Category Archives: Customers

Four Promotional Items Your Customers Can Carry In Their Pockets

A company’s promotional products should be both meaningful and useful. These promotional products can be imprinted with your company’s logo and contact details so every time they are used by current and potential customers, you gain marketing exposure. Offered at various special events, they should serve as a reminder of the company so customers will continue coming back to do business, and they should also be gifts that customers can conveniently use with fondness and appreciation.   Promotional Items

Key chains

Custom key chains are a popular item for everyday use or for a spare set of keys at home. Few things are more obnoxious than loose keys. Promo key chains come in all sizes and designs, along with a full range of colors. A flashlight fob add-on comes in handy and can be imprinted with the company name and contact information for easy reference.

Flash drives

Computer flash drives are a terrific memento that almost everyone can use nowadays. They provide a great way to transfer information from one device to another. With your company’s logo and name imprinted on them, they will serve as a constant reminder of your generosity and thoughtfulness. Many custom flash drives come with a folding insert key that provides convenient pocket storage and carrying. Frequent usage means your company will often be remembered with appreciation.

Loyalty cards

Your company’s discount or rewards card, perhaps good for a 10-percent or 15-percent discount, will be a constant companion in your customers’ wallets. In addition to offering regular discounts, your company loyalty card could be used to offer an additional discount during special sales events and to rack up points for eventual redemption. Many large businesses like supermarkets and banks use them routinely, so customers are beginning to expect them and appreciate the companies that offer them.

Pocket calendars

Pocket calendars with attractive, colorful designs are easy to find and use in a wallet. Checking dates from time to time will give customers added exposure to your company’s contact information and keep your business in the forefront of their awareness. Plus, the calendars can become a quick reference point for future appointments and meetings. Combined with pocket planners, they can take the place of, or work in conjunction with, an electronic reminder on customers’ smart phones. Some people prefer a printed planner to the electronic version. A calendar or planner provides a convenient way to check dates, schedule appointments and record contact information. If you are going to order calendars, be sure your product is the best by using the promo product leader.

Mementos and gifts like these are inexpensive to purchase for customer giveaways. Offer them at commemorative events, company celebrations, anniversary parties and other community programs where they are sure to be a hit. Consumers tend to remember and do business with companies that give promotional gifts that include contact information as a handy reference. Get yours ordered now and start building customer loyalty.

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Going the Extra Mile: 4 Ways to Impress Your Potential Clients

Whether you are in business for yourself or work for someone else, you probably spend considerable amounts of time trying to build relationships with clients. And as everyone who has ever sold anything to others knows, products and services can be bought anywhere. It’s the relationship and related trust between a customer and his client that makes the difference. For this reason you are probably constantly trying to impress your clients. This article will serve as a primer for doing just that.   Going the Extra Mile

Be Professional

It might go without saying, but it’s still often forgotten that image is everything. Let’s say two people come to your office for business. One is unshaven and with clothes that are dirty and disheveled. He takes notes on a cheap note pad with a sharpie pen. The other is clean cut and dressed in a Brooks Brothers suit. His paperwork is neatly organized in a leather portfolio and he takes notes on an electronic device using a stylus pen. With whom would you do business?

Mention your VIPs

If a salesperson entered your office and told you that you were his first-ever prospective customer, you wouldn’t be very impressed, would you? On the other hand, if he told you about other clients who used his services with good results, you would be more tempted to buy what he’s selling, wouldn’t you?

People Love Free Stuff

Giving gifts is a great way to impress customers. And the gift doesn’t need to be expensive either. That’s what makes promotional products so effective. Not only are they inexpensive, but they can be personalized in any way you wish. Custom keychains and other personalized items can be imprinted with your company’s logo and contact details so every time they are used by current and potential customers, you gain marketing exposure.  Promotional products like these act as walking billboards, ensuring that you gain repeated marketing exposure every time they are used by recipients.

Over-Deliver

Everybody remembers the instances when someone went an extra mile and came through when it wasn’t expected. Even better is the fact that these little gestures often don’t cost anything to deliver. Go the extra mile. Over-deliver and under-promise. Make the client feel that he is special and that you went out of your way to give him something extra. Chances are good that your actions will be rewarded and probably even reciprocated.

If you’re looking to expand your client base, it is worth it to strive to impress those who could be potential customers. And remember, in many industries, anyone could be a potential customer—so every aspect of your business needs to run smoothly and be ready to impress. You never know when a potential customer is watching!

 

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Tracking Business Expenses in Direct Sales

Not many people enjoy having to do the books. But, if set up properly, and with the right knowledge, they are not as cumbersome.

Expenses

Expenses in Direct Sales (Photo credit: Phillie Casablanca)

For anyone who runs a business, they know that one of the tasks that must be accomplished is the accounting. For some, this is a job which they hate as much as toilet cleaning, but it is one that has to be done. Even if you use an accountant do to the final year end papers, if you do a good job with the day to day books, their job will be easier. Here are some ideas to help with tracking the expenses so that it will not be as much of a hassle.

Tips

  • Have a separate bank account for your business expenses
  • Put as many of your expenses on credit cards as possible
  • Create a place where you put all your receipts for when you sit down to do the books
  • Depending on how much paper you have, put everything for each month in one envelope
  • Have a filing cabinet so that if you have a lot of paper you can organize things in categories

Know Your Expenses

If you categorize your expenses correctly, it will end up helping you in the long run when it comes to tax time. This list assumes that you are running a business outside of your home, as there are other deductions that you are entitled to with a home based business.

  • Advertising – business cards, web site marketing
  • Insurance – Business insurance – does not include health insurance premiums
  • Interest – Any interest you pay on accounts such as credit cards or loans
  • Legal and/or professional services – Accountant or lawyer fees that you pay
  • Office Expenses – Anything beyond supplies for your office
  • Rent or lease – Premises or equipment
  • Supplies – Paper, toner, notepads or anything else routine
  • Travel – Cost of travelling to conventions or meetings
  • Meals/Entertainment – Amount paid for meals or entertaining clients. This has a special tax ramification which is why it should be separate
  • Utilities – Gas, electricity, telephone, Internet
  • Dues – Subscriptions to magazines or trade groups your business is a member of
  • Other – Any items that you are not sure where they belong can be put here

Make sure you keep the receipts that go with all of these expenses, as you will need them to show your accountant and possibly the IRS. But if you can get your expenses itemized through the year, it will make it easier for your accountant and you will spend less money.

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What Are Your Consumers Saying? 5 Tips for Online Customer Engagement

When using social media and websites to connect with your customers, it’s important to not just look at those tools as places for disseminating information. They are not just “push” centers for promotion of your products and services. While it is important to advertise and share new information with your consumers, people will only be responsive if you engage with them in your online marketing activity. 

In this day and age, everyone should be their own online marketing company, and there are a few tips for making your ongoing campaign successful by increasing your customer engagement.

Make Yourself, Your Company, and Your Content Accessible

One common mistake vendors make is exclusively promoting their products and services, and they exclude interesting supporting content. Consumers are savvy, and they need to be able to relate to you as a company or person. If you post pictures of your clients using your products, or enjoying your services, people can relate through common experiences that they have shared. Additionally, featuring related quotations, tips, or photos makes perusing your Facebook page or Twitter feed fun. It’s important to sprinkle non-product related content via social media, too. Besides offering special sales, or outlining services, make the content informative, light-hearted, and not just about your business in a blatant way.

Conduct Surveys and Polls

Any time someone has to click on a multiple choice question or give their opinion, it makes participants feel like you want to listen to what they have to say. Polling and surveying increases follower interaction. There are many website plug-ins and services you can use, like Polldaddy, to set these up, capture, and categorize collected data. These tools can also give you valuable feedback about what your consumers want. Beware, though; long surveys put people to sleep, and most won’t bother to finish them if they take too much time. A 2-3 minute survey is ideal.

Reply to Customer Requests, Responses, and Comments

If I’m a customer or client, and I take the time to write a comment or post a response to you, whether it be on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any social media site, I have the expectation that someone will take the time to read what I have to say, and respond as well. Remember, if someone takes the time to react to you, you should do them the same courtesy. Individual responses are great, but time consuming. At the very least, thank people for their time in a general sense. If people feel like they are posting to a black hole, they won’t come back and interact again.

Post Customer Reviews and Ratings

When someone submits a review or rating, bring it to the forefront. Again, this is about acknowledging interaction and demonstrating that there is a live person behind your online presence. Many times consumers email recommendations or compliments to business owners. Public display of your praise makes you look good, and the person writing the commentary feel good, too. It will encourage others to spread the word and follow suit. Everyone likes a few minutes of fame.

Hold Contests/Giveaways

People love prizes. No matter what you sell or serve, it pays to give away. People will try to win products and will enter contests where you can dictate the terms. By doing so, you will increase traffic to your website, or social media outlets, and ultimately increase your customer base. Entries can be obtained using services like Rafflecopter, which require people to “like” your Facebook page, Tweet about your business, or perform other audience exposure tasks.

Opening dialogue with consumers, is a two-way street. If you ask for engagement, be sure to respond in kind. This will produce attentive followers, who will share your information with their friends and family, and enable your business to grow its online and in-person presence.

Product Testing

Sometimes when you get your order, there is an error with it.  For this reason, it’s important that you check everything you got when you first get it to make sure there is no issue.  Consultants are only human and they do make mistakes.

For me, there was a time that I accidentally put the wrong candle into a customer’s bag.  She called me within five minutes of leaving her home to say that she thought I had put the wrong candle in her bag.  I knew I had only received two orders and I had already delivered the second one so I called that customer, sure enough, she had the wrong candle as well.  So I was able to pick both candles up, do the swap, and move on.  It happens.  Both looked the same, were packaged the same, and were the same colour.  I should have checked the name on the box more carefully, but it is a lesson I have learnt and will move on.

But on the flip side, I have received orders where I did not think to check them and by the time I did, it was well over a month later and I didn’t feel that I had any leg to stand on (and then of course, time passes before I think of it again) but meanwhile, I have that item resting at home, collecting dust, as it is not doing what it is supposed to do so it has essentially become a paper rest.

The moral of this story is to always check out your orders when you receive them.  Check that the products are the right colour, the right scent or do what they are supposed to.  Even if you do not do it the same day, you should do it within the first week of arrival to make sure that you can exchange it if there is a problem.

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How much does the person who I signed up with make?

This is a question you will have to figure out based on your company and what the commission schedule is.  The best thing to do is to talk to your upline and ask them what they are making.  This is especially important if you do not understand the schedule yourself or are working on goals or what you need to do to make the income you want.

Commissions can be based on several factors – management level, team size or team sales.

How often to contact Direct Sales Customers?

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.

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What is a re-order label?

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.

Old Cardboard Tag Isolated on White Background

This is what I use:

To Re-order

Sharon

999-123-4567

A customer bounced a cheque with me and they already have their product. What can I do?

Start by contacting your customer and advising them that the cheque bounced.  Let them know you will need the funds replaced, plus the fee, in cash.   Hopefully they will be willing and you will be done with the issue.

If your customer refuses to pay, then you will have to take some further steps.  The first thing you can do is write them a demand letter and get a tracking number when you mail it to prove that you did send it and they received it.  This should give them a deadline and let them know you will be going further if they do not pay by a reasonable date.

If you still do not receive payment, then you will need to take legal action to receive your funds.   As this is a small claims item, you can do the paperwork yourself but there likely will be fees to file.  Talk to your courthouse to find out the procedures and the costs to determine if this is worthwhile.

For small bills, it likely is not worth it to go beyond the demand letter.  You can write this off as a bad debt when tax time comes around, just make sure you keep a copy of the paperwork and the tracking notice.

I’m not sure I am comfortable accepting a cheque from my customers. Do I need to?

This is your business and you do not need to do anything that you do not want to.  That said, a lot of people do not walk around with a chunk of cash in their pocket, especially when heading to a direct sales party.   This is why a lot of people use cheques or a credit card to make their purchase.

If you are worried about a cheque bouncing, you have a few options.

  • Go to the customers bank and cash the cheque
  • Hold the product until the cheque clears – Ask you bank how long this will tank
  • Have all cheques made out to the hostess and have the hostess write you a cheque (the thought is your customer is less likely to bounce a cheque to a friend)
  • Refuse to take cheques

I strongly advise that you take the risk of a cheque.  In the four years I have been in direct sales, I have had one cheque bounce, and that was a result of a bank error.  The customer already knew about it when I called her and had no issue paying the bill and the fee in cash.