Business Tips and Tricks

Are You Missing One of These in Your Business?

Thank you Christie Browning for today’s tips….

I love my business. If you know me, you know it!!!!  Whether it is my Thirty One business or my handcrafted angels, I love having my own business.  I love the flexibility. I love the freedom to take visions to fruition.  I love sharing my love with everyone.  Now, I will be the first to admit on any given day I miss out on opportunities.  On those days, I tend to be more focused on “making money” to pay bills, so I blow past some of the things I need to have a successful business.  Don’t get me wrong, making money (and paying bills) is what we work for.  The truth is, I can’t sustain my sales (neither can you) if your business isn’t built on a strong foundation.

#1 – Know where you’re going and why you want to get there

I know we have all answered (or at least tried to) the question of our why…. We need to know what it is to be successful, right?  I have talked about the emotional why many times – it is the real root of why you want to be in business.  It is the inner motivation which pushes you when your tired, you want to give up, you are out of your comfort zone, and to push past your fears. Why is being a success important to you?  What will you gain if you are successful?

I struggle with tapping into my emotional why. as a result of my MS.  The key to the emotional why is your ability to paint a vivid picture of what “success” looks like to you.  It isn’t the same for everyone!  By identifying what the finish line looks like, you will know when you cross it, so you can celebrate and know you’ve arrived!  Your finish line might be clearer as you get closer to it but you need a visual picture NOW. The visual should touch your heartstrings and drum up some emotions when you think of it.

Key #2 – It’s your business – make it so!

You are designing YOUR business so make it yours!  I know it sounds crazy BUT how many times have you tried to copy someone else’s business (especially in direct sales) because they have risen to the top of the company?  I have been there, done that and got the tee shirt.  It doesn’t work!  I am learning (yup, took me 7 years!) my business will be different and might probably come together in a different way because it is MINE!  Be sure to design your business around your strengths and passions. Structure it around your time and calendar whether it is a part time or a full time gig.  You get to call the shots.  The key is to be sure to be true to yourself .  Remember your customers buy because they trust you – stand out in a crowd for what you want your business to look like.

Key #3 – Put the right process in place to win

I don’t know about you BUT I LOVE vendor events and home parties.  I LOVE connecting with people face to face.  Some would say it is the glamorous side of our direct sales business.  The truth is, success is made behind the scenes, in the nitty-gritty facets of your business (the parts we may not like).  Just showing up at events or parties is not going to keep your business consistent nor is it going to guarantee you success.  So, what system do you use to keep track of all of the “other things” you HAVE to do?  Do you have set days for follow-up with customers?  Do you know your target market?  I use a tickler file and LOTS of notes on my planner to make sure I keep up with order follow-up, mailings, booking leads and so much more.

Key #4 – Making the noise to bring in the biz

For some, marketing is the fun stuff!  For others, it is a hodgepodge mess.  You need to know who you are as a business and who you are trying to serve.  Do you know what your brand is? Branding is simply something which when people see it they think of YOU (and the ripple effect is thinking of your business).  It is the tone and feel of your business – such as the colors, images, and graphics you use.  I ALWAYS say “Have a ThirtyOne-derful day” – my customers expect it.  LOL.  Angels have become a part of my marketing…. they are part of my team logo as well as the watermark I use in all of my graphics.   What do you want their experience to be like after they interacted with you and your company? I want my customers to know I am all about making a difference in their lives and the lives of others.  I want them to know I am a down to earth “take me as I am” kind of gal.  The key to great branding is to be true to you. Don’t try to be something your NOT because it won’t connect with or feel authentic to your customers. Your brand is an extension of YOU and should be reflected in all you do, say and show.

I know this sounds like A LOT so take it slow and easy.  Start with one and work your way through…. Which one will you start with?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks, So You Want to be a Leader?

Leading By Example

Today I should have been heading to National Conference for Thirty One’s 15th Anniversary.  Instead, I am at home struggling with so many things.  Health issues were the main reason for not going but right now it is hard to wrap my head around it.  I’m ready to sit on my pity pot and feel sorry for myself.  The truth is 95% of my downline is not attending conference.  So as a leader, I need to take the lead and show them how to make the best of what many would say is a bad situation.

National conference is when the NEW Fall/Winter products are debuted.  The holiday line is showcased.  Upcoming specials and incentives are highlighted.  As a leader, I get to see what is coming in the new year to help us as consultants grow our business.

So, it is time to step up.  To show my team despite the setback of not being a conference, we can run our business successfully and create excitement for our customers.  I need to remember: “Leaders are in front of the pack because of what they do.  They take the lead!”.  Are you a leader with your direct sales company?  Do you want to be?

Here are three ways leaders stay at the front of the pack:

Leaders lead by example!  Your team members will follow your example.  Set the pace for your team by consistently selling and sponsoring.  I tell my team consistency is the key to success.  Consistency for you and your business may not look the same for me and my business. When you remember the “speed of the leader determines the pace of the pack,” you will be inspired to model those actions you are encouraging your team to take.

Leaders employ discipline!   I’m not always disciplined BUT I do have a routine which I adhere to every day which helps.  Leaders understand success requires daily action toward goals despite the demands of other obligations.  Develop the skills of organization and time management so you can make the most of the time you invest in your business.  Jim Rohn said it best, “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do.”

  • Non-Party Plan Leaders:  It is easy to lead when your calendar is full of events, appointments, and meetings.  When your personal business is strong, you have places to train new Consultants. When you have a strong personal business, you are confident, excited, and unstoppable. I know I am!  If your personal business is not where you want it to be, take a look at your calendar.  Go back to the basics which made you successful!
  • Party Plan Leaders:  It is easy to book more parties and recruit more Consultants when your personal calendar is full.  When you have a strong line up of parties, and vendor events you have a place to train new Consultants.  When you have lots of parties, you are confident, excited, and unstoppable. If your party schedule is not where you want it to be, take a look at your calendar.  Pick the days you want to hold parties and use the time to get on the phone.  I know it can weigh 500-pounds but it will make a difference.

Be willing to:

  • Use a time management system which works for you – paper, digital, whatever!
  • Schedule time to work on your business. Set aside time for specific tasks and get them done!
  • Release time wasters.  Does binge watching a TV show bring you closer to your dreams?  Can you postpone scanning Facebook until you have a full schedule of business?  No, scanning Facebook will not book parties for you!  Do you spend a lot of time talking to friends about your business?  It is is not the same as doing business.

13697068_10157255058245220_4151882212395503940_n.jpgLeaders hold themselves accountable for their success!  Take responsibility for the results you achieve through your business.  If I am not happy where my business is, it is no one’s fault but my own.  When we place blame on others or make excuses for missed opportunities our power is diminished and it takes away from our ability to lead others.  Embrace life’s lessons, learn from them, and then let go so you can move on toward your remarkable future.  Letting go is hard but it is the only way we can more forward.

Be grateful for the mess of success; it’s more fun than the desert of loneliness.  I’m going to celebrate the awesome year I had over the next few days.  I’m going to stomp on those inner gremlins who want to play the comparison game.  I am going to lead my team to success as we launch the fall selling season.  What about you and your team?  What are you going to do?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks

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!

 

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Conversations

By definition, a conversation is: the informal exchange of ideas by spoken words. Sounds pretty basic, right?

So, when was the last time you had a telephone conversation to your girlfriend or a relative?  I don’t use the phone much anymore except for business.  Most of my communication with family and friends is through email or text messaging.  The only exception is the occasional telephone conversation with is my daughter because she lives in North Carolina.

answer-machine

I was making some pink bag calls the other day when I started to get nervous.  Crazy, right?  Those are calls I make to ensure that my customers LOVE their new Thirty One products.  If you are in direct sales, I am sure you do them as well but call them by a different name.  For years, I have been making my calls in the morning during my regular office hours.  I have found myself leaving voice mail messages that were hopefully exciting so people would call me back.  WRONG!  So, I changed my calling hours to 7 – 8 pm Monday -Thursday night.  Why?  Because I was tired of just talking to answering machines.  I wanted to have a conversation with a LIVE person.

So, why did I get tongue tied when someone actually answered the phone, right?  I guess it is because I felt like I was bothering them.  It wasn’t a sales call which is what they were expecting I am sure.  It wasn’t a call to ask if they would book a party, unless they wanted to.  It is truly just a call to see how they like the product.  I always try to make notes on their order forms so that I can refer back to them when I make the calls but lately I have not been doing that.  Why?  Because I wasn’t talking to anyone but an answering machine so I got out of the habit.

YIKES!  I really didn’t think through the whole process when I changed the times I was making calls.  I didn’t plan on what I was going to say nor was I prepared with any questions that might engage them in a conversation.  Why? Because I already had decided in my own mind, that I was bothering them.

So as I prepare to make calls this week, I am going to be actually be prepared to have a conversation. I am going to b e casual and comfortable just as if I was talking to my daughter.  I will have a few general questions that are open ended so that I can engage them in a brief conversation but that is it!

These are the type of conversations that build relationships.  Relationships are the key to any direct sales business.  So, I challenge you to pick up the phone, have a conversation with a customer and start building a relationship.  Whose with me?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel, So You Want to be a Leader?

To Call or Not to Call

My road trip this past week was AMAZING!  Not only did I get to spend time with leaders from who are part of my Thirty One upline, I got to know another Thirty One sister, Luana AND learn some mind altering things from Shari Hudspeth about growing my business.  The trip to Floyd, VA was fun and full of laughter but I have to tell you the training was riveting.

For anyone in direct sales, we have heard FOREVER that you need to pick up the phone and make calls. Get over your fear, doubt, hesitation and just DO IT!  Shari says “that is not the way to get bookings”.  Now, I don’t mean you should stop making those customer care  calls where you make sure that everything arrived as it was ordered or simply ask them if they like their product – I mean those dreaded warm calls to get them to book a party.  I mean, let’s be honest, how many of us actually book parties from these calls.  I know that I can’t be the only one that doesn’t, right?

In today’s changing market, there are 4 ways that booking parties can be done (besides at the ideal spot –  at a party) in order of booking success:

  1. Facebook
  2. Text message to those who expressed interest
  3. Email – blast information about a FUN, FAST, EASY Girl’s Night Out Party and then follow-up with phone calls.
  4. Phone

While most of us get voice mail when we call our customers or a potential hostess, it is often difficult to think of a quick, catchy message that will get them to call back.   On the other hand, 95% of text messages, regardless of the message get answered within 15 minutes.  Many direct sales companies, like Thirty One, has Policies and Guidelines about soliciting business on Facebook but there is always chat, messaging and leaving fun pictures with clever captions to entice people to book a party with you.   According to Shari, we are actually setting our team up for failure when we push the “warm” call solicitation.  WOW!   Most people don’t answer their phone to numbers they don’t know or “think” they know what the call is about so why stumble over the message.  Why not just make a Customer Care call, leave a message that pertains ONLY to their current order and be done?

The phone is NOT totally off limits but it should be used to make those calls that will grow your business and set you apart from other direct sales consultants.  There are going to be two responses to this blog:

  1. She is CRAZY and her business is going to fall apart.
  2. THANK YOU! Now I can work on things that I like and where I get business instead of stressing over calling those warm leads that quickly turn cold.

I know an energetic Mary Kay consultant, Katlyn Reid,  who has built a LARGE part of her business using social media – particularly Facebook.  I am in awe at the growth of her business each month so it does work.

This was my first of many AHA moments during this 8 hour training.  Yes, I have heard this before but Shari put it in such a way that it made sense.  Let me know what you are thinking when it comes to the phone!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

#hope  #hopes31