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How I Easily Got 18 New Leads

So last night I participated in my very first Customer Appreciation Day! I’ve been looking forward to this for a couple weeks now, and I’ve been quite excited! If you missed out on how I got this arrangement set up, click here to read about it.

Black_White_KP_01To prepare for this event, the supplies that I needed were very minimal. From the dollar store I got a pack of pink 3×5 cards, a glass jar, and a packet of 10 pens (total $3). I borrowed a portable, fold-up table from a friend (I’m definitely investing in one of those!), and I took my table cloth from home. I also brought a few products, catalogs, and business cards.

I went to White House Black Market, which is a super gorgeous store! I’ve actually never shopped there, but it’s a wonderful place to get some very classy business attire and dress clothes. 10748650_10204619875912235_1107979702_n

The event that they had scheduled was held on Sunday from 3-6:00 PM. This was the first time they held a Customer Appreciation Day like this, but they did fairly well in advertising it. Along with some coupons they had mailed out to their VIP customers, they also gave them 10% off their purchase during the event. Most of the customers actually had appointments with one of the sales associates or a manager, so it was kind of like a personal shopping experience as well!

photo 1My objective for this event was simply to get leads. While I did bring some of my inventory, I had no expectation to actually sell anything. So I set up my table as I would with any vendor event so they could see some of the product, along with some catalogs that everyone could take home.

The managers also put together 15 gift bags for the VIP customers who had appointments. I’m photo 1 (1)not sure what all was in them, but they allowed me to add a catalog, business card, and a trial-size Satin Hands lotion.

They cleared out a section in the back of the store, right at the entrance of the dressing room. As each of the ladies walked by, either on their way to try something on, or as they were browsing nearby, I would let them know I was raffling off a $20 gift card and asked if they would like to enter the raffle.

After asking the first couple of people, I realized that they would look at my table and think that I was raffling off a $20 Mary Kay gift card, so I then would pick up the gift card as I asked them, so they could see it was from White House Black Market (The store name is a bit long, so I didn’t want to say that every time). I was quite excited that almost everyone wanted to!

As each person was writing down their information (I asked for name, number so I could call if they win, photo 3and an address so I could send them their prize), I would ask each one, “Have you ever tried Mary Kay products before?” I didn’t actually plan this out, but I immediately realized that that was a valuable question! Their answers gave me a lot of insight on how I should or should not follow up with them. Remember, my point of this event is leads, so if someone tells me, “Yes, I’ve tried them, but I’m allergic,” or, “Yes, but I didn’t particularly like them,” then those are people I will not waste time in contacting. They’re obviously not interested in my product (but of course they stay in the drawing for the gift card!). But many of them said things such as, “I used to,” or “No, I haven’t,” which indicated they were open to my business. A couple people said they used to use Mary Kay, but they no longer had a consultant (ding! ding! ding! We have a winner, folks!).

When they were done writing down their information, they would hand me their paper, I would hand them a catalog and thank them for entering. Before I put their paper in the jar, I would write a very quick note on it that would remind me of their answer later on, fold it in half and put it in the jar.

Some perks of doing an event like this includes yummy drinks and snacks! There were a few periods where there were no photo 2 (2)new customers in the store, so I took that time to rub elbows with the store managers, sales associates, and the other vendor who was set up next to me (who I exchanged catalogs with, since her Mary Kay rep was no longer in the business!). Another great perk was that they gave me three 25% off cards for their Friends and Family event!

photo 4This event went well enough that the managers said they plan on doing this once a month, and they’d like me to join them each time! Woo-hoo! So now I have a guaranteed event where I can easily get new leads. Not to mention I have four other stores who are interested in doing an event like this.

So by the end of the night, I had 18 new leads! Hence, my (inconspicuous) happy face selfie!photo 3 (4)

This weekend I’m going to randomly draw a name to send them their gift card, and also call the people who indicated some interest in Mary Kay.

Just a word of advice, don’t be this person….

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The other vendor they had scheduled was over an hour late, and when she arrived she spent about 20 minutes getting her table set up, and she still had sample bags that she had to arrange. By the time she was all settled in and ready to talk to customers, I had already gotten the majority of my raffle entries, and most of the gift bags the managers were giving out were already gone.

She was a relatively new consultant, and I believe she did not have much  training on how to run a vendor event. It didn’t seem as if she had a game plan, because as customers would walk by her table she would smile and say hello, and the customers would say hello back and continue shopping. She didn’t do, say, or have anything that would give the customers a reason to stop at her table.

I’m not adding in any of this to talk badly about this consultant, or her business. I just want to point out the importance of not only being on time, but being early, and having all of your supplies ready before you get there. Have a purpose and a plan on how to execute it. Even though I did this for Mary Kay, this can work for any direct sales company. It’s simply a service you’re providing a company (the gift card is tax deductible!), and you’ve got a great way to put your face and business in front of a new group of people.

I hope this can help you out! If you’ve ever done anything similar and have something to add, please let me know! If this is a new idea for you, and you try it out, I’d love to hear about it!

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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