I started my food business in September of last year. What has been hard for me is that everyone loves the products. I just need to get them in the mood to buy. I mailed out flyers and have sent e-mails but I did not get a huge response. I want to advertise and keep in touch with my clients but I do not want to be spending all my money on that with little to no return. I have some clients that use the products everyday and have made it part of their grocery lists, and some that only use them on special occasions. I need to get more of the first clients….
The key to this is creating customer loyalty. We all strive for customer satisfaction, but do we create loyalty? We want our customers to come back to us again and again and remember us, our business and our names when they need a product or service. Remember, it is much easier to keep a customer rather than find new ones.
Here are some tips. These are based on a gourmet food business, but can be tailored for any direct sales business.
*Follow up with your customers 2 – 5 days after the initial sale. Ask them if they have any questions or need suggestions on how to use the products.
*Ask for an email address so you can put them in your email club. Email club members should get specials, discounts, recipes, and more. Tell them to expect this newsletter once a month around the 15th. Now make sure you do this! If they are expecting it, they will look for it.
*Follow up again via phone 30 – 45 days after the sale. By now they have used the product up or have fallen in love with it and will want more. A quick phone call saying “Hi, this is Louann with Megan’s Pantry. I wanted to see if you needed any more products. I’m offering a special today…with any $50 order you can get a free spinach dip (or something like this)
* Follow up via phone before major holidays. You’d be amazed at how many people want/need products before Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter etc
*Let your customers know where you will be. Are you doing a craft fair or an expo. Tell them this. Pick up the phone and let everyone know you will be at the XYZ expo on Saturday June 1st. Be sure to leave your phone number in case they have questions
*Create a buyers club. As a member, they can get free shipping with any order over $50 or for every $200 spent they’ll receive a full size product of their choice. Be creative. See what works in your area, but remember to keep it simple.
You’ll notice I recommend using the phone rather than mailings. You will have a much better success rate spending time on the phone rather than via mail. Think about all the things you get in the mail and TOSS. Or they end up in a pile of things to do later. A quick phone call develops a personal relationship that will take your business to the next level! Plus phone calls are practically free, where sending things in the mail gets pretty expensive very quickly.
Spend 5 hours a month (That’s only 1.25 hours a week) on the phone making these calls and you will see your customer loyalty SOAR.
photo credit: Grzegorz ?obi?ski
Did you recently join a Direct Sales company? Or have you been with a company for awhile and stalled?
The question I hear most from frustrated moms is — “How can I gain and keep momentum in Direct Sales?” or “How do I build my business?”
I ask them “Did you make your list of 100 people to contact?”
Here are the most common responses:
1. “No. Why should I do that?”
Because I’m telling you to! Ok, so that only works with my kids. The reason you need to make this list is because it is your starting point. Your list of 100 contacts is your warm list of people who already like you. These are people who will be open to helping you start and build your business.
2. “Isn’t 100 an awfully big number?”
Sales is all about statistics. If you reach out to 3 people, you may make a sale. If you reach out to 10 people, you will likely make a few sales. If you reach out to 100 people, you’ll make a lot more sales than reaching out to 10!
3. “I don’t KNOW 100 people.”
Baloney! Everyone knows 100 people. Add the following people to your list right now.
Holiday Card list
Co-workers from all your old jobs
Co-workers from your husband’s jobs
People you know through Church
People through Scouts
Children’s friends parents
Message board friends
Your favorite waitress
The moms in Library Story time
The checkout clerk at your favorite grocery store
The other moms sitting at sporting events
Your old high school friends
Your old college friends
Parents of friends
Friends of parents
The wives of your husband’s college friends
Old fraternity or sorority friends
Friends at the Gym
People you work with in the community
People you volunteer with
Local shop owners
Friends on your sports teams or community leagues
Your dentist, doctor or nurse
If you’ve been doing sales for awhile, reconnect with everyone who ever expressed interest in your products and all past customer
Anyone who’s ever been a hostess for a party you attended
And anyone who you’ve bought something from or done business with over the years.
If you do fundraisers, add
4. “Yes, I emailed ALL of them and didn’t get any response.”
Well, the key word here is email. Most people will glance at an email and set it aside. You need to talk with them and — here’s the hard part — ASK them to do what you want them to do (host a party, purchase something or sign up on your team). Tell them why it benefits them, be warm, genuine and truthful. If your contact is not personally interested, ask them if they know anyone who would be interested. Always ask for referrals.
5. “Yes, and I called all of the people on the list but I still ran out of leads.”
When’s the last time you called your list? Part of customer service is to contact your list on a regular basis to see how you can help them and to let them know they are appreciated.
6. “I went through my list and I contact everyone regularly, but my business is stalled.”
I have three words for you Referrals, Referrals, Referrals! Unless you reach beyond your circle of friends and go into a new market of people, your business cannot grow. Therefore, referrals are a critical part of building your business. Don’t be shy! People like to help. Also, offer your contacts an incentive and they will send customers to you. Tell everyone you talk with that you appreciate referrals. Say “I give a gift of thanks for every referral” and make sure that those words are printed on every piece of paper that leaves your hands. Rewarding for referrals is part of customer service and should be done automatically. The gift can be something as simple as a small gift certificate, a sample-sized product, or something unrelated to your business like movie tickets. Your friends will keep you in mind when they run across someone who could be interested in your products and your business will benefit from it.
So, make your list, contact or reconnect with every person on your list, and make sure you ask every contact for a referral! Your business will grow.
You’ve just signed up for your new direct sales business opportunity. Now what? Here are 25 things that you can do right now – many of them even before your starter kit arrives – to get you started on the road to success.
[ ] 1. Call your sponsor
[ ] 2. Find your way around your company “back office”
[ ] 3. Download ad slicks and other promotional materials
[ ] 4. Personalize those materials and print off 100 of them
[ ] 5. Start talking to people right away about your business and giving out the flyers
[ ] 6. Contact your local park district about doing a class for their next season in your area of expertise.
[ ] 7. Visit your bank and set up a separate checking account for your business.
[ ] 8. Get a separate credit card account for your business.
[ ] 9. Get a separate phone number or toll free number with voice mail for your business.
[ ] 10. Purchase a specific domain name to forward to your company sponsored site
[ ] 11. Start a blog that relates to your area of expertise
[ ] 12. Read your training manual cover to cover with a highlighter
[ ] 13. Write down questions with regard to your training manual and company back office and call your sponsor again to get your questions answered.
[ ] 14. Use your products for personal use and if appropriate, share samples with your closest friends and family.
[ ] 15. Set a goal to talk to at least 3-5 people every day in your first 30 days of business. Keep a checklist to hold you accountable.
[ ] 16. Put catalogs and flyers in your trunk or back of your car so you’ll always have them on hand to give when you’re talking about your business.
[ ] 17. Schedule an open house in your home to share your products and business with people you know.
[ ] 18. Put up a drawing box in local places that your target market frequents.
[ ] 19. Join your chamber of commerce or other local networking group
[ ] 20. Run an ad in your local paper
[ ] 21. Put the dates of any upcoming company sponsored events (convention, etc) on your calendar now.
[ ] 22. Call your sponsor again and ask her what you need to do to be able to get to convention and/or other company sponsored event
[ ] 23. Schedule at least 15 minutes a day every day to do something to promote your business.
[ ] 24. Set up a follow up system for customers, recruits and future team members.
[ ] 25. Set monthly goals for the next 6 months for your parties, sales and recruiting efforts based on your family schedule.
Obviously this list is not exhaustive but hopefully it will help you jump into your new direct sales business with both feet. Print it off, highlight a few things that you can do TODAY and watch your business start to grow right from the start.