sales no longer fills the need it was designed for.   Others leave because better opportunities come along, and in direct sales, it can be difficult to run more than one business successfully.

No matter what the reason, you have to remember it is a personal decision and does not mean you should leave as well.

How to choose a direct sales business?

The best thing you can do is find a product that you love and are excited about.  Have you attended any home parties recently that had products that you absolutely love?  Is there something you love but have not seen the product yet?   Most people feel that you should follow your passion, as your excitement about the product will come through when you are doing a party.  Others feel you should sell what you think you can sell.  It is ultimately your choice though.

If nothing is jumping at you, I would advise finding a vendor event around you and attending it and look at the product.  See if something there jumps out at you.  I had been looking around for a company, and attended a vendor event where I saw the candle company I had been interested in.  I looked at the product and thought it looked like a great thing.  I joined before I even burnt a candle from them!   Keep in mind, not every company out there is going to be represented at a vendor event.

Do some research on the Internet.   Chances are with the right search terms, you can find listings of a variety of companies.  If you have a certain product in mind, you may want to search for “direct sales product” and see what comes up.   I did my research on WAHM (http://wahm.com/forum) and I found my candle company there and learnt about it.  Each company has its own folder where demonstrators chat and you can ask questions about their company.

Once you have found a company or two that interests you, you want to look at the fine print and the different commission levels, etc to determine which is best for you.

Will social media help me with my direct sales business?

As with anything, you have to learn to work with it and how to market yourself properly.  But if you do it right, you can do well with social media in your business.   People can search Facebook for things, once of which is a company.  Personally, I have had a few teammates find me on Facebook, and a few customers.   Some people can put up a post that they are having a sale and collect several hundred dollars in sales, while others might sell one item.  But the more you put yourself out there, the more likely you will be successful.

I know, this isn’t a concrete answer, but there is no magic formula that works for everyone.  I will try things that my team does, and they get results, and I don’t.  And they try things I do, and I get results and they don’t.   As much as a person hates to call it luck, sometimes it’s just a matter of the right post at the right time.

Using Twitter for your Direct Sales Business

Twitter can be a tricky business when it comes to promoting your direct sales business.  The basis of Twitter is communication and getting to know people.  So you need to start following people and engage them in conversation.  How you do this can be done in a variety of ways and there is no right or wrong method.

For me, I follow people who are local to me (to help get parties), I follow people who are in North America (sales and recruits), I follow marketing people and I follow many others for a variety of reasons.  But, I do not just post about my business and how they should buy my product.  Some of these people I will never interact with due to the fact that I follow them for their knowledge, but there are many that I potentially could interact with.

I will see someone posting about a bad accident in the city, and I may reply, thanks for the information, I was just heading out that way.  Or, I follow some crafters, so I may post a picture of a project I just completed, or comment on a project someone else completed.  This builds up a relationship and trust between you and the other person.

I do post the occasional business post.  Typically these are posts that come from my blog, as I have my blog set to cross post to my Facebook and Twitter account.  Sometimes they are posts from my fanpage as this cross posts to my Twitter.  But I bet if you looked at my Twitter feed, less than 15% of my posts would be business related.

How do I use Facebook to promote my business?

These days a lot of people have a Facebook page and businesses are also jumping on the bandwagon and either making a page or a fanpage for their business.  If you want to focus on promoting your business on Facebook, there are a few different things that you can do.

Personal Profile – I have seen a few people that have made their personal profile their business page, so the name might be Jane Doe, Independent Consultant, YZA Company.  Technically, you should be creating a fanpage so be aware that Facebook may end up deleting your account or reclassifying it.  Otherwise, you would just use your personal page and post about your business there.  Be careful as to how much you post as if you are only posting about your business, people may get tired of you and quit following you or put you on ignore.

Fanpage – A fanpage is a separate page that you create but it can or cannot be tied to your personal account depending on the email you use to set it up.   The great thing about a fan page is that people have to opt-in to view it, so you know they at least have some interest in your business.  You can also talk exclusively about your business here, as people know it’s a business page when they opt-in.

Regardless of which method you use, make sure to fill out your profile with your website, your contact information and other things you want people to know.  This may be how long you have been with the company, what your title is or maybe your favourite product.

To find out more about how to use Facebook for your business, there are some other resources I highly recommend as I am definitely not an expert on this.

Jen Fong – http://www.jenfongspeaks.com/