Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Think Outside the Box

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

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

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

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

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

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

Audrey :)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Using Postcards in Network Marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Audrey :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Network Marketing – Promote Yourself as Eco-Friendly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Audrey :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Are You Mr/Mrs Temptation?

I read the most wonderful blog post this morning http://coachyourmind.blogspot.com/2009/11/hello-who-is-this.html

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

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

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

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

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

Audrey :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

When You Get Spammed In Network Marketing

If you are in networking and if you have your name and email address available on the internet, I guarantee you will get spammed.

When you get these pieces of spam, you have several options. You have the option to hit the delete button. You have the option to report the offender to their email service. You have the option to report the offender to their company, or finally, you have the option to answer the spam.

I’ve tried all of the above. Hitting delete gets rid of the piece of email but it doesn’t stop the person from emailing you again and again. Or worse yet, it doesn’t stop the person from passing your name and email onto the next person as someone who “might be open to a new idea”

Reporting the offender to their email provider usually produces no result at all. Regardless of the email provider, I find that reports are ignored completely as I’ve often received numerous pieces of spam from the same person.

There are times, if you’re dealing with a reputable company, that reporting the offender to their company will produce results. Legitimate companies do not want their reputation tarnished by those who spam others.

I also like to sometimes hit reply. I have two goals in mind when hitting reply. One, I hope to help the offender know that what they’re doing violates TOS for companies and email providers but I also hope to engage in conversation and begin a relationship that may or may not lead to business for me down the road.

Depending on what the spam says, I’ll usually invite the offender to read one of my existing articles. I offer a brief overview of what the article is about and then I provide a direct link to the article.

I do not offer a link to my business. I simply try to offer something of value to the spammer. I’ve received many varied responses by doing this. Sometimes, I never hear from the person again. Sometimes I get an argument back, that my article is not correct or not something they agree with. I’m not looking to enter into a debate so I usually just hit delete at that point. Sometimes I get a thank you. This allows to me to make another effort at a relationship with the person. This of course is my preferred response.

I will NEVER respond to the email chain letters. This just isn’t the person I wish to enter into a conversation with. The spams I respond to are from those representing a legitimate company or those that have some measure of sincerity in them. If I get an email that says “I earned a million bucks last night”, I know this person isn’t being honest. I just hit delete.

I continually form new relationships, some that lead to business, some that don’t, just from hitting reply on spam I receive. Try this yourself. Respond to those emails that have a sense of sincerity to them. Point them to your own articles or blog that might be helpful to them. You’ll find over time that you’ll build unexpected relationships that often lead to additional business for you.

Audrey :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Online Network Marketing – A Daily Checklist

If you are running an online network marketing business, there are several things you should be doing each and every day:

1. Updating your blog – I’ve recently started pre-scheduling posts one week at a time. This means I only write posts once per week, but I write four to six posts when I do write them.

2. Commenting on other blogs – I try to go out at least two or three times per week to comment on the blogs that I follow and subscribe to.

3. Social media updating – Those using the internet to promote their network marketing businesses should belong to one or two social media networks. Updating your pages, groups etc should be part of your daily routine. Facebook is actually my favorite. I invest a little bit of time each day reading my groups, commenting on photos and statuses and answering personal messages.

4. Reading articles and blogs associated with your market – Everyone sells a different product line. Find a few blogs that cater to what you’re selling. For example, if you sell home d├ęcor, find a few blogs from experts in interior design and read what they have to say. If you sell dietary supplements, find a few blogs on health and wellness and read what they are saying. Subscribe to Google alerts for a few keywords associated with what you sell and read the daily updates.

5. Contact leads and customers – I do my best to stay in touch with those who order from me and who have expressed an interest in selling my products. Every day, I check to see if I owe anyone a phone call or email. Often someone will say “contact me in a week.” I check my notes daily to see if I need to check back with anyone.

6. Check your company website – Companies update product information, incentives and special offers constantly. Check your company’s website each and every day for new information.

7. Network, network, network – Invest time each and every day getting to know new people. This can be incorporated into tasks you’re already doing. For example, find one new blog to follow and participate in. Or find one new “friend” on the social media network you belong to. Your business will grow through your relationships. Work hard on this one, meeting new people and letting them know who are.

These are just seven ideas on creating your own daily checklist of tasks you should be doing for your business. I find when it’s planned out and written down, I tend to be more successful in following through.

Audrey :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Who Are You In Network Marketing?

When you consider how you’re known in the cyber world, it’s important to consider what name you use to present yourself to others.

I am a person who loves social media. Recently, I’ve been getting a slew of friend requests from company names versus people names. Each time I receive one of these requests, I hit “ignore.” I really don’t wish to be friends with ABC Company. I much prefer to be friends with a real person.

Very often these anonymous requests come from people involved in network marketing. I do go to their profiles and I see they represent a network marketing company.

Sales and teams are built through personal relationships in network marketing. If you don’t even use your real name, how can you expect to build relationships?

I’m a strong supporter of introducing yourself to others and then, if and when the time is right, introducing your products to the new person in your life. When I get a friend request from a company name, whoever is behind the company is trying to introduce me to the product first.

Consider your own purchasing habits. How often do you buy items from an unknown source and through someone who doesn’t even use their real name?

If you use social media? as a form of exposure, attach your name. Attach your city and state. Let people know who you are.

If you use a blog as a form of exposure, once again, use your name. I can’t even count the amount of comments I’ve gotten on my blog from company names. I go to their profile and there is nothing personal about them. I have no idea who they are. I only know their company name. I click away. I want to meet and know people. I am not interested in learning about the company or the company’s products.

Consider who you are as you market and put your name out there in cyber space. How do you want to be known? Do you want people to know you as Company ABC, or do you want people to know you are a real person willing to be known?

Audrey :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Growing a Team of Distributors

I wanted to share an article written by Lisa Willard. I have always enjoyed reading her words:

I just finished listening to one of our team coaching calls and as always, it got me to thinking and my wheels turning. As a home business owner and coach, my passion is growing a team of distributors. When a new member joins my team, it's really important to get them started on the right track. Here's a few highlights to start your new team members the "right" way.

1. Maximize the excitement. When someone first starts a new business, the excitement is huge and as their partner and coach help them plan the next few weeks to keep that excitement going. What's the best way to do that? Help them make some cash fast! My business has a retail end that allows you to make money day one. And when someone can make some extra money immediately, that is huge.

2. Keep in touch. You want to keep in touch with all of your team members. But you will want to have a plan for contacting your new people one on one at least for the first month. Get to know them. Know their goals. Know their dreams. Have fun!

3. Set up their monthly calendar. Help your new team member plan their first 30 days. Having a plan is one thing, but you must have action steps to go along with it. Whether it's planning home parties, or an open house, or simply sending out a "I have a new business" letter to friends and family, help your new partner plan those action steps.

4. Keep their goals in front. It's so important to have goals in this business. Write them down. Have your new team member share them. Once you have goals, plan your action steps accordingly.

5. Encourage Personal Development. This is so important. Personal development is a huge part to a successful home business. I have a great reading list for all of my new team members. It's so easy to let fear stop you in your business. The fear of rejection, the fear of failure, or even the fear of success. It's important to prepare your mind and to develop yourself into the leader you want to become.

6. Enjoy the journey of your growing team. This simply goes back to having fun! Some of my best friends have become the people I have met through my home business. And most of them live many miles away. It's important to laugh, smile and have fun with what you are doing!

Believe Success!

Lisa Willard
Network Marketing Success
Burn and Earn

~ ~ ~
Audrey :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fall Cleaning in Network Marketing

If you’re in network marketing, then you know products will change with the seasons.
With fall just around the corner, it’s time to clean out supplies and products that you had over the summer time.

We just moved and so I had the opportunity to clean out old supplies during the packing process. I threw out quite a few older items, creating fewer boxes to pack and unload on the other end.

So what should you save and what should you throw out with the change of seasons?

1. Throw out network marketing catalogs with wrong prices. Companies do change and update catalogs. If the prices have not increased, it’s ok to keep the catalogs and hand them out, but if prices have changed, toss the catalogs. When customers see a price, they want the item at the price in the catalog they’re looking at.

2. Throw out old policy and procedure guides. Network marketing companies update their policies and procedures regularly. Make sure that the copy you have is the most recent and accurate copy. If someone has a question, you don’t want to answer based on the policy five years ago.

3. Put aside discontinued products. While the product might be new and sellable, you don’t want to demo or show a product that can not be ordered by a customer. Either put the product into your personal collection or offer the product as a giveaway.

4. If you save company literature on conferences, get rid of old literature. Unless you’re holding onto it to create a scrapbook of a trip taken, get rid of old conference literature.

5. Most companies have incentives through out the year. Get rid of any old incentive information. You want to keep current incentive information at your fingertips, but old information no longer does you any good.

When we moved, I was amazed at how much older information I had. I was able to lighten our moving load quite a bit by cleaning out all of the old network marketing literature I had. Go through your shelves and see what you can discard and what should continue to be saved.

Audrey :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Social Media Goals for Your Network Marketing Business

Social media and network marketing almost go hand in hand today. I know very few network marketers who don’t have social media accounts.

With an account on Twitter, MySpace or Facebook, you can communicate with customers, potential customers, team members, upline members and even potential team members.

To make the most of social media for your network marketing business I’d like to suggest some goals:

1. Set a goal of commenting on at least ten items per day. You might comment on a photo, status or tweet. The point is that you’re opening the door to communication with the person you’re leaving the comment for.

2. Set a goal of requesting two new friends or following two new people each weekday. This is ten possible new friends each week. When you send the friend request, add a message. If you’ve followed someone, let them know why. Send them a message. Let the person know who you are and why you’ve requested they be your friend. Do you share a common friend? Do you live in the same town? What brought you to them? One word of caution, no one wants to read “I’ve sent you a friend request so that I can spam my ads to you.”

3. Answer those who take the time to message you, answer your tweets or comment on your page. Relationships are two way streets. If someone takes the time to send you a message or to comment on your page, answer them.

4. Set a goal of sending a private message to at least one person per day. Find something to talk about. Read their statuses or tweets and send them a direct message.

5. On the networks that allow photos, upload some of yours. Let people see you and see that you are a real person. I’ve received tons of comments on my photos. I post trip photos, family photos and even just fun photos. I give people something comment about.

Use these five tips to help build your following on the social networks. Network marketing is all about your network, so start building your today.

Audrey :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Removing the Fear In Direct Sales

Very often I hear people say, “Oh I could never be in direct sales, I’d be too afraid.”

If you’d like to overcome your fear, the first step is identifying what it is you’re afraid of. I’ve found that when someone speaks of fear in direct sales, the fear usually is rooted in a few areas:

Fear of rejection – When someone says no to a product or a business opportunity, the salesperson needs to be able to understand that the “no” has nothing to do with the person. The no means that for today the product or opportunity does not meet the needs of the person you’re speaking to. Have you ever said no to something and then a week, month or year later said yes? This is because at the time you said no, the item you said no to did not meet your needs on that particular day. Your no was not about the sales person but about not needing the product right then.

Fear of being pushy – I think many of us have met pushy salespeople. They’re the ones who will call your house ten times in a one hour period. They’re the ones who forget to say hello and instead, immediately launch into a sales pitch. Those who are like this are probably like this outside of sales also. These are just people who believe they have all of the answers and that what they have to offer is the only possible solution to a buyer’s needs. If you’re not pushy now, then don’t become pushy once you begin selling a product.

Fear that the product will not meet the consumer’s needs – Make sure you clearly understand the return policy of your company. Make sure your customers know what their options are should they not be satisfied. Try some of the products before you sell them. All of us have made a purchase and that purchase did not meet our expectations. We return the product and go about our day. Often we’ll buy again from the seller, we just were not happy with that one product. If you’re comfortable with the company, if you like the company’s return policy, then feel confident selling their products to others.

Spend some time speaking with the person you have thought about joining but were too afraid to join. If they’re a non-pushy sales person, they’ll be able to share some thoughts and ideas with you with no obligation on your part. You still may decide that a direct sales career is not the right career for you, but you may just discover something you’ll love and be a part of for years to come.

Audrey :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Eight Benefits of Direct Sales

I’ve been asked many times the benefits of a direct sales business over a privately-owned one-person business. While I’m not suggesting one is better than the other, I’d like to share what I believe are some of the benefits of having a direct sales business:

1. Lots of options. There are many direct sales companies to choose from. You can choose a company that meets your needs in terms of products and compensation plans.

2. You do not have to develop the product yourself. The company will take care of product manufacturing and product support materials.

3. The start-up costs are usually very minimal. You pay for a starter kit and possibly a few support materials. While you can often purchase a company site, you do not need to invest in site development, shopping carts and other sales related items needed for an internet presence.

4. While the income is completely commissioned, the hours are very flexible. You can work around children’s schedules, outside work schedules and other commitments you may have. If you need to work in the early morning or late at night, it can be done.

5. Many people enjoy the recognition that direct sales offers. It’s really awesome to see your name in print and to be recognized for your achievements. I’ve heard many times that the recognition makes the work very worthwhile.

6. If you are a person who enjoys helping others, direct sales might be a perfect choice. You’ll help people through product sales and you’ll also help people when you bring them into the business and mentor them in sales and leadership.

7. The opportunity for personal growth is enormous. When I look back at where I was ten years ago and where I am today, it’s astounding. There are so many awesome mentors out there very willing to help you and coach you.

8. If you love the products you’re selling, it’s awesome to receive a discount on your own purchases. I’ve met many people over the years who have joined companies strictly for the benefit of the discount for themselves and their family.

These are just eight benefits of joining a direct sales company. Is network marketing right for you?

Audrey :)

Network Marketing and Taking a Walk

I was out with a friend this morning, taking a walk on one of the many trails that Santa Barbara provides us and I was struck by the many similarities my walk had to network marketing.

We took a path we’d been down before but today, with the weather nearing 80 degrees and some recent rain, the view we saw was different from the view we had just a month ago. This can happen in your business also. Perhaps you tried a marketing method several months ago and did not get the desired results. Try again. You may find a different result this time. Perhaps you’ve spoken to someone about becoming a distributor or buying your products. If they didn’t say yes, try again. It’s possible that life has changed for this person and they just might say yes this time. You might also consider trying a product that either you haven’t tried before or a product that perhaps you weren’t crazy about earlier.

As we walked, flowers that were not at all in bloom a few months ago were now in full bloom and both fragrant and beautiful. Your business will also go through cycles. There are times of year that are a bit slow and there are times of the year that sales and sponsoring will be more abundant.

We passed by many people along our route. Some were walking, some were jogging, some were on bikes, some were walking dogs, some were in groups and some were alone. We are all different. There is always more than one way to get from point A to point B. Each person we passed was enjoying the path a bit differently but each would end in the same spot. Some would get there quicker than others and some would have company along the way.

We also found that some people went out of their way to say “good morning” to us, while others turned the other way not wanting to engage in conversation. We also began a few exchanges. These exchanges were met in many ways. Some people just nodded their head and moved on. Some smiled and moved on. Others wanted to verbally engage with us and echoed our words of “good morning.” This is just another reminder that as we speak with others about our products and business, we will get a wide variety of responses.

Network marketing really is just another part of life with many similarities to those things you are already familiar with.

Audrey :)

Network Marketing and the Gym - Common Ground

I was at the gym working out the other day and all of a sudden I began thinking about the similarities between network marketing and the gym.

When you first begin working out, it’s tough. It’s so tough in fact that many people quit and never come back. In network marketing, I often see people quit before the end of their first six months in the business.

When you first begin a routine at the gym, you do not see immediate results. It takes consistency and commitment before you’ll see results. The same is true with your business. You will not see immediate results. It takes time to develop customers and build a team.

I remember when I first started working out, after twenty minutes I was completely wiped out. As time went on, I was able to handle longer workouts and add more weights to my circuit routine. In your business, it will take time to learn about the company, learn about the products and develop a marketing routine that works for you.

The day I was thinking about all of this, I was doing circuit training, going from machine to machine. Each machine is different. Each machine works a different muscle group and each machine in my routine has a different weight amount on it. Each relationship in network marketing is different. Each person will have different needs and different expectations. It will be up to you to help meet those needs and expectations.

After I had been working out for a few months, I saw a change in not only my weight but also how I felt overall. Results were starting to show. I was becoming more and more motivated to work out each day as I knew I was going to see results. I also add weights and test out the new weight. You’ll find this is true in your business also. Work toward your first customer. After you have your first customer, begin working on your second customer. Each person you come in contact with might want the products you offer. You’ll never know until you ask.

Those who work out at the gym never stop working. They come in each day ready for a complete workout knowing consistency and commitment are the only way to see results. Apply these same principles to your business and you’ll see results there also.


Xsite Pro

If you are in direct sales, you should have at least one website of your own. A site of your own allows you to have a unique URL for the search engines, a unique URL for marketing purposes and a place where you can personalize the site each step of the way.

I am often asked how I built my websites since I’m not an HTML expert. My blogs are either Wordpress or Blogger, but my websites have all been built with a program called XSitePro website design software.

When I made my first website, I used Netscape. At that time they had a builder component that was helpful. After that, a friend gave me an old copy of DreamWeaver. Talk about complicated. DreamWeaver is meant for those who have website building knowledge.

I knew there had to be a better way to create a real website without paying a fortune and without knowing HTML. That’s when I was introduced to XSitePro. Patty Gale is the woman who introduced me to the product. She suggested I look at some of her sites. I was blown away. She assured me the program came with a 100% money back guarantee. I trusted Patty and I loved her sites. I bought the program.

Since that day, I’ve built 3 sites and upgraded when XSitePro introduced a newer version. I’ve never looked back.

Several of my webpages have hit the number one spot on the major search engines and I’ve received many compliments over the years on my sites.

The program is as simple to use as a word processor. In fact you build a site with the program tutorial before you ever start building your own site. In addition to the tutorial, there is also a message board community to help you with any questions you might have as you begin building your own sites.

I don’t want to turn this post into a long sales letter, so I’ll end by sharing the links to the two live sites I have up that were built using XSitePro. They are http://www.recipe-barn.com and http://www.scrapping-made-simple.com Take a look at the two sites. They were built using the XSitePro software.

If you decide to purchase the software, in addition to the support from the company, you are also welcome to contact me either via email or by phone. My email is here on the blog. I’m happy to email you my phone number.

Audrey :)