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

Be International

The buzz word in direct sales lately is “intentional”.  What does that really mean?  According o Webster’s Dictionary, the word intentional is something done on purpose.  For example “If you specifically make a plan to be nice to someone you don’t like very much and you are extremely careful to be nice, this is an example of when your nice behavior would be described as intentional.”

Let’s apply it “getting bookings” in our direct sales business.  The obvious thing would be to just “ask”, right?  Maybe you have tried and you keep getting shot down.  Maybe you have run out of contacts.  Maybe you just don’t seem to have the right words.  Whatever the obstacle, there is a way to fix it.

The old message of “just pick up the phone and make booking calls” rings on deaf ears, right?  No one answers their phone.  You try to think of creative messages so that they will return your call.  You offer incentives.  You “beg”.  If we don’t talk to anyone, we get discouraged and we think that no one wants to party.

The truth is that people do want to have parties, we just need to find a different way to connect with them.  Facebook has been the go-to for many lately and it has worked.  Texting is an option. Email is another option.  If you know the preferred method of contact for your customers, you can reach out to them but the message has to fit THEIR need.

When we are at a party, it is easy to talk about the fun you can have at a party.  They are there and experiencing it.  This message doesn’t work outside of the party.  Potential hostesses do not have the emotional connection out side of the party.  So what are some key words:

  • FUN!
  • Break!
  • A Night off!
  • Girlfriend time!
  • Pampering!

The party should be taking something off of the hostesses plate not adding more to it.  The party should not be stressful for them, it should be a fun time.

Every week (I prefer daily) set aside time to make booking contacts.  Work for the NO’s because after a certain percentage, you will get a YES!  Now, I mean actually talk to people.  Leaving messages doesn’t count as a NO.  Make those pink bag calls and talk to your customers.  At the end of the conversation, ask them if they could use a “night off” or some “girlfriend time”.  After you have listened to them, you will know what key words to use to lock in that booking.

Who is ready to be intentional about booking parties and their business?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Quick Business Tips

big girl pants

We are about 3 weeks away from the New Year and a NEW AMAZING catalog for Thirty One.  So, I thought I would share some ideas on how to avoid the January slump.

Create a reason for customers to come back.  I offered a $10 coupon to all of my customers who spent $35 or more during November and December to be used in January.  I included the “bag bucks” in a handwritten thank you card mailed to each customer about 2 weeks AFTER they received their order.  I remembered how much customers appreciated the handwritten cards in the past – it was a great personal touch.  I normally use “Thank You” postcards but ran out of the old design and am still waiting for the new ones.  I picked up Thank You cards from the dollar store and started writing.  I am loving the response already from my customers.

Get Personal and build better relationships.  I have talked a lot about “Pink bag calls” to stay in touch with your customers.  Remember to check in to make sure that they loved their product.  When was the last time Walmart or Target called to see if you liked your latest purchase?  Add your own personal touch that will keep your name in front of your customers.  I have a “birthday club”.  Yes, I know it may seem like just another discount postcard for their birthday but I do know that some read it.  Then I also text them during the month to remind them about the discount and with them a “happy birthday”.  Remember those conversations that you had at the party with a guest?  Did they tell you about an upcoming event or celebration (baby due, marriage, etc)?  Send a card or a text or even a phone call to congratulate them.  You will be surprised at what these small touches can do for your business.

I found one of the best keys to avoiding a “slump” is to plan ahead.  Okay, I will admit that I am not the best at this.  I have made some mistakes but I keep plugging along.  I have tried a lot of things to grow my business – some have worked, some have been awful while others have taken me far from the basics that were the foundation of my business in the early years.

In 2015, I am going back to basics, not just the “book, sell, recruit” theory but the little touches that my customers liked so much or seemed to make them remember me.  I was ME!  I remembered birthdays, anniversaries (most of the time) and special days in their lives.  I posted on their Facebook page, if we were friends. I was intentional about my business, making my customers more important than anything else.  The sales came, the recruits came, parties were booked and slumps were avoided most of the time.

So why did I change?

Remember that 18 month “pit” (for lack of a better word) that I talked about?  That is what happened.  I lost my confidence.  My passion seemed to slip.  Business was still good but not where I wanted it to be and why?  Because I was trying the “newest” thing that worked for someone else but didn’t always work for me.  It is okay to try new things but not to the point where you toss aside the things that have worked for you.

What is your best tip for avoiding the “J” month slump?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

 

 

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

Customer Service is the Key

Happy Monday!!!  Let’s start off the week talking about customer service.  I mean if booking parties at the party is the best way to fill your calendar, right?  What about after the party?  What kind of customer service do you provide to keep them coming back to YOU?

The No. 1 reason why customers bail (on a consultant or a business) is the lack of customer service. The key is to make sure your customers feel wanted so they want to stay where they’re appreciated. But to make customers love you, you’ll have to work even harder.  Here are some tips that I have gathered along the way..

The golden rule is to Never assume. You know what they say “You make an a$$ out of you and me”, right?  You may think you know what customers want. But what if you’re wrong?

1. Talk with your customers. Ask questions and build your approach around the wants, needs and desires of your customer. Not only will you get a better understanding of customer needs, you’ll be able to identify innovative ways to solve their problems and exceed their expectations.

2. Always deliver. To win customers, you need to deliver on time, every time. I communicate ALOT after the party with my customers.  I email them when the party closes and when I receive the shipping information for the party. This way, they know what to expect.  Customers like to know what it happening with their order.

3. Personalize loyalty programs. In order to ensure you have a winning loyalty program, you must plan, design and execute it in a systemized way. I tried the “frequent buyer cards” but they didn’t seem to work for the majority of my customers.  I offer incentives for party and recruit referrals which has also worked on a limited basis.

4. Say “Thank You.” Do you mail thank you notes or postcards to your customers?  I used to do this ALL the time, then I fell out of practice.  I was surprised at how many people appreciated the simple handwritten note.  I am definitely implementing it back in my “after party tasks” this year.  This simple strategy can really make an impact and says a lot about the value you place on your customers.

5. Stay connected. It is recommended that every customer should receive a “touch” at least once a month and, with an email or e-newsletter.  Your “touches” should be more about information or educationally-oriented and designed to add value to their experience with you, rather than just as a mechanism for pushing products or services.  Most direct sales companies have monthly newsletters which go out once a month – AWESOME.  Thirty One also supplies the consultant with an “activity report” that tells us who, what and when our customers read it.  This is a great conversation starting when making those “pink bag” calls.

6. Play favorites. New customers are critical to growth, but you must ensure that current or long-standing customers get VIP treatment as well.  I haven’t found a way to do this yet but I am working on it.  I do have a birthday club where customers are given a discount on their purchase during the month of their birthday.  This has received some rave reviews from my customers.

So when your calendar is light, rely on your EXCELLENT customer service to help you reach your monthly goals.  Connect with your customers on special days (anniversary, birthday, etc).  Make them feel special and they will keep coming back.  A loyal customer is a GREAT referral base for your next party.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!