Saturday, November 1, 2008

Getting Referrals in Network Marketing

If you are not currently asking for referrals, you may be missing a lot of potential business for your network marketing business.

Have you ever called a cold lead? I think the term “cold” came into play as it can be like talking to ice when you speak to someone you don’t know about something they may or may not be interested in.

Now think of the times you’ve spoken with someone you’re acquainted with who knows you and your products. Those conversations are much warmer and much more comfortable for everyone involved.

A referral is very much a “warm” lead. You already share one thing in common, a friendship with the person who did the referring.

There are several ways to ask for a referral. You can let your current customers know that you are accepting new customers and that there is a 10% discount for the new customer on their first order and a 10% discount to the referrer on their next order.

When you hand out catalogs you can add a sticker that says “gift for all referrals.”

When you send out your newsletter include a section that thanks those who have provided referrals for you.

What I don’t suggest doing is saying, “Do you know anyone who might want my products?” We live in a society where we are sold to so often we automatically say no without much thought.

If you’re face to face and the opportunity presents itself, you might say to your customer “I’m so thankful for referrals I’ll give you 50% off that one item you’ve been wanting if someone you refer to me places an order over $35.” Of course you can alter this sentence to make it fit for the company you represent. It’s just another way to get a referral without saying “do you know anyone?”

Referrals are such a wonderful gift to your business that you might consider all of these suggestions to build your warm list of referrals from current customers.

Audrey :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Direct Sales – Selling More Than Your Products

Being an article writer I have seen many authors offer a variety of items in their article bylines. There is much more to offer in direct sales than your products.

Direct sales is relationship building. What better way to build a relationship than to offer something to someone else. You can offer an e-book or e-series related to the products you sell. For example, if you sell health and wellness products, consider writing an ebook with chapters on nutrition, exercise, recipes, how to choose supplements, how to read labels etc. You can give away this ebook on your own website and you can offer it to others to give away. The ebook will have your name and your URL inside. This is a wonderful way to sell yourself without selling your products or opportunity to others.

What about offering a monthly newsletter? You can have a link to sign up for your newsletter on your website and on your blog. You can put the link to sign up in your emails, on articles you write and on signatures in online communities. Newsletters get forwarded to others all of the time. If I get a newsletter that contains an article I think one of my friends will enjoy, I send the newsletter to them.

Do you have a “title” with your direct sales company? Often companies have managers or directors or executives. Sell your title. When you write articles or when you post in communities, use that title. Let others know about the title you’ve achieved.

I was recently interviewed twice. Both interviews were placed on the interviewers’ blogs. One interview was written out and one was an audio interview. Several people have read and listened to these two interviews.

Do you write articles? If you do, consider buying a URL that links directly to all of your articles. This was an idea from Jeff Herring and I bought a domain that forwards right to each and every one of my articles.

In each example provided, I’ve offered something other than my products to others. I’ve sold others on the benefits of a relationship with me. Try offering something other than your products and see if you can grow your own business.

Audrey :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Create Your Own Flyers

One of the benefits of joining a direct sales company is that usually it’s a very turnkey business. Between your upline and the company, most training materials should already be in place.

In addition to all of the materials already provided, I also like to be unique and do some creating on my own. These small things are what will brand you and make you stick out.

You can create business cards, postcards and flyers for your business, all of which will bring others to you.

Creating flyers is very simple. I use a combination of Microsoft Word, Printshop and Microsoft Publisher. All of these programs have templates you can use and formatting already in place.

Consider creating both a product flyer and also a recruiting flyer. Your product flyers can be given to existing customers, mailed out to potential customers and hung on bulletin boards around town. Import photos of your products and keep the wording to bullet points so that the person reading can glance and not have to read. Here’s an example:

October 1st – October 31st (put this in bold)

Buy one product, get one at half price
Insert photo of product here

Now list 3 reasons why someone should buy this product. Make these 3 points bullet points.

Your name and contact information would then go on the bottom. You are creating this flyer to generate interest in your product. You only want to entice someone to contact you for more information or with an offer they can’t get directly out of the catalog.

The other flyer to create is a recruiting flyer. I’ve made quarter sheet flyers, half sheet flyers and full sheet flyers.

I always like to include a photo of a product or the company logo to let others know up front what the company and opportunity are.

A sample flyer might look like this:

Company Logo/Name (bold and centered)

I have been helping others work at home since (insert year here)

Now list 3 bullet points about your company:

Possibly price to join.
Possibly the amount of years the company has been in business.
Possibly how they can get a company website

Your contact information then goes at the bottom. Again, your goal is to entice, not make the actual sale through the flyer.

Try creating some flyers for your business and set yourself apart from the others.

Audrey :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Direct Sales For the Winter Holidays

One of the most profitable times of year to join a direct sales is in the months leading up to the winter holidays.

There are so many ways you can benefit from a direct sales business during the holiday season:

You can offer fundraisers to any organization wanting to raise money. You can offer anywhere from a 14 day fundraiser to a 30 day fundraiser. This is a great way for buyers to get holiday gifts while the non profit organization profits.

As a distributor you’ll be able to buy your own gifts at a discount. Imagine being able to save anywhere from 10% to 50% on all of your holiday gifts. (commissions will vary by company and total sales)

Many people spend more money during the winter months. You’ll earn money on all retail sales and on team sales. (commissions will vary by company and total sales) Some companies offer extra bonuses for higher sales. Make sure to check with your company to see what sales bonuses might be offered.

The winter holidays are a wonderful time to build your team. There are more people looking for income during the winter months than any other time of year. Place ads specifically stating that it’s holiday time and new members can earn income for the holidays.

The winter holidays are known as the gift giving season. You can highlight all of your products that will make great gifts. This is an ideal time to build your customer base. Offer to gift wrap and even ship for your customers. These are two extras that many distributors do not offer. Charge a small fee so you’ll break even. Your customers will love this added service.

If you’ve ever thought about joining a direct sales company, the winter months are the ideal time to turn the thought into a reality.

Audrey :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Uniqueness Versus Duplication in Direct Sales

Anyone who has been involved in direct sales over seven days has heard the term “duplication.”

Duplication has its place, such as form letters, flyers and catalogs, but that’s pretty much where duplication ends.

If you wish to succeed in direct sales, you’re going to need to be unique. If you did only what someone else did and then trained your downline to do exactly the same, pretty soon you’d all be stumbling over one another.

I’d like to give you two examples of stumbling over one another. A woman ran ads in the newspaper. She in turn taught her downline to run ads in newspaper and these women in turn taught their downlines to run ads. All of a sudden there were eight ads for the same company in the help wanted section all saying almost the same thing. What was happening is a prospect would call every phone number until they got an answer. This is tripping all over each other. Ads are great, but use another option. There are daily papers, weekly papers, shoppers, magazines, ezines, display ads on websites, text ads on websites, plug boards and more. Find an area that is not saturated with everyone duplicating the person before them.

One more example I can offer are work at home mom message boards. I do belong to a few. There are probably a hundred out there. What I’ve seen happen is that several distributors from the same company jump to answer questions and place ads on top of each other in the classified section. Message boards are great, but join theme specific boards. I belong to a crochet board. I belong to a scrapbooking board. I belong to a recipe board and I belong to a general parenting board. This gets me away from what everyone else is doing.

Each of us is different. Trying to duplicate someone else can never be successful as we are different from them. Our results will be different. I can talk to strangers all day long and love every second of it. Other people are really not comfortable talking to strangers. Trying to duplicate me would not be enjoyable. I know someone who does three or four home parties every week. That is just not me and I wouldn’t be in direct sales if I had to do those parties.

Direct sales is about sharing the business and products with others. That’s what you’ll duplicate. Where and how you’ll market will be dependent on what you enjoy and what will keep you unique.

Audrey :)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fighting City Hall

I wonder if some of you can offer your opinion to me.

I write articles. My goal recently has been to write articles for those in direct sales. I've been very careful to make sure most of my titles include the words "network marketing" or "direct sales"

Those articles have all been submitted to a few directories, including I wrote a series on fundraising in direct sales and submitted them to the direct sales category. Ezine Articles accepted my articles but changed the category. They put the series of articles into their fundraising category.

I did write ezinearticles and said that there might be times that two categories would be appropriate and in this case I really wanted the series of articles in the network marketing category. I was refused.

Here are the 7 articles and the category I was forced to be in:

Plan Ahead For a Successful Fundraiser in Direct Sales - Fundraising
Increase Your Sales in Network Marketing With Fundraisers -Fundraising
Hosting a Direct Sales Fundraiser For a Church Or Synagogue - Fundraising
Fundraising in Direct Sales - Fundraising
Seven Tips to a Successful Fundraiser in Direct Sales - Fundraising
Choosing a Time Frame For Your Direct Sales Fundraiser - Fundraising
Creating a Packet For a Successful Fundraiser in Direct Sales - Fundraising

Unfortunately, the people these articles were written to help won't find the articles unless they do keyword searches.

Since I did write them and was refused, what do you suggest? I have put a few of the articles on my blog. I have also submitted them to other directories and each time they were accepted into the direct sales or network marketing category.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Audrey :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An Interview

I was recently interviewed by Greg Cryns. His questions are primarily about Web 2.0 and how that can impact a WAHM. You can read the entire interview on Greg's blog at

Audrey :)

Monday, September 29, 2008

Blogging For Your Direct Sales Business

I am seeing more and more network marketers start blogs in the hopes of attracting new customers and new team members.

I can’t stress enough that if your blog is about business only, people will come, scan the contents and leave.

If your blog offers information that is helpful, people will continue to come back and continue to read. Your goal should be to get regular visitors to your blog.

People do business with those they tend to know. If someone is visiting your blog on a regular basis, they begin to feel like they know you.

Once you have a blog, how can you attract others to come to your blog?

Write some articles and use the blog URL in your bio. Write the articles on the topic of your blog. For example, one of my blogs is a parenting blog. I write articles about parenting and in the bio, I include the URL of my blog. Submit these articles to a few popular directories.

Run a contest on your blog. Give away one of your company’s products. This allows you to introduce your product to readers and to bring in many new potential customers. Submit your contest to any of the contest websites out there. I can get up to 1000 visitors from one contest. I ask them to please look at my site and tell me something, either a favorite product or something they’ve learned.

Join a blog carnival that is the topic/theme of your blog. If you do a web search for “blog carnival” you’ll find many. I’ve seen some carnivals attract over 1000 participants. That’s a lot of potential traffic for your blog.

Make sure you have links to your network marketing business on your sidebars. I use both text links and a button link on my blogs.

Offer link exchanges with other blogs that are the same theme as your blog. Remember you’re not just selling on your blog, you’re offering valuable information. By exchanging links you’ll attract even more visitors to your blog.

Make it a point to comment on at least 10 new blogs every day. Very often when you comment on someone’s blog, they’ll comment on yours too.

Blogging is a wonderful way to build your network marketing business if done correctly. Try the above suggestions and see if your team begins to grow.

Audrey :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Becoming a Leader in Network Marketing

Network marketing is all about creating sales. You’ll create personal sales retailing the company products to individual customers and you’ll create team sales by building a team and supporting their sales efforts.

In order to lead a team, you’ll need to develop and learn some leadership skills.

Leadership is learned. We are not born with leadership skills. Think of the many leaders you know. There are leaders in your local PTA. There are leaders in your community. There are world leaders. Each leader we know learned the skills that brought them to be the leader they are today.

There are several ways to learn leadership skills:

Read books - Our local bookstore has an entire section on leadership. I’ve read books by several different authors. You’ll find that men and women teach a little bit differently and you’ll find that depending on profession, skills may be taught a bit differently also. If finances don’t allow a book budget right now, use your local library. I’ve found some real gems at our library.

Subscribe to newsletters – One of my favorite authors is John Maxwell. Not only have I read most of his books, I also subscribe to his newsletter. Each newsletter offers new ideas and new food for thought.

Attend seminars – Over the years I’ve attended seminars ranging from how to deal with difficult people to how to improve your listening skills. There are so many topics out there to choose from. Not only will these seminars help you become a better leader, but they will help you in every relationship you are involved in, business and personal.

So what are some of the topics you should consider learning about?

Listening – I know that we all have two ears and we all hear, however really listening to the person speaking is a learned skill.

Communicating – I continue to learn more and more about communication. It is such a fine art. Each person we speak to and interact with is unique. How we communicate with one person may not be the same as how we communicate with another person. Learning how to effectively get our message to each unique individual is key in leading a team.

Problem solving – If you are in network marketing, problems will come up. For example, it’s December and a top selling product has become unavailable. You need the skills to be able to help your team accept this in a positive way so that sales are not lost. You need to be able to help your team present this small obstacle to their customers, so that they also will not lose the potential sales.

Consider investing 30-60 minutes per week into learning and developing your leadership skills to help you build a larger network marketing team.

Audrey :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Thinking Outside Of the Box with Marketing

When we think of marketing, we often think of the very well knows methods of online marketing, article writing, message boards, etc. Occasionally opportunities come along that offer a refreshing new way to market. One such opportunity has become available:

WAHM Articles is publishing a Christmas e-book, and you're invited to be a part of it!
This is an ideal opportunity to get additional exposure for your business, by having your website and business information listed in our Christmas e-book. Contributors will also be invited to sell the e-book as an affiliate.

All you need to do is write an article, 400 – 1500 words on your best tips, ideas, or share a personal story about how to create a simplified but meaningful family Christmas. Articles and stories will be compiled into an exciting Christmas e-book published by WAHM Articles.
Along with your article, we’ll publish your photo and article resource box, including three links to their website. Each contributor will get their own copy of the book, too.

This is going to be a book that's read and reread every Christmas, so it's ongoing exposure for your business, every holiday season!

If you would like to participate, please send your Christmas stories or tips to WAHM Articles by September 30, 2008. Your submission should be 400 to 1500 words. If you would like to write more than that, please contact us.

You can learn more about submitting your article or story at

The first 15 contributors will get even more exposure for their business - 2 weeks of ad space at WAHM Articles, on each of our nearly 1 500 pages. There's just a few spots left, so send your article in soon to claim yours!

Audrey :)

Outsourcing In Your Direct Sales Business

While many ads will lead you to believe that direct sales is something that can be done in your sleep, I believe there is so much to do that outsourcing some can save you time, which can help make you money.

So, what can you outsource? Here’s my list of some of the things you can outsource:

Article writing and/or article submission. I’m a strong supporter of article marketing as part of your overall marketing plan. You can hire ghost writers to help with some of the writing and you can hire virtual assistants to help you submit those articles. I will caution you that some directories frown upon authors using ghost writers, so do use extreme caution here.

If you have a blog, you can get guest bloggers to help you keep fresh content on your blog. You can either hire a ghost writer or you can get a guest blogger and allow them a link to their own site from the post.

If you are sending out form letter emails, you can hire someone to keep track of your data and send out the appropriate emails. Perhaps you send emails congratulating team members on sales. Or perhaps you send emails if a team member’s account is about to become inactive. These are excellent tasks to outsource to someone else.

Placing classified ads can be very time consuming. Outsource this task to someone else. Once you’ve written the ad, anyone can submit it. Consider hiring someone to take on this job.

If you are delivering products locally, hire an errand service to do this chore for you. My daughter buys Avon from a woman who personally delivers all of her own orders. This could be a huge timesaver.

Do you hand out catalogs and flyers? This is another job that can be outsourced. Make sure the person you hire for this job can be trusted. I’ve seen pizza flyer employees dump hundreds of flyers in the trash bin and then go say, “I handed them out.” If you mail out catalogs once a month, once a quarter or even once a year, you can outsource this to a home based employee. They can keep track of your database and either address envelopes or produce labels and then prepare the catalogs for mailing and take them to the post office.

Do you send out a newsletter? You can sometimes hire a ghost writer to write the newsletter for you. If you’re sending it by postal mail, you can outsource the copying and labeling.

As a direct sales distributor, your time needs to be spent talking to others, meeting others and networking with others. Consider outsourcing those tasks that you are able to outsource.

Audrey :)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wear Your Company Name in Direct Sales

Over the years I’ve had many conversations with those in direct sales about wearing the company name on clothing, or just wearing something that says “I work at home.” I will say that men and women tend to have different views on this topic.

I’ve always been a supporter of wearing your company name, or having clothing that lets others know you work at home. It’s a wonderful but very passive way to let others know what you do and have others asking you questions.

Here are some ideas for wearing your business or company name:

Find earnings with a dollar sign on them. If you sell cosmetics, find earrings that are in the shape of a lipstick. I’ve seen many companies offer jewelry as an incentive award. Wear that jewelry.

Wear a sweatshirt or t-shirt with either the company name on it or a catchy phrase. I just read the post of a gentleman the other day who wears a shirt that says "Can You Guess What I'm Doing ... RIGHT NOW?" on the front and then on the back says "Making Money.”

There are several companies that sell buttons. Buttons are also conversation starters. I’ve seen buttons that say, “ask me how I work at home.” I’ve also seen buttons with company names on them. Finally, I’ve seen buttons that say, “I specialize in fundraisers.” Each of these is a conversation starter. Buttons are made and worn to be conversation starters.

When my kids were young I had my company URL on my diaper bag. It was made for me by a wonderful friend. I used to get asked quite often about the company just from my diaper bag.

If you wear baseball caps, consider having one embroidered with your company name on it.

Try wearing your business or company name for 30 days and see if you can get some conversations started with those you come in contact with.

Audrey :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

How To Use Contests To Build Your Direct Sales Business

I really like to use a variety of marketing strategies to build my direct sales business. Contests have proven to be successful for me over the years.

I’d like to share some contest strategies with you.

Offer a product that a wide variety of people will want and can use. I try very hard to offer products that can be used by both men and women and also by both young and old. Right now, as of this writing, I’m actually offering a collector’s item that was from a previous holiday collection.

Stay away from contests asking people to subscribe to something. I personally almost never enter those types of contests, or if I do, I’ll offer a throw away email address, or I’ll unsubscribe just as soon as the winner is announced. People want to win, they don’t want to sign up. Now, having said that, do make sure that a form to sign up for your newsletter is on the same page as your contest so that if someone does want to sign up they can.

The purpose of a contest is to share your products with others. Make your contest fun. Ask people to visit your site and tell you their favorite product. Or ask people to visit your site and tell you one thing that they learned from your site. While this first visit will not usually result in an immediate sale, you’ll find that people will browse and will bookmark your site. I look at contests as a way to introduce others to the products, not as a way to create immediate sales.

Offer people a way to contact you for more information. Often my contests ask if someone wants a catalog or party information. I use no as my default answer so that if someone does want something, they’ll have to click for it. I never make yes my default answer.

Engage with those who enter. I read every single comment that people leave me, whether on my blog contests, or on contests offered on my website via a form. I respond to everything asking for a response. I’ve read some of the most wonderful stories via these comments and have responded to each of them.

Contests are very inexpensive to run. You only pay the cost of a product and postage to mail the product. If I get one or two orders, I’ve more than made my money back and I’ve introduced the products to a thousand new people.

Audrey :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Using Samples and Demo Products in Your Direct Sales Business

What better way to introduce prospective customers to your products than by handing out samples and using your demonstration products.

If your company offers samples, I suggest two things:

Hand out samples to non customers. Introduce them to your products/company with a sample and information sheet. Let them know what it is you’ve given them and how they can use it.

Give existing customers either a sample of an older product they have not yet used or give them a sample of a brand new product. Once again, provide an information sheet on the sample.

Does your company offer demonstration products? If so, I suggest you set up a budget to buy a few new products each and every month. You can use these products at parties, at shows and fairs and any time you are meeting with a customer one on one. People are more likely to buy something they can see and use. I use demonstration products in my everyday life. I’ve gotten many orders from taking a product to a potluck. I don’t say a word. People ask me where the product came from.

Demonstration products that are not used, meaning you’ve shown them but not actually used them can be sold. I have a few suggestions for selling off those products:

Hold an open house once or twice a year. Invite all of your customers. Let them come and browse and do a cash and carry set up. Offer the products at cost. This allows you to earn back the money you spent on the product and it allows your customers to get a good deal on products.

If you know a customer wants a product but can’t afford it right now, offer to buy it as a demo product and then after using it for 30 days or even 60 days, you’ll sell it to this customer at cost.

When you sell off your demo products, you now have money to reinvest in new demo products. You’ve also been able to offer your customers a wonderful open house opportunity.

Invest in samples and demo products and watch your sales climb.

Audrey :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Using Gift Certificates In Your Network Marketing Business

Gift certificates are a wonderful way to build your network marketing business. You can build your customer base and seek out new team members using gift certificates.

If your company does not offer gift certificates, then create your own using any word processor.

Here are some ideas on using gift certificates to promote your business:

Offer an incentive for customers. If they buy $50 worth of products, they’ll receive a $10 gift certificate. If they buy $100 worth of products, they’ll receive a $20 gift certificate.

Offer an incentive to those who join your team. If they join and place a $100 order in their first week, you’ll give them a $10 gift certificate.

Offer to sponsor a contest with a $10 or $20 gift certificate. Often you’ll get lots of publicity from the people offering the contest and it’s a wonderful way to introduce your products to potential new customers.

Sponsor your own contest and offer a gift certificate as the prize.

If your school, church or synagogue is having a silent auction, offer a gift certificate. Your name will be in the auction program and will be on the table with the sign-up sheet for this item.

When you need to purchase a gift for a wedding, shower, anniversary or birthday, offer a gift certificate for your products. It’s a wonderful way to introduce those you know to the products you are selling in a very non threatening way.

Write a few articles on gift giving and the benefits of giving gift certificates. In the bio section of these articles, include a link to a page where readers can purchase gift certificates for your company. You’ll need to do this with an anchored text link. Most directories offer directions on how to create an anchor text link.

Approach companies that offer holiday gifts. Offer them a discount if they purchase gift certificates for their employees through you.

If you want to thank someone for their hospitality, send them a gift certificate instead of flowers. They’ll enjoy your product(s) long after the flowers would’ve been dead.

Instead of buying teachers gifts that they almost always don’t need or want, offer them a gift certificate instead. I remember one year giving all of the high school teachers my daughter had a gift. Each one of them offered a very touching thank-you. They all loved their gift certificates.

Using gift certificates is a very subtle way to introduce your company and your products to others.

Audrey :)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Use Your Own Birthday To Build Your Direct Sales Business

Have you ever attended a store sale and the store has advertised that the sale is in honor of their birthday or their anniversary?

You can do that exact same thing to celebrate your own birthday. If the month of your birthday has 4 weeks, offer a different sales special each of the four weeks.

You might offer a bundle package at a reduced rate one week. You might offer a gift certificate for qualified purchases one week. You might offer a discount on a specific product one week. And finally you might offer a free product with purchase one week. These are all ways to get increased sales each week of your birthday month.

You might consider sign up specials the month of your birthday also. You might offer a free product with kit purchase one week. You might offer a small discount on the kit one week (I’d do this the first week, so that those who signed up earlier in the month aren’t upset). You can offer each of these for a two week period.

Publicize that it’s your birthday. It’s a way to open the door for communications. I have my birthday listed in all of my online profiles. I also talk about what I’ll be doing that week or even that month.

Consider offering a contest in honor of your birthday. State right on the contest webpage that in honor of your birthday you are giving away ______ and then let the contest run the entire month of your birthday.

Run a fundraiser the month of your birthday. Let customers know that in honor of your birthday you’ll be donating 10% of all sales to ________. Let them know which organization you’re making the donation to and what the money might be used for.

Your birthday comes around once a year. Take full advantage of those 30 days to promote your business.

Monday, August 25, 2008

How Direct Sales Influences Our Children

When I began in direct sales my first born child was only 3 months old. Just this past week, this adult child’s boss told me what an incredible asset she is to his department.

I really believe a lot of my daughter’s work ethics came from being the daughter of a direct sales distributor.

There are several things that children learn from their parents’ direct sales businesses.

My daughter saw me work every single day. She never saw me “call in sick”. She grew up knowing that going to work each day was not optional, it was mandatory. Today, she calls in sick only if she can’t get out of bed. There have actually been times that my daughter has been sent home sick as she’s gone in when not feeling great.

My daughter learned to follow through on both projects and on verbal commitments. If I told someone I’d call them in a week, that action item was put into my calendar and the call was made on the appropriate day. If I was researching a marketing technique, my daughter saw me do the research and then make a decision to either not invest or to execute the plan.

My daughter learned communication skills from my network marketing business. She saw me work with lots of people and work hard on those relationships. When she was older, my daughter helped me with my monthly newsletter, one of my ways of communicating with both customers and team members.

I have always read for business. I read books, I read magazines and I read articles. My daughter has a strong love of reading. She enjoys both fiction and non fiction. She enjoys many different authors and enjoys both short stories and long books. She has learned to appreciate many styles of writing.

My daughter also learned to use a database. By the time she was 10 years old, she was working at least 5 hours per week for me entering data into my database. This knowledge has made her very proficient on the computer and very adaptable in learning new software programs.

These 5 skills alone have made her a very valuable employee over and over again.

Audrey :)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Your Telephone

I read a post on a message board today from a gal asking how to get over her fear of calling people who requested information from a fair she worked. I shared with her an article I wrote about 10 years ago when I was cold calling people. This article is still relevant today. I hope you find it helpful.

Does Your Telephone Have A 100 Pound Weight Attached To It?

Think back to when you first learned to ride a two wheeler bike. You were probably both scared and excited. Your first thought was you would get on this bike and win all the nieghborhood bike races. Then you fell down. If your folks were like mine, they insisted you get right back on the bike over and over again. Eventually there were no more falls, no more scraped elbows and knees and you were able to compete in those neighborhood bike races.

Now as an adult, you are faced with picking up the phone and either making a prospecting call, or perhaps a follow up call to a person you met yesterday. You are feeling both exicted and scared. What if the person hangs up on me? What if the person isn't interested?

The fear of one of those two things happening has stopped 200 pound men from having the strength to pick up the phone.

I have had people tell me they ended up rearranging every closet in their home as a result of not being able to pick up the phone.

Believe it or not, you are 2/3 of the way to being able to pick up the phone with ease. There are really only 3 things that can happen when you make a phone call. The person can say no, they can say yes, or they can hang up. Ok, you could get an answering machine also, in which case I always leave a message and have over time recieved calls back.

Let's face it, if telemarketing did not work, I would not continue to be called weekly by many different companies selling many different items.

Just yesterday, my daughter was woken up just after 8 a.m. by a telemarketer offering her a free pager. She did do one of our three options, she hung up on him. She does not know him, she actually loves the company he represented, she simply rejected his poor choice of timing.

When we make phone calls and we are told no, it's our job to listen to what is being said to us. I remember one woman said to me "I don't do business over the phone". Instead of hanging up, I told her I certainly understood and would she like me to mail her information about my company. She said yes. If the gentelman who called my daughter looks at his numbers, he may soon realize that calling that early produces more hang ups. Since we are strangers or virtual strangers to the person we are calling, we know that a hang up or a no is not a personal rejection of us.

Knowing that someones no is not a personal rejection but rather a rejection of some part of the offer you have made them, makes it much easier to pick up that phone.

Remember we did not learn to ride our bike on the first try, we may make mistakes in our calls too. So what? We are constantly learning. If you hang up thinking you should have said something different, GREAT, use that something different on the very next phone call. Each time someone says no, you are that much closer to hearing a yes and learning what triggers those yes's.

How many yes's will you get this week?

Audrey :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Social Networks

Are you using social networks in your direct sales business? They are a wonderful way to meet others.

I have accounts on MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. I found a great post on social networks

Twitter is rather new to me, but I'm loving it. If you don't have an account check them out at Then follow me. I'm at

Leave a comment here, let me know your MySpace of Facebook page and I'll friend request you.

Audrey :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Handling Resistance in Direct Sales

I read something the other day that has been on my mind since I read it. A woman was very upset with her family. Her family was not supporting her decision to invest into a network marketing business. Not only were they not supporting her, but many family members were even ridiculing her decision.

I then read the replies to this woman’s situation. I was very puzzled not only by the original problem but by the answers as well. She received advice to push a bit harder, to be a bit more patient in her dealings with her family and to try a different approach when talking to her family.

My answer was very different. I believe she needs to stop talking to her family about her business. I really believe it’s just that simple.

Have you ever spoken to someone about candidates or ballot issues and discovered you both had very different thoughts on the matter? What do you do? Do you keep coming back hoping to change their mind? Do you bring the subject up every time you’re with them? There is a world of difference between mutual respect and mutual sharing of opinions versus a debate over who’s right and who’s wrong.

What about parenting issues? If you believe in co-sleeping or spanking and someone else does not, those conversations can lead to very hurt feelings and in some cases can ruin a friendship. Would you go back and try to change their mind? Would you try to repackage your opinion to present it again?

I really believe when you have a direct sales business and you run up against negative words and resistance, it’s time to stop talking to that person about your business. There is just nothing to gain from having the conversations. We all like support in our decisions. If you are not getting support, quit seeking it. We all want new customers and new team members. Again, this is not going to happen when you’re talking to someone who disagrees with your choice.

It requires an awful lot of mental energy to argue with those whose opinion is different than ours. I would much rather invest that energy into celebrating my business successes. Where do you want to invest that mental energy?

Audrey :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Create a Vision Board For Your Direct Sales Business

I’m a strong believer in vision boards. I believe that what you see and what you believe can become a reality.

A vision board is a collage of photos and pictures that represent what you want in your life.

Most people use poster board to create their vision boards. The number of items you want on your board will determine the size of the poster board you need.

One of my favorite vision board activities for those in network marketing is to take your company magazine and cut out the pages of those people the company is recognizing. Now add your photo to that page.

If you company creates a list of names of high achievers, add your name to that list. These items need to be close to your work space. Your vision board should be on the wall behind your work space so that you are constantly reminded of where you want your photo and your name.

Is there a trip you’d like to take? Perhaps you’d like to visit a state or country you’ve never been to before. Get some photos and maps of the area and put them on your vision board. Perhaps you’d like to visit family you’ve not seen for a while. Get photos of them and add those photos to your vision board.

What does your car look like? Is there a different car you’d rather drive? Get a photo of that car on your vision board. Better yet, visit the local dealer and get a photo of you right next to that car. Tell the dealer you are working on a business and you are working toward buying the car and you’d like the photo. Those I know who have done this, have never been turned down for the photo.

What about your home? What would you like to be different? Get photos of what you want on your vision board.

Do you have favorite quotes? I know one girl whose entire vision board is filled with meaningful quotes. Those quotes help her to be the person she wants to be. If you have favorite quotes, type them out, get them in color and attach them to your vision board.

Are there people that you really admire? Get some photos of these people and add them to your vision board.

Vision boards can be very powerful in reminding you daily what is it you want and who it is you want to be.

Audrey :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Article Marketing

If you are in direct sales, one excellent form of marketing is through writing and submitting original contect articles to at least a few of the popular article directories out there.

I recently had the opportunity to submit a few questions to Denise Willms, owner of

Denise has answered those questions and I'd like to share the answers with you:

Question: I'm told folks will just skim articles, not read them word for word, so what is the "perfect" number of words an article should be?

Denise's Answers - That’s true – people read online articles differently than they do print articles. They tend to skim over them and actually read only a few of the words that stand out.

As far as the “perfect” length for your articles goes, between 300 and 500 words is usually ideal. You should try to keep them over 250 words. It’s difficult to say anything of substance in fewer words than that, and some article directories won’t even accept short articles.

If you go over 500 words, you might lose your reader. However, some of my most popular articles have been around 700 or 800 words, so it depends on your audience and what information they’re looking for.

The best way to help your readers actually read your article is to write in small chunks instead of long paragraphs.

For each chunk, put your most important idea first. Readers will usually read the first sentence of each paragraph.

Use bold for important words and ideas, to help catch your readers’ attention.

Use bullet points or numbered lists to make articles easier to read.

Question - What are the pro's and con's of submitting your articles to every directory out there?

Denise's Answer - It used to be very common for people to submit articles to every directory that would take them. The new trend is to submit your articles to only a few niche sites.

One reason why it’s good to submit your articles to every directory is that you can get exposure in areas you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Perhaps there’s a market for your product or service that you hadn’t thought of. If you submit your articles to every directory you can find, you might find discover new opportunities for your business.

The downside of submitting your articles to every directory is that it is time consuming, with a possibly lower return on their investment. Many article marketers are now choosing to submit their articles to niche directories and a few well-known general sites, where they know their target market will look for them.

Placing your articles on a few well-chosen sites can be a better use of your time, but you could also be missing out on other opportunities.

Denise Willms is the head writer of WAHM Articles, a ghostwriting service that helps online business owners reach the “mom market.” She is also owner of, a directory of free reprint articles for moms.

Audrey :)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Your Business Card Is An Effective Marketing Tool In Network Marketing

What exactly is a business card? For me, my business card is one of the least expensive forms of advertising I possess.

Your business card is your introduction to potential clients, and prospects. This is your opportunity to tell every person you come in contact with what you have to offer them in writing. You've heard the expression "get it in writing". With your business card, you can give it to them in writing.

I have found very reasonable prices at both Staples and OfficeMax. They offer white paper, colored paper, black and white ink, two ink colors, company logos etc.

When deciding what to put on your business card, remember you want to entice people, not bore them. Stay away from fancy lacy print; it's far too difficult to read. Don't cram so much into the small space of a business card that each line runs together. So what exactly should you put on your card? People want to know how to contact you. Your business card should include your name, address, phone, fax and website. If you accept emails about your business, then by all means include your email address as well. By including the name of the company you represent, your contact knows exactly what to expect. Many people like to use a one liner describing their business. Make this line something that is a selling point for your business. My cards tell people "Over 50 Years In the Kitchen". With so many businesses failing each year, I feel it's important to let my contacts know that they are dealing with a company that has been around for quite some time.

Have you ever received a business card and turned it over? What do you see? Usually nothing. I see this as a waste of valuable advertising space. You can hand write a personal note. You can put labels on this space that say any multitude of things. My favorite labels say "call me to find out how this card can have your name on the front". I print these on Avery labels and run them off on my printer. Again, this is your opportunity to advertise you and the company you represent.

Now if you are like me, you will soon be looking at a box with 1000 cards in it. When I saw my first box of business cards, I imagined them on the shelf for the next 5 years collecting dust. What would I possibly do with 1000 business cards?

The following is a list of the many places I leave my business cards:

On bulletin boards in stores and fast food establishments.
On the mirror behind the sink in public restrooms (use a magnet on the back of your card)
On the counter of ATM machines
In the shopping cart when I'm done using it at the grocery store.
Inside the pages of library books for the next user to find
On the tables of fast food restaurants
Inside magazines at the doctor’s offices
In the pouch on the airplane seat in front of mine.

In addition, I hand out my cards to anyone I meet during my day. If I'm at the grocery store and strike up a conversation with another shopper, I end by handing him/her a business card. If I visit the park with my kids, I hand business cards to all the other parents there. When I mail bills, I always stick a business card in with my payment. Whenever I write a thank you note to a customer, I add two business cards, one for them and one for a friend.

Make it a goal to hand out 100 cards per week and watch your business grow!!

Audrey :)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Using Your Real Name Online

I see the question come up often of how to get around not using your real name online. People wish to not use their real name for many reasons. It might be that you are a high profile person and don’t wish for others to know who you are. It might be you are working offline and do not wish to confuse people with your two lives, or it might be you prefer not to be found by someone who might be looking for you. Whatever your reason, you are now faced with whether or not to use your real name online.

I see many work-arounds. If you are a woman, and you have a maiden name, consider going by your maiden name. Chances are, most folks will not know your maiden name.

Another thought is to use only the first letter of your first name, along with your last name.

You can use any variation of your initials that feels comfortable. You can use your first and middle name initials, along with your last name. You can use your first name, then your maiden name initial and a last name.

Other people have chosen to use nicknames. For example if your name is Katherine, you could use Kat, Kate or Kathy or any other spelling of the name Kathy. If your name is Robert, you could use Rob, or Bob, or Bobby, or Robby.

In some cases, I’ve seen women use their husbands’ names online. They believe a man’s name will benefit them.

Another option is to change your last name just a bit. For example, if your last name is Wolfman, consider shortening it to Wolf. If your last name is White and you want a name other than White, consider adding a few letters and making it Whitman.

It is my belief that in business, online, you do need to use a real name versus an “online screen name” or “handle”.

Branding online is very important so consider the name you will use carefully. Choose a name that you want to attach to everything you do online.

Audrey :)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Can Article Marketing Help Your Direct Sales Business?

One of the most frequent questions I am asked is “how can I advertise for free?” I have never supported methods such as free classifieds. Nobody reads this. If you look, thousands of folks come and post an ad and never read a thing.

I am a very strong supporter of article writing. Article writing allows you to determine exactly what keywords you are targeting and to get very targeted visitors to your site.

I would rather see someone write 3 articles per week versus placing 100 free classified ads in a week.

If you sell children’s toys or children’s books, write parenting articles. Those who read the articles are the very people who are buying toys. If you sell dietary supplements, write health and wellness articles. Again, those who read your articles are going to be people looking for the very product you offer. If you sell make up and skin care, write articles about fashion and beauty.

Who do you want to visit your site? You want potential customers and potential new sales distributors to visit your site. So, how can you make sure that those coming to your site want what you are offering? Write about the topics that relate to what you are selling. Those who search for your articles or find your articles through a keyword search are interested in what you are offering. Parents need toys. When you write about parenting, your audience is the very people who just might buy from you.

Choose a few keywords or keyword phrases that your potential customers might be searching for. Now write about them. Become an expert writer in your field. Write articles that solve every potential problem or question someone might ask you.

Article writing is the best method of free advertising I’ve ever found. Try it. See if you don’t see increased hits to your website that I hope will lead to sales for you.

Audrey :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Managing Your Time In a Home Based Business

People decide to start a home based business for a variety of reasons. Some people want to be home when their kids get home from school. Some people are caring for a sick parent and wish to be home. Some people just can not conform to the 8-5 mold.

When you work at home, you are in charge of your time. You will decide how much time is spent talking with customers, how much time is spent marketing your business and how much time is spent doing the laundry.

It is so easy to run out to the grocery store, or do a load of laundry, or finish up those dinner dishes; however none of those activities are contributing to your business.

One of the cutest stories I can share with you is the time I spoke with a woman who just couldn’t find her first customer. She and I had created a list of 50 activities she could do that would help her find that first customer. At the end of the week, she still did not have a customer. She was upset and frustrated. We began to talk about the list of 50 activities. She had not done one of them. What she had done was rearrange her office space twice, buy and put labels on several folders for the paperwork she knew she’d have down the road and read some articles on sales.
When you work at home, there is no one telling you when a project must be completed. There is no one asking you for your completed work. You have to have the desire and the motivation to take the steps needed to create sales for any business you start.

I am strong advocator of goals, both short term and long term. What is it that you want to accomplish today, this week, this month and this year? Put it in writing. If you want to find one new customer this week, that’s a great goal, but how will you find that person? Will you place an ad? Will you write articles? What steps will you take to find that new customer?

I know that sometimes we don’t hit our goals. That’s ok, rewrite them. Allow yourself 30 minutes per day to reread your goals, make a plan to execute those goals and if necessary, rewrite them. Remember there is no boss to tell you how to spend your time, but a goal sheet can help guide you through your days and weeks.

Audrey :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Buying Leads in Direct Sales

I think at least once daily someone asks “where can I buy leads for my MLM business?” I have both had my name bought and sold and I’ve bought leads, so my comments are based on real life experience.

I’ll start with my own name being bought and sold. I am always very careful when I sign up for “free information”. I either intentionally give myself a middle initial, or I misspell my name. I do this to track what offers I receive and from whom. Many years ago, my daughter actually submitted my name to a site that claimed they had lots of work at home information. Knowing I always loved to see the newest fads, my daughter submitted my name. She used her own first name as my middle name. The site itself spoke of work at home newsletters. What happened over the next 5 years was that I was inundated with offers. Five years later, folks were still buying and selling my name. Five years later I was still receiving offers from those hoping to recruit me. A few times I emailed the person that had postal mailed their offer to me and asked where they got my name and address. I was very nice in my emails. The responses I would get would just floor me. It was the same story over and over again. The person was sold my name and was told I was a “fresh lead”. In a few cases the person was even told my name was under one week old. When the name buyer would go to the company and ask for a refund on my name, they were told I lied to them, that I just must have changed my mind and that I was indeed a fresh lead. The fact that this happened so many times over a 5 year period told me that this was a common occurrence.

Please remember, my daughter originally signed me up to receive free work at home newsletters. It was not even a site saying “work at home opportunity”.

When you buy leads, you have no idea where the lead has come from. You don’t know what the person was responding to, what the person was thinking they would be getting, how old the lead is, or even how many others were sold the same name.

I have purchased leads exactly 3 times, each time from a different company. My results were the same each and every time. I met some very nice people but over and over again, I was told that they too had signed up to receive free information and had no idea that folks would be calling them with business opportunities. One woman I called, she and I just clicked, leading to a wonderful conversation. We developed a friendship. We still communicate today and its 10 years later. Over the years she would tell me each time she received a postcard with a business opportunity, or even a phone call from someone hoping to recruit her. She was also amazed at how many times her name was bought and sold.

I had some folks tell me that they received 6 phone calls all in one night saying “I understand you are seeking a business opportunity”. I’m fairly chatty, so folks, both men and women were comfortable to share with me the amount of calls they received and also some of the lines handed to them over the phone.

My suggestion is to seek other ways of finding those interested in learning about working at home and to skip buying names.

Audrey :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

How Do I Reach You?

If you are in business, I'm going to guess you want folks to be able to reach you. So, make it easy for folks to find you.

Just today, I wanted to email someone. I went to her website. I did not see an "email me" button. So, then I found her profile hoping I'd be able to find a way to reach her there. Nope, she had her email address hidden. It just wasn't important enough for me to keep trying to reach her.

Just so you know, the person I was trying to reach is in business and does have something for sale. While I was not trying to email her about a purchase, my not being able to reach made establishing a relationship not an option. Having a visible email address leads to communication. Communication leads to relationships. Relationships lead to sales.

Look at your website. Look at your blog. Look at your profiles. Are you easy to reach? If someone wanted to email you, how much effort would it be on their part?

Audrey :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fundraising in Direct Sales

Holding a fundraiser as a direct sales distributor is an excellent way to find new customers and possibly even a new distributor.

Fundraisers are a win win for both sides. The group or organization raises funds and you find folks who like, use and buy your products.

It is always my suggestion that you start with small, local organizations. You’ll find more support, have a way to work one on one with the group and you’ll begin to build a local client base.

If you have business cards, add the phrase “Fundraising Expert” or “Ask Me About Fundraisers” alongside your name and phone number. This lets anyone holding your card know that they can raise funds through you.

Prepare a packet to give to potential groups and organizations. Your packet should contain an introduction letter, an earnings sample chart, a catalog, a business card and any flyers you plan on giving to the fundraising participants. For example, I give the following letter to all participants to show to those who might make a purchase:

“Dear Customer,

Thank you for considering a purchase with Tupperware products. The money we raise from this fundraiser will be used to _______________________. Our goal is to raise $______. We hope to make this purchase by ___________.”

I fill in the blanks based on information I collect from the group and then on each catalog I staple a copy of this form.

As you begin hosting fundraisers, collect testimonials from the groups. Include copies of these testimonials in the packet you prepare. If you personally have never done a fundraiser, ask your upline if he/she has a testimonial they can provide to you that shares the company experience. It’s always wonderful to read that another organization was pleased with the company products and service.

If your company does not offer a fundraising program, create your own. If you earn 30% commission on sales, consider giving the group 20% for their fundraising efforts. This allows 10% of the sales commission to be used to purchase the supplies you’ll provide the group. Remember this is not a money maker for you, but rather a money maker for the group and a way for you to find new customers.

At the close of the fundraiser, prepare a thank you form that will go into each order. Your thank you should be very simple and say “Thank you for your product purchase. If you have any questions or comments about the products you can reach me at ________. If you would like to make an additional purchase or receive information about selling ____ I would be happy to help you” Then sign your name.

If you are having the orders direct shipped to the organization or to the individual customers, consider sending out a personal thank you via postal mail.

Begin marketing fundraisers and watch your sales increase and your team grow.

Audrey :)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Gaining Customers By Bartering

If you are in direct sales, you should not be making purchases without first checking to see if there is anyone who might want to barter with you.

For example, if I want to purchase makeup, instead of ordering through a direct sales representative’s website, I’ll first see if there is a makeup distributor out there who needs/wants what I sell. This allows a few things to happen. It gives me additional sales in my own direct sales business. I am ordering products from my business but with money that I was going to have spent somewhere else. In addition, I’ve found a new customer. I’ve found someone who I know needs/wants my products.

There are other examples of bartering in direct sales. Who cuts your hair? Is it someone who might use your products? Ask about an exchange. If the hair cut is $30, is the stylist willing to trade the haircut for $30 worth of your products? Remember, you were going to spend the $30 anyway. Now you’ll spend it on your own business. Keep in mind that $30 worth of products will cost you less than the $30 once you apply your discount. So, that $30 haircut could end up costing you $20 in products. The stylist is happy because she got her products without any out of pocket expense.

What about getting a massage a couple of times a year? If you sell products that the masseuse uses you might be able to barter products for a massage.

There are a couple of “rules” you might want to consider before bartering:

Are the products equal in value? If you want to barter again, both parties must be happy with the value. I’m very supportive of trading dollar for dollar, $50 worth of products for $50 worth of products or services.

Make sure to keep receipts and records. When I mail something, I invest the money to require a signature so that I know the person on the other end has received what I sent.

Make sure both parties understand what they will be receiving. Bartering can be a wonderful long lasting means of doing business as long as both parties feel they got exactly what they had expected and feel that they received the value they believe they sent.

The possibilities of what you can barter for are endless. Think of the places you are already spending money and then see if you can spend that same money on products from your own business, trading those products for the product or services being offered by the other person. Enjoy the benefits of bartering while building your own customer base and business.

Audrey :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Conveying a Positive Attitude In Direct Sales

If you are in direct sales then you know that life happens. Products get delayed, items don't meet customer expectations and companies even run out of products and must quit manufacturing them for one of many reasons.

When these things happen, how are you conveying the information to your customers and downline? How you convey these things could make all the difference in the world in keeping that customer or keeping that team member.

I'll provide a few examples. The company you represent has a popular item suddenly unavailable. This could be a tragedy in that everyone orders this product or this could be a golden opportunity to help your customers try a new product. You might even offer a one time coupon for folks to try this new product.

Another example, new catalogs are coming out and an older product is being discontinued. Again, this could be a tragedy and you could lose customers or this could be a golden opportunity to contact your customers now with a coupon for a new product, or possibly the opportunity to buy a supply of their favorite product before it's discontinued. If you have samples, use samples to introduce the new product to your customers.

Tupperware (the company I represent) had a huge warehouse fire this past December, yep right during the end of the holiday selling season. Everything was wiped out. This could've been a disaster for the distributors, but Tupperware turned it around and offered us daily specials, which we could pass on to our customers, a few new products that they were able to get from other plants around the world and even some surprise packages which we all ordered as we knew these items were coming from around the world and we all wanted to see these surprise packages. Truly, I only missed a few items for my customers and explaining the fire to them and promising them a new catalog for January kept me from losing sales or customers.

When life happens in your direct sales company, take the time to plan out how you'll convey this information and how you can use this as an opportunity to increase your sales and build your customer base.

Audrey :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Three Business Skills That Will Help You In Direct Sales

When we think of direct sales, we all think of sales skills and communication skills, but often we forget about the business skills that can and will help us in direct sales. I'd like to share three business skills I believe every person in direct sales should have.

1. Understanding some basic software programs.

a. I've always used a database. There is no one database I recommend. My personal choice has always been FileMaker Pro by Claris. However any database can store and manipulate data. I use a database to keep track of customers, keep track of leads and keep track of income tax information. In past years, I've kept track of where I've placed ads and the results of those ads.

b. I've always used both Microsoft Word and also Word Perfect. Each of these word processors has different strengths have helped me with different tasks. MSW is wonderful for creating documents and mail merges. Word Perfect is my choice for creating data source documents. I also use these programs to create flyers, create letters, write my newsletter drafts and create forms.

c. I use Microsoft Excel almost daily. In fact, I recently attended a seminar to learn how to better use this program. I use a spreadsheet to keep track of passwords, keep track of my articles, keep track of where my articles have been submitted and much more. I am by no means an expert in Excel, but I do know how to create simple workbooks and then manipulate the data.

2. Being able to create a business plan. I've always equated a business plan with a road map. In order to get from point A to point B, you must know where you're going and how to get there.
I have folks come to me often and say "I really want to have a large customer base" yet when I ask them about their plan, they come up empty. It is absolutely wonderful when customers find us and come to us unexpectedly but the vast majority of the time we'll need to find them and bring them to us. We need a marketing plan to accomplish that.

We also need a business plan to be able to see how much money we'll need in a month or a year to run our businesses. One of the things I love most about direct sales is that it is a fraction of the cost of running a franchise or retail business. However, there are still expenses in running a direct sales business. A business plan helps us know exactly what we can expect to spend. You can find basic business plan templates online through a web search.

3. If you are in business, you must have some basic time management skills. For many of us, we have spouses, children, an outside job and even some personal hobbies and interests. Time management is crucial in succeeding in direct sales.

If you want tips on time management, I strongly suggest you find a few books, a seminar, or even a few articles. I personally use day planners. I've used them for over 25 years and for me they are a wonderful fit. I know others love the calendar that comes with Microsoft Outlook. Others find a to-do list to be the best fit in time management. Regardless of the system you use, you'll need some basic time management skills.

I believe with these 3 basic business skills, you'll set yourself up for success in direct sales.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Five Tips To Help You Succeed in Direct Sales

I get emails quite often that say something along the lines of “if you could offer just one piece of advice to me what would it be?” Businesses are not built on one secret or on one magical theory. Businesses are built on consistency and hard work. What I’d like to do is share some of my tips that I hope will help you succeed in your own direct sales business:

1. Use whatever materials your company supplies. If your company offers a recruiting flyer, use it. Don’t invest your time reinventing the wheel. Use the company offered flyer instead. If your company offers samples, buy them. As consumers, we all like samples and we all like to try new things. Offer samples to both existing customers and potential customers. If your company offers training, take advantage, whether it’s on the phone, or online. I’ve found company training to be invaluable.

2 Talk to strangers. We all grew up learning never talk to strangers. My two kids will tell you that I’ve always spoken to strangers. I will talk about the weather, a local news story, an item in their grocery cart, a book they are holding, the car they are driving or I’ll even just smile and say hello. Every single person out there either wants what you have to offer or they don’t. They only way to know if they want what you offer is to start a conversation and see where it leads. I am in no way suggesting a sales pitch to everyone you meet, I’m merely suggesting starting conversations and seeing where they lead.

3. After you’ve spoken, it’s now time to listen. Often I find that folks are so anxious to say “want to join my business”, or “want to buy my products” that they don’t really listen to the person they’ve just started the conversation with. Listening is key to finding out if you have what this person wants. Each person we meet will say either yes, no, or not right now. It’s up to us to hear what is being said to us. Just yesterday I said to someone “I’m sorry I can’t speak with you right now” and this person continued to speak for about 6 minutes until I finally said “I really do have to hang up now, bye” and then hung up. They didn’t listen to me. If you concentrate on listening more than speaking, you’ll gather a wealth of information from the person you are speaking with. Really listen to what they are telling you.

4. Have supplies ready. I always have catalogs, opportunity flyers, fundraising information and more. When someone asks for information, we want to have the information available for them. Keep supplies in your home and in your car. Have a couple of folders or envelopes in your car so that if someone wants information, you can hand them a ready made packet.

5. Make a plan and continue to update and work that plan. We all work differently. Some of us need our time accounted for hour to hour, while others can create a list for the day and work from that. Find the system that works best for you and then use it. I very often have folks tell me that life got in the way of their plan. Make your plan and then fit life in. When you try to fit your plan into your life, you won’t always have the time for your plan. If you are in a direct sales business, you must spend time each day returning calls, answering emails and marketing. These are just not negotiable areas. Everything else needs to be worked around these 3 activities.

There really is not just one secret to running a successful direct sales business. Work your business every single day and remember that every person is either a yes, a no, or a not right now.

Audrey :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Wish List For Blogging

Some days, the finds never end. In reading the blogging blog, I just posted about, she offered a link to a contest that is offering an awesome prize. Ok..first the link to the contest:

This is a contest worth entering. Ok, now my suggestion for a new blog feature.

I would love to see comments numbered. Blogs are becoming more and more popular and the blog owners are running contests.

If we use a random number generator to pull the winner for us, we then have to hand count the entries to reach the number that was generated. In a wonderful world, we might have 3000 comments. What if the generator chooses 2222. That's a lot of manual counting. I'd like to see the comments numbered for us :)

I wonder if others agree that numbered comments would be a beneficial feature?

Audrey :)

If You Know About Blogging

This is a wonderful opportunity to blog for a very well written, high traffic blog.

These are the types of opportunities that can help you market yourself without investing money into advertising.

If you know about blogging and believe you have something of value to offer this blog, please contact the owner and let her know.

We all look for no cost advertising. Take advantage when you find it.

Audrey :)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Your Attitude

If you are in direct sales then you know that life happens. Products get delayed, items don't meet customer expectations and companies even run out of products and must quit manufacturing them for one of many reasons.

When these things happen, how are you conveying the information to your customers and downline? How you convey these things could make all the difference in the world in keeping that customer or keeping that team member.

I'll provide a few examples. The company you represent has a popular item suddenly unavailable. This could be a tragedy in that everyone orders this product or this could be a golden opportunity to help your customers try a new product.

Another example, new catalogs are coming out and an older product is being discontinued. Again, this could be a tragedy and you could lose customers or this could be a golden opportunity to contact your customers now with a coupon for a new product, or the opportunity to buy a supply of their favorite before it's discontinued.

Tupperware (the company I represent) had a huge warehouse fire this past December, yep right during the end of the holiday selling season. Everything was wiped out. This could've been a disaster for the distributors, but Tupperware turned it around and offered us daily specials, which we could pass on to our customers, a few new products that they were able to get from other plants around the world and even some surprise packages which we all ordered as we knew these items were coming from around the world and we all wanted to see these surprise packages. Truly, I only missed a few items for my customers and explaining the fire to them and promising them a new catalog for January kept me from losing sales or customers.

When life happens in your direct sales company, take the time to plan out how you'll convey this information and how you can use this as an opportunity to increase your sales and build your customer base.

Audrey :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gas, Lattes and Your MLM Business

Jackie Ulmer has written many excellent articles. When I read this one yesterday, I told her just how much I enjoyed it. So I'm sharing it with you:

Gas, Lattes and Your MLM Business

A financial guy on the news yesterday was comparing the cost of gas to the cost of your favorite Latte or coffee drink. His * is that it's still around $56 a gallon for coffee at your favorite coffee place. Gas where I live is about $4.60 a gallon, average and won’t take me very far. That latte costs around $4.00 and gives me a caffeine buzz and then nothing.

My business, however, at about $4.00 a day creates an asset that I can support my entire family on over time. In other words, that $4.00 investment builds and doesn't stop a short time later (unless I stop.) I use $4.00 to include marketing and business costs beyond the Autoship. Determine your own daily amount based on your business.

If you could look into a crystal ball and know that you could be earning a significant, full time income your Network Marketing business, what steps would you take to get there?

If you had the guarantee that if you followed the "roadmap" you would arrive at your goal, would you commit to the process?

The biggest challenge most network marketers make is that we come into this with an "employee mindset." We are used to putting in XX amount of time and getting XX dollars at the end of the pay period.

When you are a business owner, you are not an employee with a guaranteed salary; you are now building an asset that can/will generate income for you for years to come. And, if done right, and income that will grow steadily with no more work involved than what you start with, and in most cases, less.

The secret is in knowing this; committing it to your brain and putting on your blinders to just see the job through. Your company provides the products and a great pay model; your upline leaders who have already traveled the road provide you with a roadmap. Now, it's up to you to provide the daily motivation; thinking power; and dedication to carry on your end of the bargain.

When I started in my first network marketing business, I forgot that "work" was part of the formula. Actually, it was more about taking action and doing SOMETHING to promote my business. I didn't get very far. And, I didn’t give up. That was the one key thing that brought me to where I am today.

Too many people want to get their initial order; read and study the manual; maybe talk to a couple of people and say "Show me the money!" Remember, you are creating an asset and the investment of time that you make in promoting your business will increase the return on investment of your asset.

Shift your thinking to that of business owner and leave behind the employee gig! That doesn't get many of us where we want to be in life. It doesn't give us freedom or control; and certainly not financial security.

Read books by successful business owners or all types. From Robert Kiyosaki to Donald Trump; to Warren Buffet and others. The message is pretty much the same although the method for getting there can vary.

You hold an amazing tool in your hands with your chosen M.L.M. Invest yourself in these tools and assets. Decide what your daily investment of promotion of your business is going to look like.

And, if you must choose between the Latte and your business…well, need I go there?_________________

EXPECT Success! Jackie Ulmer

~ ~ ~
My own thoughts.....

I have a daughter 25 years old. As parents we dont' always get all of it right. However I can always smile when it comes to money. I know I taught her well.

1. she has money in savings
2. she does not live paycheck to paycheck
3. she knows what the word invest means She is always sad when she wants to go do something and she hears "oh I can't do that I don't have money" yet these same friends drink bottled water, smoke, drink etc.

It really is true that folks come up with money for those things they consider important.

Audrey :)

Monday, June 16, 2008


Sometimes I read things and the only way I can digest them is to talk about them. This morning I read a post on a message board from someone who went on and on about relationships. He then spoke of his autoresponder and how his autoresponder helped him build relationships. Huh?? For me, an email blast does not equate to a relationship. So, I decided to look up the word relationship in the dictionary. Here's what I found:

1. a connection, association, or involvement.
2. connection between persons by blood or marriage.
3. an emotional or other connection between people: the relationship between teachers and students.

When I receive a mass email, there is no connection, there is no involvement and there is no emotion, especially when I know that that email is being sent to multiple recipients.

Relationships are built one person at a time and one conversation at a time. Without conversation, with out interaction, there just is not a relationship.

I would love to hear others opinions on this.

Audrey :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Mystery Shopping

What is Mystery Shopping?

Every day I receive emails from folks asking me about mystery shopping. My very first mystery shopping assignment was for Domino’s Pizza. I don’t know their system today, but many years ago, when I was a mystery shopper for them, I would receive one large 2 topping pizza from them each month in return for taking notes and submitting a questionnaire to them about my overall experience.

Many companies rely on mystery shoppers to help them see the shopping experience through the customer’s eyes.

Mystery shoppers are used in fast food restaurants, in electronic stores and in many retail establishments.

As a mystery shopper you will take note of things such as the name tag of the person helping you and whether that person is dressed according to company code. You’ll be asked if the facility was neat and clean. You’ll be asked to time how long you wait to be helped. Each store has a different set of criteria they ask you to take notice of. Many shops do not allow you to have children with you when you shop. You are always told this right up front. Read through the rules thoroughly before accepting the job.

Unfortunately there are many scammers out there who want to scam you out of your money, promising that for a small fee, they will provide you with books or databases of companies that will hire you to be a mystery shopper. Once you pay, the company is gone and you are no closer to being chosen as a mystery shopper than when you began.

I can not say it enough. DO NOT EVER PAY money to become a mystery shopper. The scammers will say they will reimburse you after you complete your first assignment. This is not true. Scammers will say they are trying to sort out the serious from the not serious. Again, this is not true. One more time, DO NOT EVER PAY money to become a mystery shopper.

So where can you start if this appeals to you? One place to start is . You can apply once you read the introductory information and take the introductory test. Each new store you shop at will require that you pass a test on that store’s criteria to have you shop.

Mystery shopping can be a lot of fun. It’s a great way to earn a few extra dollars each week.

Audrey :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Are You Listening To Your Customer?

All of us want to make a sale. However that sale will only come if we offer our customer exactly what they want.

Today, there are many many choices, both online and offline. Do a web search for any one product and you’ll find there are thousands out there selling the exact same product. Then look in your local phone book. Again, you’ll find there are many choices.

A friend of mine loves the phrase “I was given two ears and one mouth so that I should listen twice as much as I speak”. This phrase fits right into business and sales. If we listen to our customers and only answer what they’ve asked us, it becomes much easier to close the sale.

Let me provide a personal example. I was looking to buy a new digital camera. I went to the first store and was very clear that I did not want to spend over $200. I was also clear that I hoped to have a larger sized screen. The sales person only heard half of what I said and choose to show me a camera that did indeed have a huge screen, but the camera was $500. Apparently this person had been taught to start high. I once again said “I really don’t wish to spend over $200”. The second camera shown to me was about $250. I said it wasn’t what I was looking for and I left.

I went to a second store. I repeated the two items I wanted, a camera under $200 and a camera with a larger screen. This sales person showed me 3 different cameras, all under $200 and all with screens that were a size I was happy with. He asked me questions about my needs and based on my needs, helped me choose one of the 3 cameras. I made the purchase. He received the commission.

The consumer today does not want to be sold something they have not asked for. If a customer asks about one of your products, concentrate on that product. Sell them what they want. Help them feel good about that purchase. If you’re selling a camera, throw in a guide on how to take awesome photos. If you’re selling health supplements, throw in a recipe book of healthy recipes. If you’re selling jewelry, throw in a guide on how to color coordinate clothing and accessories. Give your customer not only what they’ve asked for but a small bonus for choosing you to make the purchase from.

Audrey :)

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Balancing Business and Children

If you have kids, then you know what it can be like to try and type an email or even answer the phone.

One suggestion is to hire older kids as helpers/playmates for your young kids. When my kids were 3, 4 and 5, they loved having a 9 or 10 year old come and play. This would often give me an hour of working time while the older child played with my kids. You, the adult are there for emergencies and to "supervise" from the other room, but the 10 year old can often play and entertain younger children for an hour.

On the flip side when my own daughter was about 10 she used to "babysit" for a wahm and earned money while playing with the 3 year old. I felt fine as I knew the mom was there. My daughter was not "in charge" but rather the hired playmate. It's a win win for everyone. She loved having the extra money.

Have you ever hired an older child or have your own kids ever been hired?

Audrey :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Decide It's Ok

I first read this article several months ago. I saved it and wanted to share it with you:

Decide It's Ok For You Have you ever been in a position in your business where you feel like you're doing everything you can, and yet the results just aren't coming your way? Maybe someone in your team is experiencing this frustration right now.

At times like this, I recommend looking into yourself and the things you say to yourself on a daily basis. Many people don't realise that the person we speak to most often is ourselves! Every day we experience almost constant self-talk, which forms the basis of our core beliefs and attitudes.

One of the areas of self-talk that can really limit our potential is our attitude to our own success. We grow up being taught that we shouldn't show off. We shouldn't make little Susie feel bad by telling her our math grade was higher than hers. We should not take compliments well. We should blend in and not make anyone feel uncomfortable by our own achievements.

Over time, we can hear these words so often that they become our own core beliefs.

Fast forward to today, when you or someone you know isn't having the success they want or the income they desire, and you can see how our self-talk may be responsible. In this situation, we can have self-limiting beliefs that we are barely conscious of.

So, when you find that despite your efforts, success is just not coming, maybe it's time to Decide It's Ok For You.

Decide It's Ok For You to be Successful (whatever that word means to you)

Decide It's Ok For You to be Rich / Wealthy (in all aspects of life, not just financial)

Decide It's Ok For You to Earn More Than Your Husband (even if he doesn't think so)

Decide It's Ok For You to Become a Millionaire (imagine the good you can do with such abundance)

Once you make these decisions - which only take an instant - you need to change your existing beliefs; the beliefs that may have limited you for years or even decades.

If your goal is to become a millionaire, and everyone around you thinks that is a vulgar aim, you need to teach your own mind how you can not only accumulate such wealth in a way that supports your morals and values, but that during accumulation and once accumulated this wealth can help not just you but the people around you.

Similarly, if you have been programmed to believe that a woman should look after children while the man earns the majority (or entirety) of the household income, you will need to teach yourself that you can earn money while supporting your values and that your doing so will benefit your husband (reducing his pressure, perhaps) and your whole family.

In this particular example, it's important to remember that doing things for your own reasons is not selfish. Starting a business because you want to earn money yourself, or because you want to become successful in your own right, is nothing to be ashamed of. If your core beliefs are telling you that you do not deserve or are not entitled to these desires, start changing your thinking.

Often, this self-sabotage is such a subconscious action that we are not aware of it. But ask yourself these questions:

- Have you ever, on the day of an important meeting or event, become suddenly ill and had to cancel?
- Have you ever had a prospect contact you, only for you to never ring them back because of some fear?
- Have you ever heard about a networking event and, despite being available that day, not attended because you "know" it won't be worthwhile?
- Have you ever spent the day tidying or cleaning the house despite having important work to do for your business?
- Have you ever played down your achievements to friends, relatives or colleagues?
- Have you ever described your business as "a hobby", "just something I do in my spare time", or said to someone who enquires "oh you wouldn't be interested"?

If you can answer 'yes' to any of these questions, limiting beliefs may be holding you back from achieving your true potential.

The good news? These beliefs can be changed at any time. Identify the beliefs that are limiting you, and whenever a thought crosses your mind that supports these beliefs, say (out loud if at all possible) "SCRAP THAT!" and (again, out loud if possible) replace that rogue thought with one that supports the person you are and the desires you have.

e.g. "I'll never do this..." SCRAP THAT! "Just because it's hard doesn't mean I have to quit."

Remember, we are all here to achieve our true potential in all of our relationships, finances, work, spirituality/religion, and community involvement.

So give yourself permission to shine.

Decide It's Ok For You...

(c) Katie Forrest, 2007
Katie Forrest Nutritionist & Network Marketer

~ ~ ~
Audrey :)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Know Your Product Line

This article is for those people representing direct sales companies that manufacture more than a handful of products. When I speak to folks involved in network marketing, representing companies that do indeed manufacture more than a handful of products, I often ask them if they know their product line.

More often than not, I’ll get an answer of “I can’t afford to buy every product”, or “I don’t use every product”. These answers always strike me as odd as I never asked if all products were bought and used. What I did ask was whether they knew their product line.

It is very hard to sell and sponsor if you are not familiar with what you offer. For example, perhaps you sell a line of dietary supplements. Perhaps you only know about the daily multi vitamin product. Great product, you use it every day. However, you’ve just met Susan, a woman in her 50’s and she is looking for a product that truly addresses middle age and menopause. She has no interest in a daily multi vitamin. If you don’t know your product line, if you can’t tell Susan what you sell and why your product is worth buying, you just may lose her as a potential customer or potential distributor.

Perhaps you sell skincare and makeup products. While you wear makeup daily, you personally don’t use mascara. You’ve never worn it. Now I come to you and tell you my daughter is a swimmer and needs a product that will stay on. You tell me “oh we make a waterproof mascara”. When I ask you how chlorine affects the product, you truly don’t know. You’ve probably just lost the potential sale.

These are just two examples of companies that sell more than a handful of products. So, if you are not using the products, how can you know them?

I have several suggestions. As a team collect testimonials. When you work together as a team, there is a great chance that either a teammate or the customer of a teammate has used the product. Keep sheets of testimonials from each product your company sells. Store them in notebooks. When a potential customer asks about a product, you’ll have a full sheet or even 3 sheets of testimonials. And of course, the more you talk about a product, the more familiar you’ll become with it.

Save any and all literature the company puts out on a specific product. Again, should a potential customer ask about a product, you’ll have company generated information that often will answer the questions of a potential customer.

Ask questions yourself. If you do not see the information on the company website, and you don’t have the information from previous write-ups, contact the company and ask your questions. Be prepared when the potential customer comes to you with questions.

If you don’t use the product, find 5 people who want to use the product and sell it to them at your cost. The catch? They need to write you a testimonial. Or, offer to interview them for your next newsletter. What better marketing tool, than a current customer doing an entire interview on a product you yourself don’t use?

These are just a few suggestions on how you can get to know and sell a product you are not using.

Bottom line is you must know your product line in order to sell it.

Audrey :)