Tag Archives: direct sales customers

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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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 an Online Sale Personal

In the age of information, when everything is at our fingertips, it makes sense that more and more people are starting to favor shopping online versus shopping at the mall. However, a computer screen can’t replace human interaction, especially when purchasing big-ticket items like jewelry and electronics. Having the opinion of a customer service representative or personal shopper can be priceless and have a huge impact on whether or not you will make the sale. When running an online direct-to-consumer business, here are some ways to keep it personal to help out your bottom line.

Shop online

Shop online (Photo credit: Daniel*1977)

  1. Be present: Just because the sale is happening over the Internet doesn’t mean that there aren’t two parties on either end. Taking advantage of great tools like live chat, where customers can ask specific questions about a particular product or ask for advice can be the difference between a consumer buying an item online or going into a store to check it out.
  2. Have a good return policy: Your return policy is key for customer service, and often plays a direct role in whether a customer will give repeat business. If one of your clients isn’t satisfied with her purchase, having the ability to return it hassle-free will help her keep her faith with online business.
  3. Communicate often: Your website offers a wealth of information about your business, but the difference between a good and a great FAQ page can affect your bottom line. Don’t have control over you’re employer’s website? Facebook and twitter are great tools to help address customer concerns and inquiries. Think about it – if you were shelling out mucho dollars for a set of pearls with diamonds, you would want to know that you were getting great bling for your buck, and constant contact would play a big role. Focusing your store on customer service instead of sales breeds repeat customers.
  4. Socialize: Social media is a huge opportunity for consumers to interact with merchants, so keep it personal when utilizing social media. If someone airs a grievance, use discretion in determining which posts to keep or delete, and don’t be afraid to comfort a customer on a public forum. If other potential clients see that you care, they may bookmark your site.
  5. Be creative: As a business owner or operator, you are certainly creative, so put your brain-wheels to work to figure out the best way to achieve making relationships with your clientele. For some, offering the option of an interactive “dressing room,” where customers can upload an image of themselves and “try on” products may be the way to go; for others, it may mean offering a “Free Try-on Period” where you send home a few items with the understanding that the customer will get charged for the items they don’t send back within a few days of receiving them.

In the age of information, it seems like everything is done online: dating, college classes, and of course, shopping – but that doesn’t mean that these should be impersonal experiences. Keeping these tips in mind can ensure that your customers are happy with their shopping experience enough to return time and time again.

Carly Chodosh is the Social Media Manager at Pearl & Clasp, a pearl jewelry company that specializes in restringing pearls, pearl clasps and custom designed pieces.

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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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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.

Direct Sales Target Audience

Do you know who your target is?  I think the majority of those in direct sales would tend to say that their ideal customer is in their late 20’s to early 40’s, female with disposable income.  But is this truly accurate?  My thoughts would be for the majority of companies; it likely is, but what about the direct sales companies which sell products with a different demographic?

Food – Do you think a direct sales company only targets these individuals?  My guess is no.  The food companies are going to target anyone who cooks or maybe those that do not like cooking by telling them that food will be much easier to make with their products.  The products that food companies sell (at least the ones I have bought from) have a lot of products that are under $10 making them affordable from the student right on up to the senior with a limited income.  Some of the other products that they may offer, such as cookware or other home supplies may be more targeted, but I cannot think of too many people that might not like to add some spice to their food.

Clothing – Recently I have heard of some new clothing companies.  I am not sure if they are new to my area or to the direct sales arena in general, but again, their target consumer is likely different. For instance, the one company makes children’s clothing.  Of course, they need to target mom to buy the clothing but if the kid doesn’t like it, nothing mom says will make the kid wear it.  So the true target here is the child as they are brought to the event, they try on the clothes and decisions are made.

Vitamins/Supplements – With our population aging, there are more companies getting on the bandwagon in selling products to the aging market.  As a result, companies that make vitamins or beauty products may be changing their ideal demographic a bit.  They likely are still targeting the main female market but they will be expanding their age groups right up until retirement with vitamins that help you with energy, menopause or other health issues.  Right up there are beauty products that would help with wrinkles or age spots.

While the target audience and the majority of your direct sales target audience, may be the typical one, chances are you likely have some markets you have not considered based on your product mix.  You may have 75% of your product that hits this group but the rest could be marketed elsewhere.  What can you do to reach out to these buyers?

 

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How to handle the “I can buy at a discount store for less” customer?

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

When it comes right down to it, yes, the person can buy the same product at a discount store as they can buy through a direct sales consultant.  But, there are benefits to purchasing through a direct sales person as opposed to the store.

Customer service is huge! Make sure you are there for your customers.  Check to see how the product is working for them and if they need anything else in regards to information on using the product.

Knowledge – You can help your customer pick out the product that is exactly right for them.  At the discount stores, they are lucky to find someone to help them checkout.  Not only that, but you can help the customer with knowledge about how to use the product.

Free product – How many discount stores are going to give you discounted/free product when you get a few people together to shop?  Personally, I don’t know any, do you?

Quality – Quite often, the products that you buy through direct sales are better quality than those that you buy at the discount store.   Yes, they may cost more, but they are worth it for what you get.

Selection – Ever gone to the discount store and they are out of what you want?  That doesn’t happen when you order from the direct sales consultant as they bring the product that you specifically want in just for you.

Getting together – A big reason that people host direct sales events are to get together with friends and families.  They get to visit, do a bit of shopping, and just relax.  How many discount stores do you know that encourage you to come in with a group of friends and then let you sit back while they show you items available for purchase?

Of course, there are benefits that the discount stores have over the direct sales consultant, but if you are prepared, you will be ready to mention them.

Get product right there – You can fight this one by mentioning how if they buy from you, they know they will get exactly what they want and that it is fresh product and it has not been sitting on a shelf for months.  Offer to deliver right to their door so that they do not need to go out to get their product.

Cost – Remind them the quality that they are getting from the direct sales consultant versus the discount store.

Assistance – If they forget how something works, chances are if they try calling up the discount store, they are going to get laughed at for asking for assistance.  But they can call their direct sales consultant who will be more than happy to explain and offer some tips.

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5 Ways to Find More Guests for Your Parties

Finding people to host a party in exchange for cash or products is usually pretty simple.  Finding people to attend each party isn’t.  If you’ve built up a dependable group of customers but have trouble finding new folks to sell your stuff to, experiment with different ways to find party guests.  After all, more guests equal more income, right?

CRAIGSLIST

Craigslist isn’t just a creepy hangout for predators and scam artists.  Many direct sales experts use this site to advertise upcoming parties and events, post product specials, and link to their website.  Place your ad in the “General” section if you’re worried about getting flagged.

FLYERS

Good old-fashioned flyers never go out of style, so print a few colorful pieces and hand them out around town. Put them on grocery store boards, in the waiting room at your doctor’s office, and at the local laundromat.

INCENTIVES

Reward current clients for referrals with a fun gift, like a full-sized bottle of moisturizer or an exclusive sample of a new scented candle.  Cash prizes and gift cards also work well, so consider offering them to the person who brings the most party guests to your next event.

NETWORK

You can’t invite more people to your parties if you never meet anybody new.  Attend local networking events in your city, or chat with other business owners online.  Your new Avon friend might know a few people who want to buy your Pampered Chef products.

FACEBOOK

Social networking is an excellent way to find attendees for your next event, but tread with caution.  Post too often, and people will unsubscribe to your posts.  Post too little, and nobody will even know that you sell Scentsy.  Aim for 3 to 5 posts per week, and make sure you balance them out with other non-sales posts about your life.

FINAL THOUGHTS

It’s easy to fall into a comfortable rut after you’ve been doing direct sales for awhile.  No matter how much you make now, you can always make more.  Find more party guests and watch as your income grows each month.

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A Unique Method to Gain New Customers

I do a lot of reading and searching of the Internet to come up with ideas to post here.  Some of these are things I already knew or had heard of, and some are new to me.  That said, maybe they are not new to you.  Not all ideas that I post will work for you or will be things that you want to do.  That is fine.  These are just that, ideas, to help you out and possibly be ideas that you had not thought of yourself.

This is one I read about a bit ago.  I’m not sure that I would personally be comfortable doing this, but maybe you would be.  You can use this scenario when you have a captive audience such as a cashier, waitress, receptionist or anyone else you interact with for a minute or two.

Say: “You look familiar, have we met at one of my parties?”

Likely reaction: “What party?”

Your response: “Oh, I sell ABC item” and hand over a business card, brochure or whatever you carry with you.

From here, the conversation likely will continue on naturally and you may have a new customer, hostesses or even consultant.  Of course, you may have to follow up later if they are thinking of signing, but you made the first contact.

Another variation I have heard is taking the phone book, opening it up to a random page, and calling that person.  Similar situation.

You:  “Hi, is this Jennifer?”

Them: “No, you have a wrong number”

You: “Oh, this isn’t Jennifer that hosted a party with me last week?”

Them: “No, it’s not. “

You: “Oh, my apologies.  I wanted to make arrangements with her to deliver all her free product”

Hopefully at this point, the person you are speaking to will pick up on the free product and ask for more information.

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