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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.

By Alan Luce

An article by me entitled Sales Force Trust in Company Key to Business Sustainability appears in the September issues of Direct Selling News. You can access the full article by going to Direct Selling News, click on the US and then scroll down the Sept 7, 2011 issue until you reach “Working Smart” on the lower right.

The essence of the article is this: The most important asset any direct selling company has is the trust and belief of the volunteer sales force that use and sell its products.  Great products, marketing programs, training materials, compensation plans and technology can all help build that trust, but they cannot replace it or overcome the lack of trust.

Company founders learn the importance of the trust and belief asset in the early days of the business.
They tend to work side by side with the first believer sales people selling the products and recruiting new sellers.  They depend everyday on the fact that their early sellers are only doing the business because they trust that the founder’s intention is to help them succeed and they believe in the quality and benefits
of the products.

Too often as the companies grow and successor management teams take over, the fundamental understanding that the business runs on sales force trust and belief is lost.  The business becomes a matter of statistics and performance metrics, cost control and market share.   The volunteer sales force becomes just another company asset like the warehouse building, the inventory and the IT systems.

When that fundamental understanding about the importance of the sales force trust is lost or simply fades through neglect, the company inevitably enters into a period of decline. Not just sometimes, every time!

The most important job of every CEO of a direct selling company is to recognize the importance of the sales force trust and belief in the Company and its actions and intentions and then make preserving and strengthening that trust and belief your first and foremost duty every day.

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.

Time is Running Out for Your 2012 Event!

No, that’s not a typo in the headline. If your company is like most, you just held your annual event in August or July.  The memories are still fresh, but won’t be for much longer.  Which means now is the time to actively collect the quotes, impressions and testimonials from your 2011 attendees that will help you sell next year’s event. Here’s how:

ASK– Reach out to attendees via whatever channels you can… email, Facebook, newsletters, conference calls and whatever else will effectively reach those who attended. Tell them the truth—you want to hear, in their own words, what they liked best about this year’s event.

HELP THEM RESPOND—Remind them of key announcements, guest speakers, training topics. Then ask them to write down what they liked and why.  How they’ve put what they learned to use since returning home.  And what kinds of positive results they’ve observed.

GO FOR SPECIFICS— Comments like “Best conference ever!” or “I had fun” are nice… and totally useless promotionally.  Ask for focused comments about specific topics or events.  Examples:

“After seeing Mary Smith train on recruiting, I had got a new attitude.  I also got 2 new recruits in my first month following conference.”

“I made at least 6 new friends at the first evening reception, and learned some great sales tips at the same time. You can’t do that on a webinar!”

“Hearing Leslie Stone’s testimonial moved me to tears.  I was not only moved, I was motivated to action.  I’ll promote out to Leader next month.”

Ask attendees to reply back via email by a specific date within the next couple of weeks. I suggest you also ask responders to include subject lines that will help you organize the responses, such as “2011 Conference Feedback-Training”.

Building attendance at conferences is likely to remain a challenge for many companies in 2012 and beyond.  The most powerful tools you have to accomplish that goal are positive and enthusiastic comments from this year’s attendees.  Get ‘em while they’re hot!

Writer/Events Producer Dick Wilson has been managing budget events, schedules and themes– plus all the other elements of direct sales conventions, for over 20 years. Learn more how Dick can help you at http://luceandassociates.com/02_About-Dick.php

 

How to Create an Event Schedule, Part 2

Today I’d like to continue our crash course in schedule creation by 1) suggesting some important general approaches, 2) exploring the anatomy of a good schedule, and finally 3) giving you step-by-step instructions on how to create a schedule with “self-correcting” times.

GENERAL APPROACHES- Probably the most important overall concept, for direct sellers at least, is to keep your audience’s time and money in mind. For your schedule that means:
1. Favoring weekend meetings over weekdays (minimizing days off from work & away from home).
2. Starting your event late in the day. This enables most attendees to travel to your meeting on the day it begins, thereby saving a hotel room night.
3. Ending your event early on its final day so most attendees can return home on that same day, also saving a hotel room night.

You also need to keep your own budget in mind by making sure your schedule doesn’t unnecessarily drive you into crew overtime. Beware of late nights, early mornings and long breaks that stretch your days later than they need to go. Sometimes overtime is unavoidable (especially on weekends), but often it’s the result of simply not paying attention. Early on, ask your audio/visual company how and when they start charging for overtime. Even if you can’t avoid the overtime entirely, at least you won’t encounter any expensive surprises when the bills come in.

A few more general ideas: 1) always include both page numbers and line numbers in your schedule 2) have one and only one “keeper of the schedule” All revisions are made by this person, and all updated schedule updates come from this person. 3) I said this in my first schedule blog, but it bears repeating- keep your schedule brief & simple. Don’t make it substitute as a work projects list, a script book, a shipping manifest or anything else.

ANATOMY OF A SCHEDULE- Use a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel or Apple’s Numbers to build your schedule. Your “keeper of the schedule” should be at least an intermediate user of the program. These are the row & column headings that work best for me:

Let’s quickly take a look at each element…

Line Numbers- Add your own; your spreadsheet’s row numbers will probably be too small to read. In Excel, you only need to type the first 3 line numbers, and then copy down to fill the remaining cells.
Start time- Specify AM or PM. Don’t bother with end times; they’re obvious.
Length- Don’t make readers do the math; include the duration of each presentation.
Script Numbers- The first number refers to the day, the second number refers to the order within that day. So the first script on the first day is #1-1. The second script on the first day is #1-2, and so on. These make it easy to refer to scripts, the titles of which can sometimes get long and clunky. Also, as you save scripts to your hard drive, they’ll automatically arrange themselves in show order.
Contact & Writer- The contact is the person who supplies the information to the writer who creates the script. These columns are useful in the weeks leading up to your event, but can go away once you’re on site.
MC- You might also want to include whoever else is onstage in this column.
Presentation- Keep script titles short & simple. When naming scripts, be aware of titles that could refer to more than one presentation. For instance, “First Afternoon Closing Remarks” is a better title than “Afternoon Closing Remarks” which could refer to any of your afternoon sessions.
Notes- Let this column be your catch-all column for all other pertinent information- awards, special considerations, etc.

CREATING A SCHEDULE WITH “SELF-CORRECTING” TIMES- This is why you use a spreadsheet rather than a word processing program. When you change one time on your schedule, all the other times change correspondingly. It would be too complicated to write out these instructions here, so I’ve created a 5 minute online screencast that shows you how to do it. Make sure your speakers are on, then click on this link, or paste it into your browser: http://www.screencast.com/t/eURUSege

Writer/Events Producer Dick Wilson has been managing budget events, schedules and themes– plus all the other elements of direct sales conventions– for over 20 years. Learn more how Dick can help you at http://luceandassociates.com/02_About-Dick.php