Monthly Archives: May 2014

How to be a Good Customer

Calling Home

(Photo credit: Lst1984)

One of the biggest frustrations for a direct sales consultant is dealing with customers or hostesses and not getting any resolution.  So here is what you can do to be a good customers or hostess.

Respond to Phone Calls – If your direct sales consultant contacts you, please return their calls.  They likely are not calling you just to chat as they have other people to be in touch with (and quite honestly, a lot of reps do not like making calls, so it’s hard work for them to do!).  Chances are they will leave a message if at all possible to tell you why they are calling – so please return their call with the information they have asked of you.

Respond to Emails – Just like the phone, please respond to emails they send you.  The consultant may know that you prefer email or they may prefer email.   In a perfect world, they will call you but they may try email instead or especially if you do not return their phone calls.

Make a Decision – If you tell the direct sales consultant that you want to host a party, but when they call to schedule you, and you keep putting them on, please quit.  If you do not feel that you can host anymore due to changed circumstances, tell them this.  If you cannot host for a few months, please ask them to call you back in a few months time.   This should not be a problem for the consultant and they will appreciate you letting them know.

Fill out your Form – When you are placing an order at a party or outside of a party, please fill out the form completely.  This means item number, name of product and the price.  Sometimes people do not have the right number for the right product, and this can help clear up any confusion.

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Why do Direct Sales Consultants do Hostess Coaching?

You may wonder why the direct sales consultant that you have booked a party with keeps calling you before your event.  There are actually a few very valid reasons for doing this.  That said, it is not something that all reps do and some prefer to do hostess coaching via email or other means instead of over the telephone.

Preparation – A lot of times a hostess does not know what all to do to get maximum attendance when she has her direct sales event.  By doing hostess coaching, the consultant can help to get a maximum amount of attendees which gives the host a larger customer base which will help to get all the items that she wants for free.

Outside Orders– Quite often the hostess has people who cannot attend but want to order.  By staying in touch, the consultant is able to answer any questions these other people may have and also get the totals for the hostess.  Some hostesses are not comfortable with adding up orders themselves so this helps them out.

Reliability – While this may not seem like an obvious reason to stay in touch, when the direct sales consultant gets in touch with you on a regular basis, you know that you can trust them to show up when they are supposed to.  I have had people who told me that they booked with someone and they never heard from them as their date got closer so they found me instead.  Their loss, I once had a $1,000 party due to this!

Space – Many consultants require space when they arrive whether it is for setting up their display or a place for ordering.  When talking to the hostess beforehand, they can let her know what they require to make sure that the hostess can have it ready when they arrive.

Wish List – It is beneficial for both the hostess and the consultant if the hostess has her wish list made up in advance.  With the coaching, the direct sales consultant can make sure that she has thought about this and knows what she wants to earn free at her party.

While you may find it a bit of a hassle when the direct sales consultant calls you and wants to know how things are going and if you have any questions, they are really doing it for both of your benefits.

 

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Trade Show Tips as a Guest

Trade shows can be a lot of fun.  You get to see a lot of companies and products that you may not have heard of before.  You may be able to find product that was discontinued but that the rep still had in their stock or you may get to try new products that you haven’t experienced before.  Regardless, there are a few tips to help you get the most of your trade show experience.

2008 Display Taiwan.

2008 Display Taiwan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Labels – If you have access to a printer, pre-make labels with your name, phone number and email address to use to enter draws.  It saves you time as you do not have to write it all out and it assists the vendor as the information is actually legible.  You would hate to miss out on a prize because they couldn’t read your writing, right?

Cash – I am always surprised how many people come to trade shows without any cash.  Maybe this is because they want to guarantee they do not purchase anything?   Vendors may not be willing to accept cheques or credit cards at events for a variety of reasons – they may not be able to process them, they do not know you and worry about them bouncing or because you already have the product and there is no recourse if payment does not clear.

Shopping Bag – Bring a bag with you to the event.  You may end up with catalogues or other various materials that you take home not to mention you may end up making a purchase.  Many vendors do not seem to carry bags with them and you can use a re-usable canvas bag instead of a plastic bag.

Patience – Trade shows are not typically events to go to if you only have five minutes.  All you can do in that amount of time is come in and see who is there.  If you want to check out any of the booths, you will need time to stop there, talk to the vendor and possibly sniff, sample, try on or examine the product.  If you book a party, you will need to pick a date if possible at the event.

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What to expect when hosting a Direct Sales party?

Chances are, when you booked your event the consultant gave you some information to look over and to plan your party with.  Or, if you booked a few months out, the consultant is mailing this information to you when the date is closer.

Tupperware home party in Sarasota, Florida

Tupperware home party in Sarasota, Florida (Photo credit: State Library and Archives of Florida)

The next thing that will likely happen is that the consultant will call you closer to in order to make sure that the party is still going to be happening and to go over some details with you.  This will be things like the amount of space that will be available or what is required to setup the display.  A separate space may be required for ordering or maybe she wants to make sure you have gone through the host package.  This is a good time to ask the consultant about any questions that you may want to ask.

 

You likely will have two or three calls from the consultant in the weeks leading up to your party.  This is simply because the direct sales consultant wants to make sure you have a successful party and that you are able to earn everything on your wish list when you have your party.  Many people do not host these types of events often so they require some guidance and help in order to have a satisfactory event.

 

The night of your party, the consultant likely will show up before the time you have all your guests arrive.  This gives them a chance to set up the display in a way that pleases them as it is always different in each house.  Then, when guests arrive everything is ready to go and the presentation is able to start.

 

The direct sales consultant may close your party that night or they may wait a few days depending on your preference.  Do not be surprised if they want to close that night as it benefits everyone instead of waiting a few more days.

 

Once your product is in, chances are your direct sales consultant will end up sorting it for you and delivering it all sorted out.  If you are not sure, make sure you ask what they do in this regard as not all consultants do this.

 

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Direct sales consultant won’t take my credit card

Sometimes you are at an event or party and the consultant will not let you pay by credit card.  It can be a real hassle and sometimes cause the cancellation of the sale.  But, the consultant likely is not turning you down out of spite; there is likely a valid reason why they cannot accept a credit card payment.

Credit Card

Credit Card (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

Cannot process – The main reason that a consultant will not accept your credit card is that they do not have a way to process it.  Not all companies will put cards through and therefore the consultant needs to get their own account.  This is not always possible or worth the cost.

Fees – Due to the fees associated with credit card payments, some consultants have a minimum purchase required to pay with a credit card.  The fees assessed vary from a percentage per transaction, a flat fee, or even a combination of both.

American Express – A consultant may accept Visa and MasterCard but not accept American Express.   This is due to additional steps to get approved for American Express as well as additional fees for processing these cards.   As they do not tend to be as popular, not as many people bother getting setup to accept them.

Trade Shows – There are many consultants that will accept credit cards at parties but will not accept them at trade shows.  This is due to the fact that you take the product home with you at the event and if your card is declined, the consultant may not be able to collect the funds owing.  Some consultants have started to get accounts where they can get instant approval through their Smartphone but depending on their credit card processor, this may not be an option.

While it can be frustrating not to be able to use your credit card, there are many valid reasons why it may not be accepted.

 

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Party plan or Independent seller?

While you are an independent consultant within your party plan, for my purposes here, someone who is independent is a person who gets a wholesale account and does their own thing.  Which is better?  Let us look at both.

Party Plan:

Support – You have support from your upline, other consultants and the company.

Costs – Minimal costs to get started.

Research – The party plan does the research to help you determine what products should sell best.  This may not be true in your particular region, but overall, the company feels these are the best products.

Brand – If you stay with your company for any amount of time, and there are other consultants, you will help to develop the company’s brand which will help to increase your business over time.

Technical – You do not have to set up your own website or find suppliers to buy product from.

Independent:

Control – You control everything that you do – from your website, the products you sell and the price you sell them at.

Support – Chances are the wholesalers you are buying your product from will help you to a degree as they want you to keep buying from them, but they are not on the frontlines, you are.

Costs – The cost of getting setup and running varies depending on what you are selling and how much product you want to offer.  Expect to spend several hundred at a minimum for product and then you likely will need a website.  If you plan to sell like a party plan, you will also have to come up with incentives, etc which will come out of your own pocket.

Research – You will need to figure out what types of product are going to sell where you live and where you are selling as well as a good price point.

Brand – Consider yourself starting from the ground up, as you have no personal store brand to assist you.  Your product may have its own brand which will help you to get started, but it may not carry you that far.

If you are looking for simple and easy, a party plan is likely the way to go.  But if you prefer to do things yourself, then being totally independent may be your preference.

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5 Tips for Choosing the Right Direct Sales Business For You

If you’ve decided you want to get into direct sales but aren’t sure which company you should choose, here are five tips to help you decide.

DSA (US) Logo

DSA (US) Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Choose something that interests you. The best salespeople truly believe in the products they are promoting. You will find it much easier to sell products that coincide with your hobbies or interests and you’ll also be more likely to stick with the program long-term.

2. Ensure that you can afford the kit. Some party plans require you to purchase an expensive kit to get started whereas others send free samples or let you pay in installments. Make sure that you won’t be stretching yourself to pay for the startup kit. If you have a small budget, look for a company that is cheap to get started with.

3. Look out for monthly minimums. A lot of direct sales companies have monthly sales quotas. Compare the quotas with what you think you can realistically sell or pay for yourself if you have a bad month.

4. Do some investigating. Check out forums for different multilevel marketing companies or direct sales workers in general to look for trends of satisfaction or unhappiness. See if the majority of posters have had good experiences. Every company has a downside so try to find one with a downside you can live with.

5. Seek help from the Direct Selling Association. They have a code of ethics that all companies must follow so checking their member directory is a great way to find direct sales companies that follow legitimate business practices.

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