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 http://gregcryns.blogspot.com/

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 http://www.wahm-articles.com

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 :)