Monthly Archives: March 2013

5 Simple Steps for Improving Your Sales Appearance – Part 1

When you are dealing with direct sales, such as in party planning, door-to-door product pitch, or even in a brick and mortar establishment, your appearance means everything.  There is nothing that can turn a potential sale away faster than a poorly managed salesman, which is precisely the effect you want to avoid.

Here we will discuss the five simple steps that can help to improve your appearance and raise your chances of success in a sales based environment.

Dress for Your Product

Imagine a car salesperson from Ferrari walking up to you in a concert t-shirt, ripped jeans, and a pair of beat up tennis shoes.  While the cars they are selling might be top of the line, their mode of dress is not a good reflection of their product.  It is not only unprofessional, but distasteful to the majority of their potential customers.

While this concept may sound silly, it is a simple truth in sales.  Salespeople must exemplify the reputation and quality of the products they sell, or risk a lack of sales, thus cementing their own failure.  By dressing for the product they sell, they are telling potential clients how they feel about the product itself.

Know Your Product

Simply knowing the average usage information or a long list of technical terms for your product is no longer enough.  In the age of the Internet, consumers expect more from a salesperson.  If they want to know all the technical jargon they will Google, Bing, or Wiki the information themselves.

Impress your potential customers with direct knowledge of your product.  Use the product yourself.  In cases where that is not possible (we cannot all afford a Ferrari), at least test-drive the product to get a better idea of what it is capable of.  Consumers are impressed by first-hand knowledge.  Use this fact to your advantage and make a great impression.

Smile, Smile, Smile

No one wants to deal with a sour salesperson.  Remember to keep your personal life at home and your work in the workplace.  Greet your customer with a smile.  This is also a good time to mention dental hygiene.  Not everyone cares about perfect, straight, dazzling white teeth.  However, they do care about obvious yellow plaque, coffee stains, poppy seeds, and onion bagels.

Nothing conveys a bright mood better than a smile, except of course in the instances mentioned above, in which case you are going to regret smiling if you have forgotten to brush your teeth.  A smiling, cheerful, and engaging salesperson is far more likely to land a sale.

Come back Monday for Part 2!

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Kathryn Baughman is a writer for Franklin Debt Relief, a  leading debt reduction firm in Chicago, Illinois.

Tips for a Successful Catalogue Party

Hostess Wish List – Have your hostess create her wish list when she first decides to have her party.  Then, get the list from her and figure out the sales she needs to make in order to get that product for free.  If it takes 300 dollars, remind her it only takes 10 $30 orders or 5 $60 dollars, which depending on your product, probably is not difficult.

Guest List – There are many different lists out there that you can provide your hostess with so she remembers to talk to people.  If your company hasn’t provided one in your manual, you can create one yourself.  Just search for “guest lists” or “people to invite” and you likely will get all sorts of ideas to pass on.

Favourite Product – Have your hostess point out her favourite item to everyone that looks at a book.  Word of mouth is one of the best ways to make sales!  While she may feel a bit awkward, one of the easiest ways to do this is have her put a sticky sticking out on her favourite page, and when she hands a book off to someone; she can simply say “Do you see that sticky?  It’s on my favourite item, the X!  I have this in my house and love it!”  The sticky helps her guest to remember what it was later on as well and sales will likely increase as well.

Keep the Catalogues moving– Make sure that the hostess always has a few books out with people to look at.  This helps to keep the sales adding up so that the party will close on time with the most sales possible.

Deliver Products Yourself – Depending on where the party is, you may want to deliver the products yourself.  This way you have a chance to meet your customers and you can offer a little bit more customer service.  You can also ask if they would be okay with you calling in a few days to see if they have any questions about their products.

Offer to Make Calls – If your hostess doesn’t feel comfortable talking to some people about the products, tell her to get their phone numbers for you and you will call.  Make sure she talks to them first as you do not want to call and have them tell you they have no interest.

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Getting those Direct Sales Bookings when Restarting

Now that you are up to date on what is happening with your company and you have your kit updated, you are ready to get bookings.  Actually, you can work on getting these bookings while you wait for our new products.  So how should you get your calendar booked up?

Contact prior customers

The best method to get your business running again is to contact those that you have already dealt with.  You know that they are interested in the product and they may be in need of more or different product.  Whether they hosted a party or attended and purchased, contact them.

“Hi Jane, its Sharon calling with XYZ company.  You previously hosted a party/purchased from me.  I am trying to get my business going again and I wanted to know if you needed anything or if you would be interested in hosting a party”.

You may find it beneficial to offer an incentive if they book with you.  If they are not interested, you could try asking if they know anyone that they would refer you to.  Do not forget to ask them if you can call them again in a few months time – this can be especially helpful if they say now is not a good time due to moving, a new baby or family stress.

Advertising

Make sure that you get out there and advertise yourself.  This could be ads online or putting up posters wherever you can.  You may want to look for trade shows that you can get involved in and promote yourself.  There are a lot of avenues available to you to advertise that do not have to cost you much or anything.  See my ideas on Free Advertising Offline and Free Online Advertising.

Social Media

Do not forget to promote yourself on social media.  If you have a Facebook, Twitter or any other type of account, make sure that you post that you are back in business and looking for party hosts.  Ask your friends to also post for you to expand the circle.  You don’t know who is out there looking for your company and they see the post and contact you.

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12 ideas for Theme Parties

12 ideas for Theme Parties

For many people in direct sales, getting bookings can be difficult. This week I am going to focus on different things that you can do in order to get bookings and keep your calendar full.

Here are some ideas to get you going. Customize to fit your product line.

Pool Party – This is great if your hostess has a pool, or you could use a kid’s play pool, sit around it with drinks and do your presentation.

Wine & Cheese – A great theme for a wine party or an event that involves food.

Sports – This could be a party centered around a favorite game or team, or maybe as a way to boycotting the big game. Dress in the colours of your favourite team.

Birthday Party – It doesn’t really have to be anyone’s birthday, but why not pretend?

Ugly X Party – This would be great for a candle party or some home décor party. The person who brings the ugliest something gets a prize or maybe a discount.

Christmas in X Month – A great way to promote the holiday catalogue! Get everyone to dress in red and green.

Chocolate Lovers – Another great theme for a food party, or just an excuse to eat chocolate. Who doesn’t love this idea?

Cooking Class – This is a great idea for anyone who has a business that involves cooking items. You don’t have to teach a complicated recipe, but make sure you use your items to show how much easier they make the process.

Slumber Party – Have everyone come in their pj’s! This works great for any type of party as its something fun and different.

Mystery Hostess – This is a great theme to use when you are hosting your own party. Then you raffle off the hostess gifts.

Lunch Party – This is a great idea to use at the office. Have everyone bring something to share with the group and do a short presentation and take orders.

Budget Party – When doing this type of party, you would only show items that are under a certain price threshold. Of course, the full catalogue would be available for ordering. Each attendee could share their favourite budgeting tip.

Do you have a favourite theme for a party? Let us know about it in the comments!

Working with your Team

Not only do you have to focus on your personal sales and keeping them up but you need to work with your team.  You may have teammates that do not need your help and are pulling in great numbers monthly but then you have those who are not doing much of anything.  How do you decide where you should spend your time and what you should not do?

Just because one of your team mates is doing great does not mean that they do not require help.  Maybe they are doing a lot of sales but cannot recruit for the life of them.  Maybe you have teammates that have no issue getting a recruit but they cannot get the sales and are frustrated because they are missing out on commissions.

The first thing I recommend doing is contacting your team.  This should be through the phone instead of through email.  Ask them how things are going, do they need help or do they have any questions.  If there have been big changes, or if they are close to some sort of incentive, ask them if they are aware of it.  If this call only lasts three minutes, that is okay too.

If you cannot get a hold of someone, leave a message and suggest you will try again in a few days.  If you get the machine again, you can leave a message.  If you are unsuccessful after two or three calls, an email or text may be the way to go.  Just mention you tried to get a hold of them, there was no answer, and to let you know if there is a better time or method for them.

There are those that do not want your help, and that is okay.  Do not force yourself upon a person because you feel that you should.  They will just get frustrated with you and they will never communicate with you again.  But on the plus side, if someone is constantly asking for help, and you never see results, it may be time to pull back a bit there too.

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Increasing Sales: Package Deals

Increasing Sales: Package Deals

A lot of people suggest that to increase your sales to offer package deals.  I agree, it makes life easier for your customers as they do not have to think, but how do you offer a package deal for the best benefit?

Selection – I suggest keeping selection to a minimum.  Have a few different priced packages so that people with different spending levels have an option but do not give them a million different options.  Suggest complimentary products that go together and if there are options within that such as colour or scent, give them the option to pick between 2 or 3 of your best sellers.  If they ask if they can switch it out for a different scent, definitely let them, but the majority will go with what you suggest so they do not have to think.

Price – I have heard a few different trains of thought on how to price these packages and what you do is ultimately up to you, but this is what I believe.  Do not discount your packages, or if you do, not by much.  If your package adds up to $47.65, you may want to list it at $47 for simplicity, but I would not recommend marking it down to $35.  You are not doing yourself any favours and your customer likely is not going to bother adding the individual items up.  If you mark it as “All this for only $47!” they will think they are getting a deal and not question anything.

Price Points – As I suggested above, have a few different packages that people can buy.  Have an economy package with two or three items priced between $20 and 30.  People who feel the need to buy something but do not want to spend a lot will gravitate to this.  Create another one around $50 or 60 dollars and then a third one around $100.  By creating these packages, you may also see your average sales per person go up.

When it comes to packages, make sure your customers know there are no substitutions beyond flavor/color/ scent or you may as well not even bother with the packages.

Have you tried packages before?  Do you find they help your business?

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Are there any tricks or tips to help my fundraiser go smoothly?

How to Communicate Your Ideas

Image by kevindooley via Flickr

As with anything, the best thing you can do is communicate.  Talk to the organizer before the event and put in writing when things are going to happen when.  I have heard stories of consultants having issues with the organization so putting it in writing and giving each person a copy will hopefully help.

  • Date fundraiser starts
  • What the consultant is providing and if there are costs associated with it
  • The cost of the fundraising supplies if the organization is paying
  • Date fundraiser closes (I suggest a date a few days before you actually want to close due to stragglers)
  • What the consultant expects back and if there are costs associated with it
  • Does the organization give you one big order – 20 A, 27 B, 21 C – or do they give you the small orders?
  • How does payment work?
  • When shipment is expected (will be based on closing/ordering date)
  • Where the shipment will be delivered?
  • Who will be sorting out the shipment?
  • Are there any other things that you think need to be discussed with the organization when doing a fundraiser?
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Get the Word Out: Fun Ways to Advertise Your New Business

One of the biggest challenges new businesses owners have is just getting the initial name recognition. One of the best ways to get people to remember the name of your business is to make sure they see your name as much as possible. Research has shown the human brain needs repetition to remember. You can use this piece of knowledge to your advantage by making sure you creatively marketing your business name in as many prominent places as possible.  

A great way to spread name recognition is through promotional marketing. By partnering with a professional printer, you can create plenty of products with your business name. Compiled here is a list of some of the most fun ways to advertise your business using promotional products:

Window clings

Window clings are great exposure, especially on vehicles. Just think about your own experience, when you are following a car on the road, do you read their window clings? Of course you do. You can’t help it. If you have lots of cars riding around with window clings of your business, people will recognize the name. Name recognition is half the battle.

Banners

Banners are a classic, but can be used in fun and inventive ways. For example, spice up your store front with a different banner for each holiday. You can also use banners as advertisements. Contact a local youth sports league and ask to sponsor them in exchange for hanging your banner in their gym or field.

Business cards

Just because business cards have been around for a long time does not mean they have to be boring. It’s still necessary to always carry business cards to present to anyone who might be interested in your business. Make your stand out by using fresh graphics. Another way to stand out is to incorporate a catch phrase from your business onto the card. It gives people a fun way to remember you against all the other similar cards they see.

Flyers

A well made flyer can really capture your target audiences attention. Make sure the flyer contains all the key information and a way to contact your business if the reader needs more. To grab attention, find a striking image related to your business or the event you would like to promote. For example, do you have a special sale going on for the rest of the week? Find an image of the item on sale and make that the focus of your flyer.

Author Bio: Annette Hazard is a blogger that is promoting booklet printing services. She enjoys writing about business related issues and is also an avid cyclist and traveler.

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Guest Posting Policy

As I do get emails from people expressing a desire to write something for me, you can read through my guidelines here.  If you feel that you meet them all, please contact me and we can go from there.

Writing

Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First of all, if you do not know what direct sales/home parties are, I can guarantee you that your guest post will not be accepted.  Please make sure that the article you pitch to me is relevant to my site.  Please give me 48 hours to review and respond before inquiring again if I can use the post.  I do only post 1 guest post a week so do not expect your post to go up immediately.

Expected from you:

  • Email me first with your idea/pitch.  I must be able to see how it relates from your description.
  • Content is relevant to Direct Sales – Resources, Tips, Recommendations, etc
  • You can produce an article at least 300 words – If it gets to be over 600 words, I may ask if it is okay to split it up and make a series.
  • Article is written in English and makes sense.  Please ask someone to proof read if unsure.
  • Once I approve your pitch, you can provide the article in a timely manner (one or two weeks at the most)
  • Article must be original unless discussed before hand and agreed upon.  You cannot publish the article elsewhere for at least three months.
  • If you have a picture that you think goes well with the article, feel free to send it.  This is not a requirement as I will find a graphic if one does not come with the article.

What You Will Receive:

  • A biography box with a link back to any site you choose
  • An email from me with the link to your post

Note:  Be aware that I will not edit your article but I may add a few keywords to it to help the search engines find it.

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