Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Customers Gone Missing

Over the last almost three years of selling Thirty One, I have had customers gone missing or that stopped buying from me. I am sure that I am not alone in this.  As the holiday season is upon us, we may make those feeble attempts to reach out to past customers and hostess but to no avail.  Messages left, no return call.  Emails sent, no reply.  Facebook postings, blocked, deleted or no response.  Has this happened to you – customers just quit buying from you without any particular reason?

The truth is there is a reason….you may not want to hear it…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.

Tammy Stanley, who I had the pleasure of hearing at Thirty One’s National Conference  definitely got me to thinking but I am not sure that I really ACTED on what I learned.  Have you ever done that?  Statistics show that 55% of our customers take their business elsewhere because WE, as direct sellers, show no interest in keeping them around.  I have talked often about the importance of follow-up 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 that we can do as direct sellers.

Have you been at an event and offered to put someone on your mailing list, then never followed through?  Have you told someone that you would contact them about a special or a product they were interested in, then didn’t?  Have LOTS of leads from an event, never called those who showed the slightest interest in the opportunity – party or business?  I know some direct sellers who are AMAZING at this, they have awesome systems and a structure to their follow-up.  These consultants I am sure are not loosing customers.  Unfortunately, I am afraid that I am one of those that may be loosing a few customers because of this exact thing.  Finding a system that works for me seems to be the issue or is it just an excuse to avoid doing some of those things that I don’t like doing?

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

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

#hope

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

What Happens AFTER

It is the weekend and for most of us in direct sales, we are working our business with home parties, vendor events and networking opportunities.  I came across an article on  DSWA that got me to thinking about how to get more sales AFTER the party or even an event.  I don’t know about you but I would say that at a home party 100% of the people buy something – it may be a small item but they are there to support the hostess so they buy something, right?

This article highlighted the word AFTER and made it into an acronym on how to get more sales..So here goes:

A stands for Attitude.  It is your attitude (positive or negative) that will determine the results after the event.  Are you positive?  Do you think it is normal for people to place orders AFTER an event or a direct sales party? Or, do you think it is pushy to contact people AFTER the event/party about more sales?  Your attitude will determine the outcome.  I have been blessed with repeat business after home parties.  I do struggle during vendor events but it is because my attitude is that I will collect leads and NOT sell.  Does your phone weigh 500 pounds, so you can’t lift it?  Time to change my mindset before today’s event.

 F stands for Fun.  This is the most important part of any home party, right?  Are your parties fun? Would you want to attend or book a party from YOU?  Have fun so that your guests have fun.  Even at vendor events, I have fun!  I am known for my hat (thank you to my many vendor friends who convinced me to buy it) and balloons.  I am learning it is not about perfection, it is about progress.  Thank you Deb Bixler. Who wants to party or be part of a team that is not having fun, right?

T stands for Tell.  Talk to your hostess and make sure that she knows how to collect orders – if she doesn’t she won’t do it.  I offer an incentive to my hostess for gathering $200 in pre-orders BEFORE the party, this has helped to increase my party averages.  At a vendor event, I tell EVERYONE who will listen how easy it is to host a party with me.  Telling doesn’t mean DEMAND, it means talk, explain, have a conversation and LISTEN to what they are saying to you.

E stands for Energy or Excitement.  Without this, you don’t have a business – it is the make or break it of direct sales. Translate your excitement to your hostess, your customers and get things rolling.  I get told that I am “too perky” – I used to tone things down but not any more.  People want to be a part of my energy.

R stands for Remind, Remind, Remind.  In today’s crazy, fast-paced world, we need reminders – you know the post it notes so that you stop to the store, the grocery list, the to do checklist.  I know that I am not alone in this although I usually blame my need for reminders on having a “senior moment”.  Why would you think that your hostess, her guests or those that stop by your table at vendor events wouldn’t need a reminder?  Every time to talk with someone after the initial encounter, talk to them about specifics – an upcoming sale, a product they were interested in or even that they wanted to book a party.

Things happen AFTER an event or party because YOU have a plan.  What are some of your tips for success AFTER a party or vendor event?  Share your best ideas.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day! #hope

Hope Wissel, Relax, Reflect, Recharge

Do You Procrastinate?

Procrastination by definition is “to put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness”.  I never thought of myself as a procrastinator- I mean who would call me lazy.  I have always been a workaholi, now a semi-recovered one at this stage in my life.  The truth is that, lately, I have become a “little bit” of a procrastinator when it comes to doing things that I THINK will be uncomfortable.  For a long time, it was the 500 pound phone, then it became discussing finances with hubby but most of all I AVOID situations and people that will cause conflict.

When I read a blog by Mary Southerland at ibelieve entitled “DO IT NOW!”; the statement that hit home was “Procrastination is one of the greatest sources of stress in life”.   So, if I am complaining about being stressed, what am I actually procrastinating about, right?  If I look back on the past several weeks, the stress that I have felt can all be attributed to my “avoidance/ procrastination” usually to do with finances or leadership aspects in my business.  I always say that I don’t like confrontation, although this is true, by saying it out loud, I have “given myself permission” to avoid doing something that I might actually need to do, that is part of God’s plan.

God’s plan does not include procrastination which he looks at as a sin.  WHY?  Because we are failing to do what we know we should do, whether it is in our business or in our personal lives.  Okay, so now it is starting to REALLY hit home!  It takes more energy to avoid a task then it does to just DO IT!  Common sense right?  What is it that you procrastinate about?  While you are procrastinating , you are draining yourself of vital energy instead of producing energy by completing the task.  God wants us to do what he calls us to do.  Matthew 6:33 (NCV) “The thing you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what God wants. Then all these other things you need will be given to you.”  God will give you everything that you need, if you ask and are truly following his plan for your life.

So, what are you procrastinating about? I LOVE this line from Joyce Meyer, “Wisdom always chooses to do now what it will be satisfied with later on.”  Will you seek to be more disciplined in your business and your personal life this week?  Are you willing to seek out and live by God’s priorities for your life instead of your own? Share your strength and hope with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

YIKES! Caller ID

Good Morning!  How many of you have caller id – at home?  On your cell phone?  At home, calls that come up “unavailable”, “blocked”, or “unknown” typically go unanswered right?  We know that if it is someone that we wanted to talk with – they would identify themselves!  Those that we know and talk to all of the time are programmed into our cell phones.  Some even have distinctive rings to let us know who it is without even looking at the phone.  So when I saw JulieAnne Jone‘s blog about caller id – I had an AHA moment.  Alright, it was more like a DUH moment!

My office is in the bottom floor of our condo which makes cell phone reception a bit sketchy sometimes.  I had this GREAT idea to use our house phone when I was calling customers and hostesses so that I wasn’t suddenly disconnected. Sounded like a good idea in the beginning.  Then the first call back came on the house line and I realized that people checked their caller id FIRST and then listened to messages.  As a result, the people that I called weren’t calling my cell number (business line) they were calling the house where they might get hubby or they would just get a generic voice mail.  I had what I THOUGHT was a GREAT idea – *67 before I called customers from my home number.  This way, they would not see the number and would have to listen to my voice mail message FIRST.  Alright, so here is the no brainer – if they can’t see who is calling, they probably won’t pick up the phone!  I mean do you pick it up when you don’t know who is calling?

There goes that important component in our business called “building relationships with your customers”.  If someone answers the phone when they don’t know who it is chances are they already have a preconceived idea on what they are going to say  – NO to whatever the question is, right?  They figure it is a sales pitch and they don’t want to be a part of it.  On the other hand, if someone sees who is calling and decides to answer (if they are home) it means that they are open to talking to you even though they know that you may be asking to book a party or to make a sale.  Remember that building relationships with customers means more than just calling when YOU have an agenda.  Connect with your customers for no reason at all – just to wish them a happy birthday or to see if they like their product.

Next time you get ready to block your phone number when calling someone, THINK about what your response would be if you received a blocked call.  Don’t be afraid to connect (or not) with your customers – let them know who is calling.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject – pros and cons!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Vendor Events

Along with the Fall season comes a barrage of Vendor & Craft Shows as well as Flea Markets.   I have written about Vendor events before but this time I would like to talk about follow-up.  “The money is in the follow-up”.  I wish I could remember who said it but I do know that it is TRUE.  I mean why go to all of the work of finding, attending, talking and sharing your products with everyone if you aren’t going to follow-up with them.  I know that for some, this may mean picking up the phone (you know the 500-lb one) or stepping out of your comfort zone but trust me when I say, it is worth it!

JulieAnne Jones who is an AMAZING direct sales trainer, had a guest blogger named Sylvie Drader who shared her tips for following up after an event:

  1. Clear your calendar the week after the show/event.  Okay, that may seem a little overwhelming for some but you at least want to set aside time to followup.  I LOVE her idea of planning your own event/party shortly after that – within a week or two so you have an opportunity to invite people.  What a great reason to pick up the phone – a personal invitation to your event/party?  Seems easy, right?
  2. Collect information from qualified leads.  This happens at the event.  I never sit behind my table at an event.  I am always interacting with people whether they stop at my table, hesitate a second (in only takes a brief look) or make a comment about something on the table; I am ready to engage them in a conversation.  I usually offer a special gift/ drawing that entices them to fill out my variation of a “guest care card”.  There are 2 questions on it with a scale of 1 – 10 on “How interested are you in the following? 1.  Hosting a  “Friends Night Out” where you’ll be spoiled, have a great time and get a FREE shopping spree.  2. Learning more about how my opportunity can change your life.”  I like Sylvie’s statement of “if they don’t answer the questions, I will consider it a 10”.  When I use these forms, I add my own notes about our conversation.
  3.  Enter all contact information into an excel spreadsheet.  Thirty One has such an AMAZING back office, this step is not necessary.  In addition, I have Big Contacts which does a lot of auto responding for me as well as templates that are already set up to send out information to my leads.
  4. Send an email as soon after the end of the show as possible.  Preferably, you want to do this the next day.  it could be your latest newsletter or an email to invite them to an event you have planned.
  5. Give a phone call to each contact within a week to 10 days of the end of the show.  I have to admit, in theory this is GREAT but I do fall short on this.  I am going to try and just say “thank you for stopping by” and remind them about something that we talked about – no real “sales pitch”.

The fortune is in building relationships with your potential customers.  You want them to trust you.  Keep the connection going by sending them your monthly newsletter, and periodic phone calls.  What are you best tips for follow-up after a vendor event?  Please share them with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!