Monthly Archives: April 2013

Do I have to recruit people or build a team?

When it comes to direct sales, one of the components is building a team.  But there are some people that do not want to take part in this for whatever their reason is.  If this is you, that is fine.  There is no requirement that you recruit and build a team.  Some people do not want the responsibility, some do not have the time, and others are just in direct sales for personal discounts so do not have any need for a team.

Bartering Products for Services

Whether you are looking for someone to help you with your advertising, a person to help you with your bookwork or someone to assist you with running your business, it takes money.  But if you are just starting out and do not have a lot of money to pay for services, consider bartering.  Bartering is making a comeback with a lot of people.  Even if you do not think that you have something to barter with, there is a good chance you do. 

Bartering your Product – If it’s a service for your direct sales business, see if you can pay with your product.  Trade at retail cost so that you have the savings associated with buying it at wholesale.  Not only is this cheaper for you in the long run but you benefit as it will help to increase your buying for the month and may help you achieve a bonus or extra commission.  You also can claim it the purchase an expense and use it as a write off come tax time.

Bartering Other Product – Maybe the person who is providing a service for you does not have a need for your product.  This does not mean that you are stuck paying cash for their services.  See what else they may need.  Maybe you enjoy doing design work and they need new business cards; maybe you don’t mind cleaning house and they would love someone to take that chore off their hands.  Have a discussion about how you could help each other out.

The most important thing when it comes to bartering is to discuss the offer before engaging the other person’s services.  Do not assume that when the bill is presented that the provider will be willing to barter, you need to establish up front how you are paying.  If you cannot work out a deal, then you do not owe anything and you can move on to the next provider who you can hopefully find a deal with.

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Preparing for Customer Care Calls in Direct Sales

As much as many direct sellers hate the phone, it’s important that we use it to keep our business moving.  Many do not even realize what you can accomplish by making customer care calls but have you considered these reasons:

  • Check to see how a customer likes their purchase
  • Call to see if the customer needs to purchase additional product or replacements
  • To introduce a new catalogue or product line
  • To advise of products being discontinued
  • Add bookings to your calendar
  • Get orders and reorders
  • Asking for referrals
  • Invitation to events

When you are getting ready to make your calls, there are a few things you can do to make them more pleasant for you.

  • Be positive when picking up the phone and smile.
  • Be professional.  People decide within 15 seconds if they are going to talk to you.
  • Ask if now is a good time to talk.  If not, ask if you can call back at a later time and if there is a time that would be better.
  • Have a purpose when you pick up the phone and let them know right away
  • Personalize your call. Add notes to your call list for the next time you call and refer to them.  Ask about their new baby or the new job.
  • Be confident! You have something exciting to share so make sure this comes through.
  • Have a script prepared. But.. do not write it in paragraph form, make it in bullet points so that it feels more natural.
  • Follow up on your presentation before hanging up. If you called to ask about a booking but you got side tracked, return to it and ask before ending the call.

 

Chances are a lot of the reason why you avoid doing calls is that you do not feel confident or how to approach them.  Follow these ideas and you won’t even notice the weight of the phone.

 

 

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How to handle the “I can buy at a discount store for less” customer?

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

When it comes right down to it, yes, the person can buy the same product at a discount store as they can buy through a direct sales consultant.  But, there are benefits to purchasing through a direct sales person as opposed to the store.

Customer service is huge! Make sure you are there for your customers.  Check to see how the product is working for them and if they need anything else in regards to information on using the product.

Knowledge – You can help your customer pick out the product that is exactly right for them.  At the discount stores, they are lucky to find someone to help them checkout.  Not only that, but you can help the customer with knowledge about how to use the product.

Free product – How many discount stores are going to give you discounted/free product when you get a few people together to shop?  Personally, I don’t know any, do you?

Quality – Quite often, the products that you buy through direct sales are better quality than those that you buy at the discount store.   Yes, they may cost more, but they are worth it for what you get.

Selection – Ever gone to the discount store and they are out of what you want?  That doesn’t happen when you order from the direct sales consultant as they bring the product that you specifically want in just for you.

Getting together – A big reason that people host direct sales events are to get together with friends and families.  They get to visit, do a bit of shopping, and just relax.  How many discount stores do you know that encourage you to come in with a group of friends and then let you sit back while they show you items available for purchase?

Of course, there are benefits that the discount stores have over the direct sales consultant, but if you are prepared, you will be ready to mention them.

Get product right there – You can fight this one by mentioning how if they buy from you, they know they will get exactly what they want and that it is fresh product and it has not been sitting on a shelf for months.  Offer to deliver right to their door so that they do not need to go out to get their product.

Cost – Remind them the quality that they are getting from the direct sales consultant versus the discount store.

Assistance – If they forget how something works, chances are if they try calling up the discount store, they are going to get laughed at for asking for assistance.  But they can call their direct sales consultant who will be more than happy to explain and offer some tips.

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Increasing Sales: Shopping Clubs

Shopper

Image via Wikipedia

These days, many people are involved with shopping or buying groups.  Have you ever considered starting one?  I know of many people that do as these are a great way to have guaranteed sales each month.

Determine Requirements

You can do this in two different ways – start with a party total and work backwards, or you can work with an individual sales total and move forwards.

For instance, maybe $250 is an awesome hostess level – free product and a half off item.  Now, if you split 250 by $25, which is reasonable, you would need 10 people.  If you think you could get people to commit to $50, then you could decrease that to 5 people.

Set Rules

Let us stick to the $25 person group and 10 “parties per year”.  When people join, they have to know that they are committing to this for 10 months of the year.  A lot of people take December off and one of the summer months as it can be hard to organize.

Depending on the product, you as the consultant might have a pre-set order, for instance each month they are going to get this one specific product which is worth that $25.  Or you may set it up that they have to have your orders to you by the 10th of the month, but they can pick their product.  If you don’t hear from them, they get the default.

Where do the hostess benefits come in?

Here is the beauty of it!  Each month, you select a different hostess to get the rewards.  I have heard some people suggest you don’t pick the person until you have all the orders in as then if someone wants to order extra this month, you still get that order.  Others recommend telling them at the beginning of the month that they are the hostess for so that they have time to have a party or collect other orders to increase their rewards.  I definitely do not recommend telling your hostesses at the beginning of the year which month they are hosting in, as it will cause problems.

This may take a bit of organization to get going but once you have it setup, you have a great method of getting orders each month without a lot of work.

Note:  I highly recommend you write up the terms and conditions of your shopping club, including that if someone is to terminate their membership, they have to find a replacement.  You may want to have a credit card on file for each person as well as if you have to go to the default order; you still want to be paid.

Have you tried something like this?  How did it work out for you?  Would you recommend it to others?

  • How to handle the “I can buy at a discount store for less” customer? (directsaleshelp.com)
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7 Incentives to Fill your Calendar and Increase Sales

Why incentives don't work in education—or the ...

Why incentives don't work in education—or the business world (Photo credit: opensourceway)

If you are looking to increase bookings and sales, you may want to consider a variety of different hostess incentives that you can offer.   There are a quite a few different offers that you can make to get the bookings you want.

1)      Red Hot Days – A fun way to fill your calendar is to offer red hot days to your host.  This is a day that you really want to book up so you offer an extra special incentive BUT it is only good that day.   You might know the only night you can get a babysitter easily is Monday night, so you offer X if someone hosts a party Monday.  Red hot days are typically only in the next week or two.

2)      Sales Incentives – Another great idea is to offer your hostess extra incentives as they get more orders.  This is a good method to use if you are trying to increase sales.  Give them something extra at the minimum to be considered a party (if you find this difficult for hostesses to attain) and then offer something extra every $150 or so, depending on your hostess plan.  Not only are you giving them extra items but they are getting all the hostess rewards.   It will cost you a bit, but, if they get the sales you want, the increase in commissions should outweigh the out of pocket costs.

3)      Offer free product or a discount for customers – If you decide to use this offer, make it a decent amount.  Is someone likely to get excited about an item for free if the amount of credit they get will not cover the majority of items in your catalogue?  For instance, if you have a lot of products that are 15 dollars, you may want to offer $20 in free credit or any product worth $15 for free.  Offering a 5% discount likely is not going to get people excited, but 15% off might.

4)      Offer free product/discount to your hostess – Not only is giving customers a discount, but you may want to offer your hostess something even sweeter to get them to book.  Maybe you are going to offer customers 10% off – you could offer your hostess something at 25% off.

5)      Limit It – The purpose of offering extra incentives is to get bookings now, not three months down the road.  For this reason, make the offer a limited time offer or only good until X date.

6)      Original Date Only – Again, because you are likely offering this incentive to try to book up your calendar, you don’t want them to book it for next week but then have them cancel and rebook three months later and expect the same deal.  Make the offer a limited time, only on the original booked date.  You could choose to still honour it if they reschedule within the same month but that is up to you.

7)      Only in Home Events – It is easier to get sales when you do an in home demonstration.  For this reason, you want to make your offer only valid on in home parties.  Still let outside orders count but there must be a home visit and demonstration involved.

A few things to remember when offering extra incentives:

Customers need to know that the incentive is only good with you – other consultants will not honour.

Make sure your incentives are not costing you money.  If your commission rate is 20%, do not offer a hostess 30% off as you will lose that 10%.

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For Entrepreneur Mom, Direct Sales Lead to Big Business

Dina Amico-Kriescher knows firsthand how difficult it can be to have a career while raising a family.  That’s why in 2003, the Chicago mother of three decided to take a risk and start her own business.  By becoming her own boss, she was able to achieve her professional goal of entrepreneurship without sacrificing time with her family, a balance that nearly all working moms strive to have.

For more:  http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/-for-entrepreneur-mom-direct-sales-lead-to-big-business-0969/

 

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Getting your Business Going Again

Nothing on the books?  No fear, here are some things you can do to get your calendar booked up!

–          Call past hostesses and customers to see if they are interested in seeing a book.  Don’t push the party right away.  Some might say right off the bat, you know, I was getting low on X and Y, and you can suggest having a party where they can get it for free.

–          Spend some time on advertising – I will be doing some articles on this in the near future.

–          Attend trade shows and promote your products.  You may get some sales at the event but focus on the benefits of having a party.  Network with the other vendors as they may be able to pass contacts your way.  I know I have had people ask me if I know someone who sells other types of products.

–          Create your FRANK list and see if there are any places you can get a booking from.  FRANK – Friends, relatives, acquaintances, neighbours, kids (or people you know through your kids).

–          Have your own party and invite everyone you know – Offer incentives at it if they book their own party

–          See if you can setup somewhere and show off your wares.  I know here, different direct sales companies can setup at the hospitals for an afternoon.

–          Make sure everyone around you knows what you sell.  You never know when someone will say back to you, “I was just looking for someone who sold that product!”