Blogging for Business

Are you scared to blog?  Are you wondering how blogging can help your business?  I will admit, I am not an expert BUT I do know as a result of blogging daily for over 4 years (OMG!) I have made a difference which is my purpose personally and in my business.

A simple challenge from Vanessa Coppes of ETTM, changed my life.  On those days I want to quit, I go back to the emails I received from readers and customers to see how something I shared has helped them.  Do I struggle some days finding a topic? YES!  Do I wonder if anyone actually reads them?  YES!  It is the occasional comment or message from a friend or reader which keeps me going, wanting to write more and share more.  I am always amazed how many people actually read my blog!  It is humbling to think people read AND share it with friends, family and team members.

The Sales MOMS Network actually did a story on Blogging for Direct Sales“.  There are some great suggestions in there on how to get started if you are in direct sales and are considering blogging.  It can be a little scary at first but the benefits far outweigh the scare factor.  They also shared a blog on “The 7 Tips of Basic Blogging”.

I remember the first time Deb Bixler included my name in a tweet – I was shocked, honored and for those who know me – yes, I cried just a little but they were tears of joy.

I know my blog is all over the place.  I go from talking about my business to sharing personal health struggles to organizing tips and product spotlights.  I have heard pros and cons about the best way to blog – focused versus general.  Most days, my blogs are about what I need to hear and I hope some where along the way, it helps someone else.

Are you considering blogging?  What have you got to loose, right?  Will it give you instant business?  Probably not.  Will it help you to develop relationships?  Absolutely.  I know for me, it has changed my life.  It has helped me step just a little further out of my comfort zone by sharing sides of myself very few people know.  I LOVE helping others to grow – personally and professionally to be the best they can be.  Remember “You can’t fail if you don’t stop BEFORE you SUCCEED.” Wise words from Mary Christensen.

I challenge each of you to move the walls of your comfort zone so you can grow.  If it isn’t blogging, maybe it is picking up the phone and making calls. Or is it sharing the gift of your business with someone you don’t know?  Whatever the wall is – step beyond it and experience the greatest gift of all – overcoming your own personal FEAR.  I look forward to hearing about the walls you are moving – please share.  If you are blog or are starting a blog – share your link below so we can all check it out.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.

What If?

This two word question may not seem like a lot to you but the impact it could have on your life and your business is HUGE!

At the beginning of this year, I identified a one-word theme for the year: Accountable. For some being accountable is easy.  For others, it depends on the subject matter whether or not we can be accountable.  It is easy to be accountable in my Weight Watchers program but it is WAY more difficult to be accountable in my life – business and personal.  

It may not sound like an exciting word, but I sensed in my spirit it was a word which could transform my life.  Talking about stepping out of my comfort zone!!!

It is not necessarily the word “accountable” in itself as it is what each line stands for…

Some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned so far is “it is okay to ask for help and not assume others will know you need help”.  Miss Independent thought everyone was on my page so they knew what I needed when I needed it.  SMACK!  So not the truth.  Another big AHA was “consistency will lead to success”.  As a result, I will be cruising to the Bahamas in September courtesy of Thirty One Gifts.

So where does “what if” come in, right?  I know you all think I squirreled.  Well maybe but the truth is those two words can help you to dream what the future can hold for you.

I want you to consider a persistent challenge you face – one you’d be willing to make a major life change in order to resolve it once and for all.

Here’s the process proposed by Valerie Burton to help you reach for those dreams:

1. Identify the challenge.  What is your challenge?  Is your calendar to hectic? Are you miserable in your career or hate your job? Have you stretched yourself too thin financially as a result of too many credit cards?

2. Ask yourself a “What if?” question to force yourself to imagine a solution which will radically change your circumstance and eliminate the problem, not just pacify it? “What if you didn’t schedule anything on your weekends and gave yourself room to relax and be spontaneous?” “What if you phased out your current career and finally pursued the career you really want?” “What if you dramatically cut your expenses so you have the freedom to work less or do something different?” Write down as many “What if?” scenarios as you can. Make them bold. Make them authentic. Write scenarios which excite you.

This may be a little different for you.  We usually let fear control our “what ifs” like…”What if I fail?:,  “What if I’m not good enough?”.  It is those what if questions which leave your paralyzed in fear and keep you from  moving forward.  If they are that powerful, what if you used those same questions to see radically new positive possibilities.

3. What choices or shifts would move you in the direction of your most compelling “What if?” possibility?

Now you have a list of questions, which one is most compelling? Start there. Then begin to ponder the types of choices and decisions which would move you towards the possibility. When your dreams come from “What if?” scenarios are the real desires of your heart. Maybe they are the possibilities you simply need to give yourself permission to pursue. They may be short or long term goals but chances are they are more long-term goals. Don’t let it discourage you.  Brainstorm and get a game plan in place. Talk to others and if it feels like the right goal, set it then make a timeline to start moving towards it.

I challenge you to explore your possibilities by creating and answering at least three “What if?” questions to help you see your possibilities for resolving your most persistent problem. Scary, right?  You can do this, I believe in you!

Can’t come up with your own questions?  Try one or all of these:

  1. What if you were entirely debt free – no credit card debt, no loans, no mortgage? What choices could you put in place to lead you to this reality?
  2. What if you stopped trying to prove a point in your most difficult relationship(s)? How would things shift for you if you simply refused to spend your energy debating?
  3. What if your schedule was entirely up to you to determine? What would change for you? What opportunity could bring this reality to life? What choices would position you for such an opportunity?

Let us hear from you… what is your “what if” question or questions?  Share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

You’ve Got the Gear for Great Things!

Sunday’s have been a time when I shared messages from others but today, this touched my heart and I felt as if I wanted to share personally with you.  The post I read started like this:

Pretend with me for a moment. Let’s say you are on an island in the Pacific. Pick an island, any island, but make it a tropical, lush, and beautiful one. You walk out onto the porch and see some equipment laid out just for you. You know what it is, and you know what it’s for. You’re excited! You’ve always wanted to do this, but never had the right gear.

You slip into a black sleek wet suit, zip up the front closure, and most likely marvel at the way it holds everything in. Then you squeeze your feet into squeaky black flippers. I know they’re tight, but go ahead and wiggle your feet in. Next, you strap a heavy oxygen tank on your back. One arm. Now the other. Finally, you slip a facemask over you nose and eyes, and place a mouthpiece between your lips.

But rather than heading out to the ocean to explore the marvelous coral reef, vibrant fish, and swaying flora, you turn around, go back into the house, fill up the bathtub, and settle in.

I know it sounds silly but think about how many times you may have done the same thing. God has blessed us with many gifts and talents yet how many times do we run from the abundant life to stay in our comfort zone – living in mediocre faith.

I have done it many times.  Always being behind the scenes, not wanting to step out in faith.  Letting fear and doubt keep me from experiencing all God has planned for me.  The truth is, we all have the gear we need, it is just up to us to jump in.  Experiencing our pre-ordained opportunity (destiny).

How many time have you had the argument with God, telling him the many reasons you are not the right one for the job (or the opportunity or the calling)?  I know I have.  Lately, my argument surrounds my memory issues and how I am “not good enough”.  Yet, when I stop and embrace the challenges (actually blessings), I am amazed at the abundance in my life.  I need to take time with God each morning, not just talking (praying and asking) but listening to what he has to say.  The message may not always be clear (brain fog has me struggling) but God’s message will come through one way or another.

I let fear keep me from God’s abundance.  I let the comparison game keep me from stepping out of my comfort zone.  I let the inner gremlins dance in my head and question my faith and my ability to know what God wants me to do.

Many are suited for great things and didn’t even know it.  As a result, they live a life never experiencing the many blessings God has for them.

Here’s my question for you today: What will you say to God when He calls your name or taps you on the shoulder and says, “Now’s the time?”

Perhaps today is the day.  Will you JUMP in, walking in faith or will you retreat within your comfort zone?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Are You Staring at A Closed Door

“When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, we do not see the ones which open for us.” Alexander Graham Bell

I remember being at National Conference and hearing Cindy Monroe, our CEO and founder, talk about running through the doors of opportunity.  I have to admit, it was a little scary for me (and sometimes still is).  For me, it meant stepping out of my comfort zone, having faith things would work out and most of all being willing to make a change.

Over the last few years, I have seen many doors in my life close.  They may have been open for a minute but I hesitated or FEAR stopped me.  Those doors have closed and despite my best efforts, nothing is going to open them again.  Yes, I have lingered way too long staring at the closed door, wishing for what could have been all the while missing new opportunities.  

Has a door recently closed in your life? Have you lost a job? Maybe a relationship or marriage ended?  Maybe you were hoping for a chance at a new opportunity and it fell through?  The door you wanted to remain open is now closed.  Are you still staring at the closed door?  Chances are, if are are, like me, you’re going to miss the new opportunities waiting for you.

I totally get those closed doors are sometimes are own fault – we let fear take over, we didn’t want to step out of our comfort zone, the list goes on right?  But there are those times when change is brought on by things beyond your control.  It is those times I find are the hardest to get back on track.

So, here are some tips I found which might help:

1. Mourn the loss.

Grief is part of the process when an unwelcome change intrudes on your life.  It can be devastating.  Give yourself permission to grieve the loss – whatever it is.  Then, acknowledge the lessons you’ve learned. Yes, there are always lessons to be learned.  Once you’re done, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move forward (start all over again).  Are you humming a Disney song?  Feeling sorry for yourself will do nothing but send you on a downward spiral to self-sabotage.

2. Make a decision to face forward.

Are you hoping the door will reopen if you hang around?  Guess what? At some point, you have to stop lingering at the closed door.  Chances are it is NOT going to re-open. So,  walk away and take steps on the path unfolding before you. Face forward rather than backwards. Would you drive your car backwards if you missed a turn? Believe it or not, change can offer new hope and opportunity.  A decision takes courage.  For many, it a step out of their comfort zone or having faith in things unseen.  Courage is a choice.  Will you make the choice?

3. Be open to change.

Be careful of the comparison game.  Don’t compare new opportunities to old opportunities. Recognize new opportunities sometimes have very different benefits from old ones. They sometimes address different needs and wants, bring you joy in ways you were missing before. Sometimes they stretch you in ways you haven’t been stretched. Embrace the challenge with gratitude and perseverance.

4. Walk through the open doors.

New life, new work, and new opportunities will open up on your path. Walk through them!  Know you are not alone when you walk through those open doors.  There are others on the same journey if you are willing to embrace the opportunity.

I know you have heard it before but it bears repeating….. Sometimes doors close because we are not supposed to walk through them.  Other times, they close because they were meant only for a season. Just like people enter our lives for a season.  We need to learn the lessons, live with courage, and enjoy our journey.  I know it isn’t always easy.

Face forward. Stop staring at the closed door and take a step towards the future that is waiting to unfold.

What is the “closed door” in your life? Are you ready to leave the closed door alone and trust a new and better one will open?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

After the Sale

Are you thinking of your business as one sale, one party at a time?  Are you planning for future sales or just grabbing what you can?  Time for me to get gut honest….

I have been in direct sales for 6 years.  In the early years (okay so maybe until about a year ago), I only thought about the month I was in.  As a Director, I had certain goals personally and as a team in order for my paycheck to be a certain amount.  I didn’t think much past the current month or maybe even the following month.  I was all about grabbing the sales.

Things started to change when I went from working my business like a hobby to working it as a business.  Back in October of last year, I started to implement some things in an effort to think about long term business.  It wasn’t until late January I saw those things start to pay off.  Now they are a consistent part of my business.

Congratulations, if you are making consistent sales.  Let me ask you, are these repeat customers or are they all new?  Your business should be a mix of both.

You spend time with potential customers either one on one or at parties,  they purchase your product – them what?  At a recent training I heard this “when the phone rings so does your cash register”.  What does it mean?  If you are not picking up the phone (I know it weighs 500 pounds) then you are missing out on business.  Yes, I went there.

I know you have heard it a million times – “the fortune is in the follow-up”, right?  Yes, I believe it to be true BUT I also believe you need to stand out from the crowd.  You need to be someone your customers will remember.  Does it mean hounding them to book parties or buy things?  No.  Does it mean making them feel special?  Absolutely!

You have started to build a relationship with this customer, why would you throw it away after they have spent money with you?

Here are some steps I take to let my customers know I  care about them, not the sale. Remember, we are in the relationship building business.

Step #1 –

After the order is placed, I send an email or text message graphic to thank them  and letting know approximately when their order will arrive.  

Step #2 –

When I receive the email their product has been shipped, I forward it to the customer along with another note thanking them again for supporting my business.  When this email goes out, I also send a handwritten thank you card with a small gift from me letting them know how much I appreciate them.

Step #3 –

Approximately 7 days after the customer should have received their order, I pick up the phone and call.  I know, I used to hate it too BUT I keep it short letting them know I am just checking in to make they received everything from their order and it arrived in perfect condition. Be excited for them, to share in this new experience together. This is a great way to head off any complaints because you’re not waiting for your customer to contact you. If they didn’t get everything in their order, or it didn’t arrive in perfect condition, you want your customer to know you are there for them and will swiftly take care of the situation.  Most of the time I will just leave a message on their voice mail but on those rare occasions when I connect with someone, they are surprised I am calling “to check in”.

Ask your customer of they have started to use the product.  Get their opinion. Ask if they have any questions? Let them know you will be reaching out again to check in with them.  Be sure to keep notes on their comments –  what they like about the product, what they don’t like, favorite prints, products, etc.  This is all important to matching the right products or services for them now and in the future.  I DO NOT sell to them at all during this call.

Step #4

About 30 days later, I call them again.  I check in to make sure they still like the product AND let them know what other product(s) would work well for them too. Explain why you think it would be a good match for them. See if they would want to add it now, or if that is something they would like to look at a little later.  Maybe even hosting a party to get it for FREE.  If they are not ready to host a party now, ask them if it is okay to check back with them next month.

Step #5

Most of the time, my next call will be about 14 days prior to the 90 day “no reason return cutoff”.  This call is all about letting them know the warranty is about to expire so if there is a problem, we can resolve it.  I use this time to connect with them about things in their life and again ask them about booking a party or maybe even joining my team.

What is the bottom line?  Always be consistent in your follow-ups with your customers. They will see you as caring for their experience and you sincerely are looking out for what works best for them. This will make you stand out from the crowd.

What system do you use to ensure you are following up with your customers?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!