Tag Archives: direct sales business

Six Things to Consider Before Starting Your Own Direct Sales Business

If you believe in your product and are willing to work hard to promote it, starting a direct sales business can be a great way to turn your passion into a profit. While direct sales has relatively low start-up costs compared to other businesses, there are a few important things you need to consider besides your initial budget to become financially successful in the long run. From assessing ongoing costs to creating your work schedule, planning how your direct sales business will work on a daily basis can help you decide if starting it is the right decision for you.

1. Will YSix Thingsour Product Sell?

You might love the product you want to promote, but will other people feel the same way? Remember to always be honest about the product’s drawbacks. Looking at the pros and cons objectively will help you decide if this product is worth your time and money.

2. Can You Afford Ongoing Expenses?

Gasoline, phone, Internet, printing toner, business cards and graphic design services are just a few examples of bills you might need to keep up with on a monthly basis. If you’re joining an existing direct sales business, rather than starting your own, you might not have as many of these expenses. The key is to make a budget and plan for any spending accordingly.

3. Do You Have the Space?

If you’re like many newcomers to the direct sales industry, you’re probably planning to start your new business out of your home. To make sure that you’re ready for growth in the future, it’s important to start thinking about it now. You’ll probably need to have a certain amount of inventory on hand so that you can easily fulfill orders for your customers. If you don’t have a big enough home to store your inventory and supplies, you’ll probably want to consider looking at local storage facilities like Extra Space Storage so that you don’t crowd your home with merchandise.

4. Are You Outgoing?

Running a direct sales business involves approaching strangers with a marketing pitch, it’s not the best field for people who are shy or who prefer to be alone. Before you invest your money and your life into this business, make sure you can handle it. If you have a friend in the business, try going out on sales calls with him to see if you are comfortable with this type of career.

5. Will You Make Enough Money?

Figure out what your profit margin will be if everything goes as expected to decide if the return on your investment is high enough to cover your time and expenses. Make sure you have a back-up plan. Direct sales can vary greatly from person to person. You could be selling the same product as another person and make double or triple what they bring in, or you could flop. It’s best to plan for each scenario and have a strategy.

6. Are You Willing to Recruit Others?

Since every entrepreneur’s goal is to build a successful business, you need to have a plan for how you’re going to handle rapid expansion if it happens. In many direct sales industries, the more people you recruit, the more money you bring in and more successfully you become. Are you comfortable talking to customers and friends about joining your ranks?

After considering the above questions and deciding to move forward with your business, you’ll want to document it with a business plan. Separate it into financial information, marketing ideas and future goals. When things get hectic, being able to refer back to an organized plan will help you stay on track. With the right tools and proper planning, you’re sure to be successful with your sales endeavors.

Enhanced by Zemanta

How to Handle your Business Expenses

Accounting and paperwork are scary to a lot of business owners, but it is a part of life. By setting up a system, you will make your life a lot easier.

Receipt Please

Receipt Please (Photo credit: Peter π)

For most people, accounting is not a priority in their business, but when month end or tax time comes, they are scrambling to find all their documents and prepare things. But if you take a bit of time each week or month to track your expenses, you will be ahead of the game and you will not have to look all over the place to find your paperwork.

One Location – First things first, put all your receipts in one location. This way, even if you do not have time to deal with it right now, you will know where to find it.

Make Notes – Mark your receipt with any relevant notes such as you were mailing a parcel to Jane or you took Joan out for coffee to discuss why your business would be a great fit with hers. These receipts are easy to forget their purpose.

Legibility – Make sure that the receipt is legible. If it is not, you can ask the location to write you a written receipt. If it is on the glossy till paper, you may want to photocopy or scan it, as those tend to fade over time.

Keep Current – Try to work on your books every week or at a minimum, once a month if you do not have a lot of transactions. This will save you a lot of time and headaches down the road.

Filing – Have a filing system that makes sense and you can keep up with. Challenge yourself to see how fast you can find something; if you have to go through multiple folders then it is not the right system for you.

Credit Cards – A great way to keep track of your spending is to put everything onto a credit card or debit card where you get a statement listing the expense. You won’t forget about it this way. Do not use the same card for your business as you do for your personal spending, as this can be very confusing and cause issues at tax time, especially if you are audited.

Envelopes/Folders – Envelopes and folders are a great way to organize your paperwork. Put unrecorded receipts in one until you record it, and then move to the appropriate folder once it’s recorded. You may choose to organize these by month or by type of expense; whichever works better for you and makes more sense.

One of the best reasons for keeping your expenses current and tracked is that you can see at a glance how well your business is doing and where you may be spending too much money. This is very important for a small business owner.

Enhanced by Zemanta

How Small Businesses can Deal with a Bad Economy

A bad economy does not mean the end of a small business. It just means getting more creative and finding other solutions to a problem.

For many businesses, keeping afloat during economic turmoil can be difficult. No matter whether the problem is the general economy or specific competition from other businesses, there are things that can be done to help the business weather the storm. An advantage of small businesses is that they are flexible and they can make changes quickly, which large businesses can’t.

English: Water Customer Service Center - 4200 ...

Direct Sales in a Bad Economy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Customer Service

One of the biggest things that a small business can do is to make sure that they have excellent customer service. If the owner is not sure if the store has this, it is likely best to think that they do not and train the staff. Doing things such as special orders or making sure to assist the customer can go a long way. Customer service does not have to be difficult; it is paying attention to a lot of the little things.

Quality

Another factor is making sure that the business keeps up with the current trends. The moment customers think that you are falling behind they will start to leave you, feeling that you are not going to succeed. Cash flow may cause issues with this, but you may want to decrease to bringing in seven new items instead of 15, or making other small changes.

Cash Flow

Of course, you cannot forget about the money that is or is not coming in. Regardless of the state of the economy, it is best that you do not overextend yourself beyond what the business cannot comfortably afford. Many businesses end up failing because they try to do too much at once, when they can’t afford it.

Be Creative

Due to the small business being able to make decisions quickly compared to the large stores, the small store can seize this opportunity to do something special or unique. Maybe host fashions shows when a new line of clothing comes in, or have a special night for key customers to see the new collections. Make your customers happy and make them feel special and they will continue to patronize your business.

Check Efficiencies

There may be things that your store can do to make itself more efficient which will help with cash flow and customer service. It may be investing in some software that can create notes to go to customers, finding a better way to unpack and sort inventory or a better way to show off new product. Chances are there is something that can be done in a better way to increase sales.

No matter the type of business you are in, chances are you can find some methods that you can use to keep your business afloat in bad economic times. Choosing to slash prices is not the way to compete, as people will come to expect it. Instead, improve other methods. People are willing to pay more if they feel they are getting value for their money.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Skyrocket Your Sales: The Power of Listening to your Customers

Many salespeople believe that their sales pitch is everything. They work hard to develop a script or answers to common questions and rebuttals, making sure that they have every base covered. They spend their time telling people about their products, and spend very little time listening to responses that are not orders. These salespeople are missing out.

The voice of the customer is your most important tool to getting sales. When you make your sales pitch more of a conversation, and listen to your potential customers, you will get more orders. It really is as simple as that.

You may have heard that as a manager, as a friend, or when meeting new people, that it is better to listen than to talk. We do, after all, have two ears and only one mouth. There is a reason for this. When you truly listen to your prospects, it is much easier to identify their needs, and present solutions that will sell themselves.

The key to this is to ask your customers probing questions. Probing questions are those that prompt the individual to respond in a favorable way. They are not open ended or general. They are very specific questions to elicit a specific response. For example, if you are selling health insurance, you do not want to ask your customer how are they doing today, but rather, are they feeling healthy today. This will open up conversation about their health, and whether or not they are satisfied with their current health coverage or plan.

This example would be a great opener for conversation, but further questions should be more specific. “Do you have health insurance?” Or, “Are you currently looking for a healthier lifestyle?” As you get them to talk about themselves, their problems and needs will naturally come up. You can then present solutions to their problems by offering information about your products and services.

In most cases, this approach leads to a soft sell. You do not even have to ask for the order, because the customer will see for themselves that they need what you are offering. All you must do is listen to them, make them your friend, and then offer them a solution. They will take that solution and run with it.

This is the best way to generate repeat customers as well. Because you have taken the time to listen to them and get to know them better, they will feel that they can trust you in the future. They will feel as though you are a trusted friend, and return to you for all of their related needs.

Author Bio

Jennie is a customer service consultant and author of numerous books on marketing.  She recommends enterprise feedback management from Mindshare to businesses looking to significantly improve customer satisfaction.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Internet Hasn’t Killed Trade Shows – A Guest Post

The internet has become one of the biggest forces to help businesses generate sales. As a result, many businesses have stopped using many of their other marketing mediums. Trade shows have traditionally been one of the most common ways for businesses to market their products and services. As a small business owner, you may find that trade shows can still be a powerful means to find new customers.

Taipei Telecom 2006 closed without a vision be...

Taipei Telecom 2006 closed without a vision because the quality and purpose of the show were uncertained. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been an Internet marketing professional for several years now. Many people I have met praise my field by telling me that it is replacing all other forms of marketing. That’s flattering to hear, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. The internet is certainly a powerful way to reach customers, but it is has a number of limitations you need to be wary of. Don’t fully neglect your other marketing mediums, either.

Many businesses still use trade shows. They find they are still effective marketing tools, but they have noticed they don’t get quite as much benefit from them. You may want to leverage social media and other internet technologies to get more of a benefit from your trade show.

Why Trade Shows Still Work

Sometimes you need a face-to-face connection with your users. There are two reasons why personal networking opportunities are often necessary:

  • Many demographics don’t like to spend time online. If you are trying to reach older people or more active people who want to spend time outside, you may find that a personal networking connection will be more valuable.
  • Many people are nervous to buy a product from someone over the internet.

Many professions still spend about 80 percent of their energy on building personal face-to-face networking connections. Trade shows are still a powerful means to reach a rich number of people in your target market.

Attending a trade show gives you the opportunity to connect with people who will ultimately decide whether or not to buy your product. You have enough face time to earn their attention and convince them that your product can provide them a real value. Although you can reach more people on the Internet, you generally will only have a few seconds to hold their attention.

You can also provide physical live demonstrations to your prospective buyers. People can make more informed buying decisions if they see the product in action. This gives you the opportunity to showcase the qualities of your product and differentiate yourself from the dozens of companies offering a different variation.

According to a report from the National Retail Federation, trade shows remain a powerful tool to help draw new customers. One expert said that even if there was a decline in participation at the last trade show they attended, the participants were still highly inspired by the events.

You can still benefit from holding a booth at a trade show. You might find that you won’t generate as much business as you would have in previous years. At the same time, you can take advantage of the fact that many of your competitors have given up on trade shows as a means of getting business.

You may also want to use trade shows to draw new fans to your social networking sites and vice versa. Rather than using them as separate entities, many people have found that they get the most by combining the two marketing mediums.

 

Kalen Smith is a business and marketing writer. He is currently writing tips on using the best trade show giveaways to drive more business.

Are you running your Direct Sales business how you want to?

I don’t know about you, but when I started my direct sales business I had all these plans – especially once I started building my team.  I was going to do all this training and totally be on top of it and everyone was going to be rocking the business.  But, it didn’t happen that way and now I regret it.  I know that I can still get on the bandwagon, but can be hard to go back and start new habits.

Where am I going with this post? I guess what I want to say is that if you plan to do things a certain Running your Direct Sales Businessway in your direct sales business such as checklists, it is important to start doing that and continue.  It will make a huge difference in your business and how it goes.

I was talking to someone the other day about their direct sales business.  She is busy.  She is making sales and building an active team.  She has already beaten her recruiting goals for the year.  But she said she is tired from working hard which makes sense.  Her sales are over four thousand a month and growing.

She said her biggest reasons for success though is keeping a checklist that she uses with every single hostess and coaching (yep, this was on my list of things I planned to do).  And using that five thousand pound phone!

Here are a few things she does:

  • She doesn’t let her hostesses use a Facebook page for their invitations; she gets their list instead and sends it out on their behalf.  Call it an additional service that you provide – it’s all in how you spin it!
  • Makes sure her hostesses follow up on the invitations with phone calls personally inviting her guests.
  • She screens those who join her team for those that she can work with and whatever else she feels is important.
Enhanced by Zemanta[stextbox id=”info”]Check out homes for sale in Bedford Stuyvesant [/stextbox]

Basic Benefits to a Direct Sales Business

Everyone gets into direct sales for different reasons.  For some, it is in the income aspect of it whether it is to pay bills, stay home with children or to build up savings.  For others, direct sales give them a chance to share a product they love with others.  Yet there are others who do it for the socialization aspect.  No matter what your reason, direct sales can be a rewarding and profitable career.  If you are not sure if this is for you, here is some information to help you out.

Starting Cost

One of the greatest things about direct sales is the ability to start your own business for a minimal investment.  Depending on the company you are looking at, and their signup options, you can start for less than $100.  The company may also have a method for you to earn your kit for free as well if you meet certain requirements.  Chances are you will need to do a certain amount in sales in so many days for this to happen.

Flexibility

With direct sales, you are not committing to working 40 hours a week, 5 days a week.  You work when you want to work.  This is great for the stay at home mom who wants to spend time with her kids.  She can schedule parties during school hours if her kids are old enough or she can schedule them in evenings when her kids are in bed.  If she only wants to do one party a week, she has the ability to do that.  If she prefers to work five nights a week, that is possible as well.

Brand

Another benefit to direct sales, depending on the company you join, is brand recognition.  Chances are if you tell someone you sell Tupperware, they already know the product and likely have only good things to say about it.  The same would be true of Avon, Mary Kay and other companies.  Some are well known regionally such as Epicure in Canada.

Research

Some people dream of having a business but do not want to do all the research and work involved with starting a business.  Direct sales are like a business in a box.  You sign up, they send you a kit, and you are ready to go.  Your kit likely includes product for showing people to get sales as well as training information to help you get started.  You do not have to figure out what product to sell, what to price it at, where to buy the product and a myriad of other issues with having to source your own inventory.

These are just some of the benefits to starting a direct sales career. Tomorrow we will talk about how these same factors can be a downside.

Did you join your company for one of these reasons or something else?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Helping your Recruit while they Wait for their Kit

Photograph of a rolltop writing desk and surro...

Image via Wikipedia

While it can be very exciting for you when you have someone sign up, it’s also exciting for them.  They are likely very hyped up and ready to go, but they do not have their kit so they are a bit stalled.  If you want, you can lend them your kit so they can have a starter party before they get theirs, but regardless, there are some other things they should do when first starting out.

Training Calls – Stay in touch with your recruit – not only while they wait for their kit, but for the first few weeks while they get going.  Find out the best way to contact them and the best times.

Schedule 4 Parties – You should get them to schedule as many parties are they can in the first 30 days.  This helps them get their business going well; they will likely meet any start up goals and programs your company may offer.

Learn the Website – One of the most important things for your recruit is to get familiar with the website where all the demonstrator information is.  Make sure they can get signed in when they sign up and have them play around.  Entering a fake order to see how the order system works, download the training information, etc.  A person can spend a lot of time on this.

Promotional Materials – Order business cards and other supplies from places such as Vistaprint or through a company store.  Some sponsors will buy their recruits their first set of business cards when they sign up or when they make a certain sales level.

Learn the Product – of course, you have to learn the product you will be presenting.  You do not have to be perfect at your party.  Make cue cards if you feel that you will forget some of the details.  Learn about products that will be in your kit as well as items that you may not have but people might ask about.

Observe a Party – Invite your recruit to come to one of your parties and observe.  If this is not possible due to distance or timing, see if you can find someone else that they can shadow.  You may prefer to get together 1 on 1 and have a practice party instead.

Banking – While it’s exciting to get started, there are some practical things such as banking that have to be thought about.  It is best to open a separate bank account and get a separate credit card as well that is for your business only.  If you are using your personal accounts, you may find it gets confusing.  It also is not a good idea for tax purposes to combine.  If you cannot get a credit card, you may want to look into a prepaid credit card instead.

Office Supplies – Another practical consideration is how you are going to organize your paperwork.  It is very easy to let this get out of hand and before you know it, you have a stack of paper that you just keep running away from.  Getting a bunch of envelopes or file folders can be a great option and then you can sort things by month or by party or whatever method.   Offer your recruit a few ideas as to how to file and what works for you.

Do you have some other ideas as to what you can help your new recruit with while they wait?

Enhanced by Zemanta