Monthly Archives: October 2011

Preparing for your First Direct Sales Trade Show

Direct sales trade shows can be scary when you are first starting out.  If at all possible, it is a good idea to go with your upline and see what they do before you strike out on your own.  If that is not possible, here are a few ideas to help you out.

Set up a Sample Display – If you have a table at home that might be similar to the one at the event, set up your display on it.  See what you think and where you could improve.  Take a picture and send it to your upline or ask them to take a picture of their set up and send it to you.  It might be a good idea to do both of these to be even more effective.

Pack in Advance – If you leave packing until half an hour before you need to leave, you are likely to forget some very important things.  Case in point, one of my last direct sales trade shows, I forgot to print and prep my recruit packages!  Oops!  I also recommend loading your car the night before if it is possible as mornings can be rushed.

Table Cloth – Bring a covering for your table.  The first trade show I did, I knew nothing about this and I put in an emergency call to someone I knew to bring me one.  You can buy logo’d ones from your company or you can buy them from a variety of places.  Pieces of fabric or sheets can work well.

Levels – When creating your display, create different levels.  This helps to attract the eye to different areas and highlight certain times.  I like to use the boxes that my products come in and cover them up with a sheet and then set the product up on top. This keeps the amount of things I have to haul down.

Make a List – I rely on lists more and more all the time.  For this reason, I actually have a list of everything I want to take with me to check when I am packing.  I don’t refer to it as often as I would like, but if I do remember, I know I will be better prepared.

Labels – If you use reorder labels or any other type of labels, pack extra.  You never know when you will discover something on your table does not have your information on it.  I also take extra with me as then I can label catalogues if I discover one got missed or if I have other paper that should have a label on it.  That said; do not forget your business cards!

Inventory or Not – Keep in mind that some companies do not allow their consultants to sell off their table.  But beyond that, inventory can be a hot topic when it comes to direct sales trade shows.  Most people attend in order to get more bookings or recruits.  If this is your goal as well, chances are you will take minimal inventory as an incentive to get bookings but you will want to still take items so people can see them.  Talk to your upline or others in your company if you are not sure.

Direct sales trade shows can be a lot of fun.  It’s a great opportunity to network and get to know other consultants which may come in handy later on.  I also find out about a lot of events through these events.

 

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Direct Sales supplies such as business cards sound very expensive! Can I find them cheaper?

When it comes to your business supplies, you can shop in a variety of places to get what you want.

If you want items with your company’s logo on them, you will have to shop with the company store.  The logo is copyrighted and there are limited places that have been given the rights to use it.  Most direct sales companies are affiliated with a supply company to provide you quality, logo’ed merchandise to use in your business.

If the logo does not concern you, then there are many places that you can shop for supplies such as business cards, magnets and many other items.  Vistaprint!   Chances are if you have been in direct sales for a little while someone has already mentioned it to you.

The great thing about Vistaprint is that they have a lot of products with a variety of designs on them, and then matching products to go with them.  So you can select a business card that represents your business, and then choose a matching pen, matching magnets and matching brochures.  You cannot always get a match with everything, but you can usually do pretty well.

Another wonderful thing about Vistaprint is that they are always having a sale.  You can almost always get 250 basic business cards for 0 or upgrade to premium (more designs) for 2 to 5 bucks.  By continuing to look around, you will find even more items for free.  All you pay is shipping on these items, and you can select a variety of shipping methods.  Once you have an account setup with them, you will get emails every few days listing the specials.  You can combine them on one order for the best value – I have gotten up to $150 worth of product for $30 shipping!

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Organizing Your Home Office

My Home Office III

Image by TranceMist via Flickr

This is a guest post by Ron Murphу.

It саn bе а rеаl challenge as а work аt home parent tо maintain an оrgаnizеd homе оffіce. Manу tіmеs, the оffісе or dеsktoр іѕ the lаѕt оf our wоrrieѕ аs we ѕtrivе tо rаіse our сhildrеn, suрpоrt our sроusеѕ and run оur direct sales hоmе-bаѕed buѕіnеsѕ. Howеver, kееping up with thе сluttеr and сhаos оf уоur offiсе may be јuѕt whаt уоu nеed tо gеt yоu in а workіng mіndset and helр уou tо be mоre effіcіеnt while wоrkіng.

Thеre аre a fеw ѕimplе thіngs thаt you саn dо on a rеgulаr baѕiѕ thаt wіll hеlр tо de-streѕs the оrgаnіzіng prосеѕs:

* Addresѕ your hоmе оffісе/dеsktоp сhaos in blосks оf tіmе. Yоu mаy need to ѕеt аsіdе а few hоurѕ, or уou maу need аn еntіrе dаy. Deсide whаt wіll work fоr уou and ѕtiсk tо іt. If іt’ѕ not роѕѕible for yоu tо set аsіdе a blосk of tіmе, conѕіdеr usіng а hеаdѕet whіlе уоu аrе оn the рhоnе аnd be de-cluttеrіng, too!

* Havе the nесeѕѕіtieѕ оn hand: a trаѕhсan, рen, filе foldеrs, mаіl bаskеtѕ and оthеr оrganizаtіon іtеmѕ that wіll enаblе уou to sort, throw out аnd find a рlасe fоr еасh іtеm. Envіѕiоn уоur gоal and рurсhаsе the ѕupplіеѕ nеcеѕѕаrу tо creatе thаt envirоnmеnt.

* Cleаr the sрaсе уou want tо orgаnіze (the deѕk surfacе, one оf thе drаwers, etс).  Thеn mаke а pіle of аll thе pарer. Bеgin to еvаluаte еaсh pіесе оf раpеr, ѕortіng it bу іmportancе. Throw out as muсh аѕ poѕsіblе and find а рlаcе fоr еасh of the othеr іtemѕ.

* If уоu stаrt tо feel strеѕѕed, takе a brеak. Makе a gоal of hоw far you’d lіke tо gеt durіng thе tіmе you hаve аvаіlablе аnd ѕеt an inсentive fоr уourself if уou rеach уоur gоal. It’ѕ alwaуѕ eaѕіer to соmрlеte а tаѕk whеn yоu knоw уоu’ll bе rewаrdеd.

Once уоu’vе оrgаnizеd yоur оfficе, it’s іmроrtаnt tо tаkе smаll ѕteps еvеrуdаy to kеер thе rооm cleаn and tіdу. It’ѕ verу eаѕy to fall baсk into the routіnе оf ріling thіngs on уour dеsktор and аrоund thе roоm. Therе аrе fivе ѕimрle tаѕkѕ thаt уоu cаn do dаily to hеlp maіntaіn your оrgаnizеd ѕрaсе:

1. Clеan out уоur “Inbox”. In tоdаy’s wоrld thiѕ саn аpрly tо роѕtаl maіl оr еmail. Crеate а ѕреciаl bаѕkеt fоr poѕtаl maіl that nеedѕ to bе taken саre of rіght аwаy, and аnother fоr itеms that can wаіt а dау оr two.

Tо keep уour еmаіl inbоx undеr cоntrоl, сrеatе fоlders within уour еmail progrаm. Keep what nееdѕ tо be dоnе immеdiаtеlу in yоur іnbox аnd dіstrіbutе thе rеѕt іntо folderѕ. Yоu cаn аlѕо uѕе “rulеѕ” tо helр sераratе еmaіl аnd makе it eаѕiеr tо manаgе.

2. Make ѕure all nоtеѕ arе trаnѕfеrred tо уour саlеndаr, palm рilоt оr daу рlаnner. It іs vеry еаѕу tо ріle up а dеѕktор full of рapеr bу wrіting еvery nоtе оn a Poѕt-іt. Yоu сan аlso сrеate an “Idеa Boоk” to сatаlоg аll of yоur buѕіneѕѕ idеaѕ for futurе refеrenсе.

3. Rеmovе аll mail, catalоgѕ and mаgаzіnes frоm уоur deѕk. Put them іn theіr рropеr рlасе аѕ yоu rесеive thеm. This will conѕidеrably cut down the аmоunt оf cluttеr оn уоur dеѕktор.

4. Fіlе аѕ you gо.  Thіs іѕ thе mоѕt bаѕіc аnd moѕt іmpоrtant tiр of аll. If уоu fіle аѕ уоu gо уоur reсоrds wіll be іn оrdеr, your desktор wіll bе сlеar and yоu wіll fееl likе a profеѕѕіоnаl.

5. Clеаn оff уour dеѕktop еach evеnіng. Therе’ѕ nоthіng bеttеr thаn ѕіttіng down аt a сlean wоrkѕpaсе each mоrnіng. It helрs to kеер yоur mіnd fосuѕеd оn yоur direct sales busіneѕѕ and mаkеѕ findіng іmрortant doсumentѕ a ѕnар.

By fоllоwing thеѕе eаѕy guіdelines уоu will have a сlеаn and оrganіzed homе offісе іn no timе. Hаvіng а сluttеr-freе workѕpaсе іѕ the fіrѕt ѕtep іn сrеаting аn оrgаnіzed and рrоfеssіоnаl hоmе-bаѕеd buѕіnеsѕ.

Ron Murphу, а Frеelаnсе wrіter аnd а Intеrnеt Mаrkеtеr whо рrеѕеntlу wrіtеѕ аbout thе Upcoming Verizon Phones. It іncludеѕ аll the thе newѕ аnd updаtes аbout New Verizon Phones.

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Easy Tips for Making Your Direct Sales Parties More Successful

A direct sales party shouldn’t feel like a business meeting. On the one hand, the clients are much more comfortable and amenable to the whole experience if they feel as though they are actually at a party. At the same time, direct sales don’t even need to be formal.  Long presentations and a discussion about the best contract management software are hardly prerequisites of a successful party.

So how to go about making the party more laid back, thereby increasing client comfort with the experience? Here are a few suggestions.

Don’t Try to Integrate Your Pitch Too Seamlessly

It is understandable that some hosts try to perfectly incorporate their sales pitch into other aspects of the party. For someone selling kitchen appliances, for example, this would mean extolling the virtues of a particular product while introducing the food, making the food, and presenting the meal. Oftentimes, this strategy does not work. People at the party know that they are there, in part, to hear a sales pitch, and they’d rather you be upfront about your pitch as opposed to discretely trying to hide it. A better method may be to explicitly preface your pitch and then move on to the crux of the party. Say something like, “this will only take a minute; then I’ll stop talking and we can eat” before getting into your presentation.

Bring a Foil

Whether it’s a friend, a spouse, or a child, having another person can help make the party more laid back. They can attest to what you’re saying, provide a comedic or lighthearted response to a comment you make, and generally can hold more validity in the eyes of the clients, who will see your helper as less invested in making the sale. Of course, they can also be instrumental in helping you set up and clean up as well.

Don’t Push the Sale

People don’t want to feel pressured into making a purchase, and they certainly don’t want to feel conned. Once you’ve shown them how well your products work and have given them time to enjoy the gathering, a simple reminder at the end of payment options should suffice. Once one person starts buying many others will feel obliged, but people will be less likely to follow through if they sense that the pressure is coming from you, not simply from the situation.

There are many other ways to go about making a party more relaxed and laid back, at least as far as your participation in concerned. While it’s only counterproductive to be so sensitive to client desires that your sales suffer, a balanced approach should make everyone happy – even your bottom line.

 

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News: At-home parties can help you earn extra cash

Odds are that you’ve attended or hosted a Pampered Chef, Arbonne, or more recently, a Stella & Dot party. Selling make-up and merchandise through at-home parties is a billion-dollar business. At an event in New York City last year, financial guru Suze Orman even shared that her mom was an Avon representative in the early 1960s, and the additional income she earned helped support their family in tough times.

Read more of this story :  At-home parties can help you earn extra cash

5 Direct Sales Tips

When it comes to direct sales, there are some tips that can be helpful and make your business go that much better.

Tip 1 – Advertising.  Make sure you are always advertising.  Wear company clothing, carry a bag with your company name on it, and carry samples that you can give away to people that stop and talk to you.

Tip 2- Don’t give up!  Chances are, your business is not going to make the income you want within the first month or two.  Keep working your direct sales business and it will eventually end up where you want it.

Tip 3 – Separate money!  Keep your business money separate from your personal accounts.  While this sound like more work, when it comes to tax time, you will find that you will be glad the two are separate.  And heaven forbid, if you get audited, it will save your butt!

Tip 4 – Believe in your product.  If you cannot believe in and promote the product you are selling in a positive way, you are going to have a hard time selling it to others.

Tip 5 – Do not undervalue yourself or your product.  Many people discount their product to make sales.  All this does is tell people that you do not believe that your product is worth the price that it is listed for.  If you want to give benefits, offer a free product or gift which helps to grow your direct sales business.

 

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Should you sign with the Direct Sales Company directly?

Some companies allow you to sign up with the direct sales company directly instead of with a consultant in the business.  But is this something that you should do?  Ultimately it is your call, but here are some things to consider before making a decision.

Benefits

Independence – You will be totally on your own with your direct sales business.  For some people, this is very important and they do not want have others offering suggestions or information on what they should or should not be doing.

Control – You have total control of your direct sales business.  Not that an upline controls any of your business, but you will not have them trying to get you to do things their way or hassling you to get a certain amount in sales that month to assist them with their goals.

Other Support – These days with social media, you will still be able to get support and assistance in a variety of ways.  There are many companies that have Facebook pages or groups for all consultants or places where consultants can discuss aspects of the company.

Downsides

Support – One of the biggest reasons to have an upline is that they will provide you with support or assistance when you require it.  If you sign up directly with the company, you will get some support from them but it will likely be the same support everyone else gets.

Being Lonely – Sometimes working a business can be a very lonely endeavor.  If you are working on your own, without an upline, you may find that you get lonely and it may cause you to lose some ambition.

Keep in mind that there are many direct sales companies that do not allow this, that require you to sign up with someone.  But some companies will allow you to.  If you are determined to be fully independent, this may be a requirement in your search.  Even if you have to sign with a demonstrator, you can let them know you prefer to be on your own if that is your desire.

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Direct Sales Party Games – Good or bad?

Everyone has different opinions when it comes to direct sales party games.   But if you do it right, you won’t annoy anyone with whatever direct sales party games you choose to play, the event will go off with a hitch, and the games will actually improve the results at your event.
Depending on the type of direct sales company you are with will help to determine if you need to play something like an ice breaking game.  When I was in romance, I typically would play a fun, simple game at the beginning which made everyone laugh and relax to get the party going and it helped to break the ice.

If you are doing an event for a group that you have had several times before, you could make your presentation into a game instead.  You may have them play a hide-and-seek type game with the catalogue where you ask them to find a certain product or give them hints about a product and see if they can find it.

A lot of direct sales representatives like to play a booking game at the events.  It keeps them from seeming pushy asking everyone if they want to host a party but it still puts it out there and lets everyone know about the benefits.

If you need some ideas for fun booking games, check out these previous posts:

Deal or No Deal Game

Gambling Game

Have you visited the Resource Page?

Have you checked out the resources page on this blog?  If not, I highly recommend that you do.  I may not always reference to these great resources when appropriate, but you should be aware that they are there and there is a good chance they will help you find what you need.

Resource Page

You will find sites that you can use to buy tools for your business, sites that offer advice or other locations for helping you set up a blog to promote your business.

Know of direct sales resources not included here that should be?  Please let me know!

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Finding Time for Direct Sales Parties

My iCal synced with Google Calendar

Image by guccio@文房具社 via Flickr

When it comes to finding the time to work your direct sales business and finding time for direct sales parties, it can be difficult if you have a lot of commitments in your life.  But where there is a will there is a way, and it can be done with a bit of effort.

Calendar

The first thing I recommend is making a copy of a page from a calendar that is big enough to allow you to write items into the boxes.  Or maybe you prefer a planner where you have the day outlined in hours, whichever you prefer is what you need to find.

Commitments

Mark in any commitments that you already have.  This may be things such as kid’s activities, your day job, dentist appointments or anything else that is already planned in your life.  If you have a reoccurring appointment that you do not want to miss, such as a social event, then mark that in as well.

Check the Blanks

Now you know what time is taken and what time is available.  You want to book up those available times.  You need to determine how much you can realistically do.  For some people, they want every minute of their time scheduled; for others, they only want to do direct sales parties twice per week.  Pick the days you want to book and then go book them!

There are a variety of things you can do to get the parties booked, but that is another topic for another day.  Finding when you are available to work your direct sales business is important though.

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