Monthly Archives: September 2012

Book Review: Ultimate Guide to Direct Selling

Author:  Karen Phelps

If you have not heard of Karen Phelps, it’s possible you are living under a rock.   She has been in direct sales for over 25 years and as a result she has dealt with probably every situation a person will encounter in their journey.  These days, she works as a speaker and by writing books to help those in the industry to understand what they are doing and to help them improve their business and their income.  Sections of the book include methods to help to control your attitude, create methods to get bookings, how to grow your business, motivating and managing your team, how to maintain a business that fits your lifestyle and how to make your direct sales business last for a long time.

One of the best things about this book is the breakdown.  There are ten chapters dealing with different key areas of your direct sales business.  The language used is clear and easy to understand so that everyone can be a success after they are done reading this.  A great feature is that Karen has included scripts to help you with various aspects of your book if you are not sure what to say in a situation.

Whether you are contemplating joining a direct sales company or have been in one for a while, chances are you will learn something new by reading this book.

[stextbox id=”info”]This post brought to you by Dish Network Deals[/stextbox]

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Pros and Cons of Working as a Direct Sales Representative While in College

College is expensive. With both student tuition and the cost of living rising, it’s a wonder that anyone is able to afford college at all anymore. Of course, if you look at the growing mountain of student loan debt, you’ll see that a lot of people are having a difficult time paying it off, but if students could find a way to save more money while in college or pay off loans while still in school, the debt problem could be alleviated.

English: Front and southern side of the buildi...

Even though most college students work part-time jobs while attending school, many of these jobs only pay minimum wage and require students to work in the evening or late at night, making it difficult to focus on school. What if there was a way to hold down a good job, make good money and do it on your own time, all while being a full-time student? It’s possible…it’s called direct sales.

Whether you choose to represent a company that sells cosmetics, home ware, vitamins and supplements, candles or jewelry, the products sold by direct sales companies often appeal to everyone and can be sold anywhere at any time. To help you decide if working as a direct sales representative while in college is right for you, here are the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Direct sales is a business that allows you to make your own schedule. Of course, the more you put into it, the more money you will make, but even part-time effort will reap good benefits
  • You are provided with marketing material that can be disseminated wherever you wish. You can sell to your teachers, peers, family and friends, and some companies now allow you to create your own business webpage for online marketing.
  • Product parties are perfect for sorority sisters and other large groups of friends. These parties may be hosted in sorority houses, dorm rooms, churches or other meeting rooms. It’s a fun event that is different from the regular old college get-together.
  • For added convenience, products can be sent to you for personal delivery, or they can be sent straight to the customer.
  • Your target market doesn’t have to end on campus. If you have friends and family in another city or state, you can sell products to them, too!
  • The direct sales business model is highly organized and easy to manage. Should you have any questions, there is always a phone representative ready to support you.

Cons

  • Direct sales requires self-discipline; a trait that can be difficult to maintain with a full-time class schedule. As a product sales representative, you are your own boss. What direction you want to take with your business is totally up to you, but great organizational skills and a self-starter attitude are necessary for direct sales success. Be sure you can handle being both a student and a boss before signing up.
  • Selling to family and friends can cause you to put your guard down, in terms of payment. It is necessary to request payment for an order at the time the order is placed. Otherwise, you may end up with a box full of products that will never be claimed or paid for
  • Sales goals may be unattainable for full-time students. Goals and policies vary from company to company so be sure to check before agreeing to represent the brand. Many companies have sales goals that are discretionary, and these are the best options for students.

Lastly, if you choose to work as a direct sales representative, you can also recruit friends and family to work with you toward greater sales goals and more profit. Good luck!

Melissa Miller loves to write about many things but is especially fond of subjects related to education, health, parenting and family finance. Currently, she works as a freelance blogger, contributing most of her work to www.AssociateDegreeOnline.com. Please send your questions and comments to Melissa at MellisaMiller831@gmail.com.

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What Type of Direct Sales Company Should I Join?

You likely have heard of direct sales somewhere along the way and are intrigued about it or you wouldn’t be reading this.  But your mind may be spinning and wondering what the heck company you should join.  Included in this post I have listed a variety of companies that you can find.  I have not linked them all but if you do a search, you could easily find the company’s website.

One of the main things you need to note is that if there is a product out there, chances are you can find a direct sales company that sales the same type of product.  If you go to the forums at WAHM, they are organized by the type of company they are.  You can then visit each company’s folder and find out more about them.  There are some companies that you may not find mention of due to that companies Internet policy.   http://wahm.com/forums  If you find a company you are interested in, but the information you want is not there, you can message someone with your question.  It may be beneficial to message more than one person in case one doesn’t answer.

Companies by Product Type

Food – Pampered Chef, Epicure, Dove Chocolate, Watkins

Drinks – Steeped Tea

Scented Products – Gold Canyon Candles, Mia Bella Candles, Scentsy, Partylite

Organization – Tupperware

Scrapbooking – Close to My Heart, Stampin Up, Creative Memories

Jewellry – Lia Sophia, Stella and Dot, Premiere Designs, 5th Avenue Jewellry

Purses – Thirty One Gifts, MicheBags

Makeup/Skin Products – Mary Kay, BeautiControl, Avon, Arbonne

Health – ItWorks!

Cleaning – Norwex

Kids – Discovery Toys, Usborne Books

Romance – For Your Pleasure, Pure Romance, Passion Parties

Gifts – Signature Homestyles

This list is definitely not an all inclusive list as there are always companies opening up and others that are shutting down.   Do you have a favourite I have not listed?  Please share in the comments!

 

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What to do With Packing Material

If you have been in direct sales for any amount of time, and your customer orders come to you, there is a good chance you have a collection of various packing materials floating around in your house.  I know at my house I have an abundance of boxes, packing peanuts and expandable Styrofoam holders.  I hate to toss them as I feel that they can likely be used in some manner still and I want to be environmental and not plug up the landfills.  If you feel the same, here are some suggestions.

Boxes – The boxes are the easiest to get rid of.  They tend to be sturdy and make for good packing boxes.  Black out your address or rip it off (or leave it on) and then list it on the local classifieds.  Where I live, Kijiji is very popular so I put them on there and I usually have takers within an hour or two.  Of course, if you need to store items in your house, you may want to use them for that first.

Packing Peanuts – These can be a great nuisance!  I do not have any need for them in my house as I do not tend to ship things that often.  Again, I go back to the classifieds.  I had noticed the local post office had peanuts for sale for $7 for a grocery bag worth so I decided to list them for $5 for a garbage bag full.  These did not go as fast as the boxes but I did end up with a buyer.  I have actually listed them a few times as I lost contact information or the buyer didn’t need more.  When I have another couple bags, I contact my last buyer to see if they need more.  The lady currently buying them is using them for bean bag type chairs.  If you don’t want to be bothered, see if any of the local packing places can use them.  I have heard of people trading them at UPS for photocopies.

Expandable Styrofoam – This is the hardest material to get rid of and the one that I still struggle with.  I have posted it several times on the classifieds and have had interest but no one has ever shown up with.  Due to the nature of it, I think it would be great for someone who is moving with breakables as they can adapt to their needs.

What kind of packing materials do you get that you want to repurpose?  Have you had success?

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Generating new business with online marketing: How

Online marketing has emerged out as an indispensible tool for generating new business. In today’s cut throat competition, it has become mandatory to advertise your business online. The moment you build your business website, you set forth a profit target or revenue which you look forward to generate from your business site. It is required to clearly communicate to your prospective customers about your business along with enlisting the different benefits of procuring your products. Besides, you need to monitor your business including the revenues which your business has generated. The following are ways of generating new business with the help of online marketing.


Define your business goals

Before you device any online marketing strategy for your new business, you need to set your business goals and objectives. To be specific, you can categorize you goals as general goals and online marketing goals. The former would help you in understanding the amount of money you want to make every month along with working out the number of leads you want to achieve and lastly the profit you look ahead to make. Whereas in your online marketing goals, you need to set a target of generating the number of leads from your website along with the estimating the amount of money you look ahead to invest per lead along and the total money you want to spend through other ways of lead generation.

Optimize your website

This is among the most important step when you talk about generating new business with online marketing. You need to optimize your site as per your exact requirements. You are supposed to make your value plan extremely clear over each and every page of your website, so that when visitors come there, they simply understand what they have found out. This step would require a couple of things starting with a competent website design. Your site should be easy to navigate, competent enough to cater the right message instantly along with addressing the needs of your prospective customers. In terms of marketing this is known as designing for a persona.

Secondly, your site should have a proper call to action backed by a clear business proposition since without that the action call will simply not work. Take your visitors to pages where you have exact information which your prospective clients are looking out for. Thirdly, you need to check the competition of your niche area over the web. You need to search out keywords which match your business. This will help you in search engine optimization and other forms of internet marketing like Adwords and PPC. Lastly, you require a proper SEO strategy for your websites so that when your prospective clients search products or service related to your business; your site should come over the top at different search results.

Content marketing

The best way to attract your prospective clients is to via content marketing. With content marketing you can help in rendering information to your visitors in various forms including newsletter, articles, PRs, reports, books, etc. The best way is to create a blog showcasing your business and the products or service you deal with. This can pull good traffic towards your blog or website and thus can help you in getting new business. In this way, effective content marketing pulls your prospective clients and convince them to produce products from you.

Social media

Today, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus have become more than networking sites. Here, the online marketers use several marketing tools to promote their brands. There are many opportunities to promote your business over these platforms. All you need to do is to exploit these opportunities and pull good traffic towards your business site or blogs. People coming towards your site could be then converted into your clients thus giving your new business.

Wrapping up

Today, the online marketing has become an integral method of attracting new customers and making business profits. If you are interested in using this method, the above steps could certainly help you in generating new business with online marketing. Hence online marketing is not just a tool but could be called as a key to success.

About The author: Margaret Jules is an internet marketer/blogger. She loves travelling, meeting new peoples and SEO Services. These days she is working on feature that is related to SEO Morpheus that has affected due to recent Google and penguin update.

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Collegiate Direct Sales: How to Pitch to the College Generation

If you’re in direct sales, you already know how important it is to understand each and every one of your customers. Depending upon their age group, every customer you come across is going to have certain needs and wants they’ll need met before they consider purchasing a product or service from you. Even though it would be wonderful if we could sum up every customer in a small handout or pamphlet, it’s a universal truth that no two customers are exactly alike. College students, especially, are a difficult group of individuals that you’ll have to pitch to in your career. For those of you who are looking to reel in more sales from college students, here are three techniques that will help you along in your endeavors.

Be upfront with them

Young adults can smell phony pitches and ingenuine advertisements from a mile away. They won’t engage in the typical “pitch” speech that most direct sales people rely on. Whenever you approach a college student, make sure to be upfront and honest with them about all that is encompassed in your product or service. Don’t attempt to sneak in long-term subscriptions or extra fees without telling them. Why, you might ask? Well, if you attempt to trick a college-aged customer, they likely make you pay for it. Remember, college students live in a boisterous generation that has been very vocal about how they feel about big government, big banks, and customer-service companies. Netflix, Bank of America, and Wall Street have all felt the wrath of college students’ opinions and protests; so if you want to keep your college customers, be upfront with them about everything. Don’t attach any strings and always shoot straight.

Be their friend, not their salesman

Personalization is a huge component of direct sales. Customers don’t just want to buy from some random stranger off the street; they want to buy from someone they have a relationship with. If you work hard enough at it, you can become a trustworthy sales source for your customers. It isn’t going to be easy, however. Your college-aged customers are going to be one of the most difficult groups to work with. They already have their guard up when you approach them, so do your best to focus on getting to know them first as opposed to jumping right into a pitch. Even if the person doesn’t buy from you right away, keep working to make them your friend, and when you feel the time is right, retry explaining your extraordinary product or service. Chances are they’ll trust you enough by then to accept your pitch.

Connect through websites and social media

Direct mail and phone calls are two of the worst ways to reach out to college students. They prefer to use social media, websites, and email to stay abreast of the latest news. Throughout their whole young-adult lives, college students have been constantly plugged into the evolving technological movement. Most of the things they’ll ever need to access – such as banking, shopping, and socializing – can be done right through their smartphones, computers, and tablets. So if you want to connect with your college audience, you have to have a product website and utilize social media tools as well. Make it easy for them to find you, but never bombard them with emails, tweets, and Facebook updates. If you want to share information regarding sales and promotions with your college audience, the best way to go about it would be to send out one email, two Facebook updates, and three tweets a day. By sticking to this formula, you’ll be able to stay on their radar without overwhelming them with information.

Direct sales is a tricky business, especially when you’re trying to do business with college students. If you’re having difficulty pitching to college students, try utilizing these three helpful tips.

Maria Rainier is a freelance education blogger and fulltime writer www.onlinedegrees.org. Rainier likes to write about topics related to online degrees and the future of higher learning. She is particularly passionate about life after college. Please share your comments with her.

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Five Ways to Win Over Disgruntled Customers

Every business will have to deal with disgruntled customers at some stage. What makes or breaks a business’s reputation with its customers is not avoiding every possible slip-up, which is impossible, but what a business does to repair its relationship with its customers when an error has been made. The five tips below are all ways to turn someone who’s halfway out the door into a loyal customer.

1. The business should listen. Although a business must take steps to compensate customers for their bad experiences in some way, much of the time the primary thing a disgruntled customer wants is to be heard. But listening doesn’t just make the customer feel valued. It also ensures that the issue is properly understood and can be responded to.

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English: Creating lifelong customer value with your affiliate marketing business. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. The business should respond with empathy and understanding. It’s not enough to just listen. The business has to let the customer know that they understand and are sorry for what has happened. Stock phrases won’t cut it here; sincerity and genuine interaction with the upset customer as a human being are crucial at this stage.

3. The business should find out what the customer wants. What does the customer feel would be an appropriate response to the grievance? It may be something the business cannot grant, but asking puts a sense of control back into the hands of a customer who may have felt the loss of it. The customer’s response also provides the baseline for a negotiation as to how the business can make things right.

4. The business should respond quickly. Once the customer has been listened to and empathized with and some problem-solving has occurred, there is no time to delay. Solutions offered should be implemented fast. If there is a problem that needs to be remedied, this should be done as soon as possible. If, instead, the business response is a form of compensation, the customer should receive that quickly as well.

5. The business should follow up with the customer. In addition to speed of response, following up is a final step showing that the business is sincere about wanting to keep the customer happy. The business must make sure that the customer is satisfied with the solution.

These five steps show customers that the business cares and will effectively remedy any errors. By demonstrating to their customers that they are valued, companies will reap benefits far beyond the compensations they offer to disgruntled customers.

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Lauryn Winterson is a professional writer specializing in business, marketing, and voice of customer analytics. For more information, visit Mindshare.

 

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The Internet Hasn’t Killed Trade Shows – A Guest Post

The internet has become one of the biggest forces to help businesses generate sales. As a result, many businesses have stopped using many of their other marketing mediums. Trade shows have traditionally been one of the most common ways for businesses to market their products and services. As a small business owner, you may find that trade shows can still be a powerful means to find new customers.

Taipei Telecom 2006 closed without a vision be...

Taipei Telecom 2006 closed without a vision because the quality and purpose of the show were uncertained. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been an Internet marketing professional for several years now. Many people I have met praise my field by telling me that it is replacing all other forms of marketing. That’s flattering to hear, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The internet is certainly a powerful way to reach customers, but it is has a number of limitations you need to be wary of. Don’t fully neglect your other marketing mediums, either.

Many businesses still use trade shows. They find they are still effective marketing tools, but they have noticed they don’t get quite as much benefit from them. You may want to leverage social media and other internet technologies to get more of a benefit from your trade show.

Why Trade Shows Still Work

Sometimes you need a face-to-face connection with your users. There are two reasons why personal networking opportunities are often necessary:

  • Many demographics don’t like to spend time online. If you are trying to reach older people or more active people who want to spend time outside, you may find that a personal networking connection will be more valuable.
  • Many people are nervous to buy a product from someone over the internet.

Many professions still spend about 80 percent of their energy on building personal face-to-face networking connections. Trade shows are still a powerful means to reach a rich number of people in your target market.

Attending a trade show gives you the opportunity to connect with people who will ultimately decide whether or not to buy your product. You have enough face time to earn their attention and convince them that your product can provide them a real value. Although you can reach more people on the Internet, you generally will only have a few seconds to hold their attention.

You can also provide physical live demonstrations to your prospective buyers. People can make more informed buying decisions if they see the product in action. This gives you the opportunity to showcase the qualities of your product and differentiate yourself from the dozens of companies offering a different variation.

According to a report from the National Retail Federation, trade shows remain a powerful tool to help draw new customers. One expert said that even if there was a decline in participation at the last trade show they attended, the participants were still highly inspired by the events.

You can still benefit from holding a booth at a trade show. You might find that you won’t generate as much business as you would have in previous years. At the same time, you can take advantage of the fact that many of your competitors have given up on trade shows as a means of getting business.

You may also want to use trade shows to draw new fans to your social networking sites and vice versa. Rather than using them as separate entities, many people have found that they get the most by combining the two marketing mediums.

 

Kalen Smith is a business and marketing writer. He is currently writing tips on using the best trade show giveaways to drive more business.

Having a Successful Direct Sales Event

When you are looking for a hostess to have a direct sales event, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind.  These include her motivation, a place to host her direct sales event and a time that works best.

One of these is what motivated her to host a party:

1)  The ability to earn free product in exchange for inviting her friends over to see/experience your products

2)  To help and support you with building your business

By understanding why she is having a party you are able to help motivate her to have a successful event.

Finding a suitable place to host an event can make a difference in the success.  That said, there are many places that can work out quite well.  Quite often we host in someone’s home but you can also have the party in an office, a community hall, the park or even the stands at a child’s sporting event.

Depending on your schedule as well as your hosts will determine the time that is best.  If your direct sales business is your full time job, it likely will be easier for you to find a time that works.  But keep in mind some unconventional ideas for when to hold a direct sales event such as:

1)  Lunch Time – Keep it short and simple

2)  After Work – Head to the local watering hole for a short demonstration and ordering

3)  Breakfast – For a group of work at homes, why not have everyone over and have breakfast?

Depending on your company and their incentives, it may be worth it to add something extra. For instance, adding extra for having a certain amount of attendees or for having outside orders for you when you arrive can give your hostess the extra push to be successful.  Do not forget to give something for any bookings that you receive or anyone who signs up with you at the party.

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