Archive | September 2014

What NOT to do in Direct Sales (and a tip on how to gain leads)

makeup party

I’ve been happily involved in the world of Direct Sales since 2009. My first experience was with a company that had me working in an office, instead of out of your home, and I did that full time for two years. I was a top sales rep and top recruiter in Southern California most months out of the year. In this company I was lucky enough to receive a priceless amount of training in sales and downline management and training.

After two years I knew I would never work as an employee again, ever. I loved the freedom of working for myself! And working for a DS company allows the average person the opportunity to be self employed without having any experience whatsoever.

The unfortunate thing about DS is that because there are so many people involved who are brand new to the world of business ownership, the desperate acts of those with little to no training actually ends up pushing people away. At the risk of sounding like a know-it-all, I wanted to provide a couple tips of what not to do when building your DS business.

  1. Do NOT send spam messages to people on Facebook

In an effort to reach out to a possible new recruit, I had someone I did not know send me a very random private message to my Facebook account today. Here’s how the conversation went:

 DS Rep:      Hello! How are you today? http://www.DScompany/repname

Me:               Um, I’m fine, thank you. Is this spam?

DS Rep:       No, no spam!  Our starter kits are on sale starting at $74 to become a consultant with                           XYZ company! Would you like more information? http://www.DScompany/repname

Me.               No, thank you.

DS Rep:       Okay! Would you be interested in hosting a party and earning free product!

Me:               No, thank you.

DS Rep:       Okay thank you have a good day! http://www.DScompany/repname

 Don’t be this person!
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This approach is not going to work for two reasons:
1) This is the equivalent of someone at the mall walking up to me and shoving a catalog in my face and saying, “It’ll cost $74 to be my recruit and make me money! Want more information?” Um…no, thank you, and please get out of my face. There is absolutely no benefit to me being presented here.
2) I have no idea what her company sells, whether or not I like their products or if I would even have a use for them. Not to mention, I don’t know HER.

People want to do business with people they know, trust, and like. I’ll elaborate on this a little later.

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   2. Do not focus on getting my money

I know that really, the number one reason most people join a DS company is to make extra money. Some people are lucky enough to be able to quit their day jobs after a while and do it full time and support their families.

I’m going to tell you a secret: Those people that make it to the top don’t focus on sales. They focus on building relationships. I’m going to say that again for effect: focus on building relationships.

Here’s another example of someone I had an interaction with on Facebook:

DS Rep posted a link on a community FB group to his distributor website with no comment or description.

I liked the post, mostly because I support direct sales, a little bit because eventually I’ll want a product in his genre.

Two seconds later he tags me in a comment and asks, “Are you interested??”

Me:              Is your product the same as this other product I can buy at the store?

DS Rep:     Yes, but ours is better. My wife used that other one years ago with no results when I                             found this company man it was the best thing. (Tip: Please use correct grammar and                           punctuation when promoting your business)

Me:             How is it different than this other competitor DS company?

DS Rep:     Just whats in the ingredients. If you want to read more info on it you’re welcome to go                         to my website. (Tip: this sentence just lost him a potential customer)

DS Rep:     Did you want to try it???

Me:            Well, I’m interested in finding something. My friend sells your competitor DS product,                        so I was wondering how yours was different.

DS Rep:    It’s just what’s in it. My wife and I use it and it’s the best.

DS Rep:    Here’s a pic of the trial:

Me:           Thanks, I’ll look at your website.

So let’s think for a second. Read through that convo one more time and try to think of why, exactly, he lost me as a potential customer.

Two reasons:
1) All he wanted was a sale. It’s obvious because twice he asks me if i want to buy his product without one time educating me on anything about it.
2) He’s LAZY. He’s lazy! Seriously, I could not believe he couldn’t tell me anything about his product, and instead just wanted me to to do the work in going to his website and comparing it to the other products I know about. News flash: Customers are too lazy to do that kind of work. As a business owner you CANNOT be lazy like that!
Let me tell you something I’ve learned in my years of Direct Sales: making a sale is about Product Knowledge. You have to scentsy-home-party-21
know your product inside and out. Know as much as you can about it. That way you can educate your customer about your product, look professional, and not resort to putting down the competition. That’s just tacky.
Okay, so let’s talk about what you should do!
I’ll give you one tip for how to reach potential customers/hosts/recruits without harassing your friends and family, or random people on the internet.
Provide a customer appreciation day for a local business!
Dress in your most professional work outfit. Find something that makes you feel like a million dollars! Do your makeup and your hair, put on your favorite jewelry and accessories, apply a brand new Jamberry manicure, and a big bright smile!
imagesGo to your local shopping mall and walk into some of the retail stores, such as Lane Bryant for example (find a store where your target market would be shopping), and ask to speak to the manager. With a bright smile, introduce yourself and let them know you are a representative for XYZ company, and one of the services you provide is a customer appreciation day.
What you would do is come in on a busy day for them and purchase a gift card for a minimum of $25 (if you’re able and willing to do more, that’s great!), you would then set up a nice little table with a bouquet of roses at their entrance, and let them know they’ll welcome all of their customers that day (this will only be for 1-2 hours max).
Welcome them to the store, and let them know you’re holding a drawing for a free gift card to that store today. Have them write down their name and number and give them a rose. Let them know a second and/or third place prize will be something from your company!
Keep this interaction with them as short and sweet as possible. You are NOT selling anything right now! You’re simply providing a warm welcome.
Once you’re done, call the winner and arrange to give them their gift card.
Go home!
The success will be in your follow up. I hope you’ve gotten some training on follow up calls. If not, I’ll definitely be doing a post on follow up calls in the future.
Tip: This could be a great way to help out your recruits who have few to no people to start hosting parties with. Proof that follow-up-callanyone can succeed in direct sales, whether or not they know anyone.
If you’d like more advice on direct selling, or on how to execute this customer appreciation service, please feel free to contact me! I don’t care what company you represent. I simply love seeing people succeed. 🙂

Opening Pandora’s Box (aka my Schrödinger’s cat experiment)

Anyone who is not living under a rock is most likely aware of the most awesome sitcom since Friends – The Big Bang Theory! And any such person is probably also aware of a delightfully quirky character named Sheldon Cooper, my second favorite character on said show (Penny is just too adorable not to be number 1!).

Bonus! One example of Sheldon Cooper: Leonard: You’ll never guess what just happened. Sheldon: You went out in the hallway, stumbled into an inter-dimensional portal, which brought you 5,000 years into the future, where you took advantage of the advanced technology to build a time machine, and now you’re back, to bring us all with you to the year 7010, where we are transported to work at the think-a-torium by telepathically controlled flying dolphins? Leonard: No. Penny kissed me. Sheldon: Who would ever guess that?

Well, if you’re not familiar with the theory of Schrödinger’s cat, here is a delightful clip of my two favorite characters explaining the concept. For a no-frills experience, the actual explanation starts at 2:40. Actually, with Sheldon there’s no such thing as ‘no frills’, sorry. But that’s where the most amount of frills will be behind you.

penny-and-sheldon-penny-and-sheldon-8740720-500-300If you’d rather not watch this hilarious clip, imagine this: There is a sealed box that contains a cat and a vial of poison that will be opened and released at a random time. Since no one knows when or if the poison has been released, until the box is opened, the cat can be thought of as both alive and dead.

Just like Schrödinger’s cat, right now my Mary Kay business can be thought of as both a failure and a success. It is only by opening the box, that I’ll find out which it will be.

Ugh. Okay, enough of me being philosophical about makeup.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have received The Box! My official Mary Kay Box of secret ingredients that is intended to jump start my career to the stars! Or so they say.

starter kitstarter kit 2Actually, receiving this box is quite exciting! Anything that is new usually brings with it some level of excitement and curiosity for the future.

Taking everything out was scary because I was afraid I’d never get it all back in there so nice and neat. But it sure was fun to look at how much stuff I got! Almost $500 worth of products and business supplies for a sale price of $75 (September’s start-up discount; regular price $100). I recently joined a direct sales Facebook page and have learned that many people purchase starter kits from all kinds of DS companies just to get all the stuff the comes in it for a cheap price! That never even occurred to me, but I like the idea! Origami Owl, Scentsy, and Jamberry are all great companies that come to mind with that idea!

bag

I think my favorite part was this SUPER cute bag that’s going to be great to carry everything to my parties. Yeah, can I get two of these, please??

So here’s to possibilities and new experiences!  Now where’s my martini?

MARTINI

Taking the Plunge

CLIFF

So yesterday I stepped off the cliff. It’s official! Am I nervous? Well, to a certain extent, yes. I believe that is quite normal. Most people have a certain sense of excitement/nervousness/what-the-hell-am-I-doing type of butterflies when they embark on a new adventure such as this.

Except in my case, this is not the first time I’ve embarked in this particular type of journey. If you’ve read my Girl Behind the Blog section, you’ll notice that I consider myself a serial entrepreneur. It’s quite an accurate description. I have already worked with three other direct sales companies in the past. My first experience, with Safety Pro, Inc., I actually did full time for two whole years, and I loved it. After that I did Scentsy and then Avon. Although the essence of every direct sales company is, for the most part, similar, each one has it’s own little quirks that makes it slightly unique from the rest.

Here’s the most important thing to know about direct sales, if that’s something you’re interested in getting into: Just because you’re not good at one, doesn’t mean you won’t be good at another. For example, I LOVE Scentsy products. I love their cute candle warmers, and I love their scents. But I’m not quite passionate enough about them to be great at selling them. I really like Jamberry products, but I’m just not excited enough about them to make a living at selling them. Skincare? I’ve been obsessed with skincare since high school. On the other hand, even though Avon is known as a skincare brand, I really didn’t like their corporate structure, or the fact that they only offer you 20% on your sales (not to mention I didn’t like the person I signed up with). You can earn 50% commission on your sales in Mary Kay, but still, that’s only one reason why I chose to join them.

WHY

Why? Gosh, there’s probably at least a dozen reasons. But I’ll narrow it down to the first three for now.

The first reason is probably the same as everyone who ever joins any direct sales business – $money$. It’s all about the Benjamins, baby! But in the end, if that’s all you’re in it for, you most likely won’t last very long. In my experience in sales, unless you genuinely care about people and care about helping them, you’re not going to get very far in your business. The internet is ripe with people complaining about how pushy their MK rep was, or how all their MK rep wanted to talk about was the business opportunity (bad recruiting technique), and so on and so forth. These complaints can be found about EVERY direct sales company out there. Just like any business, there’s always going to be some bad apples.

Second reason – I’m obsessed with setting myself up for the future. I’m not yet married, and I don’t have any children yet. But someday both of those are going to happen. My boyfriend and I have been together for two and a half years, and we have done a lot of planning for our future. And although we live together now, we feel like it would be irresponsible of us to start a family without being more financially secure than we are now. Children can be stressful enough as it is, and neither of us want to have children that lead to arguments because we don’t have enough money for diapers and baby food. So really, I’m not in MK because I want to make an extra $2-300/month. I’m in it because I want to be able to have a business to support my family in the future.

The third, and ultimately the most important, reason is that I believe in my ability to succeed. Unless you believe in yourself, I can’t imagine being able to succeed at anything. Why else would you even try? You have to believe in yourself before anyone else will. I have 7 year’s experience in sales (being a ballroom dance teacher pretty much certifies you as a sales expert when you work for a franchise), along with several year’s experience in direct sales specifically. ONE THING

Unlike some other MK blogs that I’ve found recently, I’ve realized that my blog is not full of hearts and exclamation marks and raw enthusiasm for starting my new business. Honestly, I’ve done a TON of research about MK before actually getting started. This has been a very calculated step for me to take. As I’ve mentioned before, I met my MK rep three years ago, and she’s been talking to me about starting ever since then.

So what’s next?

I should be receiving my starter kit sometime next week. I have a meeting with my rep, Patty, on Wednesday morning and we’re going to talk about how to get started. One obstacle someone like me has, is that I’ve done so many sales jobs that I’ve pretty much worn out my list of friends who will host a pity party for me. And honestly, that’s really what it is. Your friends are not your target market, but usually they’ll love you enough to help you get started. But at this point, I don’t even want to bother them with it. I’ve actually only told two people about this – my boyfriend and my best friend.

So here we go! The first day of the rest of your life, as they say. Here’s to a new adventure! Now where’s my appletini?

MARTINI

How it all started

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Three years ago (2011) I was at the Starbucks in Corona, probably enjoying an iced White Mocha or a Passion Tea Lemonade, while I killed some time before having to go somewhere. Settled nicely on one of their couches and reveling in their comfortable, air conditioned environment, I noticed the party at a table next to me. There was a woman, along with two 20-something girls. It was a Mary Kay meeting. The woman, whose name I learned is Patty, had already recruited one of them, and she had brought her friend to see Patty because she wanted to know more about the business opportunity. I don’t remember exactly what I heard but I remember being interested in the conversation, and I LOVED Patty’s Mary Kay bag. (Something about me – usually, if it’s pink, I want it!)

Once the girls had finished up and left, Patty noticed me and asked me something, probably to the effect of whether or not I had ever tried Mary Kay before. I had just finished up working full time for a direct sales company in Corona called Safety Pro. I know pretty much everything there is to know about direct sales. My experience at that company will probably be an entire post on its own. I enjoy and prefer being self employed (and actually that’s because of my experience at Safety Pro), and so I gave her my attention while she talked to me about her Mary Kay experience.

When we walked outside I noticed she was driving a Mary Kay car, a nice-looking sedan. She told me all about their free car program. This was her third one! We exchanged information and promised to keep in touch. At the time I was working part time at a local hotel earning less than $200/week. It was definitely not the time for me to be investing in a new business.

And keep in touch, we did. About once a year or so she would send me an email just to check in. About three months ago, she sent another one of those messages to me. She asked if we could get together and I agreed. We chatted business over some iced coffee and passion tea. She is such a pleasant and wonderful person, mostly I agreed to meet up with her because I like her personality. She’s true, genuine, and down to earth. She’s passionate about what she does, and she is very successful with her business. I also noticed when I pulled up in the parking lot that she is now driving a Mary Kay SUV – her 5th free car!

I told her it still was not a good time for me to get started. Now I’m working part time as a fit model for Torrid, and going to school full time. Still…earning about $200/week. That’s embarrassing. 31 years old…still working part time…still no career…still earning beans. UGH.

Last Friday I went to a little Mary Kay get-together at her house. How much fun it was! Hanging out with women, talking about makeup, and I even acted as their face model for the tutorial her upline was doing, so I got a free makeup sesh! Her director is FABULOUS.

Mary Kay is having a little sale on their starter kits this month. $75 instead of $100. I’m starting this blog because I feel like this may be the right time for me. We shall see!

Thanks so much for reading. 🙂

❤ ❤ ❤