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Tag: party sales

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.

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.

Largely out of necessity, most startup companies perform all functions of running their business, including picking and packing orders.  That’s a good thing, because this function can be one of the most time consuming and costly pieces of operating the business.  But it can quickly turn into a costly and time-consuming bottle neck during busy times, like the end of month, holidays, etc. 

It doesn’t have to be that way!  A little thought and planning can go a long way in streamlining your pick & pack process, and protecting your budget at the same time. Your goal should be to keep the process as simple as possible, so it requires minimal training and little knowledge about your company.  That way, when those busy times hit you can easily bring in temporary help, and keep your experienced and knowledgeable staff working at their regular jobs.  So here are a few thoughts in keep in mind:

 1- NUMBERS:  Everyone can understand a number, so arrange your products by numbers, not names, categories or other verbal descriptions.

 2-SHELVING: Put the product on shelves (preferably flow racks) that can be filled from behind. This allows picking to continue while the product is being filled.  It also helps to put the shelves in a half circle or horseshoe so the packing station is at the end AND the beginning of the picking line. That way there’s no wasted time going from one end of the line to the other.

 3-ACCESSORIES: Have a rolling cart or a conveyor rack to move the product through the picking line.  And put all materials necessary to pack an order together on one packing station.  Doing these things not only saves time & money, it avoids injuries. It’s also a good idea to create a separate weigh station (if not part of your packing station) to easily and quickly create labels and manifests.

 These few steps will result in quicker, more efficient picking and packing of products.  And that means less labor costs, inefficiencies and bottlenecks for you!

Chris Clark

Chris Clark worked her magic with our warehouse as well as our Consultant Care team. Chris had a hands-on approach and used her extensive experience to guide us towards what worked best for our particular business. Chris had great follow up, always checking back to be sure we were comfortable with any changes and to answer questions. I felt I had a true partner in the changes we made and that Chris was as excited about our success as we were. I would recommend her to anyone in the Direct Selling field! - Pat Difani, Private Quarters, Director of Sales Operations

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A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a lovely sales consultant: “Do you know what my biggest problem is? I have terrible party attendance.”  And before I had a chance to respond, she said, “I just have to get better at host coaching.”  And I agreed.  Host coaching is a very important skill to learn and master.  But it was too much of a pat answer.  There had to be more.  Let’s think about it.

What is the point of host coaching?  What are we trying to accomplish?  The goal is to:

  • Build rapport with the host
  • Demonstrate how dedicated you are to her party success
  • Help her establish a reachable party sales goal
  • Teach her who to invite, how to invite and when to invite
  • Make recommendations about refreshments
  • Discuss delivery details

Oh, and you also talk about outside orders – how to take them, how to calculate the totals, what the current promotions are, when to close her party and more.   And when you do it well, your host will have a fun, well-attended party.  The sales will be high, her rewards, plentiful.

But that seems to be a very large answer to a very specific problem.  How do you get people to the party?  I posed this question to several colleagues and here’s what we have come up with so far.

  1. Ask your host how she’s going to invite her friends – what will really entice them to come.  If you feel you have more to offer, ask if you can make a few suggestions.  My concern is that sometimes, in our effort to help, we barrage our host with do’s and don’ts.  So let’s give her a shot first, and then ask for permission to tell her more.
  2. Explain that you don’t have party invitations.  You just have reminders.  I love this one.  To me, it really demonstrates the importance of personally inviting – once you’ve explained that e-invites just aren’t effective.
  3. When inviting friends, tell them that chocolate will be served.  I think this is my favorite.  It would certainly get my attention.

And then there are the oldies but goodies:

  • Suggest that her friends “bring a friend”.
  • Offer a small gift for a specific number of guests who place an order.
  • Recommend that she tell each friend why she feels they will benefit by attending.
  • Suggest that she carry some reminders in her purse so she can invite people on the spot.

I love the idea of looking at, “How to Build Party Attendance”, as a topic unto itself. And wouldn’t it be great if we all put our heads together and came up with a hefty list of suggestions?  So do you want to play?  If so, leave a comment so we can all learn more!

Lori Moser built a personal sales organization of thousands, and now helps direct selling companies put the salesforce training in place they need to succeed.  Lori can help your organization by both creating and delivering training that brings results!  For more information, contact her at lori@luceandassociates.com.

image credit:NatalieMaynor

How to Ask for a Decision With Confidence

This is a mighty tall order for many who are new to sales. Actually, it is often a challenge for seasoned people.  But in virtually every sales situation, it is a necessary piece – the sale just won’t happen without it. Why?  Because before you can “close a sale”, you need to know if the person is interested in what you’re offering. You have to ask!

So it’s imperative that you help your sales force feel comfortable about asking for a decision. I’ve taken many a stab at this one throughout the years.  I’ve explained why this step is important. I’ve offered word choices to make it easier.  I’ve tried to minimize the natural fear of being pushy and of hearing the dreaded word, “no”. But then, I happened upon something that consistently brings it home. It speaks to everyone.  And it’s one simple sentence:  “I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask.” Let me show you in context.

Jane: “Mary, you really seemed to enjoy the party this evening.  How would you feel about hosting your own?”

Mary: “No, Jane. I really don’t want to do that”.

Jane: “That’s fine, Mary.  I just wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t ask.”

Now, there’s a chance that Jane could still turn this into a party, but that’s for another time.  Right now, let’s think about why this sentence works. It all goes back to those basic fears – your sales people don’t want to be pushy and they don’t like to hear “no”.  But this gives them an out – a legitimate reason to ask for a decision. They are just trying to do a good job.  Who could think negatively of that?  Who wouldn’t respect that?

So teach your sales force to ask.  Let them know it’s OK to ask.  Help them feel proud to ask. It will bring them that much closer to success.

image credit Horia Varlan

Lori Moser

Lori Moser built a personal sales organization of thousands, and now helps direct selling companies with the salesforce training they need to succeed.  Lori can help your organization by both creating and delivering training that brings results!  For more information, contact her at lori@luceandassociates.com


Does this sound familiar?

“I did the party, but only a couple people ordered.  The others just started  talking or left.”

Or “No one actually placed an order at the party, so I gave my host another week to collect some orders on her own.”

This can be tough on anyone, but especially discouraging for your new representatives.  Plus, hosts who become order takers will likely think twice before scheduling another party.

So what’s the fix?  It often boils down to setting expectations by telling your host (during host coaching) and the guests (at the party) just what’s going to happen – how the party will flow.

And it’s easy to do – not pushy or presumptuous. Here are some word choices that I’ve found to be quite effective at the party. After introductions, say, “Let me give you an idea of how our party works.  I’m going to just talk a minute or two about why our company is special,take about 15 minutes to show you a few examples from our product lines, and then welcome you to have fun shopping.  So let’s get started…”

After the product demo, you can reiterate by saying, “Well, that’s it!  I welcome you to look through the catalog and take a look at the display.  I’ll be right here to help you choose just what is right for you. “

This is generic, but you get the idea. While this might seem obvious to a seasoned sales person, it doesn’t come naturally to our new people.  But once they understand the rationale and have a few words to say, they’ll be more likely to bring in those orders!

image credit: jb_projects

Lori Moser built a personal sales organization of thousands, and now helps direct selling companies with the salesforce training they need to succeed.  Lori can help your organization by both creating and delivering training that brings results!  For more information, contact her at lori (at) luceandassociates (dot) com.

Ah, the fall selling season. Isn’t it wonderful?  We pretty much know that sales will increase as the holidays approach.  It’s a magical time – but it also takes preparation and training to help your sales force receive the full benefits of the gift-giving season.  One way is by doing some math.

Turn Sales into Income: Help your sales people understand in dollars and cents just how much they will earn by doing one more party, meeting one more customer, running one more event. Make it real for them.  Show them the numbers.

Calculate the Real Cut-Off Date. Have you announced the cut off date for guaranteed holiday delivery?  Great!  But your salesforce needs to keep a few things in mind:

  • Will the order be delivered to the host?  She won’t want to be running around delivering orders at the last minute.  So move up the date.
  • Are your products great to have before the holidays – for entertaining, preparing food or attending parties? Well then, move it up some more!

While it could seem like you have seven or eight weeks to bring in the sales, you might, in reality, only have four.  Basic stuff? Yes. But has that really sunk in with your sales people?  You can help them understand and create a sense of urgency by just doing the math.

Lori Moser

Lori Moser built a personal sales organization of thousands, and now helps direct selling companies put the salesforce training in place they need to succeed.  Lori can help your organization by both creating and delivering training that brings results!  For more information, contact her at lori (at) luceandassociates (dot) com.

photo credit: cogdogblog

We as an industry have always been big on barriers to entry.  If someone wants to order something, we want them to do it at a party.  We must preserve the rules of first contact.  Every order must go through a consultant!  And while the reasoning of avoiding even the hint of competition with the sales force makes a lot of sense, and we really would like people to go to parties, there are ways to credit things to consultants and encourage parties without throwing up barriers to entry that are driving away our business.

In this interconnected world we now live in, people expect things immediately.  I decide to join your company at midnight…I want to do so RIGHT NOW.  I don’t want to wait for that email form I submitted to reach someone in your office, and then for you to connect it with the right consultant, and then that person to call me. That could take days! I expect to be able to sign up RIGHT NOW and you can do your backoffice procedures later.  Same goes for ordering.  If I want to order something (especially if I’ve looked at your catalog via a mobile app) and you tell me after I’ve made my choices that now I have to pick up a phone or in some other way interrupt my flow to do something else…well, frankly, you’ve lost me again.

This generation expects immediacy.  If we stay tied to our barriers to entry, we’re going to very quickly find that we are becoming irrelevant and outdated.  I’m not saying we should take recruits or orders away from the sales force.  Goodness, no.  And we should encourage people who want to join or order to identify their consultant at every step in the process.  But if I don’t have someone I’m working with (or, dare I say it, don’t particularly WANT to deal with a particular person in your sales force), don’t make me jump through hoops to connect with you.  It’s completely the opposite to the way the world expects to do business today.

Barriers to entry must become a thing of the past if we hope as an industry to remain a relevant way to do business.  Young companies get this and build those systems from the beginning.  Older companies are finding it a much harder process to change the minds of both our internal and external stakeholders on this issue.  But it must be done.  If we allow outdated ways of doing business, and fear, to guide our decision making, very soon we’re not going to have a business that appeals to a new generation of buyers and recruits.  To build a sustainable, long-term business, we must adapt, and barriers to entry have to be eliminated.

What are your thoughts on this?  What are the challenges to eliminating barriers?  Have you had experiences in attempting their removal?  Would love to read your thoughts in the comments.

Jennifer Fong

Jennifer Fong helps direct sales companies leverage the power of social media marketing to increase sales and recruiting, and manage online brand perception.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.

image credit: Mark Hillary

Most people are still worried about the economy, hunkered in, saving more than they have in years….. just not spending.  Even though most economists and business leaders think the worst has passed, that growth will start again in the 4th quarter, if it has not already, many consumers remain in the “bunker” mentality they have been in for the past year or more.  And that folks is the perfect time for you to really step up your direct selling business!!!!.

Sound crazy?  Believe me it’s not.  I have been a direct seller through the last three recessions, 4 including this blockbuster and I know the signs and what works for us.   We are entering the “jobless recovery” phase which means that the folks with jobs (9 out of 10) will soon begin to feel better about things because the pundits are saying that the worst is over, the stock market is doing better and housing prices are stabilizing.  However, the unemployment rate will continue at or near 10% for months to come perhaps well into the second half of next year.

But those 9 out of 10 with jobs haven’t been spending for a year or so.  When they feel better they will start spending again.  For direct sellers this means hosts will be more willing to book, more guests will be willing to come to a party and spend more than they have and more folks will be open to a one-on-one sales pitch.  But what about those 10% without jobs or who can only get part time work.  Well with the job market still slow, more and more of them are willing to think about starting their own businesses, perhaps as part of your team.  Have you asked?

Right now… right as the economic tide is starting to turn, is exactly the right time for direct sellers to dig in and do their thing: showing – selling and sharing the opportunity.  Get folks just as they want to come up and out of their bunkers and spend again.  Grab folks who can’t find a JOB and give them an opportunity to make $100 a night as many good party planners do.  Some of your colleagues are already hard at it and experiencing great results. Don’t get left behind.

Now is the time!  WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

Alan Luce

Alan Luce

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.