Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Book Review - The Lessons From Apprentice - Chapters One - Three

I have enjoyed watching a few seasons of The Apprentice. Although my business is a network marketing business, the strategies I have learned from the show have been numerous. I've always loved watching how the teams who find the most creative forms of advertising often are victorious over their opponents.

I was excited when I found The Lessons from Apprentice during a recent shopping excursion.

I smiled all the way through this book. Many of the lessons I learned from the show were shared in the book.

Right off the bat, Mr. Trump speaks of both name and location. In the first chapter of the book, Mr.Trump shares his thoughts on choosing a name and what that name says about you and the business.

The first task a team receives is to choose a team name. Team names speak volumes about the group as a whole. What I find interesting is that in network marketing, group leaders sometimes choose names that end up hurting them in the long run. Imagine two teams, one is called "Sally's Silly Girls". The other team is called "The Entrepreneurs." Which team do you think men would be more inclined to join? Which team do you think a doctor or lawyer would be more inclined to join?

Chapter two is titled "Brainstorming 101." Mr. Trump speaks of several seasons of the show and explains how simple brainstorming done correctly spelled victory in challenge after challenge.

In network marketing, reading the words of others can very often help you in building a larger customer base and a larger sales team. Over the years, I have enjoyed many different authors, all who take a different approach to sales and marketing.

If you want to know how to sell more, read books written by a top seller. It doesn't matter what they are selling, what matters is that they are closing the sale. If you want to understand more about team dynamics, read books written by an expert in that topic.

The goal here is to know who to brainstorm with for each topic.

Chapter three is about instinct. I have to say that after reading the chapter, I'm not sure I would have given the chapter this title. It was a chapter more on planning and what to do when your plan doesn't quite work out as you had expected.

In network marketing, there are many times that a backup plan is needed. For example, someone orders a product for a gift and the item doesn't come in. What's your plan for this happening? How do you satisfy the customer and keep your cool? Knowing what might happen and how you'll react are key to succeeding.

This is a book chock full of everyday business lessons. It's well worth the cost of the book and the space on your bookshelf.

Audrey :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Do You Have An Emergency Plan in Network Marketing?

As I was at the hospital today visiting a friend, it made me ponder how many people in network marketing have a back-up plan. While my friend is going to be ok, she had a few days of being unable to respond to everyday questions.

We don’t always think about the many ways we are involved in our business. I’d like to offer some things to consider:

1. Does someone know your email password? If you were suddenly unavailable, is there someone who could answer business questions that came in? You might consider using an away message that is easily put into place should you become unavailable. Show someone living in your home how to put up this away message. It will let writers know that you’re unavailable and will return their email the following week. This allows a week for you and or your family to make a new plan.

2. If you have an order in transport, is there someone who knows where to find your receipts or order forms so that your shipment gets taken care of? Consider a system in Excel where you put the date the order was placed and the date you’re expecting the order to come in. If you keep this spreadsheet right on your desktop, it’s easy to find for your family. Consider keeping a list of the products ordered either with the spreadsheet or a hard copy right on your desk.

3. Does someone know how to check your voice mail messages for customer leads or business leads? Do they know what to do with these leads once they come in? I’d like to suggest that your family consider calling the people back and telling them that while you’ll be just fine, you are out ill for a few days and will call them back as soon as possible.

4. Does someone know who your upline is and how to reach your upline? Right on your computer desktop, keep a phone list containing your upline’s name and phone number and your companies name and phone number. I actually have a company folder on my desktop that contains this information.

5. Do you have a company website page? Does it need to be checked? My company email happens to be associated with my company page. I know not all companies operate this way. Is this website password protected? Does someone have the password to the site? Again, I suggest someone answering any correspondence by saying you’re unavailable for a few days and will answer them upon your return. You might even pre-write something today that your family could use for both your personal email and your company email should you become suddenly unavailable.

These are just five ways to keep your business running should you fall ill and not be home to take care of your business. Create a plan that works for you and your family and then let them know what to do so that your business stays afloat in your absence.

Audrey :)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Direct Sales - Your Online Photos

Something happened today that led me to want to write this article. I’m a huge Facebook fan. It’s an awesome tool for any network marketing business.

Whenever I get a friend request, I go to the page to see what information is there. I’m very picky about who I’ll accept friend requests from. Among my friends are my kids and also my mother. I do not want “friends” who say things that I don’t want my kids or my mother to read.

So, I got a friend request today from a man. I went to his page. His front page photo is him flipping someone off with both hands. I quickly hit “ignore” to his request and moved on.

I want interactive relationships with those I’m “friends” with. That means I’ll speak to them both privately and publicly and I hope they’ll do the same. I do not want a photo on my page of someone flipping others off. I find it offensive and am certain others would also.

I have no idea why this person asked to be my “friend.” He did not send me a message. He did not put any reason down with his request, just the request.

When you are networking online, it is my suggestion that you choose photos that are a bit more conservative. None of my photos are professionally done but I tend to stick to photos of me, me and my kids and I even had one of me and the dogs.

I know that both customers and team members are part of my social network on Facebook and so if I ever have photos I don’t want public, I make sure not to tag myself and to keep them rather hidden. And I never use those photos as my profile photo.

The same is true for blogs. I’ve seen really offensive photos on blogs and shake my head in sadness when they post that business is slow or that they don’t have many customers. I’m a strong supporter of letting others know you and sharing who you are but I draw the line at what could be offensive photos.

As you choose photos to put on social medial profiles and your blog, think about who might be visiting these pages. If you’re in network marketing and you’ll be friend requesting strangers, consider this also. Choose photos that let others get to know you while keeping it on a professional level.

Audrey :)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Think Outside the Box

Thinking outside of the box is a must in direct sales. There are literally millions of distributors out there selling both their product lines and also offering their business opportunities.

The October 2009 issue of Business Week mentioned my favorite social media network, Facebook and shared how Facebook might be thinking outside of the box in the future. There is a possibility that Facebook might charge for a “no ads experience.” There is also a chance that Facebook might charge a service fee if you want your photos printed. You’ll still be able to upload photos, the only difference is they’d now offer a service to print them.

Nothing about the basic Facebook service will change. The service I love will remain the same, but there are now a few ways that this network might bring in additional revenue for themselves.

Thinking of the service and products you offer, what are some ways you can offer more? One suggestion is, if you have a large group is to offer a bulk rate catalog mailing service. Bulk rate requires about 300 pieces minimum. You can offer this as a service to those distributors on your team who may not want to purchase and mail a full package of catalogs. You can also offer this to those who don’t have 300 pieces they want to mail out. You’ll be making money by increasing your team sales though this additional service.

Take your current products and create something new. For example, I sell plastic containers. At gift giving times of the year, I can offer to sell cookies in a jar, or brownies in a jar for a price higher than the stand alone item. This might appeal to someone who otherwise would not have made the purchase.

What are some ways you can think outside the box to further your own direct sales business?

Audrey :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Using Postcards in Network Marketing

I have found postcards to be a wonderful marketing tool in network marketing. Many companies provide company postcards at a very minimal cost and the postage to send a postcard as of this writing is only twenty-eight cents.

I’d like to share several ideas on using postcards for your network marketing business:

1. Send a postcard to customers, leads and team members when it’s their birthday. A regular birthday card with postage can easily cost three dollars or more. With a company postcard and postage you’ll pay only fifty cents to wish someone a happy birthday.

2. Send a thank-you note for a purchase. Most companies have reports that show you orders that have been placed online. Send a note thanking the person for their purchase. Very few people today send thank-you notes. This gesture will make you stand out in customer service.

3. When a team member has a good month, send them a card letting them know what a great job they’ve done. Everyone I know enjoys hearing how wonderful they are.

4. If you receive great customer service at a local retail establishment, send a postcard to thank the business for their great service. Good customer service is not common these days and so when you receive it, let people know their smiles are appreciated.

5. When a potential recruit has taken the time to speak with you, send them a thank-you for their time card. If they are shopping around for a business opportunity, there is a good chance you’ll be the only one who sends them a thank-you note.

These are just five ways you can use postcards in your overall marketing plan for your business. How many other reasons can you think of to send a quick note to someone you’d like to do business with?

Audrey :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Network Marketing – Promote Yourself as Eco-Friendly

If you are in network marketing, you have many opportunities to share your eco-friendly practices with team members and customers.

Whenever someone requests a catalog from me, I ask them if they would be interested in viewing the catalog online, thus saving paper. Over fifty percent of those I ask say yes.

For those that do request a paper catalog, I try to put stickers on the catalogs that say “share me with a friend.” I have even offered a discount for sharing the catalog and helping me get an additional customer order.

Instead of printing out company literature, create folders on your computer and store the information in the folders. I have several folders on my computer such as “company information”, “recruiting information”, “product information” and “customer information.”

When I read articles online that I really enjoy, instead of printing them out I save them to my computer. I have several folders for articles on my computer. I have “customer service”, “time management”, “sales tips” and more.

If you host home parties, consider using evites instead of paper invitations. Evites can be personalized and the site will keep track of R.S.V.P.’s and will even send out reminders for the party.

If you offer newsletters, offer an incentive for your customers and team members to receive your newsletter online instead of on paper through the mail. You’ll save money, paper and postage.

If you are delivering products to customers, ask if you can deliver the items without a bag. While a bag keeps the products neat and tidy, it also creates an item that eventually will end up in a landfill. If several people from one workplace are ordering, ask if you can have all orders shipped to one person. Not only will they save on shipping charges, but the company will be able to use fewer boxes to ship the order.

The ideas of being eco-friendly in network marketing are endless. Consider other ways you can help save the earth while providing your customers and team members with excellent service.

Audrey :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Are You Mr/Mrs Temptation?

I read the most wonderful blog post this morning

Dayne describes what I often see in network marketing. We're taught to listen for the "no" and then overcome it. We're told to present an offer that no one can refuse.

When you read Dayne's post, he shares that he never expressed an interest in what was being sold. He never asked for the phone call. He actually said no, yet the caller continued to peruse Dayne as if he were a lead.

Now, what would have happened if Dayne had said yes? The caller would've thought he had made a sale. But in reality, all he would have done is wear Dayne down. Once Dayne hung up, how excited do you think Dayne would have been?

Whether you're selling a specific product or your business opportunity, you want someone who means yes when they say yes. You want someone who is happy they said yes and enthusiastic to begin their new business with you.

Stay away from becoming Mr/Mrs Temptation. Instead make yourself known as Mr/Mrs Thoughtful or Helpful, the person others want to do business with.

Audrey :)