15
Apr 14

Direct Sales Boost Sales

One of the nice things about doing direct sales is the average sale-closing rate. According to an article in Inc.com the average closing rate of a product located inside a retail establishment is about 2%. For direct sale it’s close to 100%! The reason for this is the unique home party approach of the direct sales model.

Home parties bring great success for a couple of reasons. First, once someone decides to attend a party, they’ve committed to make a purchase. Second, parties allow for you, the consultant, to eliminate a high pressure sales situation and allows the party goers to personally experience your product so they know exactly what they’re getting when they leave your party.

Now in order to keep this positive experience going for your customers, combine throwing awesome home parties with an organizational Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool like Flourish. This will keep your customers organized, enable you to create invoices in a timely manner and show your customer that you care about your relationship with them.

Now if you’re already a customer with Flourish, spread the word to your fellow consultants, helping them boost their business and potentially yours as well. Here’s to a great springtime selling season. Cheers!


16
Jul 13

Write. Visualize. Do.

“A goal properly set is halfway reached.” – Zig Ziglar

This is a quote I came across the other day and after I read it, it really caused me to think about the goals I have set for myself, not only for my business but my life in general.  The more I thought about my goals, the more I wanted to dig into the interwebs and hear what others had to say about setting goals. That’s when I came upon this article in the Huffington Post.

It was a simple article, broken into three categories, but they made sense. They made me want to sit down and follow their instructions step by step. See, typically when I set goals I make them up in my head, get really excited about them for a week or so and then one by one they become a little less vivid until they have been completely disposed.

So, enough of my babbling, here’s a rundown of the article. Write. Visualize. Do. That’s it! Write down your goals, and not just in a simple list. Elaborate on them, push yourself to be specific, and enivision yourself getting there. Take time to re-read these goals frequently and visualize how you’re going to act upon them and get them done. Finally, Do. Gather all the confidence you can muster, and go out and surprise yourself. See what you can do once you’ve been intentional about setting goals, and surpass them.

Once you surpass your goals, it’s time to do it all again. The sky’s the limit.

If you want to read the article in it’s entirety, you can check it out here. Good luck to us all.


21
Nov 12

My Bootstrapping Story

Bootstrapping

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic today so I’ve decided to share a little information about the origins of Flourish.  Flourish was born out of another company that I co-founded almost 13 years go with my dad and brother.  It was called Pink Office.  In 2000 my wife and mother were both Mary Kay sales directors, my mother still is actually and my wife is now a Thirty-One Consultant.  Back then they were both very frustrated by the amount of time it took to keep track of their businesses.  My background is in information technology, so I quickly sought out a software package to assist them with their mutual struggle.  However we all quickly realized that the prevailing software of the time came with its own set of frustrations and pitfalls.

Continue reading →


28
Aug 12

They Gave Us A Bad Name!!!

By Teresa Petrowski

Pyramid, ponzi, schemes & scams whatever you want to call it, for some reason Direct Sales consultants have been associated with these awful terms! In reality, direct sales companies are nowhere near that! According to the beloved Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_scheme),

“A pyramid scheme is a non-sustainable business model that involves promising participants payment or services, primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, rather than supplying any real investment or sale of products or services to the public.” Continue reading →


13
Aug 12

Know Your Product

By Sandy Hurtado

Know your product – it’s a simple concept but a lot of people think they just need to know the items that they sell. Really knowing your product requires effort, time, and a thirst for knowledge about everything having to do with your product, including your competitor’s products. In my case, I decided to take on my new business by learning everything about denim and fashion. Continue reading →


25
Jun 12

Building A Direct Sales Business In Your Local Market

By Kim Thompson-Pinder

I would love to be able to share with you today that you could promote your business once and you will have customers and recruits flooding in for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. It is going to require time and consistent effort to be able to get your name out there, but once you do the results will be worth it.

After several years of promoting myself and my business, people will come up to me and say, “Are you the Avon Lady?” and I always respond with pride and offer them something, either the earning opportunity or a brochure of my products. It is not unusual for me to receive phone calls from new people because they got my name from one of my good customers. At least ¼ of my customers have come from referrals. That is a wonderful place to be, potential customers and recruits coming to you instead of you trying to find them. I have been asked many times how did I do it, so today I am going to share with you some of the ways and places that I go to prospect for customers and recruits. Continue reading →


22
May 12

Can Introverts Thrive in Network Marketing?

By Selwa Lukoskie

Direct sales, network marketing, MLM – whatever you want to call it – requires one key skill, no matter who you are: effective communication. You’ve got to be able to talk to people. That’s one thing that has always caused me to shy away from the network marketing industry. I’m an introvert. Being an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re shy. Though sometimes I get a little nervous at the thought of having to speak aloud in large group settings, I think shyness borders severe social anxiety much more than introversion. Introverts are introspective. We’d rather sit at home on a Friday night with a good book and a good beverage than go out and be around a lot of people. We don’t mind solitude; many times we prefer it, as it gives us more time to think, elevates our creative energies, and allows us to better develop a skill that’s absolutely crucial to effective communication: listening.

I recently fell in love with a quote published on Time.com, in an article called “Shhh! The Quiet Joys of the Introvert:”

“Introverts listen better, they assess risks more carefully, they can be wiser managers. It’s not for nothing that the Silicon Valley billionaires are so often the retiring types.”

I recently joined a health and wellness company in the network marketing industry that is helping thousands of people lose body fat and get healthy. When I first got started, it was more for the products than for the business. Because I’m an introvert, I didn’t think I’d be able to “sell” the products effectively. I don’t really like sales and I especially hate the thought of having to force any product on my friends and family in order to be successful – which leaves me one of two options: 1. Meet new people. In order to do that, you’ve got to be willing to go out and be among large crowds, or 2. Be really good at generating leads through Internet Marketing. I dreaded the first option, and I know that the second takes time, especially if you want people who will stick around for a while.

I’ve been with this company for several months, and in that time I’ve made a little bit of money. Not a fortune by any means, but a few hundred dollars. And I’ve got to say, it’s the easiest money I’ve ever made. Not only that; I absolutely love the products and believe in them 100%, and I’m beginning to generate residual income simply by sharing it with others through various means of communication, both online and off. I don’t have years of experience in network marketing, but based on what I’ve seen so far, the answer to the question, “can introverts thrive in direct sales or network marketing” is: YES. Absolutely. Here are 3 tips for introverts who are struggling with the idea of multi-level marketing as a means of generating income:

  1. Listen. Learn more about the people you come in contact with. Find out what their goals are, what they want in life. Take the focus off of yourself and put it on them. The secret to being successful and getting what you want is helping other people get what they want.
  2. Get to know your product. Use it. Learn everything you can about it. Get excited about it. Get really good at talking about it concisely and effectively. The more you believe in what you’re marketing, the less it will feel and appear as though you’re “selling” something. No one likes a used car salesman…
  3. Learn Internet Marketing. If you’re an introvert you’ll probably want to spend less time in large crowds. Channel that time toward building your business online. Learn how to create a website/blog. Learn about search engine optimization (SEO) and apply it to your website/blog. Build relationships via social media channels like Facebook, twitter and Linkedin. I’ve found Facebook to be extremely effective in building my own network marketing business. People market products on Facebook every day without even trying to, and your friends are more likely to trust you than a random stranger. Linkedin is also a great business tool that you can use to connect with others in the MLM industry. There are tons of resources out there on how to market your business online, and many of them are free – just do some research and you’ll find them.

About the author: Selwa Lukoskie is a singer/songwriter, a health and wellness consultant, and an introvert in the network marketing industry. Read more about her endeavors at www.selstalk.com, and feel free to connect via Facebook, twitter or Linkedin. Introvert or not, she’s wide open to meeting new people.   


14
May 12

How To Be A Successful Direct Sales Mom

By Heather McHugh

If you had told me two years ago that I would be in direct sales, I would have laughed you down the street.   But now I can’t imagine doing anything else.  How else could I have my own business with very little startup and set my own hours. How did I get here?  Like so many moms who leave the 9-5 workplace to raise their children, I had dreams of returning one day.  Then reality set in.  How was I ever going to return?  I left an industry (music) that basically doesn’t exist anymore.  My kids still need their “mommy” and I don’t want to miss any part of their lives.  Plus we have no extended family here to help.  It would literally take a village to raise my boys.  A J-O-B wasn’t for me. But I missed contributing to the family income and also having adult conversations that weren’t based on my children’s lives.  Some days I felt like screaming “Hello! Remember me?! I had a career before kids.” By the time my youngest son was in school full-time, I needed something more for myself and my family.

I was looking for something…but what?  A part-time job would limit how I wanted to raise my family.  No more field trip volunteering or spontaneous play dates.  No more just being there to wipe the tears after a fall. Plus a job would mean having to answer to a boss again.  I’ve had some real crazies as bosses so I wasn’t looking forward to that aspect.

Then I stumbled upon an ad to partner with the Proactiv doctors in their new skincare company which was now in direct sales.  Hmmm, that sounded interesting but what did that really mean?  A friend of mine sold a nutritional supplement and I knew Avon and Tupperware but that was all I knew about direct sales.

Thankfully, in this glorious age of technology, I was able to quickly research this company and business model before even speaking to the consultant over the phone. I found out that direct selling has been around for 150 years. That billions of dollars are made every year in the U.S. from it.  That major financial advisors like Warren Buffett, Jim Cramer and Suze Orman all say direct selling is the wave of the future. That this company I was researching, Rodan + Fields, had an excellent business record.  That the doctors were women who were committed to helping other women become successful business entrepreneurs.  Entrepreneurs?  I liked that so much better than being someone’s employee.

I found out that the beauty of direct selling is it is what you make of it.  If you treat it like a hobby, you’ll get paid like a hobby.  But…if you treat it like a business, the sky’s the limit. I don’t know of any other business where you can make an unlimited income.  I get paid what I put into my business.  Some months are good, some months are great!

A few months into direct sales, I looked around and saw a lot of my friends were also creating their own financial Plan B through direct sales.  And they weren’t all stay at home soccer moms.  Some are lawyers, realtors, teachers, and executives.  All looking for something more in this recession and a way to work it around their current lives.  One friend sells Discovery Toys to get a discount on her kids’ toys.  Another friend sells Stella and Dot jewelry so she can combine her love of accessories and get paid to share it.  One local mom told me she is now looking into direct sales after her husband lost his job and she had to get a second job waitressing.  She said not only is she exhausted from being on her feet all day but she is too tired to appreciate her kids on her days off. Direct selling will be her way to escape the second job.

But don’t get me wrong.  It’s not all sunshine and lollipops working from home. Finding the time with kids can be tricky and distractions come up constantly.  I soon realized that this is my business and I needed to act like the CEO. I set my weekly work hours every Sunday night.  And that schedule varies week to week.  This week I know so far I have a doctor’s appointment and am chaperoning a preschool field trip. I’ll accommodate the other “emergencies” when they come up.  Not to mention fitting in the “regular” stuff: grocery store, baseball practices for both boys, baseball games, Taekwondo practice, school pick ups, school committees, homework, laundry, exercise, dinner…I think you get the picture.  Life is busy for everyone.  This is still a business and consistency is a must to be successful.

According to the Wall Street Journal, direct selling might be the country’s answer to the shrinking job market.  With the growth of the internet, having a home-based business is now easy for everyone especially moms.  Gone are the days of going door-to-door and bothering your friends and family.  With this new social economy, we are all connected with the push of a button.  Have you heard of Facebook and Twitter?!   It’s now easier than ever to build our businesses across the world through these networking sites.  With my smartphone and computer, I have a virtual franchise and a mobile office ready to meet with clients at the park or Starbucks.

Next time a small mom business owner invites you to listen to her business presentation or sample her products, take the time to really listen because:

“When you buy from a small mom business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third vacation home. You are helping a little girl get dance lessons, a little boy get his team jersey, a mom put food on the table, a dad pay a mortgage or a student pay for college.  Our customers are our shareholders – and they are the ones we strive to make happy. Thank you for supporting small business.” – Unknown

These days this mom doesn’t need a J-O-B because I own a business. I answer to no one but myself.  I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone more times than I can count doing this business and it’s changed me for the better.

About the writer:  Heather McHugh is the mom to two fabulous boys, loving wife and, wait for it, Rodan + Fields Dermatologists business owner, https://hmchugh.myrandf.com. Most days Heather can be found running around doing errands and conducting business on her trusty iPhone. *This month I’m interviewing for two part-time positions on my team. Email me at hmchughrf@gmail.com to set up a interview to see if R+F is the right fit for you too.


08
May 12

Direct Selling: Testing The Methods Over Twenty Years

By Leigh Spittel

Direct Selling: I am certainly no stranger to the concept. In its
infancy, I began as an Avon Representative in the Summer of 1982, a
young woman, fresh out of high school and eager to make new customers
in my assigned sales territory, which just happened to be my
neighborhood. It was door to door cold calling at first, then visiting
in my customer’s homes: regularly for most, and occasionally for some,
on a two week campaign format. After two years, your customer’s needs
and preferences become very familiar and friendships form. You become
more than just a salesperson or neighbor, you become a trusted friend.

In the Summer of 1984, I moved on to direct sales with a different
product and a different sales environment.With over  half of my
Interior Design degree courses finished,  I became an Interior Design
Consultant in the Custom Design Studio at the immense Montgomery Ward
department store in downtown Baltimore, MD. As a consultant, I worked
both in the store studio, greeting interested customers, answering
questions and arranging appointments for future in home consultations.
Once in their home or office, I was sharing my newly formed knowledge
of custom made window treatments, bedspreads, upholstery and carpeting
as was applicable to their individual needs. Designing products to
solve individual needs while meeting  aesthetics became my new method
of direct selling, and personal trust was the bridge to success again.

In early January of 1985, I tried another form of direct selling, in
home party sales as a Beauty Consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics. I had
attended an in home party of a close friend, and with my sales
experience as an Avon Representative with similar products, I decided
to give it a try. In home beauty parties offer a unique direct selling
climate: a captive audience that is testing out the products before
purchasing them. The key to success here is to know the products so
that you can apply them to individual skin care needs, teach proper
and successful application techniques, and convey confidence in both
your knowledge and the customer’s ability to repeat the application
techniques satisfactorily on their own.

During this same time period, I began working part time at another
Interior Design firm in the Columbia Mall. This was a design store
most noted for their wallpaper trade, decorative accessories, custom
made floral arrangements and support Interior Design services. As
part-time sales personnel, I was limited to helping customers in the
store setting, or the full time design staff with their design
customers projects. After graduation in June 1985, I set my sights for
full time design opportunities.

The years of  Fall 1985 to Fall 1988 were filled with the experiences
of working full time in two design firms between Baltimore, MD and
Fort Wayne, IN. At both firms, I was the ” Girl Friday”, and handled
everything at each firm from the Interior Designer who visited homes
and businesses with Custom Design Products to Office Manager and
everything in between!. One firm had a public studio with store hours
and the other was a private studio. What remained the same was the
vast amount of  design  experience,knowledge and passion for my
profession. Trust in your consultant is the key to a successful
working relationship, friendships are forged, personal referrals and
“word of mouth” advertising becomes the model.earned. I even gave
advice to a recently widowed gentleman for tie and suit coordination
after his sofa upholstery was complete!

The twenty years since have been filled  with raising four children ,
managing a household, and being the family of a clergyman. Direct
sales and business skills were kept fresh with door to door sales of
Boy Scout popcorn and Girl Scout cookies with four children. Almost
two years ago, I became a Consultant for La Bella Baskets and began a
gift basket business of my own from home. I wanted to return to sales
and customer service while not sacrificing my family’s needs. While I
leaned on my direct selling experience from the past twenty with
offline sales and marketing , it has been the online marketing which
has produced the biggest learning curve for me in my entire life and
the most satisfying challenge ever! Learning new computer skills,
creating interesting social media marketing applications and writing
creatively to an online consumer base has intrigued, challenged and
sparked passion for a old form of direct selling with a new medium.
Still, no matter how different the format, the audience and the
technique, the enabler to success remains the same: Trust

 My name is Leigh Spittel, also known as La Bella Leigh on blogs and Twitter. I am an Interior Designer, Lutheran pastor’s wife and mother of four. I became an independent consultant for La Bella Baskets in July 2010 and own and operate my gift basket business from home. I enjoy reading, creative writing, spending time with my family, baking, dancing, taking long walks with my dog and playing board games. I enjoy the creative freedom to market my business and build a rapport among the popular social media sites with interesting photographic displays featuring  gifts from across my website. www.leighslovelygiftbaskets.com


25
Apr 12

MLM Hater turned Direct Sales Money-Maker

By Michaela Spaulding

So here I am, coming up on the 3 month anniversary of my enrollment into the Direct Sales company Thirty-One.  I (who have vowed for probably 20 years never to have anything to do with MLM, who instantly tuned out anyone who made mention of Direct Sales, who preached with religious fervor to anyone considering Direct Sales the message that getting a “real” job was the only way to make “real” money) am now that person who finds every excuse to tell complete strangers how excited I am about my Direct Sales company.

What caused the drastic turn-around? Looking back, it seems like one of those times where the sun, moon, stars, and all the planets aligned for one perfect moment.  At the time, what I saw was my impending lay-off from my high-stress government job, my desire to be a stay-at-home mom, and the friend who I had been buying Thirty-One products from for the past year doing very well with her business.  I told her that I wanted to sign up to get all of the products in the company’s enrollment kit at the discounted price (since I would be losing my job, after all).  I would sell enough to pay for my kit, but after that, I may just keep my products to myself and never bother selling again.  I kept my hopes that Thirty-One could be my ticket to being able to stay home a secret, just in case I wound up being the failure that I expected all Direct Sellers to eventually be.

My vehement opposition to all things “MLM” has caused me to work my business differently than the usually suggested ways.  Most companies teach new consultants to write out a list of their closest friends and relatives and to focus on marketing to and recruiting those people first.  To me, that has always been the biggest turn-off!  I hate having friends or family members trying to suck me into whatever company they’re with so that they can profit from my involvement! It makes me want to avoid those people like the plague.  I actually like my friends and (most) family members, so the idea of them wanting to avoid me motivates me to try something different.

Don’t get me wrong—all of my friends and family members know that I am selling (I wouldn’t want one of them to buy my product from someone else because they don’t know I sell it).  But I will never ASK them to buy anything, host a party, or sign up underneath me.  I do all of my ASKing to strangers.  Isn’t this so much harder? Not to me.  I’ll strike up conversations with strangers about unrelated topics and when I sense they are warming up to me, I’ll find a way to bring up my business.  The way I look at it, the worst thing that could happen is that they get offended that I am trying to market to them and they decide they don’t like me and wouldn’t want to be my friend.  Big deal! They weren’t my friend before I started to talking to them either, so what have I really lost? Not a thing.  But there is that small chance that they will be interested in my business and either buy from me, host for me, or join with me… in which case the gain is HUGE!

Whenever I have nothing to lose and a lot to gain, I’m going to dive right in.  Now, I’m not going to pretend every single person I solicit responds favorably and I’m not going to pretend that I gain a new customer every single day using my “Talk to Strangers” plan.  The percentage of people who take an interest is low (I’d estimate it to be around 10% for me), but I do get customers and I don’t annoy my friends and family.  Oh, and I’m able to stay at home…

What non-traditional ways have you grown your Direct Sales Business?

Michaela Spaulding is an Independent Thirty-One Consultant. You can check out here store here: http://www.mythirtyone.com/Spaulding31/