Business Tips and Tricks

How To Handle Difficult or Demanding Customers

Let the Fall party season begin!  September is the Fall kickoff for many direct sales companies – new products, new styles, and a fresh look.  For many of us, this starts the busiest time of year in our business.  Did you know most direct sales consultants make 70% of their business from now till the end of December.  In just 4 months, we make 70% of our income, does the math work for you?

Whether you are in the party plan business or work for someone else, we have all met those customers who are just plain grumpy.   As we all look forward to helping our friends gather for a Girl’s Night Out, we begin to think about the guests who will be attending – moms, career woman, travelers, crafters, and the list goes on.  We want to be sure we are highlighting products which will be useful for them but what we don’t think about are the “hecklers” or the “difficult customer”.

Picture this:  you start your presentation when one of the guests begins making “side” comments just loud enough for you to hear.  Or, you talk about a product and they begin to tell you why XYZ company’s product is so much better.  Have you ever had a guest like this?  If not, consider your lucky and know at some point in your selling career, you may come across them.  If you have, did it throw you off your game?  I will be honest, I don’t do well with confrontation even after 7 plus years with Thirty One….I am grateful for these tips from Deb Bixler and Sherri Campbell:

  1. Spotlight the Difficult Customer at the Party.  A great way to stifle a difficult person is to answer all of their questions and offer not to go on until they are answered.   I have asked them to repeat their question or concern so I can answer it because there may be someone else in the group with the same concern.  As difficult as it may be I try to demonstrate empathy through eye contact, body language and smaller verbal cues showing concern.  This is REALLY tough since my face always gives me away.
  2. Rally the Interested Customers.  If someone is not cooperating at all with your presentation, participating or aren’t even being courteous enough to stop talking while you are; Debs suggests, simply say “The rest of the group is interested in this information”.  WOW!  I could not see myself saying it… it seems confrontational which totally scares me!  Remember the other guests are watching and will follow your lead (hopefully).  Stay calm and remain in charge of the interaction. You can also go with the difficult customer’s energy.  If nothing you are doing or saying is satisfying the customer/guest, disarm them by surrendering and granting agreement to the difficult customer.  Chances are the customer will probably start defending the you.  Believe it or not, it’s natural when someone is allowed to win they will be more open to what they were fighting against.
  3. The Wise Guy is Your Party Side Kick!  Difficult customers may think they know more than you do about your product or company.  Here is where knowing your products AND your company is a definite PLUS.  If you can show the “wise gal” the correct information, they tend to stop being a problem.  Don’t be forceful.  Come across soft and don’t talk over them even when it’s obvious they are off base. Let them talk themselves  out. Keep in mind the needier their behavior, the more power you have since neediness comes from weakness. By listening, you have a chance to build trust, empathy and rapport and ultimately, calms them down.  On the other hand, if they have good information, invite them to help out with the presentation.

Every party is not going to run smoothly.  I have to admit, I have been left speechless a few times due to a difficult customer.  I have even taken a 2 minute break in the middle of a party to “help” a difficult customer so she could be on her way.  By doing so, the customer actually booked a party and the group appreciated the fact the difficult customer had left.  Hopefully, you will never have a heckler or a difficult party guest BUT be ready just in case.

When a customer or party guest is never satisfied, it’s natural for us to lose motivation for working with this person. Sticking it out requires a strategy for dealing with difficult people, self-restraint and an ability to keep power in the relationship. we need to learn when to be hard and when to be soft in conflict. Something I am still working on….

The toughest thing for me is to remember to NOT take it personal….
When dealing with an unsatisfied customer, we need to remind ourselves this is a business issue and not a personal one.  Chances are,  this customer knows very little about you on a personal level, so keep this in mind guiding the conversation back to the pressing issue and how we plan to solve the problem for the customer.

Next time you encounter and angry person imagine they as a 2-year-old since it is the maturity level they are showing you.  Remember, you have the power as long as you remain calm, flexible, patient and mindful.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks

Staff Meetings?

monday morningOkay so it is really Wednesday and it is HUMP Day!  For some it may seem like a Monday with kids heading back to school. Back to school usually means a new routine for your business.  No, our kids are grown but I still remember the struggle of back to school week.

I am getting things set up as I leave on Saturday for 7 days of NO WIFI and limited phone connection.  Yes, I am putting down the electronics for a few days (by force since I will be cursing – LOL).

Mentally, I am already gone… it is really hard to focus BUT I am trying to ensure my business does not suffer from Vacation Veronica this month.  August was AWESOME, actually the whole summer was good even those “dreaded J months”.  My numbers weren’t as high as last year but close enough.  So I definitely want to keep up the momentum.  How many of you coasted through the summer meeting your minimums? Maybe you lowered your goals to be sure you met them.  I’ve been there…I did it for my first 5 years as a consultant, then I decided to do things a little different.  Did you set a goal to do better over the summer but then fell into the same Vacation Veronica syndrome?  Admit it – we often let life run our business.  Our lack of structure or systems has kicked us in the butt!

Well, the kids are back to school.  The busy holiday season is rapidly approaching and I for one am ready to grab as much business as possible.  What about you?

Deb Bixler, a home party plan coach, posted this comment in the Women in Business Facebook group:

At the end of every week, have a meeting with yourself. How did I do this week? What do I need to accomplish next week? Am I stuck on anything, and if so, who can help me?

I have an AWESOME planner (Passion Planner) which hubby got for me (this is year two).  which pushes me to do this every week.  I know, it is crazy BUT it has really helped me to focus on my business.  Yes, I squirreled….

Have you or do you currently work some place where they have weekly staff meetings?  You know the ones you hate – come together to talk about what needs to be done or the status of current projects.  I had them all of the time when I was managing a non-profit.  I never thought of having one in my own business.  Why would I – I have a team not a staff.  The truth is this is a great way to take the LONG To Do list and narrow it down for the week.

Summer is over, and it is time to put some structure back in your business.  I always thought structure was for everyone else NOT my home based/direct sales business.  Crazy, right?  I used to avoid structure and fly by the seat of my pants.  Where did it get me?  Decreasing sales each year.  Low party numbers. Low recruiting numbers.  Overall, a poor example for my team. WOW!  If this isn’t a reality check, I don’t know what is!  Tell me I am not alone!!!!When we reframe our thinking, we change the perception and the Universe blesses us with abundance.  Structure doesn’t have to be boring.  Structure doesn’t have to suffocate you.  Structure helps us to set systems in place so we can reach our goals.  When I look back at earning LIT (Leadership Incentive Trip), my systems were working (I didn’t even realize I had any)!  I know for some this was a no brainer but for me it was a new thing.

I thought my system was sitting in my office every morning with a daily checklist of things to do.  I marked them off the list and thought I had accomplished something.  The truth was, it was (and sometimes still is) busy work – not income producing activities.  The truth was I didn’t have a system.  The tasks were just tasks.

About 6 months ago, I totally revamped my systems and included a weekly meeting.  Yup, any Sunday night, you can find me talking to myself as I lay out the upcoming week and reflect on the past week.  Has it worked?  I would have to say YES!  My sales have been consistent over the last 6 months.  I am seeing some growth in my business – new customers and new hostesses.  Recruiting is not where I want it to be BUT I keep sharing and keep asking.  I know God is waiting for the right people to join my team.

What is on YOUR agenda for your weekly meeting? Share your best tip for staying on track in your business.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Blogging

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.

Business Tips and Tricks

How to Get More A.F.T.E.R.

e7ad6c1ee504439c9e910037effa570eWOOHOO WEDNESDAY!  I am playing catch up after working my part-time job on a full-time basis last week.  I must really be getting OLD because I am exhausted.  Not only was I working, I had a busy week in my direct sales business – closing parties, coaching hostesses and working with new team members.

I had an BIG event on Saturday so I am working on follow-up.  We all know it is the key to success, right?  Truth be told, in the past, I was not very good at it. So I am working this week on changing my mindset so I can change my business.  I mean it worked for changing my mindset about recruiting and gained 5 new recruits in 3 months.  So, why not put it to the test for booking and sales?

This is an article I found on DSWA and the thinking process started.  I know scary but sometimes it triggers some really exciting stuff.  At a home party 100% of the people buy something – a sale is a sale no matter how small which is good. I seem to struggle on Facebook/online parties and after vendor events.

The article highlighted the word AFTER as an acronym on how to get more sales..So let me know what you think:

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A stands for Attitude.  Your attitude (positive or negative) 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.  Change your mindset, change your attitude.  I have been blessed with repeat business after home parties.  I tend to struggle during vendor events because my attitude is all about leads and NOT sales.  Does your phone weigh 500 pounds, so you can’t lift it?  The Fortune is in the Follow-up.

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 F stands for Fun.  The most important part of any home party, right?  Are your parties fun? Would you want to attend or book a party from YOU?  You need to have fun so your guests can have fun.  Even at vendor events, I have fun!   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 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.  Simply 6 orders of $35 equals a party.  I mean you must know 6 people who are looking for a gift or like to shop.  Telling doesn’t mean DEMAND, it means talk, explain, have a conversation and LISTEN to what they are saying to you.93adb15703ad4b979a47c09ee9c7d30a

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 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 use post it notes to stop to the store, the grocery list, the to do checklist, and a hundred other things, right?  I’m not alone in this, although, I usually blame my need for reminders on the MS or health struggles. Why would you think your hostess, her guests or those who stop by your table at vendor events wouldn’t need a reminder?  Every time you talk with someone after the initial encounter, talk to them about specifics – an upcoming sale, a product they were interested in or even wanting 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

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

A Weekly Staff Meeting?

monday morning

Okay so it is really Tuesday!  BUT for most, yesterday was a holiday SO today will feel like a Monday.  I am ready to kick off the week with some new structure in my business that I wanted to share with you.

I spent last week trying to regroup after being away for 5 days.  Mentally, I was away for like 2 weeks with all of the wedding festivities.  I struggled to get back on track.  My sales in August were down but I expected that – why?  I wasn’t working my business.  I coasted through the summer meeting my minimums.  I did the same as I did in 2014 but definitely not where I want my business to be next year during the summer.  How many of you did the same thing?  Did you set a goal to do better over the summer but then fell into the same Vacation Veronica syndrome?  Admit it – we let life run our business.  A lack of structure or systems has kicked us in the butt!

Well, the kids are back to school.  The busy holiday season is rapidly approaching and I am ready to capture the business.  Are you?

Deb Bixler, a home party plan coach, posted a comment in the Women in Business Facebook group that said:

At the end of every week, have a meeting with yourself.How did I do this week? What do I need to accomplish next week? Am I stuck on anything, and if so, who can help me?

This was such an AHA for me!  Have you or do you currently work some place where they have weekly staff meetings?  You know the ones that you hate – come together to talk about what needs to be done or the status of current projects.  I had them all of the time when I was managing a non-profit.  I never thought of having one in my own business.  Why would I – I have a team not a staff.  The truth is this is a great way to take that LONG To Do list and narrow it down for the week.

So, starting TODAY, I am going to take action to put some structure in my business.  I always thought structure was for other businesses NOT my home based business.  Crazy, right?  I avoided structure and just flew by the seat of my pants.  Where did that get me?  Low sales.  Low party numbers. Low recruiting numbers.  Overall, a poor example for my team.

It is time to reframe our thinking.  Structure doesn’t have to be boring.  Structure doesn’t have to suffocate you.  Structure helps us to set systems in place so that we can reach our goals.  I know for some this is a no brainer.  Yes, I thought I had a system.  I am in my office every morning with a daily checklist of things to do.  I mark them off and feel like I have accomplished something BUT a lot of it is busy work.  The truth is my systems didn’t work.  The tasks were not income producing – they were just tasks.  So, I am revamping and it will include a weekly meeting.  Maybe even 2 meetings with myself – one at the end of the week to see how things went during the week and one at the beginning of the week to regroup after the weekend to see if anything needs to be adjusted on my weekly planner.

What is on YOUR agenda for your weekly meeting? Share your best tip for staying on track in your business.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!