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 :)