Thursday, February 22, 2018

Get Successfully Social for March

Hey there direct sellers! With March right around the corner, it's time to formulate your Marketing Action Plan (MAP) if you haven't already. Awhile back in our blog post Top Ten Things to Implement in your Direct Sales Customer Group in 2018, we encouraged you to start some new things in your closed Customer Communities this year, and with that in mind I've created you a "cheat sheet" of a few things happening in March that you can use towards your theme parties and random holiday celebrations. 

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Theme Parties Ideas for Direct Sellers

So one of the things that Kelly and I recommend doing inside your closed Customer Community is doing a monthly theme party. Why? Because they are fun! Because they get attention! Because you never know what theme is going to strike a chord with your audience!

So, that said, we wanted to give you a few theme ideas that you can use in your own customer group. Comment below if you have some additional favorites you like to use.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Learners are Earners

Y'all have heard that saying before right? Ask any top CEO and they will tell you that you have to not be too afraid to continue to learn new things. In the spirit of that particular sentiment (because who doesn't want to think like a CEO), I am continually looking for ways to educate myself on new topics, enhance my knowledge of topics important to me, and basically just keep my brainpower growing. Whether it's purchasing online training, attending webinars, reading books, or going to conferences, all of those activities feed not only my brain but my soul.

This past weekend, I attended CinchShare's Cinch Summit in Orlando, FL. This was the second year in a row I have attended, and they did not disappoint. They put on a great conference, with the sole focus of the event being various aspects of social media. We talked about everything from Facebook parties, to online recruiting, to Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram. Now granted, I probably knew more than the average attendee about these topics, just given the nature of what I do, but nevertheless, I still learned a couple of cool tricks. For example, I've been using CinchShare for years and I wasn't aware they'd added in functionality to schedule to Instagram. Sweet. Totally doing that now. I love anything that lets me work smarter not harder!

Kelly and I have been guest trainers for CinchShare before, and we have another training event coming up with them next week on 2/8 at 9pm eastern. The whole thing will take place on their Facebook page - come check it out - we'll be talking Facebook Customer Communities, which y'all know is a subject near and dear to our hearts. While you're there, check out some of their past trainings, there is a whole slew of useful stuff!!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Retired Inventory = BOOKINGS!

If there is one thing direct sales companies LOVE to do, it's to come out with new products for their line. But to do that, they often need to retire existing product, and then direct sellers all throughout the lands are trying to sell off their retired inventory through flash sales, vendor events, online auction sites, etc. I'm here to tell you to S.T.O.P. (Sort, Take pics, Offer it free, Party). 

Alright, I might have lost some of you on the whole "Offer it free" part. But just stick with me here. Let's just say that you work for a jewelry company and they just came out with their spring line, and have discontinued 15 of the items that you've been displaying at your fall and winter parties (a conservative estimate for many direct sellers who like to have a TON of items on hand to demo to their customers). And let's just say that those items range in retail value from $45-90 each. Now, you could go ahead and offer them up for sale in your customer group, or at a vendor event, but I'm going to guess that if you do that, you're going to discount them at least 25%, because they are retired, they have been displayed (as opposed to brand new in package) and that 25% you're discounting them might just be most if not all of your commission rate. So for simplicity's sake, because I'm no math guru, let's suppose 10 of those 15 items you list were all retail valued at $50 each and you sold them at a discount for $37 each, making a total of $370. Not bad, right? Heck, who doesn't want an extra $370 in their pocket!

But...what if, instead, you gave those away as a booking bonus to people who booked parties with you in the next two months? Suppose your party average is $500 and those same ten $50 retail value items got you ten bookings. At that same 25% commission rate, you've now made $1250 instead of $370, AND you've gotten in front of customers (either live or virtually), AND you've likely booked more additional parties off those initial ten. BAM! Win!!

So, let's break it down: S.T.O.P.

Sort: go through your retired items and decide which ten you're going to offer up. I don't care if you have thirty items to choose from, JUST DO 10. This is exclusivity. There are limited choices, these peeps better hurry up and book if they want in on the action. People who are on the fence will do it, because they do not want to miss out!!

Take pics: don't just use pics from the catalog, take your own. You clearly have the item on hand, so there is no reason you can't stage it nice on a black or white or cork background and snap a pic of it. Each item individually. Once you do this with all ten items, you're going to pull them into Canva or PicMonkey or wherever it is you like to edit graphics, and you're going to make each one all pretty in a cute frame with the item name, a letter A-J, the retail price, and the word FREE underneath that. I've included some frames in various colors below if you want to save out your fave and pull it into your graphics editing software to start creating your images.

Offer it free: take those ten images and write up a little blub about what the heck it is you're doing. Something along the lines of "Hey, the new spring catalog is out and OMG it's amazing!! I have some adorable pieces that are retiring from fall and YOU have the chance to pick your fave for free. First come first served, just reply back with the date you'd like to book a party, and your first, second and third choice of free gift." Then include those 10 pics below your blurb. You can post this in your customer group, message it out to your past hostesses, send it in an email to all of your customers...however it is that you prefer to communicate with your tribe.

Party: go party it up, girl!!! All these bookings will receive their free item AT their party (for home parties) or mailed to them after they hold their show (for online parties).

Look at you, you just made 70% more than you would have just selling those pieces outright. And you're no longer hoarding stuff you don't really need. #soproudofyou

Here are some various colored frames, all ready for you to put your gorgeous inventory items in using your favorite image editor:

Pink Frame
White Frame
Grey Frame
Green Frame
Green Frame

Thursday, January 11, 2018

New Catalog Coming Out? Read on!

Most companies come out with a new catalog sometime in the first quarter of the year. If this is you, here are a few quick tips to make sure you’re getting those catalogs in the hands of your customers and potential hostesses for the season, and building the excitement of the new products your company has come out with.

Spread the Excitement – think about going live on your customer group with your new products (if you have them in hand) or with your favorite parts of the actual catalog itself if you don’t. This is going to help let your own excitement for the new stuff shine through. If your company offers amazing hostess exclusive items, these are FABULOUS to highlight, as well.

Share pics – once you get that stuff in hand, create some artful displays around your home with your items, if you sell home d├ęcor. Or some cute styles you can pair with the new jewelry, if you sell jewelry. Or some fresh new looks with the make-up if that’s your industry. You get the idea. Show items in use, not just photos straight off your website. Let people envision your items in a real-world scenario, not on a closed set. Life isn’t a catalog!!

Have you done a Google form in the past, whether in your Facebook parties, your closed group, in a customer email, etc? Go back through your previous responses of who wanted a catalog last time around and go ahead and send them a new one along with a short handwritten note to check out what’s new and text you with their favorite item for a chance to be entered in your monthly customer drawing.

Haven’t done a Google form? DO IT NOW!!! Create one and post the link to it in your customer group (super easy, I promise, and one of the things Kelly and I walk you through step-by-step in our Facebook Party Course). Give people the opportunity to fill that out and let you know they would like a catalog, and enter all them in your monthly customer drawing. 

If you get home office leads from your company, go back through those leads and reach out to people who had expressed interest in the past – whether for a catalog, hosting, or the business, and let them know about the new catalog, and of course offer to send them one. 

Newness is exciting, and you need to capitalize on that! Yes, I realize catalogs cost you money, but they are hands-down your best marketing piece to get in people’s hands. I know they can see things online, but there is something about sitting on the couch looking at a catalog and dog-earing those pages that makes people want your stuff even more!

Stay tuned next week when I’ll be giving you guys my absolute favorite idea of what to do with all those products you have that are retired from your display (yeah, hoarder, I’m talking to you – time to get it GONE!!!)

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Getting Organized for the New Year

organize your business now

Happy New Year! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday and you’re ready to hit the ground running in 2018. I’ve said before how much I absolutely love a new year – clean slate and all that, and one of the best things about that whole clean slate concept is that it’s the perfect time to get organized with your business. Now maybe you’re like me, and you already have a great system for keeping track of your expenses, your mileage, your emails, your business supplies…if so, good for you – feel free to share them in the comments. BUT if you’re like most, there are one or more of these areas that you could use some assistance in, so read on for some of my personal tips in this area.

new tips for your direct sales biz
Nobody likes doing taxes, tracking expenses, etc. but the fact of the matter is, if you own a business, this is a necessary evil. For the longest time, I used a simple spreadsheet I created in Excel that had categories for different types of expenses, such as your website expense, catalogs, travel to convention, etc. This worked well for many years, but a few years ago I upgraded to using a software called TaxBot, which allows you to digitally keep your receipts and enter your expenses into all those same categories. At tax time, you can print out a summary of all of your expenses, by category, for the year. LOVE!

This one has traditionally been a huge PITA for me. Generally I would try to guess how many miles I had on my car at the beginning of the year, how many I had at the end…it was basically one big guessing game and was absolutely NOT a win. Enter MileIQ. This app automatically starts tracking your drives, based on your phone being in the car with you, and then you classify each drive as to whether it was personal, or business, and which category it would fall under if it was business. The caveat to this is if you do decide to use this app, be sure to stay on top of classifying your drives, because it’s really easy to forget two months later what was business and what was personal.

This one is a huge fave of mine. It drives me insane when I hear from friends that they have 12,000 emails in their inbox. Ahhhh!!! How do you survive?? I have a ton of subfolders and drop the emails I need to keep into whatever subfolder fits them, that way I always know where I need to find anything business related. For example, I have a folder for each month of the year, and under that folder, I have a folder for each event I have going on that month (whether it’s a party, vendor event, conference, etc.) Any relevant emails having to do with that event will be kept in that folder, that way when I need to look something up about a vendor event coming up in July, I know right where to find the information. I also have a folder with my company name on it, and underneath that, subfolders for shipping notifications, home office leads, online orders, company newsletters, and several others. You get the idea. Any type of correspondence that a) you get often, and b) you want to hang onto, should have it’s own folder or subfolder.

Business Supplies
This one can be tricky, because it’s going to be very individualized as to how many of something you keep on hand at any one time, depending on the volume of business you do. Personally, I kind of buy “in bulk” with my non-company branded items, so that I don’t have to buy them often. By this I mean, the folders I use for my hostess, recruiting and new consultant packets, the post cards I order off Vistaprint for my customer follow up, hostess happy mail, and new consultant happy mail, the fun things I send through the mail to all these people, the envelopes I send them in, etc. I keep a stock of several months worth, at least, of all these things, and re-order well before I am going to run out. Everything I’ve mentioned here is part of one of my on-going business systems, so it’s crucial to me that I never run out of these key pieces that help my business run more smoothly. Whatever components make up your own systems for your business, now is the time to determine how your supply of them is for at least the first quarter of the year, and make sure that where you are storing them makes sense for you and allows you to put your hands on them all quickly and efficiently when you need to.

Y’all ready to kick some booty in 2018?? What area of your business do you need help organizing? Shoot us a note and we will see if we can cover it in a future post!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Top 10 Things to Implement in Your Direct Sales Customer Group in 2018

There's nothing like a brand new year to get you inspired, right? Clean slate, time to try all the new things you've been thinking about, time to really make a plan. I adore a new year, and every single successful system I use in my business was kicked off in a January. In that spirit, I've put together a list of 10 things to plan for now, that will make your customer group kick booty in the new year.
    Engage Your Direct Sales fans in 2018
  1. Birthday Club. Every single month, create and post a graphic during the start of the month, celebrating all those that have a birthday that month. Ask that everyone who has a birthday that month comment below with their birthday to be entered into a special birthday club drawing. Take it a step further, and when you wish your friends happy birthday throughout the month, send them a link to your group and let them know they can be entered into your birthday club drawing if they are interested in joining your group.
  2. Monthly Engagement Drawings. Create a post a week that is purely an engagement post. Not business related, but all tied to a theme, such as Halloween during October, St. Patrick's Day during March, etc. All commenters on those engagement posts go into a drawing for whatever prize you happen to be giving away that month.
  3. Unique Hashtags. Create some that are specific to you and your business (or at least not insanely common), and use them frequently. Just 2-4 will suffice, and this will serve the dual purpose of helping you stand out, and allowing your peeps an easy way to search for things relating to you/your products (i.e. tell them to search for #floridachick when they are looking for a particular series of posts that you've tagged.)
  4. BFF (Best Facebook Friend). Start this award for those that are always super active on your group, commenting, posting and participating. This is a concept I've used in my team group for awhile, but I think it would be a lot of fun to play with in your customer group, as well. And with Facebook having added analytics for groups not long ago, it's even easier to stay on top of who your top contributors are.
  5. Theme Days. Pick at least a couple days of the week and give them themes. Such as #MotivationalMonday, #TipTuesday, #WordlessWednesday, etc. Your group members will get used to seeing and come to anticipate that day's theme, and you should see a spike in your participation (just don't make this all work and no play!)
  6. Monthly Theme Parties. Choose a theme for the month and party inside your group around that theme. Depending on your product line, you might do themes like "Spring Cleaning", "Back to School", "Vacation", "Night on the Town", etc. Get creative and present your products in ways that keep to your theme.
  7. Monthly Polls. Every month, ask your group what they'd like to see you highlight through doing a poll near the beginning of the month (or the end of the month, for the following month). This gives them a voice, and polls tend to get great interaction, because they are so easy to click a button and answer.
  8. Random Holidays. Choose 2-3 bizarre holidays to celebrate each month in your group. You can see a list of random holidays here. You can choose holidays that relate to your business in some way, or just pick something completely fun and off the wall, and share photos, gifs, etc. that go along with the holiday. 
  9. Cross Promotions. Build relationships with other direct sales women and choose one to cross promote every month or every quarter. This exposes each of you to one another's audience, and can help build both of your businesses. Just make sure that you completely trust the person you're inviting to share within your group, because you are trusting her with your most valuable asset - your customers.
  10. Product Parade. Choose one product per week to offer at a small discount to your customers, and then highlight features, benefits and uses for that product all week long. 
Okay, not so hard right? When you sit down to do your 2018 planning, take some time to think about which of these ideas you're going to implement into your customer group this coming year, and what that's going to look like for you. And then come back and tell us all about it!