Business Tips and Tricks

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

Business Tips and Tricks, Throwback Thursday

Throwback: Are You Building Relationships?

unnamed-1  This blog first appeared on November 20, 2015.

If you read my blog regularly, you know building relationships is BIG with me.  I think it is the key to having a life full of harmony – personally and in your business.  Today, we are going to talk about building relationships in your business.

Tis the season you will run in to a LOT of people – old friends, new friends, family. Tis the season to build  relationships, which can fuel your entire year with loyalty, referrals and more!

Let’s start with building Relationships with Potential Anything (customers, hostess, team, etc):

Do you think before you speak, act or even post on Facebook?  How often have you vented on Facebook?  Admit it, we all have.  The truth is if you are Debbie Downer or Negative Nellie all the time –  nobody wants to buy from you, you probably wouldn’t even buy from yourself PLUS nobody wants to be around you.  Are you constantly posting about “needing to fill your calendar” or needing xxx amount is sales? Guess what – you sound DESPERATE! People don’t buy from people who are desperate.

People buy from people they like.  People buy from people who make them feel good about themselves.  Show the honest, real, caring, kind, compassionate, positive, confident, and upbeat side of YOU and guess what? People will want to be around you and as a result will want to buy from you.

How about building relationships with your customers?  I know you are thinking, “they’re already buying from me, what do I have to do?”.  The truth is you want to KEEP their business.  I can’t tell you how many times I have seen someone carrying a Thirty One product and started a conversation.  I always ask if they have a consultant because I would never want to steal someone’s customer.  It breaks my heart when they say “I don’t remember” or “I never hear from them, so do you have a card”.

UGH!  I pray it is never one of my customers who answers this way.  What do you do to stand out from the crowd?  What do you do to let them know you appreciate them?  Not just when they place an order or maybe all year long.  I will admit I am good at this for about 4 months from the time of the order but then it becomes more difficult.  I continue to work on this (see, you aren’t alone).

Remember YOUR CUSTOMERS are what fuel your business. They keep you in business. THANK THEM OFTEN! It doesn’t matter how you do it – a thinking of you card, a post on a picture they posted on Facebook, or a phone call just for no reason.  Let them know you think of them as more than just a paycheck!  Make them feel special!  Make them feel appreciated!  It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money but believe me when you let them know how much you appreciate them – they will stick with you!

Okay, will they occasional buy from someone else, maybe.  Ask them about those purchases, how they are liking them and make sure they were happy with their customer service experience! More times than not, when you have a super loyal customer buy from another consultant, its because she was helping out a friend with a party or an order. She isn’t trying to hurt you, its not always about you, get over it. She was doing a selfless thing for her friend, make her feel special for doing that. She will remember it. I promise you!

The bottom line is relationships are the meat of our business – our products are just what get us in the door or through the computer screen.  Be someone who stands out and makes a positive impression on those you come across. Make sure you are remembered as THE person who made her feel special!

What is your best tip for building relationships and growing your business?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Hope Wissel

Customer Service Tips

Saturday for many mean a day off.  If you can call shuttling kids to activities, errands, sporting events or cleaning a day off.  For those in direct sales during the busiest time of the year, it means working your business – parties and/or vendor events or maybe both.

14915611_10157789821335220_9179553521883133719_n

So, how do you capitalize on this time of year?  The best way is to provide your customers with the BEST customer service they have ever received from any business or business owner.  You want your customers to remember you.  Here are some tips from Party Plan Divas to help you become remarkable:

1. Stay in contact with your customers on a regular basis. Don’t just rely on your company’s newsletter or Social Media outlet.  Pick up the phone and make Customer Care Calls for special events (holiday, new catalog, etc) The more often you are in front of your customers – the more often they think of you.

2. Give Customers more than they expect.  There is no such thing as “too much” customer service. Send “Thank you” notes for no reason other than to say thanks. Offer discounts at random times throughout the year. Send free gifts with large purchases with no notice. The more people feel appreciated, the more likely they are to not only do business with you but send referrals your way as well.

pink gloves

3. Resolve complaints and conflicts quickly. We want everyone to be happy with our products but the truth is sometimes problems arise – shipping delays, back orders, products malfunctioning, etc. Show your customers you really care by taking care of their problems quickly. Good Customer Service does not have a price tag. Never avoid a phone call or email. Personally take care of the problem as best as you possibly can.

4. Make it easy for your customers to find you.  Offer as many contact methods as possible, so when a customer reaches out, she feels like she will be able to get to you. Email, cell phone, social media, etc are all great contact methods. Make your contact methods easy to remember by using a universal business name as often as possible. (i.e. www.partywithHope.com, HopeWs31@gmail.com, facebook.com/Hope Heldreth-Wissel, Hope Wissel, HopeWissel.com)

5. Strong relationships is the basis of a strong business.  The more your customers like you, the more they will do business with you and encourage their friends to do the same. Interact daily on social media. Send birthday and anniversary cards. Create special Customer Appreciation events.  Your customers will feel important when they are included in these kinds of special events.

6. Always be polite.  You must always be very aware the things you say – both out loud and on social media – can never be taken back.  THINK before saying or posting anything. Take a minute and ask yourself “if this was the very first thing a potential customer saw, would she want to do business with me?” Make sure everything you put out into the universe is becoming of a direct sales professional. Use the words “you’re welcome”, “thank you”, “please” etc often. Be calm and polite even when they are upset.

imgres

What is your best tip for building strong business relationships with your customers?  Share them with us…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Business Tips and Tricks

Do You Have a Focused Weekly Plan?

unknown-1

No this is not a sales pitch for Passion Planners even though it has saved my life more than once.  This is about having a simple, focused, and consistent schedule whether it be for you, your family or for your direct sales business.

As women, we have at least three or four balls juggling at all times: work, children, home, direct sales business and oh, course there is our life on social media, right?  How quickly do your best laid plans for the day go array when you get lost in the black hole of social media?

Yes, it is FRIDAY and I am already talking about next week.  WHY? Because I have found when I take about an hour or so on Saturday or Sunday to plan out the upcoming week, this get done.  I know, many nights you fall into bed feeling like you worked your butt off but yet feel like you got absolutely nothing accomplished. Been there, done that and have more than one t-shirt!  Some weeks, my planner looks like this:unknown

Nothing written in except maybe a doctor’s appointment or two.  It is the weeks like this when I squirrel.  Running around putting our fires and trying to get something, anything accomplished.

Squirreling find come with the MS – the truth is I have squirreled for years when I worked from home.  A load of laundry here, wash the dishes there, oh and I went to look for something in the “junk drawer” so I spent time cleaning it out.  For women who work at home (not just in direct sales but also as moms and wives), having a focused plan each week allows us to get so much more accomplished with time to spare.  Yes, you can have spare time to just sit and enjoy your coffee before it gets cold!

As we head into November which is the true start of the busy holiday season, I am trying something new (for me).  I have heard it a million times but always found a reason NOT to do it.  A simple “days of the week” system to help you stay focused and work your biz (or your home) with intention.  This is a system you can tweak to fit YOUR needs but at least give it a try…..

Me Monday:  A clear focus starts with a strong personal business.  Spend the first day of the week working on your personal calendar. That includes booking parties, scheduling Facebook Party posts and hostess coaching for up-coming parties. When your calendar is full, you’ll feel more confident and ready to tackle the rest of your goals. Go you!

Team Tuesday:  Follow up with sponsoring leads and set coaching calls with anyone on your team who wants more support.  Being an effective coach is about asking the right questions, being a good listener and stay in the reality zone.

13710013_10157280658795220_3621804307325745350_n

Win (Woohoo) Wednesday: This is the day for me to connect with my team and my customers.  I am planning to celebrate the past week’s accomplishments, give reminders on upcoming events and encourage different aspects of training linked back to the weekly calls hosted by the company.  This is also the day I am going to introduce our “team consultant of the week”.  This will give team members an opportunity to get to know each other building a stronger bond of support.

Thank You Thursday: Keep your hostesses and customers coming back by saying THANKS! Use graphics on Facebook Parties, Facebook Live shout outs to your $500 Club Hostesses ($500+ Parties) and handwritten personal notes to all. Don’t forget to include a reminder to send referrals your way for a bonus gift!

Follow-Up Friday: Congrats! You made it to Friday and you had a focused, productive week.  Take some time on Friday to follow-up with anything left on your to-do list and get ready to enjoy the weekend..

Mind you, in the midst of this focused plan, emails and social media seem to be missing, right?  The truth is, my notifications for Facebook are turned off on my phone and on my computer.  When I am working in my office, I close both my email and my social media windows.  Then I set aside some time to check them and respond BUT only for a short period of time.

What are you best tips for staying focused when working your direct sales business OR managing your household.  Share them with us….

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks, Celebrate and Connect

A Thank You in Life and in Business

Thank-you-letter

Do you remember, as a child, being reminded to send thank you notes when you were given a gift?  Maybe it was a birthday, a special occasion or for some it was even for holiday gifts.  I used to dread them.  I mean what do you say to someone who you never really see who sends you a gift, right?  I always wanted the thank you notes that had messages already on them.  Less writing and I could just sign my name!  LOL!!

Fast forward to being a Mom. I had Belinda write thank you notes.  She grumbled ALOT but what kid doesn’t, right?  She thought that saying “thank you” when she saw the person was enough.  I have to admit, at times it made perfect sense.  When she asked, I always said “it is proper”.

imgres

Then I became a business owner.  I heard “the fortune is in the follow-up“. So, what would make me stand out from so many other consultants?  What would make them remember ME?  I began handwriting thank you notes and mailing them about 10 days or so after an order was placed.  At first, I didn’t think much of it.  If I met the individual in-person, I mentioned something that I remembered about them.  If it was an online order, I thanked them and told them that I knew how much they would love their order.

I thanked them a second time when I sent them the shipping information for direct ship orders.  If I was delivering them, another thank you note was included in their bag.  Some thought it was “overkill” BUT I I truly do appreciate their support of my business.

I have continued this practice for 5+ years no matter what – old or new customer.  The response is AMAZING!  In this day and age of internet and social media, people truly appreciate “snail mail” that is NOT a bill.

I still hand write thank you notes for things that people do for me personally whether it is a gift or just a thoughtful gesture.  I want people to know that they have made a difference in my life.  Now, I will admit that if I use a thank you card that already has a message, I will add a special note.  People need to know that you care.  They buy products from people that they like and care about.  What better way to continue to build that relationship that by sending a thank you note, right?

mobile office 6c6c64229eea0a5dd3cd0347196c03c3

Here is my tip to make this easy for you (or your children)… I use Thirty One’s Timeless Beauty Bag to hold everything.  There is a spot for pens, cards, envelopes, and stamps.  It is a great gift for that NEW team member or for the college bound student or someone in the military.  I picked up LOTS of thank you cards at the Dollar Store.  You get 8 or 10 in a pack and then I get a variety of them.

Have thank you notes to send to your customers, grab the bag & take it with you.  You can write a few while you are waiting for the kids to get off the bus or while they are at practice.  We all know how long that can take, right?

Just remember that a little “thank you” can make a difference in the life of the person that is receiving it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!