Direct Selling For DummiesExplore Book Buy On Amazon
There are three main types of direct sales models: social selling, network marketing, and affiliate/influencer, and each finds its niche in the industry. Being successful means setting and meeting goals. Doing so keeps you on your toes and engaged in your business. Once you get going in your business, there are lots of hard-earned tips and tricks you can apply to really maximize your profit.
The following are some resources you can use regularly as a direct seller. You can find helpful information about everything from time management, team communications, social media communication and strategy, money management, and a wide assortment of other topics.
Time-management tools are a great way to keep on top of your to-do lists. With these apps and resources, you can set up tasks and reminders from your computer, tablet, or phone. You can create multiple lists, set priorities, get push notifications, and even share task lists with others.
Tasks are important to set for yourself daily, weekly, and monthly. Schedule your Power Hour times using these apps as well as your personal priorities and responsibilities. Time-management tools are also great when planning events with other leaders in your team because many apps give you the ability to share task lists with others.
Here are three suggestions:
- Any.Do (www.any.do)
- Todoist (www.todoist.com)
- marGo (www.margo.me)
marGo is the first invitation service designed specifically for direct sellers. marGo offers mail, email, text, Facebook posting, voice broadcasting, and invitation images. It provides three touches before a party to help ensure your in-home or virtual event is well attended, and two touches after the event to capitalize on post-event orders, bookings, and recruiting.
Organization and file sharing
Organization and file-sharing tools help you keep your business documents in one place and easy for you and your team to access. With these tools, you have the ability to take notes, track tasks, and save anything you find online. The app syncs everything together between your phone and your computer automatically, meaning you can access your information from anywhere.
You can also invite others to view your work. That’s great for sharing your training documents with new recruits and people on your team. You can also store images that you use for marketing and online parties.
Some great resources worth trying include the following:
- Dropbox (www.dropbox.com)
- Evernote (www.evernote.com)
- Google Drive (www.google.com/drive)
- Trello (www.trello.com)
Team communication and online meetings
Keeping in contact with your team is important to your success. Many resources are available for you to hold conference calls as well as online webinars. Online meetings work as additions to your monthly meeting, especially if your team isn’t local to you.
You can also use these resources to hold opportunity calls where you can invite prospects to join to find out more about the opportunity from a top leader in the organization. Here are some suggestions:
Free Conference Call (www.freeconferencecall.com)
Google Hangouts (http://plus.google.com/hangouts)
Social media communication and management
Social media management applications help you view, schedule, and post to all your social media sites. Applications like Hootsuite and Buffer allow you to plan posts in advance with their scheduling options so you can spend less time on your social media accounts.
They also give you the opportunity to stay consistent with your social media and share content across a variety of platforms in a few simple clicks. You can measure your return on investment (ROI) using their analytics and reporting. These tools are for anyone who wants to take their social media and engagement to the next level:
Video is an amazing tool for your business. Video creation apps give you the ability to share videos or post your own videos from your phone to your YouTube channel and social media platforms.
Share video testimonials, product demonstrations, and training using videos. The following resources allow you to record, edit, and share your videos while on the go:
Wondershare Filmora (https://filmora.wondershare.net/)
Images and graphics
You can use many excellent resources for creating free or affordable graphics. With these apps and websites, you can also create many types of images, especially for sharing on social media. You can choose from pre-set images such as Facebook post, Twitter heading, and so on. You can also create custom images of any size.
And you can create things like postcards, thank-you cards, and posters. Check out some of suggestions:
Pic Collage (www.pic-collage.com)
Newsletters and email
Not all direct sales companies offer customer newsletters on your behalf, so it’s important to send monthly reminders to your customers. These newsletters and emails can cover things like the opportunity, monthly specials, product highlights, tips, host benefits, and so on. You can also use these newsletter and email applications to stay in contact with your team and downline.
Another great idea is to have a newsletter specifically for your loyal customers and VIP hosts. Give them the first sneak peek at new products and specials.
Here are some resources to try:
Constant Contact (www.constantcontact.com)
Business expenses and money management
Track your mileage, store your receipts, and keep more of your money! These resources and tools organize your expenses and help you keep more of your money when it comes to tax time:
Accountable Solutions (www.costamesataxreturn.com)
QuickBooks Online (www.quickbooks.intuit.com)
Website and blog creation
Most direct sales companies offer you a website (for free or for a small fee) where you can set up online events as well as sell products online through an e-commerce system. But many representatives opt to set up an additional website or blog to share content and interesting information with their customers and fans.
Blog posts work great for sharing on social media and encouraging engagement. You can share video tutorials, interesting facts, and product information through your blogs. Check out three free platforms:
Attending trade shows as part of direct sales
Trade shows and vendor events are amazing opportunities for you to gain clients that you might not have encountered from other areas of your direct selling business. They’re great ways to broaden your audience and obtain new leads for sales, booking, and recruiting.
You can get involved with many different types of shows — everything from large events like national women’s shows that bring in thousands of people, to smaller community events. Both types of event have their advantages and disadvantages:
- Large trade shows: The main advantage of large trade shows is seeing more people. Lots more people. Disadvantages include increased cost, longer time commitment, and development of leads that may not be strong. Because of the cost and time commitment, these types of events are great to involve your team members so that you can all share the costs.
- Smaller community shows: Smaller community events like farmers’ markets and Chamber of Commerce events bring in fewer people, but require less investment on your part. Leads developed at these events are typically stronger because you have more time to foster connections, and results may be better. Drawbacks include meeting fewer people. Contact your Chamber to see what types of events are going on in your area. You can also check nearby neighborhoods and cities to break out into new areas.
Choosing whether you want to be a vendor
Another thing you should try to do is attend a trade show or two before deciding to become a vendor. That way you can judge firsthand whether you’re likely to get a return on the time commitment and cost investment. Look for what other types of vendors participate and what the demographic of the attendees are. Could you picture your product and your business there? Would it appeal to guests?
There are plenty of trade shows, craft fairs, and markets available to you in your state, if not your city and surrounding area. Don’t get discouraged if the event you want already has a representative from your company attending. Move on and find another event you can attend.
Having a focus
The next important aspect when looking at trade shows is choosing what to focus on. It’s good to have one goal in mind, which may change from show to show or event to event, but go into every trade show with one main objective.
Many direct sales reps go into a trade show and try to obtain sales, bookings, and recruits — and end up feeling overwhelmed. It’s okay to touch on all these things, but when you go in with a tight focus and restrained expectancy, you’ll be more successful.
If you want to sell off inventory and make quick cash, then focus on that. Bear in mind that because people will be walking away with products in hand, they may be less likely to book an event or join as a team member.
If you want to sell something to help cover the cost of the booth, then consider having a show special. This special could be one product that’s discounted or bundled. A show special can help you cover the cost of your booth and still create a desire for hosting among attendees because there will be other products that they can’t get at the trade show. Be sure to always have samples of your other products out on the table.
Focus on either booking to fill your calendar with events and appointments or on securing recruiting leads. These are the activities that will move your business forward and make you more money in the long run.
When looking to fill your calendar, focus your efforts on creating a desire for the product and emphasizing the benefits of hosting. Instead of giving away catalogs, which can be costly, make up smaller brochures or flyers (some companies do this for you) that cover the host benefits and highlight some of the benefits of your products.
To encourage booking on the spot, you can also offer a booking bonus special. This is a gift hosts will receive the day of their event for booking with you (not the day they book at the trade show).
If you want to focus on recruiting, give out information and recruiting packets. Most companies have already created these materials for you. Focus on the benefits of starting a direct sales business and have posters or banners that say “Start a business for as little as $___” (your kit cost).
If your company doesn’t offer recruiting materials or other marketing pieces, include a kit flyer (photo of the kit and cost) as well as information on the benefits of starting a business. Some of these benefits are increased income, flexibility, awards and incentives, friendships, and personal growth.
So before each event, decide what you really want at that particular time in your business (sales, bookings, or recruits) and stick to pursuing that. You may want to offer a QR code that can lead people to your Customer Community Group.
Using the power of groups to promote your business
Here are some groups you can rely on to promote and build your business as a direct seller.
Customer community group
Your customer community group is where you’ll lead your customers in order to build ongoing relationships. Here is where you offer value to your customers with product knowledge, educational how-to videos, and any monthly customer specials. It’s also a place for you to have fun, create engagement, and offer support, as well as motivate and encourage others. In this group you’ll find new hosts as well as new team members. This community group is the perfect arena for follow-up and generating ongoing sales.
The key to having a continually growing direct sales business, even a multimillion one, is promoting leaders and training your team. But when you look at your organization as a whole, the idea of making coaching calls can seem overwhelming. Where will you start? What will you talk about? How will you keep track of what you’ve talked about with each individual rep? Viewed like that, the task seems almost impossible.
But the good news is that it’s very possible to handle your team tasks using the “power hour for leaders” approach, and one of the simplest ways is to look at your team as groups of reps, rather than as one big group.
Try dividing members of your team into four separate groups, and handle your coaching calls for the day according to groups. (For example, only coach new consultants on Mondays, business builders on Tuesdays, and so on.)
New consultants group
This includes those individuals who are new to the business as well as new to your particular company. With this group, you’re helping them master the basics of the business. You’ll introduce and review scripts for parties and appointments, follow up calls for recruiting and host coaching, and help them set goals for their new businesses.
Much of what you’ll be discussing with members of this group is training, with a dash of coaching. Members stay with this group during their first three months (until after their fast start program).
Business builders group
This group has been in the business for at least three months, and they’ve proven that they’ve mastered the scripts (opening, demonstration, recruiting, host coaching, and closing). They’ve completed their Fast Start program and are working on their goals.
With this group, you’ll focus on coaching them to earn incentives, such as trips or special awards, and help them hone their skills and develop great habits. Within their specific goals, you’ll coach them with a focus on reaching their recruiting and booking goals. Calls with business builders are more about coaching than training, but you can expect to do a little training, too.
Your future leaders group
These reps have either begun seriously recruiting or have expressed a desire to do so. This group is getting close to achieving the qualifications to advance to a leadership rank in the company. In other words, they’re your potential leaders.
Talking to reps in this group, you’ll discuss some of the same things you do with business builders, but you’ll also focus on helping them set goals for giving out recruiting packets as well as effectively following up on those packets.
You’ll ask about how many packets they’re giving out, how often they’re following up, and, of course, how many they’re closing. You’ll take notes on who they’ve talked to and ask specific follow-up questions. (“Carol, you told me you gave recruiting packets to Sharon, Karla, and Alex last week. What did Sharon say when you followed up with her?”)
It’s a good idea to regularly share the industry standard numbers with members of this group: For every ten packets given, one person will become a team member. For every ten team members, one person will become a leader. You’ll want to continually see where they are and coach them to achieve the qualifications so they can advance in the career plan.
Your core leaders group
When you have someone who has mastered the basics of leadership and is either preparing to or actually managing their own team, they become one of your core leaders. With the reps in this group, you’ll often have to encourage them to remember the reality of “A third of your team is joining, a third is working, and a third is leaving.” This adage means that it’s absolutely critical that they continue to recruit so they can replace that third, which is leaving.
You’ll also train leaders how to work with their teams (including their own new consultants, business builders, and future leaders).
Ideally, reps should advance to the next category within three months. Some may linger longer and some will soar, especially when a rep has expressed a desire to earn top money. With each person who comes into your group, if your goal is to move them to the next level within 90 days, you have a greater chance of promoting more leaders.
Finding direct sales business after you relocate
Moving to a different city can be daunting if you’re connected in your current community. Although you can continue to do business online effectively, meeting people in your new community is helpful. Think about all of the new connections you’ll already make in your everyday personal life; new hairdresser, new doctor, new gym, new orthodontist for the kids, and so on.
Remember that there are new connections to be made and let people know you have a business. Let them know you are always looking for some pop-up events (at schools, a country club, and so forth). Find out where things are in your new community and when seasonal or annual events happen. And don’t forget, you can ask your online connections if anyone knows people in your new area!
The key is to stay positive and look at it as a new opportunity in a different area. The reality is you have the opportunity to expand your business. But no matter what, relocating can be challenging. Because of that, here are some steps to reassure both yourself and your team:
- Reassure your team. An important first step you’ll want to take when you decide to relocate is to reassure any team members you work with in person that you’ll still be there for them and won’t abandon them. Let them know everything is going to be fine and put in place some concrete systems for staying in contact.Phone and video conferencing are easy ways to stay in touch with your team. Hop on a Zoom call anytime you want or need to meet face to face. If you don’t have one already, creating a Facebook Group for everyone in your downline is something you’ll want to start. Posting training tips, news, and recognition in your Facebook Group will build confidence in your team that you’re still accessible.
- Reassure yourself. I hear from most people that they go through a feeling of depression and have a tendency to feel like they don’t even know where to begin when they relocate. First things first: Take it in small steps. Reassure yourself that you can continue to grow your team in your former location and expand your business in this new area.Try to set simple daily goals, like meeting one new person per day or making five phone calls a day. Don’t feel like you have to build a new business in a new location overnight. Also, depending on your level of leadership and the size of your team, you may have been more in the leadership or managing mind-set — meaning less personal business.
- Act as if you’re new. Perhaps the easiest way to start over is to start from the beginning. This idea can be challenging to wrap your head around, but acting as if you’re a new representative is the easiest way to start your business in a new location. Pretend you’re a new representative and continue to re-promote yourself through the ranks of your company. This exercise can challenge you and get you excited about your business again. You’ll find yourself achieving promotions much faster than you did when you started your business.
- Provide excellent customer care to existing clients. With the Internet and social media, running a business far away from your clients is very doable. And not only doable but it can still be very successful. The key is to maintain your relationships with your customers through social media, email, texting, or phone. Continue to service them as you would in your previous local area, and they’ll order from you again and again. And don’t forget to ask your existing clients if they know anyone in the area you’re moving to who would be interested in your product or service.