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

Time Management – Does it Exist?

 Are you a hot mess?  Are you already dreading this week and it is only Monday morning?

Today should have been my first day back in the office after being gone for a week BUT Irma had other plans.  I did spend some time in the office last week BUT I’m not sure how much I actually got done.  It is Monday and I am playing the avoidance game.  Avoidance is a time waster which leads to being hard on yourself, right?

When it comes to business especially one online – wasting time will be the death of it.  I don’t mean time you take to renew your physical and mental powers because we need to do it in order to keep going.  I’m talking about the wasted minutes and hours which get out of hand….. the black hole of Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram.

I have talked about time management in the past and really wonder if we are managing our time or our tasks?  When I sometimes find myself obsessed with everything BUT working productively in my business I go back to the basics:

#1 – Block distractions.

I know it can be easier said then done.  How often do your keep multiple tabs open so you can see if you get any messages.  Block email and Facebook alerts (all social media), turn off your phone (or at least lower the volume) and hang a “do not disturb” sign on your home office door (if you have one).  What are the things which distract you from getting work done?

#2 – Set a time to begin work – and stick to it.

When you turn on your computer for work, give yourself a certain amount of time (10 minutes or so) to surf the ‘net and review your email before you begin.  Set a timer if you have to so you can then focus on work.  Switch into work mode and don’t look back until you’re done.  I have done the back and forth thing, jumping from one thing to another and the end result is my brain becomes mush and it is more difficult to focus.

#3 – End your work at a set time.

This is a tough one for this workaholic.  Hubby works the swing shift so I try to set my work hours accordingly.  Does it work?  Sometimes.  I do some early morning hours, then head back in the afternoon till the early evening.  Are there times when I spend more on my business and less time everywhere else?  Yes, usually for several days during the month when I am closing parties or it is the end of the month.  I am practicing on a regular day, setting a time to stop work so I can refresh myself both physically and mentally. I find when I do this, I am more focused when I am in the office.

#4 – Distinguish busy work from working toward goals.

I am so guilty of this.  Busy work can be a waste of time. Remember the “black hole” I mentioned earlier, the truth is you may be procrastinating.  Did you set a goal which is TOO BIG or are you afraid of failing?  They should scary you but you can break them up into manageable steps.  The best way to beat procrastination is to take action!  Do something to move forward

 

What is your best tip for managing your tasks instead of your time?  We all have 24 hours in a day, there is no changing it.  The difference is how we decide to work during those hours.

Would you like some more great tips on Time Management which have worked for me?  Fill out the form below:

 

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Fall is Around the Corner

Fall is here at Thirty One.  Yes, the new catalog started last month BUT since we are headed into Labor Day weekend, doesn’t it mean it is officially fall.   I hear the GROANS from kids and cheers from moms & dads.

Now it is time to switch gears and start thinking about all things fall – tailgating, football, Halloween, Thanksgiving and yes, Christmas.  It is an early start to the gift giving season and Thirty One has a solution for all of your gift giving needs!

#1 Have you every thought about being a part of Thirty One?

Want to have debt-free holiday?  How about some girl time after playing mom taxi?  OR do you want to solve your holiday gift giving with awesome discounts on amazing products?

   

For just $99, you can pick either of these AMAZING kits.  It is packed with some of this seasons top sellers – the Retro Metro Bag (my favorite) and the large utility tote which has been a company top seller since it was introduced!

PLUS, during your first 4 months of being a consultant you get to earn MORE!  In addition to your 25% commission, when you reach $500 in sales every 30 days, you will receive a 25% credit in your back office to help you grow your business.  Have more than $500 in sales, there is no limit to the credit!  How cool is that!  Here is what it looks like:

#2Be a Hostess with the Mostess!

Not interested in joining our pink bubble – how about hosting your own party?  Did you know for just $200 in orders, YOU can have a qualified party.  You will get $25 in FREE product, 1 half price item and 1 hostess exclusive.  Did you know it is only takes 6 orders of $35 to have a qualified party? I offer home, catalog/online, on the go and Facebook parties. Fundraising opportunities are also available!  Which one will fit into YOUR busy schedule?

In addition to the AMAZING Hostess benefits offered,  in September a Hostess with a $600 party or more can pick ANYTHING in the catalog for FREE! Yes, ANYTHING!  Working together, we can get your party to $600 since it is the company average for a party!

#3 – Don’t want to join, and not interested in being a hostess…..

How about getting a jump on your holiday shopping with TWO offers:

FIRST, you can shop this month’s customer special which is the Zip Top Organizing Tote or the Super Swap It Pocket for $10 each.  You can pick your choice of one for each multiple of $35 you spend!

TWO, you can send me your holiday wish list and we can put you on the budget plan for 4 months with everything being delivered to you in plenty of time for your gift giving events. Join my Holiday Gift Club. For more details, fill out the form below:

 

Which one will you pick??

Want a chance to earn FREE stuff, get special deals and more….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Page versus Customer Group?

The last week of summer here at the Jersey Shore… well, at least the last full week for the roads to be full of “shoobies”.  Today we are going to battle the great debate – should I have a business page, a customer group or both in my direct sales business?

I will admit there are days I battle this too.  I wonder who really reads either of them especially when I hear crickets.  The truth is both can help you develop a community of customers or potential customers to help you grow your business.

My personal Facebook page has been a little light lately.  Not much posting going on since I am trying to stick with family things, personal thoughts and a slight mixing of business stuff especially when I am using products.  I was posting my blog on my personal page but I have decided to switch it up.  It will post  to my business page and then I will share it to my personal page.  Mainly because WordPress won’t let me share it at the same time on two different Facebook accounts.

I developed a “CLOSED” Facebook group for my customers and hostesses but you have to friend me in order to join. That can be a problem for some so they have shied away from it. NOW, I have a business page where they can simply “like” the page to get information on Thirty One. It is so much better. I can actually separate business from personal. A novel concept, huh? In trying to find ways to attract people to my NEW business page, I found this article in Direct Sales Education Foundation with a few tips:

Let’s talk about closed groups or as I like to call it “My VIP group”.  This is where I build relationships with customers and potential customers.  It isn’t all about the sale, it is about having fun, sharing some product ideas and getting to know people.  Plan content to interest your fans. Here is an interesting fact – up to10% of your fans will actually see any one post. WHAT? I know it is crazy right?  I have over 400 in my VIP group so when I hear crickets, it is time for a change.  Games and interactive posts are a great way to get things moving.  At least once a week, I try to play a game with my members.  I ask questions to get them talking.

Now, on your business page….First, think about why your fans liked your page and then give them what they want. Plan ahead. Take into accounts holidays, company specials, catalog changes, etc.  Invite your online friends and contacts to like your Page. Go back an “uninvite” friends who haven’t accepted the invitation and then either re-invite them or move on to some others.  Be sure to link your business page to your closed Facebook group.

Your business page is where you showcase your business.  This is where I share the monthly customer special – about 2 days before the it starts.  I post inspirational quotes int the morning.  Then product information in the afternoon.  Offer opportunities to help community service organizations. Encourage others to not only like your page but to share it with their friends and family.  Make sure you check the policies and procedures of your direct sales company. Thirty One does not allow us to offer special deals on our public page ONLY in our closed groups.

Be sure to Interact as your page on other relevant Facebook Pages. Every time you place a comment on Facebook, make sure it is through your business page instead of your personal account. If you are commenting on another business or network group, ask questions, thank people for great information, etc as your business. In this way you become a useful member of the community.  They also get to see your business page when they scroll over your name on the post.

Are you convinced you?  I am sure your friends and family will be glad to see something besides business items on your personal page. Remember with a little thought and attention, your Facebook Page can become a place where your biggest fans gather.

What are your tips for successfully growing your Likes? Would love to read your thoughts…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Beat the Summer Slump

Have you experienced the summer slump?  Did Vacation Veronica drop on your doorstep when the kids got out of school and never leave?  Have you looked at your Fall calendar and realized it is empty?

Many of us experience the summer slump.  When I was working in the non-profit world, it was a time when we took things a little easier.  As Belinda was growing up, it was when I took time off for major events in our personal life.  Why?  Because we are laid back in the summer.  The world (at least at the Jersey shore) moves a little slower.

When I started my Thirty One journey, my summers were pretty much the same way.  I didn’t ask people to party so as a result my summer slump became a fall fiasco!  My sales in the summer slowed to a dribble which made for a quiet Fall despite always having a new catalog.  “Summer slump” – most retailers and business owners experience it so why not you, right?

This season I did things a little different.  Everyone is online – from grocery shopping to clothes shopping to buying large items for the home.  So, I went virtual too. I became the face my customers associated with Thirty One.  I didn’t want them to be asked “who is your consultant” and they say “not sure” or “I don’t have a regular one”.  I wanted them to say “It is Hope and here is her information”.

Are thinking, I’ve been in a summer slump, my calendar is bare for September so it is “hopeless”.  WAIT!  Don’t let negativity overwhelm you! There is still plenty you can do to hit your sales goals for the fall.

FIRST! Kick Vacation Veronica to the curb.  Schedule some time to work on your business – even if it is just 20 minutes a day.  You will be surprised what you can get done in 20 minutes when you are focused.

It is time to work your business.  Despite being pretty happy with my business all summer, I was entering a new phase – 95% online business with Facebook parties, vendor events and an occasional home party.  YIKES!  It is scary but I am determined to make it work.  I mean it has all summer so why not into the busy holiday season, right? “Wine Down” has been the most popular themed Facebook party for September.  I mean who doesn’t like wine, right?

If you haven’t been working your business – it is time to get busy.  Here are some ways to ramp up your business these last 2 weeks of August so you are getting back on track for September….

#1 Upcoming Event and Celebration Packages.

Kids are headed back to school, fall sports are starting, people are looking to raise money… the list goes on.  People are getting together to celebrate  (any excuse for a party, right?).   Why not create some special packages for all the different types of celebrations and reach out now to offer your products. This could be as a present for others or for their own personal use.  Here are some examples of celebrations and events: Back to School, Weddings, Anniversaries, Family BBQs and reunions, etc.

#2 Show-on-the-Go.

Are you always prepared for a mini show presentation?  I have a mobile office in my trunk with some products ready to show off to anyone who asks.  Are you a walking billboard for your products? Be sure you always have your product on hand to demonstrate to potential customers.  Don’t miss an opportunity to share your products!  Have your business card ready – actual or electronic.  It means you will have to follow up with them but who knows what could develop…

#3 Follow-Up.

Just because your customers are away, doesn’t mean they don’t want to benefit from your products or replenish their stock.  I am always amazed when I get a text from a customer looking for a product they saw while on vacation.  Follow-up means getting on the phone, text or Facebook message (their preference) your customers and see how they’re doing. Also let them know if they are away, you can ship their products to wherever they want!

#4 Create More Content.

Did you know this is one of the most important things you can do online to help generate more profit for your business?  Videos, blog posts, demonstrations, tutorials and more.  Get in the frame of mind to teach people more about what you do and offer them value. The more you share, the more interested they become in your products. This is a great time to ramp up VIP Group and create amazing content for your Business Page.

#5 Markets and Vendor Events.

Check out the local fairs, markets and vendor events. Find local markets in your area and inquire about renting a table.  Many of the markets continue through September.  Look for those holiday vendor/craft events to help you gain new customers and get out of the summer slump.

What will you do to KICK your Fall into gear?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!