Monthly Archives: May 2013

I’m having a tough time controlling my calendar. Any ideas on how I can keep things running smoothly?

May - Oct 2006 Calendar

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Ah yes, no matter what we have going on, there is never enough time in a day to get things done.  There are a few things you can do depending on what exactly the problem is.

First, start with marking you calendar with everything that is going on.  If kids have soccer every Monday at 6:30, mark that down.  If you have a monthly book club that meets the second Tuesday of every month, write that down.  If you volunteer somewhere every Saturday afternoon, make sure that is recorded.  Now you know what time of yours is already booked.

Determine what you need to get done and how much time it is going to take.  Then schedule it in.  Maybe you have nothing going on Wednesday, so you set that aside for bookkeeping and phone calls to customers.  You could set Thursday aside for delivering orders if you have any, and if you don’t have any, maybe it would be a good time to do some advertising.

Of course, life may get in the way and you will have to move some of these things.  Maybe someone wants a party on Wednesday night.  That likely isn’t an issue and you can move your bookkeeping to Sunday afternoon or somewhere else that suits you.  Don’t forget to schedule in important things though such as a date night with your significant other or time to hang out with the kids and be silly.

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Selling for Charity

I recently had a new person join my team.  But she had a different request – she wanted to sell and donate her proceeds to charity.  Specifically, she wanted to know if she could get her funds directly to her charity’s office instead of coming through her.  

Unfortunately, due to the type of business that direct sales are, I do not think many companies would do that.  It is considered a sole proprietorship and as a result, you are the owner and the person who benefits.  I did advise her that she could potentially have the company direct deposit all funds into the charity’s bank account but that she would have no control in regards to how much money they would get.  She could not split the money between them and her.

Another suggestion I made to her was to wait for her monthly payout and then take those funds and give them to the donation.  This would likely get her a tax slip as well as have proof that she took those funds for donation.  She would have to pay tax from her earnings but with the proof that all funds went to the charity should net out any taxes owing.  The most important thing here is to make sure to keep proper records in case of an audit.

She also wanted to know if she could take her proceeds in product instead of a commission cheque.  Thankfully, this is a little bit easier to enter.  Depending on the computer system, it may show you how much your commission/earnings are on an order before submitting.  If not, you can figure out how much free product you have based on your commission level.  Then just add that much more product to your order until the proceeds are used up.  It may not be quite as easy as that all sounds, depending on your math skills and how quickly you get confused.

 

 

Healthy Habits For Success in a Sales Job

Sometimes a sales mentality has a negative connotation. People see a greasy toupee and a ruthless persona. However, to succeed in a sales job, it is essential to have a sales mentality.

 Keeping Your Pipeline Full

The first essential habit in sales is to never stop looking for prospects. Every successful salesperson puts potential customers through a sales funnel, moving through the different stages of a sale. Just like an actual funnel, the top stage should be the largest and has to keep being filled to keep closing deals in the final stage. Every person is a potential customer, whether it be a business owner, the receptionist at the doctor’s office or a couple at church. If they aren’t, they may know someone who is.

 Know Your Prospect

The next step is to determine if a person is a good prospect. As hard as it is to avoid another sales cliche of spewing deals, a good salesperson knows the first meeting is all about the prospect. You have to learn what makes your client tick. Are they just looking for the cheapest price? Do they need products/services only you can offer? What needs do they have that you can meet? Remember: don’t tell them yet!

 What’s In It For Me?

The next essential habit to use in your sales jobs comes in the pitching/presenting stage. Make sure you are letting the client know what’s in it for them and not filling your presentation with what you feel are your benefits. If our client supports only local vendors it won’t matter to him that you offer free out of town shipping, although normally that may be a great selling point for you. You should be prepared for what they need from your last meeting, but also listen to their cues and watch for hot buttons.

 Biting Your Tongue

It’s a common phrase in any sales job, but it always rings true – whoever talks first, loses. This can be very hard for some people, but you don’t have to fill every pause in the conversation. After you have presented them with your proposal, wait. This is the most important part of the entire process. You will make a sale or not. Oftentimes, when the prospect hesitates, people backtrack. They spout out more facts or benefits, give info the person doesn’t need or worse, lower their price without even knowing if cost is the issue. Just wait and stay quiet, they will let you know.

 Sometimes You Need A “No”

If you have left with a sale, congratulations! If you have left with a no, at least you know to have a full funnel to turn to now. If you have left with anything else, you need to go back to the drawing table. A clear rebuttal is okay – I need you to get this under this cost, I need this amount instead, etc. Beware if it is not clear, that they are simply blowing you off. Do not spend your days with multiple revisions, unrealistic expectations or multiple responses of “I’ll get back to you.” Sometimes, you need to hear no to know to move on.

By keeping your prospects consistently coming in and finding out just what it is they need, you can find yourself with limitless potential in a career that can’t be capped. Good luck!

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Providing Customized Customer Service to your Downline

As time moves on, everything continues to evolve.  This is also true of marketing.  One of the trends is the practice of niche-marketing. What this means is that you make a deliberate attempt to narrowly define what your marketing message is so that it speaks powerfully and clearly to those that you are able to work with.  By using this method, you can fine-tune your marketing message and continue to grow your business even in an uncertain economy.

Knowing all this, you can then use a technique called niche-servicing which will help to improve loyalty, retention, revitalize your recruiting efforts and strengthen your team’s moral.  It means to narrowly define the segments that exist in the customer base and to understand, acknowledge and meet the unique needs of each of these segments.

There are four components you can look at so we will do that here so that you can do this within your own business

1)  Define the segments within the distributor base.  Meaning, you do not see your distributors as one group with the same interests, motivation and needs.  Start by pulling various data to get some ideas of where they are:  Ages (under 29, 30 to 45, 46 to 65, and 66 and over).  What other groups can you find in your downline – single people, married people, parents, hobbyists, small town sellers?

2)  Understand their needs. Once you know what segments you are dealing with, you then need to find out what is unique and significant to each group. There are a variety of methods you can employ to do this but the easiest might be online surveys (easy analytics once you have results) or just having a phone conversation.  You could try email or whatever other means of communication you have available.

3)  Acknowledge the specific needs of each group. The first step to incorporating niche-service into your business is to acknowledge these various groups as valued segments.  You could spotlight a different success story each month such as a husband and wife who show a great partnership in both business and life or maybe a single mom who is able to accomplish her dreams. Try and find a way to acknowledge everyone at some point as this can do more for the moral of your team than you may realize.

4)  Find ways to meet the needs of your team groups.  Here is where you are going to do the most work by showing your team that you are willing to go the extra mile to help them.  Maybe you want to tackle techniques that someone working 9-5 and then trying to run a business can use to make better use of her time; maybe you want to talk about how those who are in their 20’s can be taken seriously in the business – chances are you can find a variety of methods that will help out your team.

By taking the time to identify the various niches within your sales team, you can identify where they may need assistance and provide specialized help for them. While it can take some time to figure this out, once you the groups, you can help them improve their business which will help to improve yours.

 

 

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Hosting a Direct Sales Team Meeting

If you have started building your team, you are probably thinking about hosting team meetings.  This is a great thing to do but you may find you have difficulty getting attendance.  So what can you do to get people out and attending?

Here are some ideas to help you:

Meetings are sometimes held around conference ...

Direct Sales meeting

Have an Agenda – If everyone knows what they are coming for, they are more likely to decide if they need the information or not.

Have a Timetable – One big reason people do not attend is time.  If you can tell them approximately what and when you will be discussing and how long the meeting is, they can make a better decision.

Recognition – Make sure you recognize those who have accomplished something this month.  It could be a new recruit, personal best sales or just having a party.  You may want to use standing recognition or a different method.  Stay tuned this week for more information on team recognition.

Participation – Have others present something at the meeting.  This could be a two minute demonstration or a product or a one on one interaction.

Theme – Keep a theme to the meeting.  For instance, if you plan to discuss the new product, then you may want to keep to the topic of new or the season of the catalogue.

Training – Teach your team something new.  But do not drag it out.  Ideally you want something that can be done in 5 to 10 minutes such as a new game, maybe a different way of presenting a product or how to set up their table.

Topic List – In the interest of keeping the meeting on time, have a paper handy for ideas that come up that are not part of the night’s agenda.  You can ask the person who brought it up to stay after to discuss or it may be something that becomes a topic for another meeting.

If you can keep your meetings interesting, fun and on topic, chances are people will start attending and then encouraging others to attend.

Do you have any other tips for a successful team meeting?

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What does it cost to get started in direct sales?

Every company is different in regards to their startup costs. Some companies will allow you to sign up for $20 or less, where others may charge more. Another option is that you can earn the cost of your kit back if you make a certain amount of sales when you first start. If money is a problem, you can talk to your potential sponsor about doing a starter show where you get the sales to buy your kit. This is beneficial to you as you already get sales which will help you to qualify and it helps to pay for your kit.

There are other potential costs to get started, but typically buying your kit should take care of everything to get you going. Of course, you will encounter other costs, but that is another topic.

12 Clever Ways to Boost Your Traffic

A Minneapolis Police Department Traffic Office...

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Guest post by Terri Seymour

Traffic is essential to anyone who owns a website and/or blog.  Without traffic we have no customers or sales.  Unfortunately traffic does not just come to us, we have to work at it and we have to be consistent and persistent.

Sales conversion rates normally average less than 5%.  What this means is that only 5% of the people who visit your site will become a paid customer.  So, to increase your sales, you need to increase your traffic and/or your conversion rates.  Below are twelve things you can do right now to start increasing your traffic to get those sales.

1.  Launch an Article Marketing Campaign – Writing articles is not as hard as you might think and it can do wonders for your traffic!  Write about something you know and just pretend you are telling a friend all about it.  There is no need to use big, fancy words because people just want basic, straightforward information.  Submit your articles to some of the more prominent article directories such as Ezine Articles.

2.  Guest Posting and/or Commenting on Blogs – Do a search to find quality blogs in your niche and ask if they accept guest posts.  Write helpful comments on existing posts and leave your link.  Get involved and start building your reputation!  A good place to find blogs that need guest posts is BloggerLinkUp.

3.  Write Website Reviews – Review websites on Alexa and get more traffic and improve your Alexa rating.  Go to Alexa, register an account and start reviewing and getting that traffic.

4.  Relevant Keywords – There are a lot of free keyword suggestion tools you can use to find the top keyword searches for your niche.  For example: if you own a pet care site, you would enter the words pet care and the tool would find the most relevant keywords for you to use on your site.

5.  Yahoo Answers – Visit Yahoo Answers regularly and post as many answers as you can but be sure to follow their policies. You cannot try to directly lead people to your purchasing pages or leave low quality answers with your website link.

6.  Interactive Site – Make your site interactive with forums, polls, surveys, etc.  If your visitors feel more involved with your site you will get repeat visits and longer stays.  Add a little fun as well with contests, games, etc.  Have a weekly or monthly scavenger hunt, trivia game, etc.  Running a contest for a month can increase your traffic by thousands.

7.  Business Cards – Produce an effective business card and hand them out wherever you go.  Be sure to make it unique.  Offer a discount on a first order.  Add a personal message.  Offer a freebie.  Make your business card more than just your name and address.

8.  Podcasting – A podcast is an audio or video broadcast which people can listen to and/or watch on many devices.   Make your podcast informative but interesting.  Talk about how your site can help the people listening and let them know about any contests or other interactive activities you offer.  All you need to make a podcast is a working microphone and a voice editor such as Audacity.  Once you have made your podcast, promote it in podcast forums and podcast directories such as PodcastBlaster.

9.  Moving Billboard – Turn your vehicle into a moving billboard to advertise your website wherever you go.  Use affordable vinyl coverings such as Car Wraps or magnetic signs from Esigns.  A day of fun can bring you a lot of traffic from your mobile billboard!

10.  Social Media – These days social media is a must for more traffic.  Join Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more.  Visit message boards and forums and really get involved.  Answer people’s questions, offer helpful advice and information.  Becoming an active participant in social media can do wonders for your traffic.

11.  Offer a Freebie – Write an informative report or ebook and offer it for free.  Put in your website link and other biz info.  Let people know they can give it away on their sites as well.  Add it to your email signature.  Post it on your social media pages.  Before you know it, your report could be all over the web bringing you new traffic every day.

12.  Sitemap – Create an XML sitemap for your site and submit it to Google.  A sitemap will allow more accessibility to your pages by the search engines, thus making your pages easier to find by people doing searches.   You can easily create up to a 500 page sitemap with XML-Sitemaps.  There are other options as well such as XSitemap.  Do a search and find alternative options to choose from.

There are numerous ways to get more traffic to your site.  Some will work for you and some will not.  Try the ideas in this article and add to them, or mold them to work even better for you.  Traffic does not come easily but by working hard, trying new ideas and finding out what works best for you will be very effective in boosting your traffic.

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Terri Seymour has over twelve years of online experience and has helped many people start their own business.  Visit her site for free articles, resources, information, resell ebooks and more.  Sign up for the RSS Feed for a free business ebook with MRR. http://www.SeymourProducts.com

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