Monthly Archives: August 2011

Fall is Coming in Direct Sales!

Pumpkins

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Fall is coming whether you are ready or not.  If you are in direct sales, it is time to start thinking about the fall and product launches and holidays.  Chances are your company has had its convention already and the fall books have been released or are about to be.  But is your calendar booked up for fall yet?  Probably not.  Use this time to lay the groundwork so you can hit the ground running when September hits.

Host a Fall Launch – If you are able to get some of your fall product before people can officially buy it, have a launch party.  You might want to make it exclusive and invite only your best hostesses and customers (you could invite everyone who has ever purchased from you if your list is small but call it an Exclusive event!).  Give them a present for attending, invite them to bring a guest and offer extra treats if they book their party at your event.  Tell them that even if they cannot attend, if they call you between a certain time (outside the launch hours as you plan to be busy with customers then) you will still extend the same specials.

Contact Customers – Do all your customers know that your fall book is ready for ordering and the sooner the better to get their favourite items?  I know my company has run out of some items in the fall season as there are surprises as to what is popular.  Convince your customers to book early to avoid disappointment!

Contact Maybes – Do you have a list of people who were interested in hosting an event but keep humming and hawing and never set a date?  Contact them and tell them this is the time, your fall catalogue is out and it is full of great stuff that they and their friends are going to want!  Get them booked!

Offer Incentives – If you are having a hard time getting people to book/commit for the fall, offer them an extra incentive.  Maybe it is something you can buy at an extra discount from the company; maybe it is extra hostess incentives.  Whatever you offer, it has to have value to your customers.

Regardless of what you offer, now is a great time to get people booking before they start going crazy with all their other fall plans.  This may also make it a bit harder to get them to commit, but if you can get them penciled in and then follow through with hostess coaching, you should be off to a wonderful fall season!

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Where all should I put my contact information?

Short answer, everywhere you can!

Catalogues – I have a sticker that I put on the back of my catalogues with my name, phone number, email address and website.  I want people to contact me in whatever method they are most comfortable with.

Products – I put a small re-order label on all my products.  It has my name, phone number and email.  There isn’t much more room.  They are return address labels that I buy from Staples and they come 80 to a page.

Business Cards – This is a no brainer, all of the above information is on my cards as well.  I always put a few into each customer’s bag, just in case.  You never know when they might pass your card onto someone else.

Care Instructions – With my business, I give my customers care instructions for their product.  My contact information is on there as well.  I use one of the same stickers I use for my catalogues.

Invoices – I have a stamp with my name and phone number on it that I will stamp onto the customers copy.  I have also been known to just staple a business card on instead as that has more complete information on it.  Either method works but it’s about getting the information on there.

As you can see, you can put your information everywhere, and I fully advise you to.  I bought some product from a rep a while ago and I want to buy more, but she did not put her contact information on the products nor did she give me a business card so I have not been able to find her.

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Recruiting Questions you will be Asked

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When you are ready to start recruiting, you will find that the people you talk to will likely have many questions for you.  Each person is different in what is important to them, but over time you will notice that there are typically five different questions you will be asked.  By being prepared for them in advance, you will be able to give an answer without a lot of thinking.

  • How much can I make?
  • How much time is it going to take?
  • What does it cost to get started?
  • Can I really do this?
  • Is it going to be fun?

How you answer is going to be different for every person but it’s important to have a general answer.  Some people might ask all of these questions, some people might only ask one or two.

What do you find is the most popular question?

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What is a customer satisfaction call?

A satisfaction call is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a call to see if the customer is satisfied with their product.  Do not use this as a sales pitch!

“Hi Jane, its Sharon calling with XYZ company.  I was just calling to see how that widget that you bought at Tammy’s party is working out for you”

“No problems?  That’s great!  I won’t take any more of your time but just wanted to make sure you were 100% satisfied.  Thanks!”

“Oohh.. I’m sorry to hear that A isn’t working properly for you.  Did you try H and I to get it going properly?  Did you take care of it by doing J?” Offer suggestions or tips as to how to improve their results.

If the product still is not working after making suggestions, you may have to consider exchanging the product or giving them a refund.  How you handle the issue will likely be partially determined by what your company policy is as well as what you personally feel you should do.

It is always a good idea to go view the product before making an offer to replace something as sometimes it is as simple as turning an item a specific way or something is not lined up correctly.

Nothing says you have to replace or refund the customer for their purchase, but keep in mind that depending on the situation, you may never see this customer again.  For some people, this is not an issue.

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Charging a Direct Sales Party Deposit

Sometimes direct sales can be frustrating.  You have a party on the books, you are hostess coaching, and a few days before the event the hostess cancels on you.  Maybe it is one of your prime dates and now you are going to be home, not making an income that night.  One suggestion is to charge a party deposit to help prevent this.  While it is ultimately up to you whether you charge one or not, here are some things to consider.

Advantages to a deposit:

People are less likely to cancel if they lose a deposit

If there is a sales/attendance requirement to get the deposit back, people are more likely to make an effort

Guaranteed sales if you roll the deposit into product for the host

Disadvantages to a deposit:

People are less likely to book a party with you when they know there are other reps that do not charge

It may be difficult to get bookings from a party when you institute this policy

People may expect more if they have to give a deposit

Determining what is an appropriate amount

Setting a policy that the customer signs to make sure they are aware of what is a valid reason to cancel

Quite honestly, while a deposit sounds like a great idea, in practicality, it is not necessarily the greatest thing to do.  If you find that you are getting a lot of cancellations, you may want to start asking people why they are cancelling to find out what is going on.  If you are only getting a few, chalk it up to life and use that time to make customer satisfaction calls or advertising.

Do you charge a deposit?  Does it work for you?

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How often should you check email?

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I am a firm believer in daily as you never know when you may get a lead from your website and the longer it takes you to reply, the more likely you are going to lose that lead

Are you looking to expand your business?  If so, chances are you are doing a lot of advertising and using other methods to get yourself known.  As a result, you should be checking email daily to see what type of results you are getting.

Do you regularly get email from your company with important information?  My company sends out an email every Wednesday plus one at the beginning of the month.

That said, if you are not actively advertising, then two or three times a week should be adequate

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Digital Marketing How To

a chart to describe the search engine market

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This is a guest post by Lily

Because the field of digital marketing is still so new, many businesses find that it can be tempting to become overzealous in their online marketing strategy. Here are several misconceptions about how online marketing can promote your business, and ideas for what you should do instead.

1) SEO

What not to do:

When it comes to SEO, the list of “what not to do” might very well be longer than the list of “what to do!” Because Google and other search engines are constantly working to improve the algorithm they use in their searches, many old SEO tricks are becoming outdated day by day.

These search engines are much smarter than you think! Today, search engines can determine the “authority” of pages that are linking to other pages, which makes buying paid links and using other cheap methods to spread your business’ URL around less effective. Many of the SEO programs you can purchase for your business employ these tactics, which could end up penalizing your business and destroying your search engine rankings in the long run.

Similarly, while “keyword stuffing” was once believed to be a useful method of improving your business’ rankings, search engines have become too smart for this as well. In order to effectively use SEO for your business, you will have to keep track of how search engine algorithms are changing and keep your website up to date.

What to do instead:

The answer is truly quite simple: make your website as useful to your customers as possible, because search engines know the difference! Rankings are being determined more and more by usefulness of content, relevancy to the user, and whether or not the user had a good experience on that site.

Yes, search engines can now determine all of these things. The lesson here? Work on improving your business in general and the experience that your customers have with you, and simply try to keep your website consistent with these good business practices. Keep your content as up to date and informative as possible. This way, the high rankings will happen naturally.

2) Facebook

What not to do:

Using a Facebook page for your business is still a brand new concept to most business owners, and therefore it can be easy to abuse it. First of all, don’t use a personal profile for your business – they created the page feature for a reason.

Once you create a Facebook page, don’t ignore it! Make sure all the content is filled out so your users know how to reach you, or at least access your website. Lastly, don’t become overenthusiastic while logged into your business’ Facebook page. Keep it professional and in line with your business’ customer service standards.

What to do instead:

Keep your customers informed about your Facebook page and encourage them to “like” it. This is essentially the same as having an email list, except many users now check their Facebook profiles more often than their email addresses.

Update your Facebook page whenever there is a new development with your business.

If something noteworthy happens at your business that you would like the public to know, a Facebook page is the perfect place to talk about it.

Conduct surveys and take advantage of the other useful resources provided by Facebook specifically for businesses.

3) Twitter

What not to do:

There is an art to using, and not abusing, your business’ Twitter account. Instead of “tweeting” every single time something happens at your business, try to keep your posts relevant and interesting. Don’t use hashtags after every other word in your tweet – this just makes your tweets incomprehensible. Hashtags actually serve little to no function on twitter unless the word or phrase you are hashtagging is already trending or is something that people would definitely search for.

What to do instead:

Tweet about recent blog posts or recent developments at your business.

Interact with your followers. When people message you on Twitter, always respond enthusiastically. This is an extremely useful method of cultivating good relationships with new and existing customers and expanding your customer base to new areas.

Lily is a blog writer for Entrust Cash Advance, a trusted merchant cash advance company.

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5 Ways to Use the Internet to Improve Direct Sales

Guest post by Andrew Black

Are you into direct selling? You could be among the many career professionals who prefer to have their own time and work outside the typical office setting. By now you know that direct selling also offers unlimited career opportunities.

During the recent financial crisis, your direct sales could have experienced some sort of setback due to the impact of the economic distress. There is a need to rebound if your sales have been declining. Fortunately, you could use the Internet to boost your direct sales and bring you back to the right track. Here are five ways on how you could use online media to attain such a goal.

1.  Have a good Website. Putting up your own online presence is important if you are a direct seller. This way, your existing and potential clients could easily find you and check out the products you sell. You could even opt to sell your products online. If you dislike shouldering the cost of putting up and maintaining your own Website, you may opt to set up a blog instead.

2.  Use article marketing to promote not just your products but also your Website. By bolstering the traffic into your site, you are also increasing your online income potential. Just make sure you use the right tools and stra

internet

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tegies to make your article marketing copy effective.

3.  Have a social networking account. If you are not into Facebook and Twitter, you should decide to get into social networking now. Do not underestimate the potential of such sites. They could effectively reach your target consumers in a way that websites could not. By being more personal, you are taking your direct sales approach to a new level. You could promote your products and Website through such social networks.

4.  Join forums. Your prospective buyers are more likely to regularly check out online community forums. You could use such venues to find and tap them. When using forums to boost direct sales, do not get straight to the point when promoting your products and services. Instead, try to be as helpful and informative. When you establish a good impression and credibility among readers, they would be inclined to find out more about you. Make sure your forum profile is updated and complete to promote your website and direct sales products.

5.  Try email marketing. Sending people email messages is like getting more personal with them. The main challenge in this strategy is how to find and get email addresses of your prospective customers. You may tap email listing services or build your own email list through your networks over time. Another challenge is how to make sure your email would not get to recipients as another spam. Make sure your message comes right across and your subject heading is catchy and interesting to draw attention.

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Andrew has helped many business to grow over the last couple of years. He specialises in business loans at Australian Lending Centre

 

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How to Effectively Promote your Business using Printed Products

This is a guest post by Andrew Black

To promote your business, whether it is newly launched or successfully running, an organization needs to reach people. Promotion of your business is termed marketing in the modern world and usually it turns out to be the difference between the failure and success of a company or a product. Most of the products used for promotional purposes have the company or brand name printed on them along with the logo of the company. Sometimes a message is also conveyed using these items.

Printed products help you reach more and more people. T-Shirts top the list of these printed promotional products. Distribute your t-shirts during a seminar or an exhibition or give them to your employees. Whenever someone wears your t-shirt he/she is working as a moving billboard for your company. You can sponsor a sports club, give them hockey sticks, bats, balls or other equipment with your name and logo printed on them. You can also design a kit for a club team to make your promotion more effective.

Clocks are one of the most effective printed products for the promotion of your business. With a big, clearly visible logo and name of your company printed on it no one can miss it. A clock is one of those things that you will see wherever you go, whenever you go. Even a person working or living it that room will check the clock at least 10-15 times a day. There is a huge collection of things you can use to promote your business. Modern technology has made it much easier and more cost-effective to have your business information printed on an object. Whether it is a mouse pad or key chain, or items such as a baseball or a cap, it can be converted into a promotional item easily.

Even though using printed products to market your company is a relatively cheap way, it does cost a certain amount of money. If you are starting a new company you will definitely need to cut on expenses used on promotional items. Therefore your first consideration should be cost versus the outcome. For example, don’t hand out relatively expensive promotional mugs if you think that they are not giving you value for money or you should not hand them out at places where there is a less probability of success.

The most cost-effective and the most effective marketing product is a pen. A pen is an item which is used everywhere and by everyone. It is also one of those products which changes hands most. After the pen, the key chain is the next most feasible promotion item. Used almost everyday and everywhere a key chain is almost as effective as a pen, however it does not change hands.

Using items to promote your business is an effective way to attract potential customers and gain a positive customer review. Keep the target audience in mind when designing your marketing campaign because they are the focus of your campaign.

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Andrew Black is definitely an enviromentalist and Branding expert. He is currently promoting alternative Promotional Products Australia and  branded promotional clothing as part of is actually Environmental Custom Gear Campaign.