Not All Advice is Good Advice

Advice and Opinions are not the same thing.

By definition, Advice is: guidance or recommendations concerning prudent future action, typically given by someone regarded as knowledgeable or authoritative.

Seek advice not opinions

Whereas an Opinion is: a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge

Whether or not you embrace Christianity is a conversation better left for another place and time.  However, regardless of your personal beliefs, the Bible does contain some wise words as it pertains to this subject:

  • The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
  • Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
  • Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.
  • Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
  • Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life.

A common mistake made by those who are new to direct sales or who are considering signing up to be an independent consultant is to ask the opinions of family and friends.  “What do you think? I’m thinking about joining… should I do it? Do you like this? Which do you like better?  Would you host a party?”

The answer to those above questions, if posed to your family and friends is: “It doesn’t matter what they think!” GASP! Yes I did just say that. Of course you want their approval, blessing and support. Who doesn’t when starting out a new venture? But you’d be asking for their opinion, not their advice.

Who cares what they think about what you want to do? Are they qualified to give you solid advice about the direct sales industry or about owning a business? Is their feedback based on experience, knowledge, skills and abilities? Generally the answer is no they are not qualified; at least not based on that criteria.

The same holds true for online platforms – forums, Facebook, online communities.

Daily I see women (sorry to call my gender on the carpet but I rarely see men do this) pop up online and ask for opinions. They think they are asking for advice, but they’re really shopping for answers. In many cases, they’re looking for validation of what they want to hear. [Read more...]

If You Don’t Ask You Don’t Get

If You Don't Ask You Don't GetI have no problem saying “No Thank You.”  Many people, however just can’t say no; or feel guilty when they do. Others feel that they have to make excuses when they tell someone they don’t want to or can’t do something.

Those are generally the same people who have trouble asking for things.

Specifically I’m referring to direct sales independent consultants who have a hard time asking others to join their team or to host a party or to come to a demonstration or even to look at their online party.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get

Don’t assume that because you may have the inability to say no, that others will as well. Don’t assume that if you ask someone to somehow engage with your fabulous direct sales products or opportunities you’ll make them feel uncomfortable.

If you don’t ask, the answer is already “no”.  If you ask, you have a 50/50 chance you’ll get a yes.

The other day I received a message on my Facebook business page for my candle business. The message said: “Hi, I was wondering if you would be interested in any other network marketing opportunities? I look forward to hearing from you:) “ [Read more...]

Pushing Your Team Members Away

rewarding-your-downline

From the What Not to Do File:
Don’t give your team members prizes and gifts from another direct sales company

Consider this scenario: A direct sales consultant has some downline team members. She wants to offer a sales incentive because her numbers are a little slow.

Instead of offering as prizes some extra product from her company so team members can build their inventory, you wants to offer something different.

Instead of offering some business supplies to help build their own businesses she wants to offer something different.

Instead of giving them a Starbucks or Amazon gift card so they can have a drink on her or pick up something to help their business, she wants to do something different.

She decides to buy prizes from another direct sales consultant with another company.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for supporting independent consultants. I purchase from other consultants on a fairly regular basis … but for PERSONAL USE!

Why would I not utilize my own company products which I could earn commission, add to my needed volume and help team members build their inventory? Or if I opted to do something non-company related, such as Amazon, the recipients could select what they wanted.

But by giving products to her team members from another direct sales company, here’s what she’s telling her team members:

We don’t offer anything that could help your business or that you would like. In fact, I’m going to give you something that this other company offers, and if you like it, you might want to leave my team and sign up with that company, then you can buy more and earn commissions on it. Or maybe you don’t want to leave my team, but you can still sign up with another company, then your efforts, attentions and funds will be divided so you won’t be selling or buying as much with my company, but I am okay with that, otherwise why would I be pushing you away?

Wait! It gets better.

I just heard a story of a team leader buying products from another company to give her team, and the items she bought was something very similar to what her own company carries! When I asked her about why she would do that she responded that the rep with the other company bought a lot from her so “she felt obligated!”  Yikes. If you’re the type who feels obligated to buy from people, let me give you my webstore address!  Or perhaps purge your guilt, but for gosh sakes don’t give the items you bought out of obligation to your own team members!

I just don’t understand who would think this is a good idea!

Consider the bottom line.  Consider profit margin.  Consider whether or not what you’re about to participate in will increase sales – that is, sales of your own product line.

If the action you take today won’t lead you closer to the next customer, host or recruit, it might be time to rethink your action plan.  If you’re a direct sales independent consultant, you’ll do well to stick to offering your own product line.

 

Invest Wisely In Samples

Whether you sell a product or service, most people like to experience a sample before they buy.  Content writers will share samples of their writing. Candle consultants will offer scented wax samples; and likewise bath and body consultants will offer samples of their lotions and potions. Great idea, yes?

Samples

Yes, try it before you buy it can be a great idea, if handled properly. Specifically for product sales, for the direct sales consultants, what I mean by “if handled properly” is if you are going to invest in samples, make sure you’ll get a return on your investment (ROI).

To illustrate, allow me to give you a real life example.

A new direct sales consultant mailed me a catalog and some samples. She invested in the price of the catalog, envelope, postage and actual product samples. The goal is obviously to have me try some of the products and then hopefully I would make a purchase, perhaps want to be a host, or even sell the products myself. That’s pretty much how direct sales works. She was gracious to send me five different samples.

What she did right:

  • Catalog was labeled with her contact information.
  • I received a nice variety to try. Five may have been excessive, but as the recipient I’m not complaining.
  • One of the samples had her contact information on it.

Opportunities for Improvement:

  • Only one of the samples had any product information. It had the name of the product and how to use it.  All the others merely had the name of the product.  It was a bath and body product line with an extensive product offering.  I don’t know which part of my body I am supposed to use the product – they offer products pretty much from head to toe. I don’t really want to put some foot scrub on my lips or vice versa.
  • She could have labeled these a number of ways – such as Pg. 19. Then I would know there’s more info about it in the catalog. Or even: Body Butter. Or Lips.  Something, anything, to give me an idea what it is to be used for.  Now will I actually go back through the extensive catalog to find what samples I have and where and how to use it? In this particular case, because of who sent it to me, I probably will. But I highly doubt most others will.
  • Most of the individual samples didn’t have any contact information. What if I didn’t care for the scent of a particular item or maybe I tried one of them and it caused problems with my supersensitive skin – throw it out or pass it on to someone else?  If all the samples were labeled then it wouldn’t matter who ends up with it. The original recipient could pass it on to someone else and it could still end up being a sale, booking or new recruit. Without that contact info, it’s ‘here, someone gave this to me, want it?’ with zero chance of a return on that investment.

Samples can really boost your direct sales business – providing you are making wise investments with how you are using them.  If you’re not using samples, I’d encourage you to do so. If you are currently using them, I’d encourage you to take stock of what you’re doing to ensure you have set yourself up to get the highest return on your investment.

See you at the top!

Rude Turkeys

I’m writing about rudeness not because I don’t have thick skin – that’s a necessity if you’re going to be in sales and leadership. But rather to let other consultants and leaders know if they experience rudeness, they’re not alone and there are ways to handle those situations.

Soar With The Eagles

Maybe because I’m from the older generation – okay not older by society standards but more so by direct sales standards – I don’t have much tolerance for rudeness and disrespect. I’m nearing half way to one hundred and this industry can tend to attract a large population of 20- and 30- something year old independent consultants. Not at all saying everyone in this age group is rude (no hate mail please) just that it’s a different generation than some of us old timers.

We could probably have a lengthy discussion on the merits of changing generations and “back in my day” type conversations. For example, back in my day there was no Time Out. There was Get-Your-Dupa-Over-Here-and-Bend-Over-So-I-Can-Give-You-Some-Discipline.  Darn tootin’ I never did that again. By the way, don’t ever tell your dad “That didn’t hurt”.  Just sayin’. [Read more...]

Setting Yourself Apart in Direct Sales

Stand out of a crowd

There are hundreds of thousands of direct sales consultants. Within your own company there are likely thousands of fellow consultants, also known as competitors. What makes you special so that customers and recruits should do business with you?

Consider this: Quick, take 10-15 seconds to list as many toothpaste brands as you can. Tick tock … no, really, do it, now. (Insert Jeopardy music here). Okay, how many did you list? I’m guessing maybe three – five different brands. Did you know there are over 100 brands of toothpaste?

Think about why you remembered those that you listed. Those companies are clearly doing a good job with branding. Generally a company will set themselves apart by highlighting a particular benefit – they’re the most efficient, or the tastiest, or the longest lasting or most convenient, or most versatile or any number of factors. What most will not want to be known for is being the cheapest. Competing on price isn’t generally a good idea.

Now think about your own direct sales business.

While there is a corporate office and there are the products, essentially you are the company. You are the face that represents those products and that business opportunity. If you’re a real gem, customers will be pleased with the company. If you’re a doozy of a consultant, there’s a chance you’ve ruined the whole company for many customers. [Read more...]

Five Reasons Not to Join a Direct Sales Swap Group

Group of shopping girls over white background

One of the reasons I have been successful with my direct sales business all these years is because I run my business like a business. I consider profit margins. I look at getting the best return on my investment and I consider all actions I do to determine if it is in the best interest of my business.

My degree is in business administration, so perhaps that’s why I look at my direct sales business with a different set of eyes than many independent consultants who aren’t able to see they’re losing money. If I started a business (joined a direct sales company, aka Business in a Box) I’m doing so to earn a profit. Otherwise it is just an expensive or fun hobby.

With that above preface let’s have a family roundtable meeting about Swap Groups. For those unfamiliar with what I’m referring – it’s typically on online group, generally on Facebook, where various direct sales independent consultants get together to help each other by being forced to buy from each other. The rules can vary but the concept is similar in each group. Unless it’s a cookie swap or Christmas ornament swap I am against direct sales swap groups and here’s why: [Read more...]

J-Months Don’t Have to Be Slow

Have you heard the rumor that the J-months (January, June and July) are slow for many direct sales businesses?  Don’t believe it! It’s false! Of course they will be slow if you stop working your business, but that’s a given.

Jim Rohn Quote

Keeping Working Your Business in the Summer

Direct sales takes a unique balance of working for the future and working for the now. If you look too far in advance you’ll sacrifice your current month. Take advantage of current customer and host promotions and events that may be ideal for gift giving. However if you don’t fill your calendar in advance then your future months will be unproductive. It’s a bit like having to pat your head and rub your belly at the same time. It can be done if you focus. [Read more...]

Increase Business Exposure By Hosting an Art Contest

Does your direct sales business offer any products that could be enjoyed by children? If so, host an art contest. Advertising the contest and the final submissions will increase exposure to your business.

Sponsor Fun Events To Grow Your Biz

How to Organize an Art Contest

There are a couple different ways you can do organize it. You could host a local art contest at your home or local property, with permission of the property owner of course.  You could also open it up online to accept electronic submissions.  Host a Sidewalk Chalk competition and/or other mediums such as print ads, murals or posters.

Then determine what age group for whom you want to open the contest. If your company offers scented stuffed animals you could select a younger starting age than you could if you sell jewelry that may be more enjoyed by tweens or tweens.

Next determine the criteria. Make sure the contestants include your company name, website address and perhaps a slogan or product image of their choosing that must be included in their artwork.

If doing a Sidewalk Chalk local contest, set a date, make sure there is plenty of sidewalk space, supply the chalk and pray for good weather.  Provide simple snacks, such as lemonade and popsicles for all artists and have something available for the taxi drivers, i.e. adults who may likely accompany the minor and possibly shop at your open house or catalog party while their little Picasso is working on the winning entry.

Take lots of photos of the event and post the results online.

You can make it as simple or as complex as you want. You can have random, non-partial judges pick a winner or you can have the contestants help spread the word online with a voting (most likes wins) option.  Grand Prize would be a prize package of your company products or a gift basket.  Runners up could also win something and all other participants receive either a sample or coupon or some token award for participating.

Let your imagination guide you on how elaborate and widespread you want to organize your Direct Sales Art Contest. I would encourage you to use the artists to help you spread the word about your business.  Be sure to come back and comment or send links if you hold an art contest for your business so we can help spread the word.

What Not to Do at Vendor Events

‘Tis the season to set up shop at vendor events, craft shows, expos and fairs. Rather than give you a long list of things you can do to ensure a successful show, it’s easier to highlight what not to do at vendor events.

What Not To Do At Vendor Events

The Perfect Bad Example.

  1. I approached a vendor to find her in one booth representing two different direct sales companies. This is generally prohibited by most companies, as a conflict of interest. Even if it’s not a policy violation, it sends a horrible message that she’s not doing well enough with either to sustain her. [Read more...]