Luce Associates Blog Header

Archive for 'Direct Sales'

By  John Fong

From Jen: Since I’ve stepped into my corporate role as Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications at SwissJust North America, my business partner (and husband!) John Fong has stepped out from behind the curtain, managing the consulting business we used to run together. He focuses primarily on lead generation for direct selling companies, and does an amazing job for his clients, helping them create a steady flow of new leads using Facebook Ads. John generates more leads for direct selling companies than anyone else in the industry today. In today’s post, he shares some tips on creating an effective lead generation campaign. I have personally seen him generate 1,000 leads or more per month for his clients. Here are some of the techniques he uses with amazing results.

Facebook Ads are an incredibly effective way to generate leads immediately for your direct sales company. If you’re interested in creating a Facebook Ad lead generation campaign for your company, here are some quick tips you can start using today:

  1. Create ads that have photos of real people.
  2. Use language that is clear and concise about the product and the opportunity.
  3. Include your current consultants in your target audience and tell them to engage/share the ads when they see them with their network/friends/family to help increase the reach of your ads.
  4. Make sure you use News Feed ads.
  5. Set the daily budget at a minimum of $50.00/daily to maximize your reach.

What to do next?

  • Step 1 – Read or re-read this blog post from my lovely wife Jennifer Fong to have a clear idea on how to establish your FB lead generation program – http://www.worldofdirectselling.com/online-recruiting-campaign/
  • Step 2 – You must set up Google Analytics to track how well the ads are doing and what kind of conversion your ads are generating, or you will not be able to make adjustments to increase leads.
  • Step 3 – Now create a group of new ads incorporating the tips from above and define the target audience you want to reach.
  • Step 4 – Once you find a few ads that are generating the best leads, keep creating new ads similar to them and continue to make adjustments that resonate with your target audience. Now, your goal is to create as many ads with high conversion rates as possible.
  • Step 5 – Once you have ads that are performing well, start analyzing and tracking the time of day and days that most leads are generated.
  • Step  6 –  Once you have a consistent level of leads at a certain ad spend budget, you can now consider gradually increasing the budget to maximize as many leads as possible on those best time of day and days of the week. Do not rush this process. Do not just simply increase your budget and expect that the leads will increase. It does not work like that, most of the time you will get a similar number of leads and waste the increased budget.
  • Step  7 – Only increase your budget if your leads increase. That means you have to analyze your data very carefully as you incrementally increase your ad spend. Facebook Ad lead generation is more art than science. It does not follow the concept of cause and effect. Just because you spend more money and have more people seeing your ads, it does not necessarily mean they will convert.
  • Step 8 – At this point, if you continue with this process, gradually increasing your budget as leads increase, and are willing to increase your ad spend accordingly, you can reach your goal of 1000 leads per month.

Allow anywhere from several weeks to a couple of months for your lead generation to mature. Once you’ve built momentum, continue to analyze your data and increase your ad spend strategically to maximize leads. The key is to track the data, make adjustments to maximize your ad spend to increase leads and to build momentum.

One last note, start your lead generation program now, because it will take a couple of months to establish! You want to have a lead generation program in place once the holiday selling season is over. This way, you can offset the lower sales volume that comes after the holidays with increased leads and can also reach those individuals with New Year’s resolutions to start a business, make a life change, and/or who are looking to pay off holiday debt.

Are you using Facebook ads? How many leads are you generating per month? Please share your tips in the comments!

John Fong is a lead generation specialist who creates Facebook Ad lead generation campaigns for direct selling companies. He also handles the day-to-day community management and content for the Direct Selling Education Foundation and other direct sales company clients. For more information, or to contact him about services for your direct selling company, click here.

I find that I am still surprised that more direct sellers do not think of themselves as running a small business.  Yes most of them only sell on a part time basis and yes, they usually work from home, even when they build multimillion dollar businesses.  But too often even with significant financial success they still do not think of themselves as managing a business.  So, when you are running a small business as a direct seller here are some business things to think about:

  • Do you keep a mileage log for tracking the miles you drive in pursuit of your direct selling business activities?  If not, you should.  You may be able to have a tax deduction or credit for these miles.
  • Do you keep track of your purchases of office supplies?  Those costs may also be a deduction against the income you make from your business.
  • How about computers that you use for the business to place orders and communicate?  You may be able to deduct all or a portion of the cost of the computer, security software for it, repairs, upgrades, travel cases, etc.
  • What about staplers, pens, copy paper, internet service, paper clips, envelopes, postage, cost of tax preparation and other services that you use all or in part for your business?

Chances are if you had opened a store or a service business in a rented office or store front someone in the family would have pointed you in the direction of keeping your expense records and getting business tax advice.  But too often we start our direct selling business in an offhand, casual way as just something we are giving a try on a part time basis.   As such, we don’t think of it as a business or treat the activity as a business activity.  And for some, who work hard and find they have a talent for it, this part time thing becomes a significant contributor to personal or family finances and we still do not treat it as a business.

How about this:   If your UPS guy is delivering a package you need for your business and slips and falls on your porch steps will your home owners’ policy cover it? Chances are your home owner’s policy does not cover business related activities on the premises.  What if you damage a customer’s property on a sales call or worse yet injure your customer?  Are you protected?  Probably not.  When you want to take a booth at a fair or bazaar are you able to easily produce the liability insurance coverage the event organizers require or do you have to go out and buy a temporary bond to get coverage for each event?

Help is available.

We direct sellers are small business people and we should take all the steps necessary to both maximize our business profits by keeping good business expense records and taking allowed deductions.  More importantly as small business people, we should also take steps to protect our personal finances and assets from possible liability claims that can arise in the ordinary course of conducting business.  Fortunately now there is an excellent source of insurance and business services that are specifically designed to support small business direct sellers.  Go to www IDS.com to learn more about how you can take advantage of the services offered on the Independent Direct Sellers web site.  You can also access specific insurance services at www.dscoverage.com

For years direct sellers have struggled to find affordable business services and insurance that were both affordable and designed to cover the nuances of their businesses.  Now it is here at these two sites.  Take advantage and help yourself now!

Alan Luce Managing Principal Luce, Murpny, Fong and Associates

Alan Luce
Managing Principal
Luce, Murpny, Fong and Associates

Few people in the direct sales industry can match the experience, expertise and successes of Alan Luce. With over 25 years in senior management, guiding start-ups and established companies alike, Alan has met virtually every challenge a direct sales executive can face.  Learn more about how Alan can help your company at http://www.lucemurphyfong.com/Alan-Luce.html. – See more at: http://lucemurphyfong.com/blog/#sthash.At2W3qNo.dpuf

Best Practices for Virtual Parties by Jennifer Fong from http://lucemurphyfong.comLast week I conducted an online, virtual roundtable of 8 party plan companies, inviting them to share their thoughts, experiences, and learnings about the concept of virtual parties. It was a fabulous discussion, and I think we all walked away with some ah-ha! moments that will help us as we work towards creating a duplicatable model for virtual parties.

I share some of the best practices we discussed in today’s post on my blog: http://www.jenfongspeaks.com/best-practices-for-online-virtual-parties/

Does your company do virtual parties? What have you learned? Would love to read your experiences in the comments below.

Jennifer Fong is a Managing Principal of Luce, Murphy, Fong and Associates. She helps party plan and network marketing companies throughout the direct selling industry embrace new technologies and adapt to the rapidly changing sales environment that we face today.

Alan Luce

Direct sellers across the globe are facing one of the most rapidly changing selling and recruiting environments in the last hundred years.  We see evidence of it everywhere.  Tried and true recruiting promotions no longer produce the expected results. Compensation plans and money prizes do not seem to drive the business as well as they used to.   Few, if any, have a handle on exactly what is going on.  The changes do not seem to flow from product innovations, new laws or regulations or political upheaval. Rather, the challenges facing the industry seem to flow out of a new set of expectations and preferences among potential customers of direct selling products and prospects for direct selling business opportunities.  I am talking about fundamental societal changes that are impacting the way direct sellers do business.

I am confident that neither I nor anyone else has a complete handle on the full scope and arc of these changes, but we have seen and experienced enough in the last 18 months to understand that direct sellers are not going to persuade Generation X and Y customers and prospects to do things the way we want them to do things. No, we direct sellers are going to have to change our practices to be more in line with their wants and expectations.

The most surprising aspect of these changes may be how quickly the attitudes we are seeing in the 20 to 40 year old customer and recruiting prospects in the US and Western Europe are becoming the norm for large segments of the population in nearly every market across the globe.   We can all agree that this outcome is probably a result of the global transparency fueled by the internet and social media communications.  What has caught most of us flat footed is how quickly these new generational “attitude norms” have spread.

Here is a short list of some of these new “attitude norms” that impact the direct selling business model:

1.         If your company does not have a transparent and positive image on the web and in the social media world of FaceBook,  Twitter and other social media venues, you will not be successful at selling products and recruiting sales people.

The company on-line image, message and reputation must be clearly established, supported and endorsed by customers, existing sales force members and independent third parties if you want to compete for customers and sales people.  Our 20 to 40 year olds check out everything on line before they commit to buy or join.  Top company executives need to check out their company’s on line information and image.  If you find it less than fully transparent, easily located, navigated and understood along with positive endorsements, so will your prospects.   You need to change that quickly.

2.         Today’s recruit prospects want the company to “show me some ways to be successful but don’t try to limit the way I do things.”  Any direct seller today has access to “sales training” and motivational materials readily available from a variety of direct selling industry experts on line.  No longer is the company their sole source of training and “how to” business advice.  This is why we see folks join network marketing companies and begin to hold parties, party planners recruiting wholesale buyers and every type of direct seller regardless of their company’s avowed method of doing business selling on line rather than face to face.

To cope with this “don’t restrict the way I sell” attitude company trainers, training programs, software systems, compensation programs and incentive models must be designed to support, reward and motivate a wide variety of selling methods.  Most existing technology support systems today are not able to provide such flexible support, making companies prisoners of their existing technology.

3.         Completely redesign the way you communicate with the public and your sales force and all of your training programs and materials.  For today’s customers and recruit prospects your company messages and training information needs to be:

- Compellingly visual.

-Succinct and to the point.

- Readily accessible at all times.

- Available in easily accessed archives for future review.

-Delivered via a variety of on-line mediums including proper use of social media forums.

If your communications and training strategy and materials are not aligned with these points your customers and potential recruits will simply not pay attention to you.

4.         Pay attention to how your newest sales folks are doing the business.  It is usually the case that our sale forces find ways to work new technologies and social changes into their businesses before their companies do.  In times of change it is very important that the company be open to input from new sellers as to how they want to do the business.  Companies most often look to the opinions and input from their top leaders when trying to figure out what is going on.  In my experience top sales leaders are among the most conservative folks in your organization and are frequently deeply opposed to needed changes.

It is critically important that the company create ways to access unfiltered input from their newest sales folks.  After all, our top leaders often represent yesterday’s best practices.  It is the new folks that will be your leaders of the future.   If you do not currently have effective ways of learning what your new folks are doing and what they want from the company you will need to create them.

None of these suggested actions will solve basic problems of the business. However,  all of them will help open up the process and enable the management team to begin to see what works and what doesn’t when it comes to meeting the desires and expectations of today’s customer and recruit prospects for whom the internet and social media are not tools but rather a way of life!

By the way; as you learn the answers let the rest of us know because we are searching for them too.

 

http://luceandassociates.com/02_About-Alan.php

Our experience with a wide variety of US and international clients in 2011 has proven conclusively that the convergence of direct selling sales methodologies is continuing at a rapid pace.   It is almost impossible today to find a “pure” MLM marketing program or a pure one-on-one or a pure party plan.  Almost all companies today find, sometimes to their surprise, that their enterprising sales people are using all of the traditional sales approaches depending on who they are talking to and in what setting.  Then to top it off, they are selling on line also, not just for re-orders on their replicated websites, but for first customer contacts resulting from Facebook, Twitter and Linked in associations.

There is no reason to believe that this trend will not continue and even strengthen in the coming year.  As usual the independent sales force is often out in front of their companies when it comes to employing technology in innovative ways and exploring their own way of doing things. Coping with these trends requires all companies to be ever more nimble when it comes to adapting to the realities of the marketplace. For 2012, change and adaptation move from the periodic and unusual to simply the normal way of doing business.  Be ready for it!

http://www.luceandassociates.com

image credit Creativity103

W. Alan Luce, President, Luce and Associates, LLC, Member DSA Hall of Fame

Few people in the direct sales industry can match the experience, expertise and successes of Alan Luce. With over 25 years in senior management, guiding start-ups and established companies alike, Alan has met virtually every challenge a direct sales executive can face.  Learn more about how Alan can help your company at http://www.luceandassociates.com/Alan-Luce.html.

 

When working with field leaders, I’m often asked how to sponsor “good” people – ones who aspire to become leaders.  And on occasion, a leader tells me she only talks to people who “prequalify” as a solid prospective consultant. Ouch! I believe, without hesitation, that we can’t tell if someone will be wildly successful. We can have a hunch, for sure. But too many times I’ve worked with new consultants who just needed encouragement and someone who believed in them. What a rush to see them succeed! I would hate to eliminate them from the start. So I always respond by saying, “Sponsor everyone because you never know – you just never know.”

Recently I learned about an informal field test from Shelley Whitmarsh, VP of Sales for SimplyFun. When Shelley was in the field, she and a fellow team leader noticed that Shelley’s team grew proportionately faster so they set out to determine why. Was it personal sponsoring? No – they sponsored about the same number each year. Was it the amount of time they dedicated to building their business? No – that was also roughly the same. Yet when Shelley’s team tripled in size, her friends team doubled.

Here’s what they came up with. When Shelley presented the business opportunity – to everyone – she presented it as just that – a business opportunity. Her friend had a different approach. When she presented the business opportunity – to everyone – she positioned it as a part-time job. That “full-time vs. part-time” mentality worked it’s way through their organization. In Shelley’s team, more aspired to become team leaders, which led to overall team growth. Now, when asked if there is a secret ingredient to sponsoring future leaders, I’ll say, “Sponsor everyone and tell them about the advantages of building a substantial business from the start –because you never know – you just never know.”

.With over 25 years of direct sales experience, Lori develops training packages for start up companies and works with established companies to update sales training and methods.  Lori is an accomplished speaker and specializes in creating presentations tailored to meet each company’s specific needs.

Hmmm, I never thought this would be a high priority topic – or even a blog topic at all.  But a recent incident made it come front and center. I was working on a training project out of town, and realized that I needed a car. Since I was already at the office, the company arranged for a car to be picked up at a nearby hotel. How convenient.  My colleague and I headed over and found a very small rental counter tucked in a corner of the lobby.  The representative looked over the paperwork and said she just happened to have a 2-seat convertible sports car for only $19.00 a day more.  We didn’t mean to offend, but we chuckled at the thought of pulling up to the office in a bright red corvette, hair flying in the wind. “No thanks,” we said.  “The car that was ordered would be just fine.”

The representative asked how much luggage we had because our car would only accommodate a few pieces.  A larger one would only be $14.00 a day more. “No thanks”, we said. “The car our company ordered would be just fine.” “GPS?” she asked. “Only 13.00 a day more.”  We declined and asked if she would kindly give us car that was ordered. “Sure thing”, she said.  And I would imagine you want insurance, right”? Only $6.00 a day more.” We held firm and said we were a bit behind schedule. “Let’s just finish up then, she said.  But I highly recommend prepaying for gas.”

At this point, I was finding it hard not to laugh, so I started writing a talk in my head about the danger of excessive upselling. In the background, I heard that something would only cost $2.00 a day more. Then I found out just how far my friend could be pushed when she screamed “NO. JUST GIVE ME THE CAR!” The representative said she had the perfect one for us, but I think I detected a smirk.

Did you know that a top rental car agency still has at least one car with hand crank windows and manual door locks?   I sent a picture to my kids so they could see what it was like in the good old days. “Yes, she got her laugh, but I was ahead of the game because I walked away with the framework for a talk, inspiration for this blog and some wonderful nostalgic memories.  Yes, we do want our sales force to upsell. But let’s make sure they don’t go overboard!

Lori Moser

With over 25 years of direct sales experience, Lori develops training packages for start up companies and works with established companies to update sales training and methods. Lori is an accomplished speaker and  specializes in creating presentations tailored to meet each company’s specific needs.

Lots of direct sales companies have Twitter accounts today. The problem is, few companies seem to know what to do with them. Without a clear understanding of WHY the company has the account (besides, everyone else has one so we should too) companies are broadcasting a stream of ads, without anything to show for it.

If your company is trying to figure out the best way to use Twitter, the first thing you have to ask is “Who do we want to talk to?” And in order to answer that question, you need to understand how Twitter fits into your larger marketing plan, of which social media is a part. Are you trying to find new recruits? Increase brand recognition? Increase sales? Each of these marketing goals may have a different audience. So first figure out who you want to talk to, and then you can figure out if that audience is on Twitter.

If your goal is to reach a consumer audience, frequent tweets about the features and benefits of your product line is the wrong way to go. First, no one on Twitter likes a steady stream of ads, and they’ll simply ignore you. But also, a consumer audience is often easier to find on tools such as Facebook.

Does that mean you should abandon Twitter? No. But it does mean you need a different strategy.

Instead of engaging consumers directly on Twitter, you may be better off engaging the folks that INFLUENCE your consumers. This is often popular bloggers. They often do spend time on Twitter. However a steady stream of ads won’t work with them either. Instead, you need to talk to them. Find out what’s important to them. Retweet their content, and share content they’ll find valuable. You have to actually spend time on Twitter talking to people if you want it to work for you. Simply sending out a tweet a day with information about your product or opportunity won’t do a thing for you. It takes community management to be successful.

Twitter, along with other social networks, has particular types of users. Depending on your goals, you have to engage in a certain way. It takes a skilled community manager with the time to invest in building relationships for your brand, if you want your social networking engagement to bring measurable results for your brand.

Does your company use Twitter? How’s it working for you? Who are you trying to reach? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

Jennifer Fong helps direct sales companies leverage the power of social media marketing to increase sales and recruiting, and manage online brand perception.  She provides strategic social media consulting to companies, as well as conference speaking and training. To learn more about how Jennifer can help your company, visit http://luceandassociates.com/Jennifer-Fong.html.  You can also check out her direct sales and social media blog at http://www.jenfongspeaks.com, and her Facebook Page at http://facebook.com/jenfongspeaks.

In my last blog we explored the reasons for considering an outside a/v company vs. an in-house supplier.  Now it’s time to deal with the RFP (Request for Proposal) document itself.

 BEGIN WITH A BRIEF OVERVIEW

I like to begin with a very brief overview of the event, its “who, what, where & when.”  Be specific as to dates, location and attendance.  Here’s a typical overview:

  • Typical Home Parties, the direct sales division of Typical International, is having its 2011 “Believe It” National Convention at the Mammoth Hotel, in Mammoth, New Jersey, July 22-24, 2011. The event will be held in the Bodacious Ballroom, which has approximately 12,500 square feet of space.  The program will consist of equal parts promotional announcements, recognition and training for a largely female audience of approximately 500. Seating will be at rounds. 

I usually end the paragraph with a link to the room diagram of the space, which most hotels and convention centers are likely to have on their websites.  It’s also helpful to include a link to your own company’s website.  Other than that, you don’t need to go into detail about your company.

SCHEDULE

Next, I’m likely to include a brief schedule that shows what will be going on and when.  Don’t bother with a detailed presentation by presentation schedule.  Instead, offer a “glance-able” calendar-type schedule, something like this:

 

 

 

STATE YOUR NEEDS

Don’t try to get technical, just describe what you need equipment to do from your perspective. If you can be more specific, that’s great.  Definitely include basic dimensions, such as the approximate size of your stage and the number and size of your projection screens.  Here are some examples:

  • Lighting package & crew:
    • Stage will often be full of people for recognition, so we need enough general stage lighting to fully illuminate the stage. Most other presentations will simply be an MC speaking from the lectern. No spotlights needed, just general stage lighting.
    • Appropriate crew for install, show, and strike.  
  • Sound package & crew:
    • Sound system to fill room.  Music is a big part of our meeting, so we need speakers with good bass qualities.
    • One lectern microphone plus 2 wireless hand-helds or lavalieres. 
    • Onstage and backstage audio monitors.  
    • Audio mixing board with 6-8 inputs, including one dedicated to laptop for music playback.  We will supply laptop and operator.
    • Appropriate crew for install, show, and strike.  
  • Projection package & crew:
    • Two off-the-stage side screens, 10 ½ x 14’ or possibly 9 x 12. 
    • Projection equipment for Mac supported visuals (Keynote with embedded videos).   Client will provide laptops and operator
    • Appropriate crew for install, show, and strike.  
  • Staging:
    •  Hotel risers to create stage area approximately 40’ wide, 20’ deep, and 24” -32” high (depending on height of hotel risers). 
    • Pipe and drape to cover back of stage, and create wings and close in area between screens and upstage drape.
    • One lectern at stage right or stage left.  
    • Appropriate crew for install, show, and strike.  

Most important, tell them what total a/v your budget is, labor, gear, everything.  In short, what do you have to spend?  A/V companies are accustomed to working with all ranges of needs, but they have to have that dollar figure to give you an informed bid.  And often, they can be pretty flexible when it comes to gear, even if your budget falls short of what that gear might actually cost. 

INCLUDE PHOTOS & DIAGRAMS

If you have stage photos or room/stage diagrams from past events, include them.  Wide stage shots showing the entire stage and screen area are best.  These will go a long way in helping the a/v company understand how best to fill your needs.

YOUR CLOSING

Be sure to give the name and contact information for the person who should receive the bid.  And ask for a bid that spells out the details, otherwise you may get a bunch of lump sums like “Lighting Package- $3,500.”  I usually end my RFP’s with a paragraph like this one:

  • Please submit proposals by email (Word, Excel or PDF files only) by Monday, May 9, 2011 to (your email).  Questions may be directed to this email, or phone number ________. Also, please show us how you arrived at your pricing, i.e., daily rental times so many days, labor hourly rate times so many hours, etc.

Creating a good Request for Proposal is a big part of the convention production process.  It’s also your introduction to the people who will be partnering with you create a successful event.  Make sure the RPF you send makes it easy for a/v companies to understand and respond to your needs.

Writer/Events Producer Dick Wilson has worked on meetings as small as 50 and as large as 7,500.  He’s learned that dealing with an event’s audio/visual needs can be demanding regardless of the size of the audience.  Learn more about what Dick can do for you at http://luceandassociates.com/Dick-Wilson.html.

Do I have your attention? Sure hope so.  Because whether you are a sales representative in the field, a corporate sales leader or simply checking out the industry, this tip will serve you well.

While exciting new products, elaborate trip promotions and “raise the roof” conventions can increase performance; the best overall strategy to build sales and recruiting is to focus on finding and nurturing Prospective Team Leaders.

A Prospective Team Leader is one who is working to reach the first level of leadership as outlined in the company’s compensation plan. This typically involves a personal sales, sponsoring and team sales requirement. When these performance minimums are met, the Prospective receives a new title and substantial bonus increase.

Why are Prospective Leaders so important?  Because they need to sell more and recruit more in order to reach their goal. And when they succeed, their increased activity will be reflected in your company’s overall performance.  It’s a simple concept but one that can easily get by us.

Now, how do we find those prospective leaders?  Stay tuned…

Image Credit: pasukara76

With over 25 years of direct sales experience, Lori develops training packages for start up companies and works with established companies to update sales training and methods. Lori is an accomplished speaker and  specializes in creating presentations tailored to meet each company’s specific needs.