This week I am going to post some of my favourite posts from the year.
The First Step is creating your Goals and Defining them.
Goals need to be SMART. If you are not sure how to do that, this article will help you.
There are times in your direct sales career that you may be invited to a party your friend is hosting with the competition. Depending on their product line, they may have items that your company does not carry and you want to purchase, but they may not. If you have absolutely no interest in attending, there are several things you can do.
Decline the Invitation – The easiest thing you can do is decline to attend the event. No harm, no foul and life goes on.
Attend but Not Purchase – Another option is to attend the party but not purchase anything. Be aware that this may annoy your friend and the consultant, but maybe not. We all know that not everyone who comes out will purchase, you are just that person that time.
Make a Deal – I saw this interesting idea recently on Facebook. Tell your friend you will attend and purchase (chances are they sell something that you don’t) but in return, you expect your friend to host a party with you and spend the equivalent that you spend at their party. This may get them off your case about attending, or you may end up with a party!
Of course, the question comes up of “Does your friend know that you sell for another similar company and that she should be hosting with you instead?” If she is not aware of your status with direct sales, it is no wonder she didn’t book with you.
• How much is it going to cost to buy a kit? Can you earn it? Can you get a refund on the cost?
• What type of commission do I make on my own sales? Does this ever change? Do you get paid at the time of the party or do you get your commission later?
• Who pays for the hostess rewards?
• How much do extra supplies cost – catalogues, order forms, product?
• How much commission do I earn if I sign up new teammates? Do you have to do a certain amount in sales each month to get this? If you are not as active, do you lose your team?
• Does the company process credit cards for you? Do you need your own merchant account? If you need your own account, is there a preferred vendor and what are their rates?
• What type of training is provided? From your upline? From the company?
• Shipping – Does the product come to you or to the hostess?
• Sales tax – Do you submit these to the government or does the company?
• Is there an annual fee to stay a member and sell with the company?
Unfortunately, this is not something that most direct sales companies will allow. Typically the only way to get rid of a bad upline is to leave the business, sit out for a while, and then return. If this is not an option to you, go to the person above your direct sponsor and see if they are willing to help you. There are many that have no problem helping their second line, knowing that if something happens to their frontline people, then you will roll up and be part of their frontline.
You may also find others in the company through various methods that are willing to help you out. This may be through various Internet groups, message boards or on Facebook.
While having a bad sponsor can be discouraging, if you really love the products you will find a way to work with it and continue your career.
When it comes to your direct sales business, you may be tempted to use the same credit card and banking account as you do for your personal expenses. But it is best to use separate accounts for your business due to the record keeping you need to do for your business.
Business vs Personal – By having two accounts, it is easy to identify which purchases are for business and which are personal. Just by looking at your statement, you cannot tell if that Wal-mart purchase was for paper for your printer or a new watch. Of course you have the receipt for backup, but sometimes you want to know at a glance.
Taxes – Not only is it easier to identify expenses when you have separate banking, but if the Tax department ever comes to audit you, you will have a clearer trail for them to follow. If you put your printer paper through your personal account, they may dis-allow it as a business expense.
Tracking – It is much easier to tell if you made or lost money in your business when you track it separately. If you run everything through your personal accounts, how will you know if you lost money or if you actually made money? You can always transfer from your business account to your personal.
Auto-pay – If you have expenses for your business that occur on a regular basis, you can set them up to charge your business account and make sure to leave funds in there to cover it. If you put it to your personal account, you may forget about it and end up in an overdraft.
Life is much easier if you separate your business and your personal financial life. You should be able to find accounts and cards that are free wherever you do your banking. Try to always have a balance in the account so you do not get surprised by website fees or other costs.
Well, there are a variety of things you will get.
Money – This is always a big thing for people, as most are looking to make extra.
Flexibility – The ability to work when you want to work.
Getting out of the Home – For some stay at homes, this is a big reason to get into direct sales.
Confidence – This can be a big factor for some people.
As with anything, what you get out of your direct sales business will be proportionate to what you put in. If you only put in one event a month, you can’t expect thousands of dollars and all the perks. But if you put time and effort in it, the rewards can be endless.
Some people are not comfortable with backing up their data online which is fine. I think a good backup system includes multiple options as you never know when one is going to fail. For that reason, I have a variety of ways that I back up my direct sales business files as well as some of my other important data. I will take you through the various locations of my data as well as where I back them up.
CD’s – A person doesn’t think of backing up their cds, but these can be scratched or corrupted in different methods in which case you would lose your data. For this reason, you may want to copy that data directly onto your hard drive just in case. Plus, cd’s can be easy to lose and you would hate to lose your direct sales business CD and not be able to work or not have your important files.
Flash Drive – A lot of files reside on my flash drive as I take them with me everywhere I go where i think i may need them. This involves going to my day job or to my dad’s house if he needs me to help him with something. It is also handy to move files from one location to another which happens if I am doing team training. The flash drive is backed up onto my laptops hard drive as well as onto an external hard drive. I also have an online storage account with Dropbox that I will use.
Computer Hard drive – I currently run a laptop at home but I also have a desktop which does not work all that well. When my desktop crashed, I did not have my data stored but thankfully I was able to get it operating long enough to retrieve my relevant data. Again, a lot of this had been transferred onto my flash drive as I used it to go between the two computers, but there were bigger files I had not moved. For this backup though, I have an external hard drive that has 1 terabyte of available space, which is ideal for backing up a computer hard drive as they tend to be big. ‘
Laptop storage – I backup the laptop directly to the external drive. Due to the size, I do not have other options of where to store files. That said, pictures are burnt onto CD’s and other files could easily be put onto a CD.
Desktop – A desktop would have the same storage options as a laptop would. I do know of people who have multiple external drives specifically for backup purposes.
External Hard drive – Unfortunately, due to the size of an external hard drive, the ways to back it up the hard drive are limited. You can buy larger online storage options such as Mozy but then you will be paying a monthly fee and do you really need it just for your direct sales business files? Pictures can be backed up to CD’s, and you may actually want to make more than one copy just in case one gets scratched or corrupted in some way.
When backing up your files, another good idea is to include a copy of the program you need to run the file. Sometimes a file type is not supported by newer software so your files or useless or you may have a difficult time finding the program again if you re-format your computer. For the amount of space the program makes, it is likely well worth it.
What methods do you employ to back up your direct sales data? Do you use multiple methods like me or do you stick to just one?
There are a few different reasons that you are going to contact your customers and different ways you are going to approach them. Some are direct and some are passive but they each have their own reasons.
Email Newsletters – You should have a newsletter that goes out each month to your customers. Some companies will provide this but some will not. If they do not, create your own and send it out. It should have that month’s special in it and anything else your customer might want to know.
Party Hostess – If you have someone who has booked a party with you, you should be in touch with them weekly before their party to do any hostess coaching required. A call a day or two before the party should be made to find out how many people are expected and to help you prepare for the event.
After a Party – Once a party is over, you want to stay in touch with your hostess to let her know when she will be receiving the order, especially if it ships to her directly. If it is coming to you, then it is a good idea to give her an expected delivery date as her customers may be getting anxious for their product to arrive.
Two Weeks after Delivery – It is a good idea to contact the hostess and customers a few weeks after they have received their product to make sure that everything arrived satisfactorily. If there were any issues, you can use this time to find out and resolve them. Bad customer service will not grow your business.
Three Months After – It can be a smart idea to contact a hostess again three months after their party, or if there is a big sale/new catalogue that has come out to see if they are interested in hosting again. Even though they may be receiving your newsletter, many people do not bother to read these or they may mean to contact you and forget. Be pro-active and keep in touch with them.
Re-order labels are a great thing to use in your business. These are small labels you put somewhere on your product to remind people where they bought the product so that they can call you to re-order when you are out.
Go to your local business supply store and buy the small return address labels; the ones I buy are 80 to a sheet. Find the template in your computer software and then create your label. You typically can only fit 3 lines of text, so use it well.
This is what I use:
If you are contemplating joining direct sales, there are some things to consider before signing up. Here are some ideas to help you if you aren’t sure what you should be asking.