Now is the Time to Grow Your Business

We are kicking off the busiest selling season of the year which is the perfect time to think about growing your business.  I mean people are shopping, ready to spend money on those they love and you have amazing products to offer them.  So, building your business now should be easy right?  Many of us will do 60% of our sales during the next 6 to 8 weeks, BUT we want the business to keep moving forward, right?  I don’t know about you BUT I like getting a regular paycheck.

This is the time of year when we get to connect with new and repeat customers.  We get to share all of the newness of the holiday gift guides and help them to find the perfect gift for those they love.  What happens when the holiday excitement fades?  Will your business fall flat or will it continue to grow or at least maintain an even pace?

This time of year gets me excited.  There are lots of vendor events connecting with other direct sellers and business owners.  I get energized thinking about new ways to build my business.  For those of us in direct sales, we know to build your business, you need to:

Sell, Book, & Recruit

Sales are easy during the busiest selling season of the year.  Vendor events open the door to new customers.  We get to introduce our product to people who have never heard of our companies.  Lots of customers result in an increase in sales, right?  Potential customers are all around us.  Sharing our passion about our products along with tips and tricks is something which comes easily for most of us.

Booking and recruiting can get a little harder.  Despite the fact I love the company I am with, the hostess benefits are awesome and I am blessed to have it pay all of my bills as I work from home; I still stumble over words when talking to someone about having a party or becoming a consultant.  Crazy, right?

So what is the trick to turning customers into hosts and recruits which will help to grow your business?  The truth is not everyone is going to be interested in having a party or becoming a consultant and it is OK.

Here are 3 simple ways to increase the number of customers who turn into hosts and new team members.

Strategy 1: Keep it all about them.

When we share our hostess program or business opportunity, how often is the focus on us as the consultant?  I can hear all of the denials but sometimes it is tough to turn “our needs for sales/bookings” into being all about them, right?   We need to practice talking about how it could benefit THEM.  As a business, people need to see how it can fit into their life and add value to it.  The key is building a relationship with our customers and then sharing the VALUE of what you have to offer with confidence!

Asking questions and offering solutions to fill their needs, helps our success rate go up. Whether tit is for the discount on the products,  time with friends/family, or a chance to earn extra money, YOU offer solutions.

Strategy 2: Uncover their concerns.

The key to finding new hosts and customers is knowing how to listen. If you ask someone if they would like to have a party and they say, “no”, don’t be too quick to move on from the conversation. Asking more questions doesn’t have to be pushy or salesy.  You can simply ask “is there anything holding you back?”  Then LISTEN to their response, it allows you to overcome their objections

Validate their concern and offer a solution along with some encouragement.  Who knows you could turn a no into a yes. Take time to find out more about their hesitation.

Strategy 3: Consistently Follow-Up

When someone says “no”, do you ask them if it is okay to check back with them at another time?  Then do you actually follow-up?

Think about when you were invited to attend something. Maybe you initially said, “Thanks for the invitation, but I’ve got so much going on I won’t be able to attend.”  A few days go by and the same person asks you if you are attending.  Now you respond with, “I don’t know. Maybe. I’ll have to see how my schedule pans out.”  Another week or so goes by and you get a messaging from the person saying they are hoping to see you at the event. This time you say, “You know what. It sounds like fun. Yeah, I’ll see you there!”

It happens all of the time. Initially, someone may decline to join your team or host a party, simply because they are busy and don’t want to think about it.  Then some time passes, if you reach out again they may be more open to the idea. A “no” doesn’t mean never contact me again, just not at this time.  You will miss opportunities if you don’t follow-up.  Remember, follow-up is important because needs and situations change.

When we focus on the needs of our customers, uncovering their concerns, and following up consistently, you will turn more customers into hosts and recruits.

A little long but hopefully it will help you to extend this busy selling season into the new year.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Lost Customers and How to Find Them?

Over the last six plus years of selling Thirty One, I have customers who are MIA.  They have stopped buying from me or have moved or just unsubscribed to my emails. I am sure I am not alone, right?  As I was going through my list of “holiday shoppers” for the last few years, there were several names or customers I haven’t seen in awhile. It gets my curiosity up…. why?

My follow-up process has changed some what over the last few years.  Now I try to stay engaged with customers. Yes, there are random phone calls unanswered.  Emails ignored.  And even Facebook posts or private messages which have been deleted, ignored and in a rare occurrence even blocked!  Has this happened to you – customers just quit buying from you without any particular reason?

The real reason for this, are you ready?  You may not want to hear it….. is indifference!  Okay, I know you are saying – I call, I text, blah, blah, blah.  Our company sends the monthly newsletters to alert our customers about the specials.  If we are honest with ourselves, have we really kept in touch with our customers?  I don’t mean those calls to BOOK, SELL, RECRUIT.  I mean just a call to check in – do you like the product, thank you, happy birthday, whatever the reason to call, text or email.

I can’t tell you the number of times a customer answers the phone, hear it is me calling and there is dead silence on the other end of the phone.  They have already decided I am calling to sell them something or to book a party.  Knowing this is their mindset, I usually start with “I’m not calling to sell you something or book a party, I just wanted to check in”.  I can almost hear the sigh of relief on the other end of the phone.  Do I ultimately want a sale or a booking? YES!  But I want to build a relationship with them.  Did you know it can take up to 5 non-sales contacts before someone feels comfortable buying from you?

How often are we focused on getting new customers?  Think about the leads you call from a vendor event or a potential recruit or a potential party hostess.  We are persistent in building a relationship with them to get to the “prize”.  Yet, those people who are already in our customer base may only hear from us when we are selling or booking.  

Statistics show 55% of our customers take their business elsewhere because WE, as direct sellers, show no interest in keeping them around. YIKES!  That is a lot of lost business.  I have talked about the importance of follow-up in the past but if this statistic doesn’t convince you, nothing will.  Picking up the phone for some is the hardest thing to do but it is one of the MOST important things we can do as direct sellers.  For me, it is about making sure my customers are happy with their product and for them to feel comfortable coming back to me – even if it is only once a every year or two.

Let’s be honest, how often have you been at an event, offered to put someone on your mailing list, then never followed through?  I don’t mean the occasional slips through the cracks kind of mistake, I mean the norm.  I have a graphic I send via email to everyone who stops at my table and leaves their information at a vendor event.  Just a little reminder from me.  Then I add them to my email list so they get the company emails and any other special emails I send out.  That is about it, unless there has been a specific request for something.

What about the person who wants you to contact them about a special or a product they were interested in?  Thirty One has specials which are repeated every year (large utility tote, medium utility tote, lunch totes and inserts) and I have a list of people who are interested.  It is a running list so when the special is approaching, I can reach out to them and secure their business.

I know some direct sellers who are AMAZING at follow-up.  They have awesome systems to ensure they are engaging customers on a regular basis.  These consultants I am sure are not loosing customers or at least not at the rate others may be.

I struggled for awhile to find a system which works for me.  This one has been working for me so far and only takes a few minutes to complete.

  1. Email thank you when an order in placed (online or at a party)
  2. Email with shipping information when I receive shipping notice
  3. Mail a handwritten thank you card with a business card
  4. 10 days after shipping notice, call to be sure order received & they are happy with their purchase
  5. Tag for 75 days, send a postcard reminding them of the 90 day warranty on their order.  This is another chance for them to return a product they may not happy with.

Then I am stuck!  I leave those people in my data base never to be reached out to again UNLESS they mentioned something in the conversations I can tag them for – vacation check-in, looking for a specific product/print/special or health struggle.  A tickler file helps me to keep things in order on a monthly and daily basis.

I am sure I am loosing a few customers along the way but I don’t think it is as many as before since I have a system.  Finding a system which works for you can be an issue or it can be an excuse to avoid doing those things we don’t like to do?

So, what about you – are you loosing customers?  Or, are you one of those AWESOME direct sellers with a system to keep you connected to your customers?  Share your struggles and your successes!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

#hope

Why Empathy is Good for Business

Today we are going to talk about “empathy”.  By definition, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.  

I know you are thinking you work hard, isn’t it enough for a successful business?  The truth is there are a lot of great traits which go into being successful but in my own life, I have found empathy to be the most important quality.

As a social worker in recovery, I was able to relate to the struggles of my clients.  I was able to share my strength, hopes and experience.  I was able to let them see I had been where they were and had come out of it.  I was able to help some kick drugs, leave abusive relationships, overcome homelessness and get employment.  Was everyone successful? NO!  Some didn’t really want to move forward and weren’t ready to work hard.  I find the same thing when working with other direct sellers.

So why is empathy good for business, especially in direct sales?  

1. Empathy increases the know/like/trust factor

Regardless of the products you sell, people are more likely to connect with, relate to, and ultimately hire/buy from you.  Which of these people would you connect with?

* the person who shares the good, the bad and the ugly of where they were, of their product and offers to help you.
* the person who’s somehow a “natural”.
* the person who doesn’t tell you anything about themselves or their background.  The pushy sales type.

I bet you connected with the person who knows your struggle, didn’t you? It’s human nature! We’re more likely to know, like, and trust people who are similar to us. And – as I’m sure you know – we’re more likely to buy from people we know, like, and trust.

2. Empathy shows you have walked the walk

When you can show your clients you’ve been where they are, found a solution, and emerged triumphant, you’re modeling success.  You are demonstrating you’re empathetic to their struggles.  You are living proof they don’t have to stay stuck where they are! Living proof makes for pretty convincing marketing.

3. Empathy helps your clients/customers/team be more vulnerable with you

When you show them you understand them, you’re helping them feel safe. You’re showing them they can be honest and vulnerable with you. When you say “I get it. I used to be (fill in the blank),” you’re making it easier for them to open up to you.  And the more they open up to you, the more you can help them, and the better their results will be.

4. Data without empathy is meaningless

I look at data to see which blog posts people read, which tweets they liked, and what they purchased. But I want to know more.  I want to understand why they read the blog post or what problem I helped them solve.  It is with this information, we can move forward in our business.

So how can you show more empathy in your business?

  • What have you struggled with?
  • What hurdles have you overcome in your business?
  • And how does this make you uniquely well-qualified to help us overcome something similar?

Whatever your backstory is: share it. Help people to know, like, and trust you. Show them how you can help them overcome what they’re struggling with.

If you don’t know what they are struggling with or how you can help, ASK!  They will tell you.  It’s hard to empathize when you don’t know what they are struggling with, right?

I would love to hear from you.  Share your story with us.  Let us know how we can help you.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Vendor Events – Yes or No?

When I joined Thirty One almost 7 years ago, I told my sponsor “I don’t do home parties BUT I will do vendor events”.  For the first year, I built my business on vendor events.  I did as many as I could and when I wasn’t a vendor, I attended them and networked with other vendors.

Over the years, vendor events have changed and many direct sellers would say they don’t get a return on their investment (ROI).  Have the events changed or has our perception of what these events can do for our business changed?  Do we rely on them for sales not looking at the other opportunities available to us?

Yes, I originally built my business as a result of events BUT I didn’t just attend an event. I worked the event.  I didn’t sit behind the table, scrolling through my phone.  I was usually found standing next to my table (I always want an end spot) or milling around talking to other vendors.  Vendor events are a great way to expand your network, or getting to know people if moving to a new area.

I have written about Vendor events before and each time from a different perspective.  I had two events last weekend – one a flop and one was really good for me.  Notice how I clarified “for me”?  There wasn’t a lot of foot traffic, many of the vendors (there were 56 of us in one room) did not have sales and were discouraged.  They talked about how bad things were.  They brought negative “mojo” into their Universe.  I know it sounds crazy, right?  I honestly walked into both events not very optimistic.  I formed an opinion about them based on what I saw.  At the first one, those negative thoughts and comments consumed the day.  At the second one, I was determined to have a better day. It was the end of the month and I needed to hit my sales for the month.

Here are a few things you need to know BEFORE you can have a successful vendor event:

#1 – Set a Goal.  In talking with a first time vendor, I shared my view on vendor events.  Yes, we all want sales but it is more about planting seeds and making a connection.  I set my goal for the second event – ultimately I wanted sales but a few solid contacts for orders or for parties would be great.  Yes, I squirreled.  Set a goal and focus on it.  When you are trying to the whole book/sell/recruit it is overwhelming. My focus is to always share Thirty One and our amazing products.  Then I let the conversation go from there.

#2 – Be selective.  By this I mean, don’t travel to an event if you aren’t willing to travel to do parties in the area.  If you are trying to expand your area, and you book parties, will you be able to travel the same distance to do the parties?  If you travel an hour to do a vendor event, booking a home party or two usually means booking more at the party, right?  It means a lot of traveling.  Will travel fit into your every day life?  If I am traveling to an area, I will reach out to existing customers in the area to let them know I will be there.  Sometimes offering an incentive for them to collect orders and bring them to me ( a party on the go).  This is when using social media becomes an important component of your business.

#3 – Have fun at your table.  Some will have games you can play.  Others will decorate their display.  Some will have a drawing for a prize.  The truth is, mine is probably rather boring for some.  Thirty One has 3 catalog sections – for you, your home and your family.  I try to set my display up based on those sections.  Why?  It allows customers to focus on what is important to them. No games to lure them in, just the amazing products displayed in an attractive manner.

#4 – YOU NEED TO BE FUN!  Don’t hide behind the table, sitting in a chair and wait for someone to talk to you.  I talk to everyone who even glances at my table.  It can be as simple as “hi, how are you today?”.  This simple gesture may actually engage someone in conversation.  I share my excitement and love of Thirty One with everyone and anyone.

I gained 6 new customers who placed orders at the second event.  When other vendors wanted to talk negatively, I tried to change it to a positive perspective.  I was determined to be successful and I was.  Does this always happen, no.  Each event is different.  What is bad for one could be good for another.  Be open minded.  Have questions about vendor events – let’s hear them.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Productive Or Busy?

How often do you answer the question “how are you doing?” with “I’m so busy”?  Think about it…. as wives, mothers, and business owners, we often wear busyness as a badge of honor.

But is “busy” really a label you want to wear? Does it mean, your business is doing well?  Does it mean we have it “all together” as moms?  Does it mean we are reaching our goals and being successful?

Or does busy just mean being occupied? You are doing stuff. I’m not saying some of it may not be purposeful but I am sure some of it is not.  Yes, some of it necessary while some of it we do simply out of habit.  Does being busy mean you are being productive?  Does it mean you are getting things done which actually need to get done?

Think about it… do you have a plan in place for the day or the week? Do you have a clear picture of what is important or what matters most?  If you are “busy”, the answer to both of these questions is probably NO!

What if you were to say “I’m productive” instead of “I’m busy”.  What’s the difference, right?  Semantics?  The reality is, it makes a HUGE difference in how you go about your day.  You become purposeful in what you are doing.

When you’re busy, you take on new tasks without considering whether you even have time to complete them. You are less likely to delegate the task to others.  You are less likely to ask for help.  Why delegate? Because when you delegate, you take time to think: “Do I really have to do this myself? Who could do it instead? When can I ask them? How long will it take to explain?” In many cases when you are busy, the response is “never mind, I’ll just do it myself.” In the long run you waste more time and get less accomplished. Being busy generates a more stressed and hurried way of life so doing it yourself is an easy answer.

What if you were to look at “hurrying up” as the one thing which is actually slowing you down? Yes, if you took just a moment to slow down, you could actually get more of the right things done in less time and be more productive. WOW!  I know it is crazy but it really does work.  It is a great way to de-clutter your life.

I find the weeks I am more productive are when I follow a simple process of planning out my week. I make a list of everything I’d like to accomplish this week. If a week is to overwhelming, do it just for a day.  Now, put each item into one of four categories: Do it. Delay it. Delegate it. Delete it.   Stick with me, it really does work and it can all be accomplished in about 10 minutes.  Yes, you have 10 minutes to spare when the end result is feeling more productive.

So, first pick the stuff you choose to do is important. It is a priority.  I know, right now everything seems to be a priority BUT try to limit it to no more than 3 things.  I hear the groans!

Now, move on to the stuff you can delay. These are things which are not urgent and may actually be causing you stress.  Maybe you really don’t have time to do it right now, and frankly, it doesn’t yet need to be done now. Add it to your schedule for a later date.  This is where my planner comes in handy.  I list things at the bottom of the week in the space called “infinite possibility”.  If I have time, great!  It may get done before the delayed date but most times, it doesn’t.  It is okay!

Here is the tough one – the stuff you delegate.  I will admit, I struggle with this on a regular basis.  Health challenges have helped me to put this in perspective.  Delegate things which do not require your personal attention. Someone else can handle it just fine. Okay, they may not do it your way BUT it will get done.  Does it really matter as long as the end result is the same?  Maybe it is tossing clothes in the washer.  Maybe it is putting labels on the catalogs.  Maybe it is putting out the trash or emptying the dishwasher.  Learning to let go and delegate things has made life less stressful for me which is a plus as some days the health challenges are a struggle.

The last list is the stuff you delete. It is those tasks which serve no important purpose at this time. We all have them.  So, give yourself permission to take them off your to-do list.

The truth is hurrying up or busyness is actually slowing you down. What can you change in order to be more productive?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!