Monthly Archives: October 2012

Dealing with Stock

If you have been in direct sales for any amount of time, there is a good chance you have accumulated some stock that is sitting in a corner collecting dust. But it does not have to be, there are many different things that you can do with it!

Sell It – The most obvious use of extra stock is to tell it.  While this sounds easy, it does not always work that way.   If you try to sell it at a flea market or garage sale, people aren’t willing to pay the price and unless you are willing to sell it for cheap, you likely will still have it after the event.   You can try trade shows; I find they can be hit and miss.  You also have to watch what your company rules allow.

Substitute – Depending on what you sell, and the shelf life, you may want to substitute stock in when people place an order.  Use your own discretion on this one.

Give-ways – Consider hosting a giveaway.  This could be at a trade show, for orders placed in a month, or just because.   Of course you will not make any money on this inventory but you will potentially get more orders depending on how you use it.

Host Gift – Do you give your party hosts a gift for having you do a party for them? Give them something out of your stock.  This can be especially great if you know that they love a particular scent and it is no longer current but you have some.  Plus, you get a tax write off for it.

Gifts – Have someone on your gift list that you do not know what to buy for?   Consider giving them something that you already own.   You do need to be careful who you give items to as they may consider it you trying to push your product.  But if they love it, then they likely will have no issue with it.


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Should You Badmouth Your Competitors?

There are times when you are at a home party or an event and someone comes up to you and asks why they should purchase your product instead of your competitors.  It can be very tempting to say that the competitor’s product is inferior or bad quality, but I suggest you take the higher road and handle it differently.

Focus on Your Product – Instead of saying that their product is not as well constructed, why not point out how your product has met certain manufacturer’s standards and has been approved by whatever commission may govern your industry?  If it is a food product, maybe some products have been declared kosher – this may be a benefit to someone so point it out.  Maybe your company has been ISO approved; make sure your customer knows that.

Features – Another option is to focus on the features your product has.  Don’t say that the product that  X sells does not have this certain feature but say, our Y product has this feature which no other product on the market has.  This feature is great for this and that reason.

Sometimes you might be asked point blank if you find that the other company is competition and how do you handle that.  For me and my candle business, I state that I do not find the other company competition because of this and that reason.  I am not telling a lie; I have found the points that I feel my company excels at and focus on those.

If you only focus on the negatives (why the other company is bad) you will look bad to potential customers and that word will get around.  Also, your potential customer still does not know why they should deal with you instead of with the other person.  But by pointing out the good, they know the benefits of your product and will want to deal with you.

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Creating a Good Voicemail Message

These days with people constantly on the go, getting voicemail is a common thing.  But if you want people to actually leave a message and not ramble for five minutes, there are some tips and techniques to help you.

Make the Message Brief – The message your caller listens to should be short.  It should state who they have reached, any alternatives and instructions on what they should do (explained further in the article).

Who Are You? – While this may not be as important in direct sales as for a corporate office, it can help to indicate in your message that you are.  This hopefully would help to eliminate messages that are not for you.  For instance you might have a message such as “You have reached the voicemail of Sharon, owner, at My Company.  I am not available right now but please leave a message after the beep and I will get back to you.”

Offer Alternatives – This one can be especially helpful these days with people having cell phones.  Granted, many people have gotten rid of their land lines and gone to a cell phone only.  If you do have more than one phone number that you use and monitor, you may want to change up the message a little bit.   “You have reached the voicemail of Sharon, owner, at My Company.  I am not available right now but please leave a message after the beep and I will get back to you.  If it’s urgent, please contact me at 123-4568.”  You might want to suggest that people contact you through email if you do not have an alternate phone number.  This may help to cut down on some of the calls that are not relevant as people may not want to bother with that extra step.

Sound Positive – When you record your message, you need to sound happy and cheerful. If your message sounds like it is forced, bored or cranky, people are less likely to leave a message.  Not only that, but they will hang up and feel cranky themselves.

Tell Them What to Do – In the examples above, I have included that the person should leave a message after the beep.  While this is obvious to most people, you may want to give your callers some specific instructions.  Hopefully this cuts down on the long, rambling messages some people will leave and prevent you from having an overflowing mailbox when you do get to check it.  You could expand your message to the following:

You have reached the voicemail of Sharon, owner, at My Company.  I am not available right now but if you leave a message after the beep with your name, why you are calling, if you need me to return the call, and your number, I would appreciate it.  If it’s urgent, please contact me at 123-4568 or at” 

Have you implemented any of these techniques with your direct sales voicemail?  Do you find they help?

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Leave Voicemail that Gets Results

Not only is the phone a hated object in direct sales, but the dreaded voicemail is high up on the list.  For many, this is due to the fact that they do not feel that they are getting any results when they leave a voicemail as the majority of calls will not get you a callback.  But, if you do it correctly, you can leave a voicemail that will get you a call back as well as the results that you crave.

Be Quick – Make your message quick.  Have you ever had the machine ding and cut you off?  That means that you have spoken too much and you likely missed something that you wanted to say.  So change it so that you are quick and to the point.  Write a script if that helps you that just outlines the key points.

Context – It’s important that your recipient knows who you are.  They may get a lot of calls each day or it may have been a while since you talked.  Start with something like “HI Jane, its Sharon Lastname, we met last week at Susie’s Company Party.  You had indicated you wanted more information on having your own party”

Why? – You want them to return your call.  What should they bother?  Give them something that is compelling and makes them want to call you back.  Maybe you are holding the date that they indicated they were interested in but you can only hold it for so long.  If its near the end of a month, it could be that the sign up special will expire at the end of the month.

Mention the Time – Quite often the machine will note what time you called, but many people do not listen to that or the time stamp that is set can be wrong.  The message could state something like “It is currently 5 pm and I will be out of the office for a few hours, but you can call me back between 7 and 10 pm this evening.”

Give Alternatives – Give them a few methods to get in touch with you.  If you use a landline and a cell phone, you could leave a cell phone number or even an email.  Another option if text messaging your cell phone but this is a pet peeve with me as not everyone uses cell phone texting and may be charged for receiving a text.

Consequences – Include in your message the consequences of them not returning your call.  For instance, the message could be “I need you to call me back within 24 hours to confirm this date.  I know you really wanted it because your sister is going to be in town but my days are in demand and I cannot hold it longer than that.”  Using the words “I need” lets your customer know that they need to do this.

Try these small changes when you are leaving voicemails and see if your calls returned rate increases.  Please let me know what you find!

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Three Networking Tips for Startups

By: Danielle Buffard

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Your startup is everything to you: It gets the best of your efforts and the most of your attention. Therefore, when you decide to mingle and promote your startup, networking with integrity will always be your best option — and that means focusing your networking efforts on being genuinely helpful to those you meet, rather than shamelessly promoting your business or services.

Here are three networking tips you should always keep in mind:

1. Be Yourself

The key to turning people onto your business is that you want them to invest in you and your product or service. The only way that they’ll feel that way is if they trust you — because you are an extension of your business and your services.

At whatever networking events you frequent, you’ll do best if you’re genuine, trustworthy, and authentic. And the best way for potential clientele to see that is to let your startup and its product or service speak for you.

If you’re running a trustworthy and reliable business, then there will be nothing that you have to hide. In turn, not only will you gain loyal clientele but you’ll also achieve favorable word of mouth. They’ll think nothing of recommending you and your product to their friends and family, and you’ll inadvertently become a top contender in your product’s arena amongst competitors.

Being genuine and sharing your knowledge with others will only heighten your business’ reputation in the long run and build up the trust between your clients and your business.

2. Always Follow Up

When you’re out there networking, don’t be afraid to ask for contact information.

Since we’re in the age of all things digital, people are far more apt to give out their email rather than their phone number, and that’s fine. Email marketing is something that has been on the rise in the virtual marketing sphere for quite some time.

It’s always wise to carry business cards with you and to hand them out whenever you talk to someone about your startup and what it’s offering. And if you’re a freelancer like me, there’s no better way to lead people to what it is you do than by having professional business cards on hand to give out to potential clientele.

This way, when you send out a thank-you email or card, the recipient will have a clear recognition of who it is, and they’ll immediately recall what you can do for them and how your product can fit into their business plan.

3. Be Everywhere

When you decide to network yourself and your business, make it a point to get involved not only within your local community, but also in the online marketplace as well. You should always be growing and branching out in every way you can to ensure your business and its product thrive in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

This means keeping your website updated, keeping your social media pages current, and always being available to your current and potential clients when they reach out to you. The more available, authentic, and current you and your business are, the greater chance you have to turn new clients onto your offerings.

Danielle Buffardi is a freelance business journalist who writes for Vistaprint, a leading provider of custom business cards and other marketing products to small businesses all over the world. Danielle has been a professional writer covering entrepreneurship and small business news and trends for over 14 years.



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Who to Recruit to Direct Sales?

When it comes to recruiting, it can be tough to know who you should approach and who you shouldn’t.  But I can tell you one method to determine this.. Ask everyone!

In the various resources I read about direct sales, this is a common theme that comes up.  A Direct sale consultant does an event and asks a variety of people if they are interested in joining, gives them information, etc but prejudges others and does not offer them the opportunity.  But in reality, this person is one of the more interested parties.  By excluding them, you have declined them the opportunity to make money for themselves and whatever else their motivation might be.  And all because you pre-judged them and felt that they would not fit.

Now, sometimes this is because a consultant is only looking for certain people to join their team.  I have heard of this especially from consultants who have larger teams and only have so much time when it comes to training.  But, there is no reason that they could not get the person’s contact information and then have someone else contact them about the opportunity.

If you do not feel comfortable asking people, try passing around a survey at the end of the event?  Keep it short and simple.  Name, what event they are at, email address, phone number, if they had fun, if they are interested in having an event of their own and if they are interested in the opportunity.  Have them hand these in to you when they order or in advance so you can discuss when they do order.   This will help to break the ice and give you somewhere to go from there.  You could even say something about how they have not marked off their interest and why is that?  Your goal at a party is always to have a few bookings as well as a recruit lead.


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