Monthly Archives: April 2014

Tips to Direct Sales Success

You can have success in your Direct Sales Business if you follow a few basic steps. Naturally you should pick a business that you are passionate about  with products that you have used.

Success

Success (Photo credit: baejaar)

It is important to make sure the business you choose is product centered, has great associate support, and is established. Unless you already have track record of proven success with a direct selling business, stick with established businesses. Once you make this business successful you can always try out a “start at the bottom” deal.

While a lot of people will say it does not matter, picking the right person to be sponsor or up line does matter. Especially if you’re new to running a direct sales business. You can succeed without them, but it will help.

Pick someone who is established, has been with the company for awhile,  earns their full time living via the company, and who will help you.

Yes, you are going to be new and you want new people to sign up with you, but having a great up line with experience will help you get ahead of the pack.

You should have a special place for your business. If you cannot have an actual office, then have a space that means “work” , so that you can transition easier between work and home life.  You need a work space, or desk, computer, paper, and typical office supplies and tools.

Create a business and marketing plan.  You do not have to reinvent the wheel, and in fact you should not. You should read, memorize and get to know all your training information from the company. Also, you should follow the steps suggested for the most success. These are steps that someone else followed already, and had success, use them.

Schedule your business.  It is important for your family and the health of your business to have clear working times. Yes, it is flexible, but try to carve out specific times to work whether it is one day a week, five days a week, or just a few hours a week. Schedule it, and stick to it as much as possible.

If you follow these suggestions you will be successful in your direct sales business. Do you have some tips to share about being successful with a direct sales business? Let’s hear them!

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How to Get Guests to Leave

Apparently this can be an issue for some people, as in asking people for ideas on what they would like me to cover on this blog, one thing people asked about was how to get people to leave.  The majority of people are likely going to leave once they have put in the order, but you may have those people who just do not figure it out and you think may be planning to spend the night.  Here are a few things you can try:

Pabst Door

Pabst Door (Photo credit: Atelier Teee – 3 million views and counting)

Clean Up – One of the signs of an evening being over is cleaning up.  If you don’t want to ask people to leave, you can try cleaning up any snacks or treats and see if people get the idea.

State the Obvious – Chances are, once the consultant has left, you may want your friends to leave.  But they may not be getting the hint.  So one of the first things you can try is just asking everyone to leave.  You might try stating something like “Thanks for coming out everyone.  But it’s getting late, and I need to be …. “and see how that works.  They may not have realized how late that it has gotten.

Turn out the Lights – If people still do not get the hint when you politely ask them to leave, you could try turning out the lights.  If they are sitting in the living room and you turn off any lights in that room, they should get the idea that you are serious about them going.

Call a Cab – If any of your guests need a cab, or a ride home, let them know that you have already called their cab or if they are the last guest, you can tell them that you are ready to take them home.  If you have someone else who is driving them home, contact that person and have them come get them.

Call the Cops– If nothing else, you could try calling the cops to get people to leave your home, but depending on how busy they are, and how important they feel your complaint is, they may take a few hours to arrive.  It is likely best to handle it on your own.

 

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Going from Customer to Consultant

If you host a lot of parties with a consultant, or you place a lot of orders, you may want to consider joining up yourself.  But before you switch to being a consultant instead of a customer, there are a few things that you want to consider.

Quotas – Many companies have a quota of some sort.  Would you put in enough orders to make this quota – of course, orders for friends and family would count towards this and assist you.  Make sure you ask about this quota and any conditions involved in it before you sign.

Hassle – It is definitely more work being a consultant than a customer.  Even if you are signing up just for personal use and the discount, it is a good idea to keep up on what is going on, when new catalogues come out, if items go on back order and changes in the hostess plan.

Have a Party – You never know when someone is going to approach you about doing a party for them.  Do you want to deal with this?  You can always pass these leads on to your upline if you do not want them.

Recruiting – You may also have people ask you about signing up.  Depending on what you want to know, you may want to sign them but you may prefer not to.  Again, this is something that you can pass up to your upline.  Even those who work their business to earn an income do not necessarily want to recruit.

Of course, you may sign up and then decide that you want to sell the product and make an income.  That is one of the great benefits to direct sales – you can do whatever you want with your business as long as it is in the rules of the company.

The Purpose of Direct Sales Scripts

Quite often when you attend training for direct sales, you will hear people talking about scripts. These are pre-written little speeches or ideas to help you with phone calls or other aspects of your business.   If you are not using them, you may be losing out on some good connections and possibly parties and bookings.

Cue Cards

Cue Cards (Photo credit: iamvisi)

A script is written to guide you when you are in a situation where you are uncomfortable or just not sure what to say.  A great example is one that you use when you are making calls in regards to getting bookings.  A lot of people are nervous when making phone calls and when they get nervous, they hum and haw, forget what they are calling for, and just make a muddle of it. A script will remind you what to say and keep you on track.

Your script does not have to be fancy and it does not have to be written by your upline or someone else to be effective.  It can be something that you write down before you start making your calls.  You determine what your priorities are and how best to say them.  This will get the conversation started and you will be fine beyond that.  If you feel you may get flustered with other details, make a script or notes for them too.

For instance, you are doing some calls for bookings.  So you would write up a script to help you with the call.

“Hi Sue, this is Sharon calling from ABC Company.   We met when Cynthia had her party a few weeks ago.  You had given me your contact information and indicated you were interested in having your own party in a little bit and I just wanted to check in with you.  Have you thought about it any further? “

That is a way to help you start the call and see what happens.  From there, she may say she was interested and ask about the specials this month.  You may have another script prepared for this due to there being so many options or just so you do not forget them.  Put them in point form though so you do not sound like you are reading.

“Sue, we have awesome specials this month for our hostesses.  First of all, any hostess who gets $300 in sales, which is below my party average, gets a Free A for hosting!   Then, when you hit $500, you will get a B for free as well!  Of course, you still get your regular benefits of $40 free product and a half off item at $400 dollars, and 1 item from our hostess only program!  We don’t want your friends feeling left out – they qualify for any C item for free when they spend $40!  Isn’t that great?  Do you have a date in mind?”

Having a script will help your calls go smoother and eventually your phone will no longer weigh 100 pounds.  Calls will be a piece of cake and you will wonder why you were ever scared of them in the first place!

 

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Building Trust when Making Cold Calls

Telephone

Telephone (Photo credit: plenty.r.)

People in direct sales feel that when they are calling someone, they are doing a cold call.  But if you have met this person and they have expressed an interest in your product, or they have asked to be put on your email list, they are a warm lead.  A cold lead is someone you have never spoken to or is not aware of you.   But it is possible to turn a cold lead into a hot lead and here are some ideas to help you.

Build a Relationship

Likely you are calling these leads as you want them to purchase something from you.  But right now, they do not know you and therefore do not trust you.  You need to change this.  Start out by sounding sincere and telling them what you can do for them and engage them in conversation.  Listen for tidbits that you could use to help the conversation move along.  For instance, they might mention that they were out buying hockey equipment earlier for little Bobby.  Later on in the conversation, it may be appropriate to say something like if they were to sell 3 units; chances are it would be enough to cover some of Bobby’s hockey expenses.  This helps to build trust.

Adapt

When cold calling, you have to adapt to any situation you find yourself in.  You may start out with a script, but remember it is just a guideline.  After the first few calls, you may find it is not working well and you can adapt it.  Chances are you will always be changing and finding ways to make the script better.  If the call gets off track, or you get lost, you can always go back to your script to get back to where you want to.

Tone of Voice

Make your tone of voice match the person you are calling.  If they speak fast, then you should speak fast.  If they are quiet, lower your volume as well.  Make sure you are smiling when you speak to them no matter how silly you feel as people can sense a smile through the telephone.  Laugh when the situation calls for it; it adds to the trust and makes you seem more genuine.

Handling Rejection

A lot of people are not going to be interested in what you are calling them for.  Do not take it personally, it is nothing you have done wrong, it is just the product.  For instance, you may be selling baby products but the person you are calling is a single male in his 20’s.  He likely has absolutely no reason to use the product.  But you could turn it around and ask if he knows anyone that might be looking for what you are offering.

Cold calling is not for everybody and it is not necessarily going to be a successful method of marketing for you and your business. Depending on what you are selling, you may have success but without building trust, you will not accomplish much.

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Information to Help you Pick a Direct Sales Company

Chances are, if you are just getting into direct sales for the first time, you attended a party or an event, fell in love with the product, and decided to join.  While you may only be signing up for the personal discount, it is possible to make this into a profitable business where you can get your product free or you can even end up making a few dollars as well.

Information

Information (Photo credit: heathbrandon)

For some, they love the product so much that they do not care about anything specific when they join, they just want to join.  But if you are someone that needs to do some research and to make sure you are making a good decision, there are some things you want to look into.  If you considering changing from another company, then chances are these questions are even more important.

  • What kind of commissions do you make on all activities – sales, team, fundraising, website?
  • What do you get when you sign up – product, supplies, support?
  • How much does a website cost for customers to shop on?
  • Can you host parties on your website?
  • How much is shipping?
  • How do you get paid?
  • Where does the product ship from and how long does it take?
  • How do you process credit cards?
  • Do you have to carry inventory?
  • Are there any restrictions on advertising?
  • What kinds of costs are involved – catalogues, order forms, supplies?
  • How often do new catalogues come out?
  • Are there quotas you have to meet on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis?
  • Who pays for the hostess benefits and customer specials?
  • What kind of training does the company offer its consultants?

These are just some of the questions you may have about a company you are considering.  Some of these may not have any importance to you while there are others I may have missed that are very important to you.   Write them down in advance and record the answers you get from any sources you may use.  Check the company’s website as it is the most reliable site and then talk to your potential sponsor on things that you could not find an answer for.

 

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Finding a Direct Sales Sponsor

Whether you are new to direct sales, or you are switching companies, it’s important that you have a good sponsor/upline to work with.  There are several things that you can do to make sure that you have someone who will be there to assist you and help you get the most out of your business.

Group of business people

Group of business people (Photo credit: SalFalko)

Once you have found a potential sponsor, the first thing you should do is talk to them.  Send them an email, call them, and use whatever your preferred method of communication is.   Consider this an interview and do not be afraid to talk to a few people.  I always find it telling how fast they reply to my emails and if it has taken a while, if they offer an explaination.

Things to ask in regards to the company:

  • How do you make commission – Can you increase your rate with monthly sales?  Recruiting? Fundraisers?
  • Do you have to recruit?  What happens if you don’t?
  • If you want to do fundraisers, are there any conditions/requirements to be allowed?
  • Are there quotas to make – monthly, quarterly, yearly?
  • How do you process credit cards?
  • Do you have to pay to have a consultant website?
  • Can you do parties online?

Do not be afraid to ask a potential sponsor about their own business.  This could be one of the most telling things about them and to help you with your decision. If they refuse to answer anything about their own business, then chances are they will not be a lot of assistance to you.

  • How many parties/events do they do a month?
  • Are they as busy as they would like to be?
  • How many team members do they have?
  • What sort of training do they offer?
  • What level are they with the company and what does that entail?  (sales requirement, team requirement)
  • How can you get a hold of them if you are at a party and need help?

If you do not get along with this person over the phone, then chances are this will not be a good match.  If they never reply to your emails, move on to someone else, as you need someone who will respond.

Don’t forget to look them up on Facebook or other sites and see what you can see.  Some people constantly post about their business, but you may find some people rarely mention it.  This may simply be because they have a fanpage instead and keep the two separate but it is good to know.

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Why choose Direct Sales?

When it comes to direct sales, there are many reasons that people get into the industry.  Ultimately, the reason you join is up to you, but here are some great reasons to consider getting involved with direct sales.

English: Tupperware brand plastic containers 2...

English: Tupperware brand plastic containers Tupperware 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brand Recognition

One of the best things about joining a direct sales company is that there is already a brand there that people know or recognize.  The longer the company has been in business, the more likely that people will know it when you mention it to them.  This can be a great way to get your business off and rolling.  For instance, if you tell a friend that you just joined Tupperware, chances are they are familiar with the product and would be willing to assist you get started by hosting a party.

Product Research

Another great benefit to joining a direct sales company is that they have already done a lot of research in regards to the products and therefore you do not need to do much research.  This is especially important when you are working with products that have various chemical make ups as the company has done all the research and can provide you the data that you and your customers want.  They will also do research to determine what types of products people want and will invest their funds in producing these products.

Low Start Up Costs

If you were to start a business, even a home based one, you would need quite a bit of capital to get started.  Even a business with a limited inventory will require several thousands of dollars to get off the ground with product and marketing.  A direct sales business can be started for less than $500 or even for free and with brand recognition and word of mouth, you can be making a profit within a few months if not sooner.

Flexibility

For many people, the greatest benefit of a direct sales business is to be able to control their work schedule and their income.  If you only want to work a few hours a week, you can do that.  If you want to make a full time income, you can do that as well.

These are some of the more common reasons that people get into direct sales.  Do you sign up for any of the reasons or did you join for some other reason?

 

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Basic Information about Fundraisers

It seems that most companies these days have a fundraising component to them that you can promote as a consultant.  Your company may have rules about who can participate and it may not.   Make sure you know what this involves as this can be a lucrative option.

That said, fundraisers can be difficult to get.  Everyone tends to want them as they are a great method of generating sales and repeat customers.  Think about how many people who could be introduced to your product if the organization needs to sell 500 units of your product to make their goals!  And if only a few of them came to you later to have a party, you could be setup quite nicely!

pile of money

pile of money (Photo credit: axlape)

A few things to keep in mind when doing a fundraiser:

  • Communication is key!  You need to keep in touch with the organizer and make sure you are both on the same page.
  • Make sure they know what is expected of them and what you will be doing.  I highly recommend going through this with the organizer and writing it down for both of you.
  • Set the end date a few days before you really want it to end.  This should get those stragglers in by the real end date.  Hint:  Don’t tell the organizer you are doing this – sometimes they are the straggler!

When it comes time to sort of the fundraiser, see if the organization is okay with you doing a little bit of promotion with it.  For instance, you may want to put reorder stickers on your product if it is something that you can do that with.  You may want to put some business cards in the bag for them.  Maybe you want to offer them something special if they book a party or their own fundraiser within 30 days of delivery.

If possible, you may want to follow up with those that purchased to see what they think of the product.  This will depend on the information that the organization gives you and what you ask for.  If you only get the grand totals of product, you may not know who ordered what which will limit your ability to make calls.

A fundraiser is a great way to get your name out there and to give your business a boost, especially if you are able to continue promoting it after the event is done!

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How often to Host a Party?

The answer to this question depends on a few factors.  Make sure you consider each one when you are thinking about hosting multiple parties, especially if you want to host them close together.

A birthday party in Oregon. Taken by me.

A birthday party in Oregon. Taken by me. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Company Choice – Are you planning to host the same type of party each time – for instance, jewellery? Or do you want to host a jewellery party, a candle party and a purse party?   If you are looking to host direct sales parties that are different types of products, you could probably do a party per month.  But if you are looking to host another party with the same company, it is best to wait until they have a new catalogue out as a reason for people to attend a second party.

Money – A big factor to consider is your own personal finances as well as your friends. Quite often the products that are sold through direct sales parties are those that are luxuries for people.  For this reason, your friends may not be able to attend all that often and make a purchase.  But, you could host if you have funds to make some purchases and your friends may decide to book their own party to get the items for free.  And depending on the company, you could get some rewards just for them booking.

Time – Another consideration is how much time you have or your friends have.  Some people just cannot attend a party too often due to work commitments, needing a babysitter or other reasons.   But depending on what their reasons for not attending are, you may be able to get around some of them.  For instance, if you are having a jewellery party, kids could possibly come if there is a bedroom they can play in.

Attendance – Do you have enough people that you can invite that you will get a decent attendance at each event?  While you may not mind if no one shows up, or only one or two people, the consultant will not be impressed if she shows up and gets no sales.  Of course, if you are putting in enough sales to make it a party, then it is not such a big deal.

Of course, these are just my opinion.  Do you think there are different considerations for how often to host a party?

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