Thursday, December 7, 2017

5 Things to do for Your Direct Sales Business in December

Most direct sales companies have their holiday shipping guaranteed cut-off date around December 10-15th. Many consultants think that means they can just take the rest of the month off, but that really couldn't be farther from the truth. There ARE ways you can turn those last few weeks of the year into productive time, so let's take a look at a few ideas.

  1. Sell. Hold an inventory sale from products you have on hand. Many of us have items that have retired that we still have from our displays - these can be someone's great last minute gift all the way up until Christmas. Host a stop and shop in your home, and offer gift wrapping (or gift bagging) so that people can leave your home with their gifts ready to roll.
  2. Book. Work on filling your January calendar! If your last few November and December parties didn't fully book you up for January, NOW is the time to reach out to past January hostesses, potential hostesses who haven't nailed down a date yet, or just anyone who has shown interest in booking. You do not want to roll into the new year without your January calendar solid, so do the work now.
  3. Inventory. Take an inventory of your business supplies and figure out what you need to order to start the year off right. Do you have all the catalogs, order forms, hostess goodies, etc. that you are going to need? Many companies change catalogs over in January, and thus make the new book available for consultants to order in December. If this is you, or if you have a couple more months left in your winter book and you aren't going to have enough to get you through til the end, get your order placed. Because remember point 2, you're going to be booking up your January and you're going to need to have those hostess packets ready to mail to all of your excited January hostesses.
  4. Marketing. Revamp your marketing plan for the new year if it needs it, or if your marketing plan is solid, make sure you have your necessities stocked. I have a lot of solid systems in my business, such as Hostess Happy Mail and my Customer Follow-Up System, and now is the perfect time of year to make sure that I have all I need from Vistaprint and my back office. If you don't personally have systems in your business that are working for you, now is a great time to start some. The new year is always something of a clean slate, and honestly is when almost every system of mine got it's start, one year or another. 
  5. Mastermind. Do you have someone you work closely with in your business? Set aside time to mastermind with them on what you both want from your businesses in the coming year. I have two people I work closely with - Mariekan, from the same direct sales company, who I have partnered with to train our teams together, and Jessica, who is a friend from another company who is my go-to girl to bounce ideas off of. Each December, I have planning meetings with each of these people. With Mariekan, we get together for four days straight and plan out our entire year of team trainings, our schedule for calls, zooms, topics, etc. Yes, it's a lot, but you can't imagine how organized we feel heading into a new year with a solid map for what is to come. With Jessica, we do an overnight, and lay out our goals for our personal businesses in the coming year, talk strategy and marketing, and create vision boards to help keep us on task. Both of these masterminds are crucial to my success, and I highly recommend you do something similar. 
So, what will YOU do with the final few weeks of the year? I suggest you figure it out...and then be on the lookout for another post coming soon about the top 10 things you want to implement in your business next year...

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Customer Service Quick Tips

how are your direct sales customer service skills?

Anyone can make a sale at a party, but to get those customers coming back to you over and over again, one of the most important things you need to do is give them amazing customer service. The advent of social media means that it’s easier than ever to reach customers far and wide, BUT it also means that it’s easier than ever for your customers to find another consultant to meet their needs if you’re not taking great care of them. So, with that in mind, here are four basics of customer service that you need to absolutely live by:

·        Listen to your customers. Even if they are complaining. Especially if they are complaining. Sure, some people will always find something to complain about, but sometimes you’ll find there is validity in what they are saying. If something is wrong (they received the wrong item, it wasn’t what they expected, etc.) make it right. Someone who walks away upset is likely to tell others how NOT helpful you were, so don’t give them that option. Do whatever you can within your power to make their experience a good one.

·        Don’t make promises unless you will keep them. Not just “plan” on keeping them, but actually do it. Being reliable is crucial in any relationship, and a business relationship is no different. If you tell them you’re going to call them tomorrow with a price, do it. If you think there’s any chance in the world you can’t make that call, don’t even say it.

·        Be helpful. Is your customer looking for a solution to a need or problem? If you have something that will fill that need, fabulous. Hook them up. If you do NOT have something that will fill that need, be honest about that fact. Don’t try to sell them on something else that is ultimately not going to be a fix for them, because in the long run they will realize that the product you’ve sold them isn’t going to do what they wanted it to do, and that will leave a bad taste in their mouth about you and your products. Better for them to look elsewhere for the item they need now, and then be willing to come back to you in the future because you were honest with them upfront.

·        Treat them as real people, not just sales. People like to feel like you’re remembering THEM not just their purchase, and this becomes easy if you simply take a few notes after speaking with them. You might jot down that their daughter is applying to colleges, or that they are helping their mom move, or that they just got a new puppy. Next time you speak to them, bring that up in conversation, to check in and see how things are going in that area of their life. Remember the old saying, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

30 Post Ideas for Your Business Page

Direct Sales Success: 30 post ideas

Writing content is easy...said no one ever. Let's face it, we all get tired of trying to come up with new content all the time for all of our social media channels...customer groups, fan pages, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter...the list is endless. Sometimes we all need a little spark. Well, that's what we're offering up here, with a list of 30 different posts you can craft for your Facebook Business Pages. Now, you'll notice we didn't say "here's 30 posts, go post them." Nope, sorry, that's not how we roll. Over here at Successfully Social, we firmly believe that you need to make these things your own...put your own spin on, your own voice to...basically take these ideas and craft them to fit YOU and your business and your products. The whole cookie cutter plan might work in the (very) short term, but long term you need to discover your own style, we're just here to help that along a little.

So, with that in mind, take these ideas below, and couple them with our previous post on Your Roadmap to Business Page Engagement and make yourself a content plan for next month. I promise you, when you start doing these things on a regular basis, they really do become easier.

We would love to hear from you on what posts you're creating over on your business page - drop us a line here, or come play with us over on Facebook!

Your Business Page Post Ideas

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Direct Sellers: Stop Sending Christmas Cards!

No, I am not going all bah humbug on you, just hear me out. If you are in the habit of sending Christmas cards to your customers, here's why I want you to stop:
  1. Everyone else is doing it, and in my book that means it's NOT the way to go, because it's not showing your individuality or setting you apart.
  2. Think about how many Christmas cards you get from about the last week of November til the end of December. I'd wager it's a lot. Your customers are swimming in them, too. Therefore a card at this time of the year is getting a lot less attention than a card at say, I don't know, ANY other time of the year. Sure, it'll get hung up with the rest of them, or put in the ever-growing pile, and they might think "oh, that was sweet" but then when the next batch arrives tomorrow, it's forgotten. 
I personally think if you're going to spend the money to buy (or design, or make) a card for your direct sales customers, and then spend the money to mail them all out, you want it to get more than ten seconds of attention. So, rather than jumping in with the masses and sending a Christmas card, here's a few other ideas to choose from that you could implement into your marketing plan (and budget) instead.
  • Send a New Year's card - wish them the best for 2018, just wait to do it until at least a week or so after the year starts, because by then they are more likely to have already trashed the Christmas cards.
  • Send a card for your business anniversary. Are you celebrating a year, or 3 or 14 or whatever with your company? Send a card announcing that and thanking them for supporting your business. 
  • Choose a random holiday to send a card for. Personally, I have a marketing plan this year around Groundhog's Day (yes, I'm serious) and I'll be sending cards for that in 2018.
  • Choose any other big holiday (Easter, St. Patrick's Day, 4th of July, etc.) and use that as an occasion to send cards out to your customers. 
  • Are you Facebook friends with your customers? Send them a birthday card for their birthday instead. You can see all the birthdays coming up in the next month, and while it's a little more work for you to keep up with, as adults we don't tend to get a whole lot of birthday happy mail, so this would probably get noticed and be appreciated.
Pick your fave, and give it a whirl for 2018. And look for a future blog post coming soon on 10 other things I am going to encourage you to do for your business in 2018!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Connecting With Others On The Go

Relationship marketing is at the core how we build a strong, sustainable business. Advertising has changed dramatically, companies are putting their dollars into digital marketing. Not surprising as people can be tied to their phones but they are also happy to connect and do business with others that they know, like and trust.

As you go about your day in your local community do you really connect with others. Do you smile, ask questions, use people's name? Your local community is a gold mine of customers, hostesses, team members, referrals, every person on average can connect you to 300 more. Learning the skills of relationship marketing is truly a must in this business. The classic book "How to win friends and influence people" by Dale Carnegie is a good read and education on how to successfully connect with others.

However, what I am talking about today is how to connect digitally with the people you meet. And it is so easy! Business cards are still a great tool for connection but having a digital connection is powerful as well. Connecting through Messenger as often as you can is an ideal way to be able to keep in touch with the people you meet. It's as easy as scanning their Messenger Code. Here's how:

From Home, tap your profile picture in the top left corner. Tap your picture at the top of the page. Tap My Code to let someone scan your code, or tap Scan Code to scan someone else's.

Once connected, you can continue the conversation. Think of messenger as digital conversations, not digital sales. Remember the lessons in Dale Carnegie's book!

You can also connect people directly to your public online events. You can create a QR code for these events and people can scan the code and join the event. Here are the steps:

If you're the host of a public event, you can create a QR code to promote your event.

To create a QR code:

Go to your event and click the three dots in the top right

Select Create QR Code

Click Download

These tools are a great way to connect through conversations in your community. Practice them today so you are ready to use these tools next time you leave the house.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Three Ways to Stand Out at Your Holiday Vendor Events

I spent some time the other day thinking about the upcoming holidays and how I can maximize this month and share idea's with others to help them maximize the month while bringing enormous value to our customers. This month's cheque is our holiday cheque and typically the highest cheque of the year. So what's a direct seller to do? Do the things that other's don't, so you can have a business that other's won't.

IDEA 1: Bring a tree to decorate with your products, use your products as gifts under the tree and stuff some stockings with our products INSTEAD of setting up a table display. Ensure the decorations, gifts and stockings are ready for sale. Don't follow the crowd, bring the fun factor and enjoy the festive season!

IDEA 2: Use your table as a gift wrapping station! Bring gift wrap, bows, tags, ribbon, confetti, and stickers, and let people wrap their purchases at your table, play some Christmas music, serve some cocoa and cookies. Put a jar on the table for donations to your favorite charity and ensure your finger is ready to help them tie the perfect bow! Providing a service invites people to your booth and gives you a chance to start some conversations; we are in the relationship marketing business after all! Have a sheet for them to fill out their contact information so you can send a thank you card and forward to the charity for tax donation receipts.

IDEA 3: Expand your Social Media following by sharing the fun of your booth with your audience. You are going to be announcing on your social media channels the amount raised for your charity, so ask them to follow you (it's easy they have their phone with them, after all). Create a contest around the day by offering a special drawing for those that share a selfie (with their fabulously wrapped gift) on your business page, and let them know they will get a second chance of winning by liking your page! Remember to follow through, comment on their pictures, and ensure that you have a strong content plan for after the event.

Now go out and ROCK your vendor events and remember to take some time to brainstorm some ideas of your own.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Are You a (Facebook) Jailbird?

You've heard of it, you've seen friends complain about it, maybe you've even got locked up yourself. Facebook Jail...a term that didn't even exist five years ago but that's now as common as peanut butter and banana sandwiches. (yep, that is gross, btw)

Urban Dictionary defines Facebook Jail as "Facebook itself blocking you due to something you've either posted, words you've used or for harassment of another user." Let's dig a little deeper...

Ending up in Facebook Jail doesn't necessarily mean that you're unable to use Facebook altogether. Generally you will be blocked from just specific features of Facebook, usually the ones on which whatever offense occurred that landed you in jail in the first place. So, for example, if you sent messages through Facebook Messenger that people reported to Facebook, you might be blocked from using Messenger for a period of time. If you posted something in a closed group that someone reported, you might lose the option to post to groups. If you friend requested too many people that denied you and marked you as a spammer, you might be unable to friend request any more people for a set amount of time. Facebook will limit your functionality, or jail you, for anywhere from 24 hours (think first offense, or just one complaint against you) to 30 days (serious repeat offenders get that 30 day sentence.) If, after a 30 day sentence, you've still not learned your lesson, you can probably expect to have Facebook shut down your account altogether.

So, you're thinking...but WAIT, I'm no spammer!! Hey, we get it. We believe you when you tell us you have nothing but the best of intentions. But here's the deal: sometimes you end up in Facebook Jail anyway. Call it wrongfully accused, appeal the conviction (which rarely works) but it happens. So let's look at the best ways to avoid the Facebook Slammer completely, shall we?

  1. Stop taking other people's content! When you take those great company pics that everyone else is using and throw them out on your customer page, business page, etc. there's a really good chance that those images have a spammer label attached to them already, simply due to their widespread usage, and you putting it out there throws your name in the spammer pile. Instead, create your own images using Canva, PicMonkey, etc. 
  2. Don't post in random local groups asking for bookings, sales, recruits, etc. Let's say you're in 6 local groups (you know, yard sale groups, local mom's groups, business women's networking groups, etc.) If you write a post talking about the amazing sale you're currently having or how you are looking for "just two more women who want to make money from home", and then you copy/paste that post into all those groups, there's a really good chance Facebook is going to jail you. First off, THAT is spammy and gross, and just don't be that girl. And secondly, if you're using the exact same content back to back in rapid fire procession across all these places, that's a red flag to Facebook regardless of the actual content of your post. Which brings me to our next point...
  3. If you're running multiple Facebook parties over the same span of days, and using a fabulous scheduling service like Cinch Share, do NOT schedule all those posts to go into all those events at the exact same time. For the same reason as above - it's a red flag that you might just be a robot. Stagger your post times from event to event so that you're not gushing about your customer special in all 7 Facebook parties at the exact same millisecond. 
  4. While we are on events, if you're doing a single night live party event, make sure that you're staggering the posts for that. Every three minutes is a good rule of thumb right now. If you're posting more frequently than that, Facebook might snatch you up and not let you post at all, which is WAY worse than your guests having to wait and extra minute for your next pearls of wisdom in the party.
Hopefully those tips will help keep you from racking up a Facebook criminal record. If you've been jailed for something else, leave us a comment, we promise not to laugh at you!!