I met Lisa Wilber back in 1985 I believe for the first time. It's over 25 years later and I still enjoy her articles. Here's one of her earliest articles about marketing.
Three Prospecting Ideas for the Wild at Heart
By Lisa M. Wilber
Prospecting - the art of finding customers and recruits - can be a challenge. But by using your imagination, a clear goal, and some marketing techniques you can turn your business from a tiny ant hill into a mighty fortress.
As an independent representative since 1981, I have moved several times and had to re-establish my businesses all over again. I have found the best goal is the simple one: let everyone within a ten-mile radius know what I am selling and about your earnings opportunity.
Here are three of my best ideas for getting the word out:
1. Turn your vehicle into a rolling billboard!
Start out by making posters for your car windows. You can cut out pictures from the catalogs you sell from. Since the sun fades these signs rather quickly, you can make them themed for each season so that you are always “updating” your signs. For instance, feature products for Valentine’s day with your name and telephone number. If your company does not sell holiday- specific merchandise, you can take turns featuring a product. You may want to feature a special sale price. You can use colored markers, fluorescent poster board, glitter paints — whatever gets attention. Make sure to feature your telephone number in large print so that someone driving by can write it down without wrecking their car!
Feeling a little more adventuresome? Call a sign company and have vinyl letters put on your vehicle. It does not ruin the value of your vehicle — vinyl letters come off easily with a hair dryer — yet, the results of this kind of advertising are astounding. I have had people waiting for me when I come out from grocery shopping. Many times I have even found orders under my windshield wipers! So you say that your company is not that well recognized yet? You can change that, especially in your own town. Having the company name, pictures of the products, and your phone number on your vehicle will definitely get people to ask you about the products! Consider having a form of the company name on your license plate. It is an extra fee in most states, but money well spent. One of my recruits has “TRY AVON” on her license plate, and a Princess House friend of mine has “PH LADY” on her plates.
Ready for the “over the edge” idea? I bought a light up sign for the roof of my van that used to belong to a pizza delivery restaurant. I peeled off the word “pizza” and added my company name in vinyl letters — it is the talk of the town! By the way, vinyl letters at the hardware or office supply store are very inexpensive (ranging from 50 cents per letter on up depending upon size). Consider having it professionally done if the lettering is to be very large or if you have a lot of letters to put on.
2. Don’t leave your house without wearing your company name!
Do you remember how Laverne on Laverne and Shirley always had a letter “L” on all her shirts? All my shirts have “Avon” on them! Many of them I did myself with paint art from the arts and crafts store. On some shirts I used puff paints, some sparkle paints. If your writing is not wonderful, consider using a stencil. Many good iron on letters are also available. It does not matter if the company name is well known — people will ask you about it when you have it prominently displayed.
You can also wear company supplied buttons and pins. I have a red jacket that I have EVERY award pin that I have ever won pinned on —it does look a little “wild”. But, every time I wear it, people always want to know what the pins mean, what I had to do to get each pin, etc. I always wear my red jacket when I am traveling to and from the company conventions — and I always get customers and recruits from talking about my pins.
(Here’s another tip to use with a jacket: I keep my right hand jacket pocket filled with my business cards to give to everyone I talk to, and I have my left hand jacket pocket empty to put cards in that I get from all the people I talk to, so I can follow up with them!)
You can also wear hats with your company name or carry a tote bag with the company name on the side. Make sure you always bring lots of brochures/catalogs and company literature with you — people WILL ask you!!
Ready for the wild idea? You can buy necklace and bracelets with letters that have your company name on them. Many companies offer these types of jewelry and feature people’s first names on them. Just request your company name instead. You’ll be surprised at how many people will notice!
Now for the “over the edge” idea: name your children or pets after your products! My Princess House girlfriend named her daughter “Crystal” — my Mom named her cat “Night Magic — after the cologne!
3. Leave a catalog, literature, or business card everywhere you go!
When I go to the shopping mall, the first place I visit is the ladies room — I leave a catalog with a recruiting flyer on the sink near the mirror and on the tank in each stall! I give catalogs to everyone I meet: the grocery clerk, the baker, the butcher, the laundry attendant, the drive-thru window person, the bank teller, the gas station attendant, the toll booth attendant — you would not believe how many opportunities you pass up each day to get your message out!
Feeling bashful today — simply say “This is for you!” and hand them your catalog. To cut down on my catalog expenses, I often use outdated catalogs for this type of prospecting — and I have stickers put on the front that say “Call for current prices and product availability.” This way they get my name, address, and phone number and a sneak peek at our product line. I have my friends in my company save their outdated catalogs for this reason.
I also leave stacks of catalogs at the entrances to grocery stores and in laundromats. Dentist’s offices, doctor’s offices and any other place where people must sit and wait are excellent places for you to leave your information. Ever leave your catalog with the tip at a restaurant? I had special business cards made up that read “YOUR SERVICE WAS EXCELLENT! If you are ever looking for a job, please give me a call! Lisa Wilber, Avon Recruiting Specialist, 1-800-258-1815.” You will be surprised how well these cards work. I try and hand them to the prospect personally with a tip — the impact lasts longer. I always add “I wanted to make sure you knew how much I appreciated your service today!
With this idea you need to set goals for yourself. Example: I will hand out 20 catalogs today. I will hang up 10 posters on bulletin boards today. Be consistent and don’t be discouraged by an occasional “No”.
Ready for the wild idea?
Spend the day driving through bank drive thrus in town and simply put in your catalog, sample, and business card — and drive off! Believe it or not, this works!
Now, let’s go over the edge: next time you are held up in traffic at a traffic jam, jump out of the car and hand a catalog to the person in the car ahead of you! (Yes, I actually know someone who does this!)
Whether you use these ideas or change them to fit your goals — make sure you take action towards your goals today. Remember my favorite saying: “The only place that SUCCESS comes before WORK is in the dictionary!”
Lisa Wilber has been selling and recruiting for Avon Products, Inc. for 14 years and is currently a Senior Executive Unit Leader in Avon's MLM program with 1995 downline retail sales topping $1.9 million. You can reach her by phone at 1-800-258-1815 or FAX 603-529-1816 or by mail at 174 S. Stark Hwy.# 17, Weare, NH 03281 or e-mail at LWilber@aol.com.