Monthly Archives: June 2012

Direct Sales Online Vendor Events – Part 3

Rules and Guidelines – Are there rules that the vendors need to follow during the chat?  Just like an in person event, the organizers may require that you show up 10 minutes before your chat spot and that you have to check in with the organizer.  Maybe they require you to attend an orientation chat so that you can familiarize yourself with the chat room and features before the event.

Costs – Just like any vendor event, you are going to want to know the cost.  What you are willing to pay is up to you.  Remember that online events can be more difficult to get people to and to purchase from as they cannot experience the product so keep that in mind.

Amount of Vendors – Another consideration before joining an online vendor event is how many vendors are allowed and what type of variety they come in.  For instance, if the event has 8 vendors and three of them are jewellery vendors, it may be tough to get a lot of customers to attend unless they are looking for jewellery.  If the event is over a few days, it may be a good idea to limit how many per company or type or product or both.

Website – Along with the type of chat room you are in, it’s important to consider how the website hosting looks.  If the website looks spammy or like it was thrown up in five minutes, people may wonder how reputable the event is and avoid it.  But if it looks professional and attractive, people are more likely to check it out and trust the vendors.

Orientation Chat – Do the organizers require you to attend a chat to get familiar with the room and features before the event, especially if it is your first one with them?  This can be very helpful so that you are not trying to figure things out in the middle of your presentation and wasting precious time.

Did you miss Part 1 or Part 2?  Make sure to check them out!

Direct Sales Online Vendor Events – Part 1

Direct Sales Online Vendor Events – Part 2

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Direct Sales Online Vendor Events – Part 2

Chat room (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prepare – One of the best things you can do is to type out your presentation beforehand including any specials you have going on or links to your website. Then you can just cut and paste when it’s your turn.  Just like a presentation in real life, it can be easy to forget something if you do it on the fly.

Moderators – Will there be moderators present?  While you may not think they are needed, your chat room may get spammers in them who will not quit posting or you may have someone who is in there just to cause trouble or put down a product.  It is important that the moderators are actually attending and watching the chat, as if you have to message them to deal with the situation, it can get out of hand before they arrive.

Incentives – What reason is there for people to attend this event?  People are busy and an online event will take up more of their time than an in person event.  Many people are in and out of an in person event in half an hour and they have seen any vendors they are interested in within that time.  Even if the event itself is not offering one, you may want to offer one yourself to try and get people to attend during your presentation.

Back Up – What happens if the servers go down before the event or in the middle of it?  Is there somewhere else that everyone can congregate?  You can find a variety of chat rooms – some are free and some are paid.  The differences are likely to be features available within the chat room.

Updates – How quickly is the schedule being updated with new vendors?  This is especially important as the event fills up or gets closer as without the site updated, the organizers are being contacted regarding spots that are already taken.

Come back friday for the conclusion

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Direct Sales Online Vendor Events

There are many direct sales vendors who live in an area that either does not host vendor events or cannot attend for a variety of reasons.  But fear not, there are people who organize and offer online vendor events for direct sales consultants.  How do you know what is a good one though?

First, decide what you want to see from an online vendor event.  Do you want sales, do you want to be able to do a

presentation, and are you concerned about cost or time frame availability?  Then, you can sit down and locate events and decide if they are worth it for you.

What to Look for:

Convenience – With an online event, you will be given a time slot.  You may be able to select or it may be assigned to you.  With this, you want to make sure the time frame is convenient for the most amount of people.  For this reason, you may not want an 11 pm PST slot as all the people on the east coast will likely be asleep.

Advertising– Have you seen a fair bit of advertising for the event or if you are getting in early, do they plan to do quite a bit?  Has it been done before and has a reputation fo

r being a good event?   Ask the organizers if they can provide you with buttons, banners or other methods of advertising to use.  If there is a Facebook event set up, make sure to get an invitation so you can invite everyone you know.

Time – How much time do you get for your presentation?  Look for events where you are given between thirty minutes and an hour.  This gives you time to do a short presentation as well as answer questions people have.  More than an hour and people will get bored and leave.

Come back Wednesday for part 2

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Making Successful Direct Sales Phone Calls

Making phone calls is part of the direct sales consultant life, no matter how you may feel about it.  Granted, a lot of hostesses prefer texting or other means of communication, but it is still a good idea to use the phone once in a while.  Here are some tips to have better phone communication and some of these likely will carry on to other means of communication.

Attitude – How you feel comes across in your voice.  If you are grumpy or in a bad mood, the person you are speaking to can likely hear it in your voice.  Have you heard to smile when talking to someone because they can hear it?  It definitely is true!  If you do not think you can speak pleasantly to someone, either wait to call them or figure out a way to put yourself in a better mood before picking up the phone.

Disruptions – Not only can customers hear you but they can hear background noise.  If you are chewing gum or drinking something, there is a good chance these sounds will come through the phone and you will not sound professional.  If you have kids, find a place that is off limits to the kids, or you can close the door, and make your calls from there.   Nap time may be a good time for phone calls.

Use a Corded Phone – This may seem like a weird tip but if you are using a cordless phone, you may be tempted to do other tasks when speaking to your customer and you may miss something they say.  It may also cause background noises that your customer does not need to hear.  If you really need to do something, ask your customer if they can please hold on, and go do it (provided it is quick) or ask if you can call back if it is something more detailed.

Phone calls are important in this business, even if most of your calls just involve leaving a message on an answering machine.  By sounding happy and professional, you will be more successful with your direct sales business than if you sound grumpy and cross.

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Direct Sales: Good Customer Service

It is important for you as a direct sales consultant to provide good service to your customers.  Chances are you are not the only rep where you live so if you do not satisfy your customers, they will find someone else to purchase from.  I know I have gotten a few customers due to this but at the same time, I may have lost a few.

Answer Questions – One of the most important things you can do is answer a customer’s question completely.  Speak in regular terms, not in direct sales terminology, and use as much detail as is required.  I always like to ask the customer if they understand, especially if the explanation is a bit confusing or I see their eyes glaze over.

Double Check Totals – I admit, this is one I am guilty of.  I find it best to add totals at least twice and if the two do not match, to do it a third time but I don’t always.  If I realize later on that I added wrong, I will make sure to give the customer change when I deliver their products or if I undercharged them, that I take the hit.  When dealing with customers only online, I detail the various charges when giving them their total as quite often they have done the math themselves.

Contact Information – This cannot be stressed enough.  Make sure that those you are doing business with know how to find you.  Email address, phone number, fax, whatever else you have.   The last thing you want is to lose a sale because someone cannot find you.

Thank You – This is another one that I am guilty of not doing.  Thank your customers for their order.  This does not have to be time consuming or expensive to do.  For online orders, you can take a minute or two and send a quick email to your customer.  For offline orders, you can send out a postcard or even make a phone call thanking them for their business.  For party orders, you can slip the thank you card into their bag or send it out a week or two after they have their product.

 


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DSA: Annual Growth & Outlook Survey

“There is good news coming from the direct selling segment,” said DSA President Joseph Mariano. “Despite the economic climate, direct selling continues to be a source of income and support for independent consultants across the U.S.”

DSA (US) Logo

DSA (US) Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The U.S. direct selling market grew faster than the overall U.S. economy, which grew 3.9 percent as measured by gross domestic product (GDP).Nearly half of U.S. direct selling companies experienced sales growth and another 14 percent remained flat.

– Direct sales increased 4.6 percent to $29.87 billion

– Salesforce sized at 15.6 million sellers in the U.S.

– Direct selling market outpaces growth in gross domestic product (GDP) by 0.7 percent

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Interesting Pinterest Marketing Campaigns

Pinterest allows you to pin images and photos (that you had gathered from the web or have shot) on its ‘pinboard’. The pinboard resembles a mood or inspirational board and the photos pinned on it can be shared with friends.

Red Pinterest logo

Red Pinterest logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Social media websites provide great opportunity to the marketers to promote and position their products and services and gain wide fan following. Pinterest is a new platform and therefore the marketers are still searching for ways to exploit it fully. Some have been creative and have managed to gain recognition. A list of 5 most successful and innovative campaigns that ran on Pinterest are given below.

1. Kotex women inspiration day

An advertising agency from Israel by the name Smoyz has been able to run a very creative advertising campaign on Pinterest. The Kotex Pinterest campaign searched and found 50 inspiring women through their accounts on Pinterest and Facebook. These women were sent virtual gifts by the company. Those women who ‘pinned’ the received virtual gift on Pinterest received a real gift. The gift was based on what was pinned by her on the pinboard.

All women posted something about the gifts on Pinterest and other social media platforms. The advertising campaign created a buzz on all popular social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook, twitter and Pinterest.

694853 total impressions were received by the advertisement campaign. The total number of interaction was 2284 and 50 kotex kits were sent. The figures depict the success of the campaign.

2. Guess’s Color Me inspired Pinterest campaign

The well known fashion brand Guess provided an opportunity to all its fan to win a pair of denims (color coasted) from the spring collection of Guess. The participants were to create boards which were to be based on the four spring colors including ‘Hot House Orange’, ‘Noir Teat’, ‘New Plum’ Light’ and ‘Red Hot Overdue’. The company is likely to run more contests on its ‘pinboard’ on Pinterest in future.

3. British Midland International’s Pinterest Lottery

British Midland International ran their first lottery campaign on Pinterest by the name bmipinterstlottery. The participants of the campaign had to pin 6 images from different travel destinations so that they can be shared with friends. All the photos were given numbers from 1 to 63. BMI chose a number at random each week and the participant who had re-pinned the image with the number was given the return tickets of any BMI destination of his/her choice.

4. Peugot’s Panama Puzzle

The Panama unit of the French car maker Peugot ran a Pinterest contest which required the participants to complete a Pinterest puzzle. After creating the brand specific boards, the fans had to go to the website or the Facebook page of Peugot to get the missing boards in order to complete the puzzle. Prizes were given to the first five participants who completed the puzzle.

5. Honda’s Pintermission

A brilliant add campaign was run on Pinterest by the world famous car manufacturer Honda. The five most active ‘Pinners’ got $500 and a twitter mention by Honda. One of the winners got an opportunity to travel to Hawaii while one other went to London. Honda must have been able to increase its brand following by this very successful advertising campaign.

Pinterest is more popular among females as of now and therefore any advertisement campaign that focuses more in women participation is likely to succeed. By innovating exciting contests and by devising new ways to reach wider audience, the company’s can exploit the marketing potential of Pinterest to a greater extent.

About the author: Margaret is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on environment and technology. Beside this she is fond of books. She recently did an article on born rich. These days she is busy in writing an article on ecofriend.

 

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Networking with Other Direct Sales Consultants

When I first started in direct sales, I didn’t know many other consultants.  I knew a friend or two that did party plan sales but that was it.  But when I started selling that changed as I was doing trade shows.  Again, at first I sat back and watched and didn’t really interact, but as time went on, this started to change.  This was partly due to other consultants coming to talk to me and partly me talking to other consultants with questions about their experiences.  Now, I tend to talk more than sit at my table at events (when there are no customers, of course)

You may be wondering why I am telling you this.  It is because networking with other direct sales consultants is important for your business.  And actually, not even with direct sales consultants but other businesses in general.

Finding More Events

If you are just starting out, or if you want to find more events, sometimes other vendors can be the best way to find them.  You can ask other vendors how they find events to attend and how they felt they did at them and if they were worthwhile.  Quite often, you will find vendors that will take your card to contact you when they find shows that are still looking for vendors.

Feedback

Another benefit to networking other than finding other events is getting feedback.  Ask another vendor to look at your table setup and tell you what they think.   They are a potential customer so take their feedback and work with it.  I have been told by vendors that my table looks too busy so I have tried to cut back how much I put out.

Customers

Everyone is a potential customer.  At the last event I did, there was a lady helping out someone else and she commented about how many of the vendors were hanging out/buying from other vendors.  And it is true – this happens quite often.  You will do a show, get introduced to a product and buy it on the spot.  Or maybe you see them, are intrigued and go away and wish you had bought something.  And low and behold, they are at your next event.

Recruits

Just like you can gain customers at events, sometimes the vendor at the table next to you will decide to join your company.  You never know what consultants are not happy with their company and want to change or maybe want to add a second company for a few more dollars each month or for personal use.

No matter why you attend trade shows, it can definitely be to your advantage to network with the other direct sales consultants.  If nothing else, it can help with boredom if your event is slow.

 

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Direct Sales Trade Show Pet Peeve – Leaving Early

So you are doing a trade show.  It’s scheduled from 10 to 5 pm.  So you arrive between 9 and 9:30 to get setup and get ready (okay, maybe a bit later than that depending on your setup time).  Regardless, you are there on time and are prepared to stay until 5 pm.  You have your phone, your laptop or sales material to keep yourself busy if things are slow.

But.. 3 o’clock rolls around and a few vendors start packing up.  Or maybe that has happened earlier in the day and a few tables are already empty.  Of course, you don’t know their personal circumstances.  Maybe they got a phone call that someone was in a horrible accident and they had to leave.  That would be an acceptable reason but I cannot think of too many other reasons that a direct sales person should be packing up to leave early.

Sometimes a person has a party on the same day of a trade show.  But I tend to think that if you have a party that is scheduled for the same time as the trade show you should either pass on the trade show  or have a team member come out and handle the booth when you are gone.  If you are already scheduled for the event when you get a party, you can schedule the party for after the event is over or again, see if someone can come cover your booth.

You may wonder what the big deal is about leaving early – you are doing a disservice to the other vendors as well as customers that may come near the end of the event.  People may walk in the door and see that half the tables are empty and walk back out.  Or people may miss out on what you are offering due to the fact that you left early.

Be aware, some trade shows will charge you a deposit and if you leave early, you will not get it back.  This is more common with the expensive shows but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the smaller shows not invite direct sales vendors back who leave really early.

 

 

 

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