Category Archives: Customers

Keeping in Touch With Your Customers Using Technology

geralt / Pixabay

When you are involved in direct sales, keeping in touch with your customers is an excellent way to ensure that they will book parties with you and purchase your products on an ongoing basis. The Internet provides those who run direct sales businesses very simple and convenient ways to stay in touch with their client base. So just what are some ways that you can use the technology of the Internet to keep in touch with your customers?

Blogs

You can start a blog to keep in touch with your customers. A blog is basically an online journal and a great place to inform people of your business. With your blog, you can include informative articles relating to whatever product you maybe selling, keep your customers informed of product specials that both your company and you personally are offering and allow them to make comments about your posts should they have any questions. Blogger.com is a popular place for many to start blogs.

Forums

You could start your own online forum to communicate with your customers. It is really quite simple to start your own message board. You can start different forums to deal with customer questions on specific products, customer complaint issues, product specials and even a forum where you can chat with your customers about any topic.

Yahoo Discussion Group

Starting an email discussion group like the ones available through yahoo is yet another way that you can keep in touch with your customers. You can make your group available for discussion or use it to release a monthly or even weekly newsletter to inform your customers about your business.

Mailing List

Starting a mailing list is yet another way that you can use the Internet to keep your customers informed about the goings on of your business. Just make sure that before you start sending out information about your business to your mailing list that you pay close attention to what would be considered spamming.

These are just some of the great ideas for using technology to keep your customers informed about your business. Utilizing the convenience offered by these tools is a smart way to build up your business.

How to be a Good Customer

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.

First customers

First customers (Photo credit: stavos)

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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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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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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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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7 Simple (and Cost-Effective) Ways to Show Customer Appreciation

The best way to ensure repeat customers is to make sure the customers know you appreciate them. However, finding out whether the customers know this or not can be difficult. Sometimes they’ll let you know, sometimes they won’t.   cust apprec

Customer review sites make this easy; for instance, you can read real customer reviews on OpenTell.com, but even then there might not be enough information for you to gauge how they feel. Here are seven easy, and most importantly, cost effective ways of showing customer appreciation.

1. Personalize your service to them.

If you can, show a bit of personalization in the service you provide them. Leave a few kind words, or use their name on something. It doesn’t take much, and a little personalization goes a long way.

2. Check in with new customers. 

Send customers a report of your service, or give them a call after they buy a product and ask how it’s working. It doesn’t take long – you could even assign the task to a subordinate – but the simple gesture lets the customers know they are respected.

3. Create a ‘wall of honor’ of your best customers.

Many restaurants do this. Including photographs of your regulars on the walls makes the place feel more personable, and goes a long way towards building loyalty.

4. Give special treatment to long time customers.

Maybe on their birthday or on a special occasion, give your best customers a one-time deal or discount of some sort. Make sure it’s understood to be a single deal, but this will help build a relationship with your customers.

5. Remember their names.

This goes a long way. You see hundreds if not thousands of people each day, but by remembering the names of as many people as you can, you inspire fierce brand loyalty. Names hold power.

6. Ask for feedback.

Ask your customers how their experience was, and ask if there is any way you can improve it for next time. Most of the time the customers will be too surprised to answer, but this can be a great way of getting first-hand feedback.

7. Go out of your way to provide amazing customer service.

Don’t let rules and policies stop you. Bend them just a tad if the situation calls for it, and make sure you provide absolutely legendary service for a customer if they need it.

Following these seven simple steps will inspire customer loyalty and show your appreciation for them in ways they’ve never before experienced.

 

 

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Making Sure Customers Can Find You

Once you have a customer, you want to make sure that you continue to get their orders in the future.   There are a variety of different methods you can employ to ensure that your customer will always have your contact information handy.

business card

business card (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Reorder Labels

The first thing I recommend is that you have re-order labels that you put on your product.  Depending on what you sell, this may not always be possible, but try to locate a place where you can put your name and contact information on your products.  I recently was looking for a consultant I had ordered from in the past, but as she didn’t use re-order labels on her product, I couldn’t find her.  I even went through my emails but there was nothing.

Catalogues

A catalogue is an obvious location to put your information but people may not always keep them.  But due to the small cost of the label, make sure you put one on every catalogue that you hand out.  I have had people contact me a year later with their catalogue and wanting to place an order.

Business Cards

Another no brainer is to give out business cards to everyone you meet.  I always put three business cards in every order I deliver.  It does not matter if it is the person’s first order with me or their tenth, they still get cards.  You never know when they are going to want to contact you for something or a friend will want your contact information.  Women tend to hold onto cards for a very long time, so you should be giving these out to everyone.

Invoices

I suggest that you place your contact information on your invoices.  Whether you use a stamp or a sticker is your choice.  Not only does that allow them to contact you if they need to make a change with their order but chances are they will keep that invoice around and will have your information for the future.

Magnets

Magnets are a great option as your customer can put it up on their fridge and they will likely never lose it.  I do not know about you, but the magnets on my fridge have been there for years.  They are useful for holding things in place even if they are not places I have patronized for a long time.  But if I need to contact those places, the information is right there.

Regardless, it is important that you customers have a way to contact you whether it is a week since they last saw you or a year.  Make it easier for them by giving them your information multiple times and hopefully they will hold onto one to use later.

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Talking the Talk: Six Musts When Trying to Reach New Prospective Clients

To thrive among stiff competition, your business needs to always be reaching out to new prospects and winning them over. There are several good methods that should be incorporated into your regular marketing efforts.   billboard-advertisement

Stop Promoting to Anyone

Promoting to anybody with a pulse often wastes marketing dollars. Realize that everyone that sees your message is not going to be a customer. Develop an ideal customer profile of people that truly have a need or desire for what you sell. Adjust your marketing to focus on this target group.

Educate Prospects

People are often hesitant to buy when they are not familiar with your company or products. Provide prospects with lots of detailed information about the benefits and uses of your products and services. The more someone knows about your company’s offerings, the more they will know whether your services apply to them or if what you have to offer is really something they want.

Get Customer Reviews

Ask your current customers to write reviews. Customer reviews are a powerful way to attract new customers. People often read reviews first to discover all the pros and cons about a company’s products or services. Existing customers can provide unique insights that are helpful in this regard.

Establish a Relationship

Offer an online newsletter and encourage prospects to sign up. Use this opportunity to build trust by providing beneficial information about your company and products. When they like you, they will turn in to buyers. This also creates customer loyalty because they will actually feel like they are a part of something.

Give Away Free Stuff

A favorite business marketing strategy is to give away free promotional products to customers and prospects. Each item you distribute can be customized with your logo, and may also include a short tagline along with your contact details such as your URL or phone number. Choose popular items such as custom laptop bags by HALO that are useful and portable.  Promotional products are a wonderful form of marketing in that they will remain in circulation for years, making them an extremely effective and cost-efficient form of advertising.

Trade shows are ideal for giving away free stuff. People’s eyes light up when they receive gifts like HALO branded solutions promotional bags. Everywhere their bag goes, it will be seen by countless new prospects. Your business will get lots of effective advertising from these types of highquality products.

Cater to Their Desires

Know what potential customers really want when they seek out companies like yours. Successful selling involves figuring out what people want and then giving it to them. Conduct market analyses to find out what products and services are likely to attract customers to your business.

Check out your most successful competitors and see what they offer. Find ways to put a unique twist on your offerings to stand out from the crowd.

In order keep business flowing in any economy, it is essential to market to prospects in ways that turn them into loyal customers. Use proven marketing strategies like these to spread brand awareness and increase sales.

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