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!