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Sarah Baker Andrus, Jim Northrop Inducted into DSEF Circle of Honor

Sarah Baker Andrus, Jim Northrop Inducted into DSEF Circle of Honor

Every year, DSEF counts on contributions from those in the direct selling community to fund its many programs that benefit consumers and DSA member companies. Those initiatives would not be possible without the leadership and involvement of those who volunteer their time and efforts.

DSEF annually honors those who go above and beyond the call of duty in helping the Foundation continue its mission by awarding the prestigious Circle of Honor Award, one of the highest individual recognitions in the direct selling industry.

The Circle of Honor Award was created in 1988 to recognize those who have made extraordinary contributions to the Foundation through their personal efforts, involvement and commitment to the mission and purpose of DSEF. Past winners include such direct selling giants as Mary Kay Ash, J. Stanley Frederick, Doris Christopher and Neil Offen.

This year, the DSEF Board of Directors’ Executive Committee selected two individuals who have continually made significant contributions to the Foundation: Sarah Baker Andrus and Jim Northrop.

“For over a decade both Sarah and Jim have been tireless volunteers, always among the first to offer their expertise, their experience and their wisdom despite the many demands of their own schedules,” says Charlie Orr, DSEF Executive Director.

Sarah Baker Andrus

Sarah Baker Andrus has assisted DSEF as a volunteer for more than a decade, serving on committees, chairing special projects, leading research efforts and speaking on behalf of the Foundation. She currently serves on the DSEF Board of Directors as Vice Chair, and is leading the effort to create the industry’s landmark Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program for community colleges.

“Sarah always serves with such professionalism, grace, energy and poise,” says Orr. “She is passionate about the industry. She is an advocate for what the direct selling business model can do to change lives, especially the lives of young people—the direct sellers of tomorrow.”

The Circle of Honor Award came as a complete surprise to her. “I was absolutely floored,” she says. “I was stunned and amazed, and so honored that it was presented by my friend John Fleming [Publisher of Direct Selling News]. To be in such great company as direct selling luminaries was really remarkable and just stunning to me.”

Baker Andrus says her association with DSEF has given her the chance to grow professionally and give back to an industry from which she has received so much. “In my work with CUTCO/Vector and DSEF, I have seen how sales experience can be transformative and can lead to both personal and professional growth. So I am really honored to serve DSEF in a way that can bring the direct sales opportunity to people who can benefit from it.”

Baker Andrus currently serves as Director of External Relations and Academic Programs at CUTCO/Vector Marketing, where she directs Vector Marketing’s public relations efforts for the field organization and oversees the company’s philanthropic relationships with academia. She also serves as a corporate spokesperson to the media. Previously she served as Vector’s Director of Campus Relations, where she broadened the company’s ability to strengthen campus connections and enhance its recruitment efforts.

“We are so proud of Sarah,” says Jim Stitt, President and CEO of CUTCO. “She is very committed to our business and she has demonstrated that passion in the work she has done with DSEF. She is very deserving of this most prestigious recognition.”

Jim Northrop

Jim Northrop, President and CEO of Winfield Consulting, also has a long list of DSEF contributions and accomplishments.

Northrop is Past Chair of the DSEF Academic Committee, has presented at DSEF’s Direct Selling Days on Campus and has worked with professors at DSEF seminars. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for both the Direct Selling Association and DSEF. Northrop will also serve on the DSEF Executive Committee for the 2012-2013 term.

“Jim’s active participation as a DSEF Board member, his engaging thought leadership with his colleagues and his personal financial contribution to support the Foundation’s initiatives represent a perfect model for all DSA executives to emulate,” says Tom Kelly, President and CEO of Silpada and outgoing DSEF Chair.

Northrop now leads Winfield Consulting, which provides consulting services to the direct selling industry. He served as President and CEO of Immunotec, Inc. as well as President and CEO of Readers Digest Inc.’s Quality School Plan Division. He was Chairman and CEO of Princess House from 1994 to 2006.

Like Baker Andrus, Northrop was surprised by the Circle of Honor Award. “I was completely taken aback,” says Northrop. “Frankly, I never expected that I would be a Circle of Honor recipient. I have been fortunate to be in the direct selling industry for nearly the last 20 years, and have had the honor and responsibility of leading some very good companies, and it has been a lot of fun as well as very gratifying and rewarding.”

His long-standing association with DSEF has been gratifying as well.

“I find the Foundation is actually the point of the spear for the direct selling industry in terms of creating a positive sense of direct selling and the value that it adds both economically and socially to the U.S. and nations worldwide,” he says. “The goal of the Foundation in compiling and providing information regarding direct selling and forming alliances with very strong and positive partners has enabled it to be sort of a spokesperson that has been effective in conveying very positive information. Add to that the educational initiatives of the Foundation that have recently focused on developing a curriculum for practitioners of direct selling, which is just beginning to get off the ground but has been positively received. I feel very gratified to have been involved with the Foundation as it has developed its initiatives and its role as a thought leader and spokesperson for all the good that direct selling does.”

“Currently, Jim is leading DSEF’s strategic planning efforts as we approach our 40th anniversary,” says Orr. “There is no one better equipped to guide this process than Jim Northrop.”

Worthy Honorees

The Circle of Honor Awards were presented to Baker Andrus and Northrop during the DSA Annual Meeting held in Grapevine, Texas, on June 4.

Orr, who has worked with both over the years, could not be happier with the recognition both have received for their contributions to DSEF.

“Sarah and Jim are two very worthy honorees in sustaining DSEF’s efforts to create a market climate of trust for the industry’s ethical entrepreneurship,” says Orr.

 

Kirby Executive Finds Ironman to be True Softie

Kirby Executive Finds Ironman to be True Softie

Sometimes perseverance alone wins the race. And sometimes it walks hand in hand with a little bit of luck. Steve Baden discovered that at the Entrepreneurs in Action Walkathon held June 3-5 during the DSA Annual Meeting in Grapevine, Texas.

Baden, Vice President of Business Compliance for the Kirby Company, was one of nearly 100 direct selling executives to join the Direct Selling Education Foundation in support of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), which helps at-risk youth find their pathways to a brighter future.

Baden signed up for the event with one goal in mind: to walk as much as possible in order to raise money for NFTE’s initiatives. However, as he was leaving for his trip, he realized prizes were to be awarded in three categories, including Most Miles Walked. Baden was suddenly further incentivized.

“I looked at the Grand Prize and it was two nights in Las Vegas with spa privileges at a luxury hotel. And I thought, ‘Wow!’ My wife [Stephanie] and I are celebrating our 30th anniversary this year. We were planning to go to Phoenix for a wedding and some business. So we thought we’d make a whole anniversary celebration out of it—go to Sedona and the Grand Canyon and then on to Las Vegas, where she had never been,” he says.

So Baden was determined to win the Grand Prize—a two-night stay at the Aria. At the end of Day 1, he turned his numbers in and found he was well ahead of the other walkers. At the end of Day 2, he was even further ahead.

“I am waking up at five in the morning,” says Baden. “I must have walked the [Gaylord Texan] property at least eight times.”

On the last day Baden turned in his numbers: more than 42,000 steps. “I am well ahead; it’s in the bag,” he says.

But, alas, it was not. Another walker, Elad Daniel, CEO of DSA Supplier Member company WoodenArk, had overtaken him.

“I come back after the deadline and I see Elad on the leader board,” laughs Baden. “He has 19,000 steps on Day 2, and on Day 3 he has 37,000. He blew me away by 15,000 steps!”

Come to find out, Daniel participates in Ironman contests and was in training to run a marathon. He ran half a marathon the day before and close to a full marathon that morning. In total, he logged 57,249 steps during the three-day event.

“My wife was just howling,” says Baden. “I’d run into an Ironman.”

But Baden is one to never say die. He decided to approach Daniel to see if he would be willing to swap his prize for the two-night stay at the Peabody in Orlando that he had won for taking First Place.

“I finally catch him in his room,” Baden says. “I introduce myself and he just starts cracking up. He felt bad that he had beaten me, especially since he was just doing it for fun.”

During their conversation, Baden told DanieI he was taking his wife to Las Vegas to celebrate their anniversary. “Stop! It’s yours,” Daniel told him. “I am Israeli. I live in Tel Aviv and I would never use it.”

“I was just blown away,” Baden says. “He could not have been more gracious. He was such a gentleman. We had a good laugh about the whole thing, and now we are going to see about business prospects. So I made a good friend.”

And a memorable anniversary trip as well.

Baden and Daniel were not the only participants who demonstrated a competitive streak during the Walkathon. Joseph Di Ciacco, Vice President of Carico International, Inc., racked up enough steps to take second place, receiving an all-expenses-paid, one-night stay for two at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, with golf.

NFTE Students Embody Spirit of Entrepreneurship at DSEF Walkathon

NFTE Students Embody Spirit of Entrepreneurship at DSEF Walkathon

Students from the Dallas Chapter of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) embodied the real possibility and spirit of entrepreneurship and opportunity that each and every individual has the right to pursue, according to Connie Tang, President and CEO of Princess House, Inc., one of the nearly 100 direct selling executives who joined DSEF staff and members of NFTE for the Entrepreneurs in Action Walkathon.

The three-day event, hosted by DSEF, was held this month in Grapevine, Texas, during the DSA Annual Meeting. DSEF chose NFTE to be the recipient of its annual charitable effort for the work it does in helping at-risk students stay in school. NFTE, which was founded in New York in 1987, currently has 11 affiliate offices throughout the United States that provide programs that inspire young people from low-income communities to graduate from high school and to learn the necessary skills for creating their own business plans—in essence, helping to shape them into the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

During the Annual Meeting, DSA members had the opportunity to support NFTE’s goal of helping youth find their pathways to a brighter future through the walkathon, and meet some of the students who participate in the organization’s programs.

“Participating in the DSEF Walkathon was a wonderful experience that provided a firsthand connection to the children who benefit from the NFTE Program,” says Tang. “The program is proof positive that environmental circumstances and situations are not the be all and end all to a child’s future. Access and exposure to mentors, genuine care and quality curriculum in a challenging yet nutritive environment can foster the most amazing innovation in our future leaders. We saw it there in Dallas—from a shoe product, balloon-encased creations and eco-friendly lawn care to Spanish-language development for teachers to support ESL students.”

Karen Ezell, Program Director for NFTE, says the walkathon was a complete success for NFTE and her students. “The kids absolutely loved it,” she says. “They thought it was so inspiring to see so many successful entrepreneurs. They were so motivated by what people can accomplish when they put their minds to it.”

What was particularly inspiring to Ezell was to see the interaction between the NFTE students and DSA members. “It was a great event to teach young people how to talk confidently with an older generation, and to make that connection through business and business ideas. It was nice to see a group of young people confident enough to be able to do that. I think it is a testament to NFTE’s program and its teachers that they have trained young people to feel confident and secure.”

It is also a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of DSA member executives, who Ezell sees as mentors and coaches who can help inspire young people to be successful entrepreneurs. “That is what is so great about the direct selling industry and DSEF—the opportunity to have such a wealth of knowledge at young people’s disposal. These young people we are teaching and training to be entrepreneurs could be the next people running the Mary Kays, the Avons, the Pampered Chefs. I think there is a great synergy between the two.”

DSA members were appreciative of the event as well, particularly for the opportunity to meet the NFTE kids. “It was wonderful to participate in the DSEF Walkathon supporting young entrepreneurs,” says Cari Christopher, President of Signature HomeStyles, one of the sponsors of the event. “Seeing these young students take action and create a business of their own was inspiring!”

NFTE’s Youth Entrepreneur Challenge

NFTE helps students develop the skills necessary to become tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. As part of its curriculum, NFTE holds the National Youth Entrepreneur Challenge annually in which students are encouraged to develop business plans and create 30-second sales pitches to promote their businesses. Regional winners attend the nationwide business competition held in the fall.

The direct selling industry was well represented at the Dallas Youth Biz-Plan Challenge, held June 1. DSEF Executive Director Charlie Orr served as a judge along with Kate Gardner, Chair of the DSEF Community Partner Program and SUCCESS Foundation Executive Director; Allison Levy, General Counsel for AdvoCare International; and Kerry Tassopoulos, Vice President, Government Relations & Compliance for Mary Kay Inc. The judges had the difficult task of selecting the two regional winners who will go on to compete nationally this fall.

“Judging children on their fledgling entrepreneurial endeavors is a combination of daunting and gratifying,” says Gardner. “These kids were intimidating. They were brimming with confidence, which speaks volumes to the work NFTE has done with them.”

At Sunday’s brunch, 14-year old Guadalupe Gamino, the first place winner in the Dallas round of the Challenge, presented her plan for a business called Tranzparent Heel Holderz, which helps women who struggle with keeping dress shoes on while walking by providing clear bands to keep the heels in place.

Guadalupe will travel to New York City in October with second place winner Oliver Gomez to compete for up to $10,000 in the nationwide competition. Oliver, who is also 14, created a business called Why Can’t We Talk, which is aimed at teaching Spanish to teachers and other community leaders to more effectively communicate with parents.

“So many people came up to me and congratulated me,” says Gomez. “It made me feel good about myself. They asked me questions about my business, and they told me that to be a successful entrepreneur you have to take risks and go for your main goal—not let people bring you down and just keep doing what you’re doing.”

Entrepreneurs in Action Makes Headlines

Coverage of DSEF’s Walkathon appeared in the Dallas Morning News, on NBC’s Dallas affiliate station NBC5 and on Univision.

Executive Spotlight: David and Bianca Lisonbee, 4Life Research

David and Bianca Lisonbee
Executive Spotlight: David and Bianca Lisonbee, 4Life Research

From the DSEF: We’re excited to continue our blog series featuring top executives in DSEF-supporter direct selling companies today! Every few weeks we’ll introduce you to another top executive, and they’ll share their thoughts on Direct Sales, Ethics, Social Good, and why they support the DSEF. 

Today we’re thrilled to continue this series with David Lisonbee, 4Life Research Founder & CEO, and Bianca Lisonbee, Co-Founder & Chairwoman of Foundation 4Life. 4Life Research has been a big supporter of the DSEF for many years, and we’re thrilled to have the Lisonbees share their thoughts with you today. Enjoy!

Executive Spotlight: David and Bianca Lisonbee, 4Life Research

David and Bianca Lisonbee

David and Bianca Lisonbee

What is the name of your company, and how did you become involved with this company?

We launched 4Life Research in 1998. Looking back, it’s more apparent to us now than ever that “Research” in our company name was no mistake. With a background in direct selling and health and wellness, we knew that in order to succeed, 4Life distributors would rely on our corporate commitment to scientific integrity. At the end of the day, product efficacy and differentiation play important roles in distributor success.

With this in mind, we have a Health Science Advisory Board comprised of doctors, researchers, academicians and scientists who inform our Research and Development Department led by 4Life Chief Scientific Officer Calvin McCausland, Ph.D.

Since 1998, 4Life has been granted nine worldwide patents (six from the USPTO) and more than 500 product registrations.

With a mature sales force, charismatic product line, global charitable organization (Foundation 4Life) and an opportunity that has produced significant growth every year since our inception, we feel we’re uniquely positioned as a global leader in the marketplace.

What do you love about your company?

Our distributors. Our employees. Our partnerships. The people. In fact, our corporate slogan is Together, Building People. Science is an integral part of our opportunity but it isn’t science for science’s sake. We commit ourselves to one-of-a-kind products in order to engage entrepreneurs with an opportunity to succeed. And in this industry, none of us go it alone. It’s a great honor to share and build successful lifestyles with people, and we’re blessed by the opportunity to build these lifelong partnerships with people here in our home state of Utah and in countries on the other side of the world. No matter where we go, we encounter people who dedicate themselves to our mission of improving lives in the areas of science, success, and service.

What makes your salesforce amazing?

Our network of global distributors spans 5 continents with corporate offices in 22 countries. As such, we enjoy a salesforce of great diversity. But wherever we go and whomever we build business with around the world, there seem to be numerous core values that we all share. Faith, for example. Our 4Life family encompasses great diversity. We break bread with people of all religious backgrounds. But no matter the religious backgrounds from which we each arrive, the distributors of 4Life tend to believe, not only in the importance of belief but also in the importance of respecting the beliefs of others. Then there’s the singularity of vision that we see in the actions of our leaders. 4Life distributors are committed to improving their own lives, as well the lives of others and because of this, they tend to be active and contributing members of their communities.

Ethics is an integral part of DSA membership. How do you ensure your company maintains the highest level of ethics?

We train and promote the importance of ethical leadership. This year, 4Life was recognized with the Code of Ethics in Action distinction at the DSA Annual Meeting in Grapevine, TX. The Direct Selling Association created this symbol of consumer protection to select companies who go above and beyond the standard of commitment to communicating the importance of our industry’s Code of Ethics. We’re honored by this acknowledgement because it recognizes our commitment to the highest level of ethics in all areas of business.

Social good is another essential element of direct sales. What kind of social good campaigns does your company participate in or run?

We launched Foundation 4Life® in 2006 to build people, families, and communities wherever 4Life® conducts business, with a particular focus on the children of the world.

Today, we conduct work in more than 20 countries. Our projects are driven by the field so we always have people on the ground in communities where we work. This is important because we’re more interested in developing philanthropic partnerships than we are in one-off donations.

One example of our Foundation’s strategic initiative: We’re in the process of identifying specific communities around the world with 200-300 children each to develop a 5-6 year relationship. During that time, we’ll implement a sustainability program in conjunction with Feed The Children to focus on four primary areas: food and nutrition, health and education, water and sanitation, and skills for income development.

Your company is a Direct Selling Education Foundation supporter. Why do you think DSEF is important?

Support of the Direct Selling Education Foundation isn’t merely important – it’s essential. The primary function of the Direct Selling Association is to lobby and defend our industry’s market position.

The DSEF focuses on building public trust and understanding through partnerships, education drives, media initiatives and that kind of high level brand campaigning so important to the general perception of what our businesses are all about.

The DSEF works for each of us to preserve and improve a market climate of trust, which helps direct sellers prosper and thrive. Perhaps we should end by pointing out that DSA Membership does not include support of the DSEF’s work. 4Life’s support of the DSEF is an important responsibility.

Thank you, David and Bianca Lisonbee, for sharing your inspiring story with us. We are grateful for the support of companies like 4Life Research, that help us to spread the message of ethics, entrepreneurship and integrity around the world. We appreciate you!

 

From the DSEF: Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: http://on.fb.me/KsIN6P Pass it on!

How to Make Real Self-Improvement

How to Make Real Self-Improvement

Many direct sellers and small business owners are committed to growing their businesses and taking steps to achieve their financial goals.  This often involves some degree of self-reflection; after all, every decision about the business falls solely on you.  By making some improvements on yourself, you will be able to reap the benefits in your business.

  1. Make a list of what you want to improve.  The act of writing your goals on down on paper (or typing them, most likely) is the first step in committing to change.  Put them in writing to help you identify what exactly you’d like to improve, and then prioritize them accordingly.  Chances are you have some things you’d like to change right away, and others that may require some more time to work on.  You are in charge of your list, so adjust it when necessary, but take the time to create it so you can get right to work.
  2. Decide why you want to improve.  Within your list of things to improve, write down why you listed it.  Doing so will help you decide its level of importance and how it will enhance your life.  For example, one of your items is to stop procrastinating.  You may decide that by tackling tasks and projects right away and well in advance of deadlines, you will be relieving unnecessary stress and anxiety as well as performing better overall because of the increased time allotted to complete these tasks.  Since these are some very important benefits of self-improvement, you may want to make this a top priority.
  3. Implement deadlines.  So you’ve made your list, prioritized the items, and identified the reasoning behind them.  Now you need to create deadlines by which to complete them.  Without deadlines, your list simply becomes another piece of paper or electronic file that gets pushed aside and forgotten about.  Giving yourself a deadline helps you envision your endgame and draw up your plan of action.  Don’t be too rigid, however, as you don’t want to set yourself up for failure.  Give yourself enough time to realistically achieve your goal, but not so much time that you forget where you are headed.
  4. Utilize your strengths to improve your weaknesses.  Everyone has a certain skill set; you know what you can do well and are confident in your abilities.  Use this to your advantage on your path to self-improvement.  For instance, one thing on your list to improve is your tendency to procrastinate.  If you are a detail-oriented person, that strength could help you stop procrastinating.  Decide that when a task or project presents itself, that you will map out an action plan complete with all the details needed to perform the job well.  Because you have now dealt with all the details, beginning work on the project right away will become much easier to do.  Knowing your strengths is just as important as identifying your weaknesses when making self-improvements.

People don’t generally like to be told what to do or how to do it.  Your commitment to self-improvement must come from within.  Find your inner motivation, do some real self-reflection, and take the steps above to improve yourself and your business.  What ideas do you have about making self-improvement?  Please share them with us in the comments section below!

Checklist to Improve Your Business Relationships

Checklist to Improve Your Business Relationships

Imagine this: you walk into a restaurant to have dinner and are greeted pleasantly by the host.  After promptly being seated, your server introduces him/herself and proceeds to provide you with attentive service.  In the middle of your meal, the manager or owner comes by to introduce him/herself and make sure you’ve gotten everything you’ve needed.  You leave the restaurant with a full stomach and ready to recommend the establishment to friends and family immediately.  This restaurant is no doubt successful because of the importance it places on business relationships, and the owners’ commitment to building those relationships shows in a positive way.  Read on for some ways to improve your own business relationships.

  • Offer more than they expect.  Going above and beyond your customers’ expectations will always make a good impression.  For example, a customer is unhappy with her recent photo framing order because the matte was not mounted on straight.  Not only did the owner re-do the job for free, but she put it first on her priority list and also offered the customer free shipping on her next order if she continued to patron the business.  For many successful business owners, a satisfied customer is not enough; doing something to make a customer say, “Wow!” is something to strive for.
  • Anticipate their needs.  The more attentive you are to your customers, the better able you will be to anticipate their needs and attend to them, possibly even before they do!  If you have a customer who always purchases the same product every month, consider offering her an automatic refill service where she can set up automatic payments and receive her item regularly without having to actually place the order each time.  Another idea would be to show her different uses for the product that she may be unaware of or to introduce her to products that would complement the one she likes.  Getting to know your customers will give you the insight to anticipate their wants and needs.
  • Be yourself.  Most people can easily detect when someone is being insincere.  You always want to smile and be polite, but don’t be afraid to show customers your personality.  If people are drawn to your sense of humor, incorporate that into your conversations.  Don’t worry about what you think customers want to hear or who they want you to be; just be yourself and let your business relationships be built on your genuine desire to provide excellent customer service.
  • Be honest.  If you are not honest, you are not reliable.  Customers want to do business with those who are dependable and ethical. If you mess up, admit to your mistake and do everything possible to make it right.  If you can’t deliver on something, don’t promise it.  If you practice dishonesty or deceit, the fallout can cause irreparable damage to your business and your reputation.  Always hold yourself to a high standard; business relationships require trust between both parties.

Improving your business relationships is not much different from improving your personal ones.  Think of others before yourself, be honest, be sincere, and listen to the other person.  What else do you think should be added to this list?  Please share your ideas below!

Greater Dallas Youth Entrepreneurs, Direct Selling Industry Executives “Go the Extra Mile” to Benefit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)

Greater Dallas Youth Entrepreneurs, Direct Selling Industry Executives “Go the Extra Mile” to Benefit Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)

(GRAPEVINE—June 3, 2012) In an effort to bring to life the Inspiring Entrepreneurs theme that marks the Direct Selling Association’s (DSA) 2012 Annual Meeting, the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) is today kicking off the Entrepreneurs in Action Walkathon to benefit the Greater Dallas Chapter of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE).

The walk promises to raise support and awareness for NFTE, which is dedicated to helping at-risk youth from throughout the greater Dallas region: 1.) stay in school; 2.) recognize business opportunities; 3.) plan for successful futures.  Coming on the heels of NFTE’s Youth Bizplan Challenge, held Friday, June 1, 2012 the walkathon kicks off the DSA’s three-day Annual Meeting and allows NFTE program participants to share their business ideas with DSA member executives, most of whom are entrepreneurs who have built careers working with the world’s top brands.

“NFTE works to give disadvantaged youth the belief that they can positively affect their own futures, and the direct selling professionals we have met through DSEF have amazing entrepreneurial success stories that inspire our kids,” says NFTE Greater Dallas Executive Director Laura Maczka.  “Because our kids learn that they have the potential to use businesses to change their life circumstances, we share so much in common with direct selling, which is driven by the spirit of entrepreneurism.”

At the beginning of the walk, participants will be issued pedometers to measure their activity not only during the official walk event, but also during the entire three-day period of the DSA annual meeting.  Prizes will be awarded in three categories: Most Miles Walked, Daily Challenges and Most Pledges Collected.  The grand prize is a 2-night stay at the Aria in Las Vegas with spa certificates for two.  The first place winner will receive a 2-night stay at the Peabody Orlando, and the second place winner will enjoy a 1-night stay at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs with golf for two.

“Young people need inspiration and mentoring to show how entrepreneurism can lead to brighter futures, and we in the direct selling industry are uniquely suited to helping kids crystallize this vision,” says DSEF Executive Direct Charlie Orr.  “Inspiring entrepreneurism is central to everything we do, and supporting efforts that give kids the necessary skills for creating their own business plans—in essence, helping to shape them into the entrepreneurs of tomorrow—is where we want to be.  DSEF is proud to support NFTE’s efforts to make entrepreneurism a catalyst for positive change in kids’ lives.”

The Entrepreneurs in Action marks the first walkathon for DSEF, which in the past has hosted a toy drive and organized a beach cleanup as part of its annual charitable efforts.  The event is sponsored by DSA member companies and suppliers Herbalife, ALHI, The Pampered Chef, Silpada Designs, Scentsy Family, VideoPlus, USANA, CUTCO, 4Life, The Hartford, John A. Parks Co., Inc., Team National, Mary Kay, Beachbody, Vantel Pearls, WineShop At Home, GNLD, Oxyfresh.com/21Ten and MaCher.

NFTE Background

Founded in New York in 1987, NFTE currently has 11 affiliate offices throughout the United States that provide programs that inspire young people from low-income communities to graduate from high school and to learn the necessary skills for creating their own business plans—in essence, helping to shape them into the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

About DSEF

The Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) was founded in 1973 to serve the public interest by advancing the direct selling industry’s support of consumer rights and protection, education about the industry, ethical leadership and individual economic empowerment. Through its partnerships with consumer advocates, educators and students, public policy officials, and members of the small business and entrepreneurship community, DSEF engages and educates the public on the ways direct selling empowers individuals, supports communities and strengthens economies worldwide.

Executive Spotlight: Angela Loehr Chrysler, Team National

Executive Spotlight: Angela Loehr Chrysler, Team National

From the DSEF: We’re excited to continue our blog series featuring top executives in DSEF-supporter direct selling companies today! Every few weeks we’ll introduce you to another top executive, and they’ll share their thoughts on Direct Sales, Ethics, Social Good, and why they support the DSEF. 

Today we’re thrilled to continue this series with Angela Loehr Chrysler, the President and CEO of Team National, a company that provides membership savings with a wide variety of products and services in over 20 different industries. Team National has been a big supporter of the DSEF for many years, and Angela Loehr Chrysler is a member of the DSEF board. We’re thrilled to have her share her thoughts with you today. Enjoy!

Executive Spotlight: Angela Loehr Chrysler, Team National

Angela Loehr Chrysler

What is the name of your company, and how did you become involved with this company? 

My company is Team National. My dad is the founder of the company. I started in 2000, helping him with some research.

What did you do before you got involved with your company? 

I was in Medical Sales and was briefly involved with a direct selling company…right industry, bad company. They are no longer in business due to improper activities. It was a great learning experience.

What do you love about your company?

I love the people and the opportunity for us to help them change their lives, along with the lives of others around them.

What makes your salesforce amazing?

Great attitudes, fun people, entrepreneur spirit and the desire to help others grow and live their dreams.

Ethics is an integral part of DSA membership. How do you ensure your company maintains the highest level of ethics?

Ethics and integrity are important to us, therefore it begins with us. We believe we need to lead by example.  We need to communicate and model ethical behavior.  One of our leaders often says, “Our actions must speak so loud people don’t need to hear what we are saying.”

Social good is another essential element of direct sales. What kind of social good campaigns does your company participate in or run?

We feel we need to share the blessings we have been given. We support local and national charities. We donate product and marketing tools to regional events to raise money for our Charities of Choice.  We encourage giving back amongst our staff.  We also get involved in local events such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County, where we collected toys for kids. We walk with our staff in the Broward Humane Society walk for animals.  We attend and sponsor a variety of charity events throughout the year.

Your company has been a Direct Selling Education Foundation supporter. Why do you think the DSEF is important?

DSEF helps us share the positive information about our industry.  There are so many good things DSA companies are part of that we are thrilled to help DSEF tell the good stories and educate others about DSA as a whole. We are passionate about DSA and the opportunities with so many great companies and products.  Therefore DSEF is a natural choice to help educate and communicate information about our industry that allows us the opportunity to help so many.

Thank you, Angela, for sharing your thoughts with us. We are grateful for the support of companies like Team National, that help us to spread the message of ethics, entrepreneurship and integrity around the world. We appreciate you!

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Profile of an Easy Sale

Profile of an Easy Sale

Making a sale is not always easy. However, understanding these main points may help you convert more sales and make the process easier.

  1. Identify the right product for the right client. You must define your target market and then make sure that your products/services are solving problems they have. Without this key element you will not make many sales.
  2. Develop and cultivate relationships. If you have some kind of relationship with a prospect it will make it easier to approach them with your products/services. Done correctly, the sales pitch comes across more like helping out a friend. Make sure you are authentic, honest and providing a solution to your friend’s problem. A relationship built on trust and value will generate reorders.
  3. Once you have a relationship with your prospect, find out what their likes and dislikes are. Understand what impresses the prospect. Do they focus on value, style, ease? Lead with that in your solution to their problem (sales pitch).
  4. Finally, make the sales process quick, simple and easy. Your ability to do this will project professionalism and cause the prospect to perceive greater value in your products and services. And the next time he/she needs products/services like yours, he/she will go to you first.

Take a look at your current approach to selling. Do you follow these main points? How well are you implementing them? If you understand and apply these main points in this order, and take the time to do it correctly, in the long run you will generate more sales, reorders and make sales easier.

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: http://on.fb.me/KsIN6P Pass it on!

6 Ideas to Increase Sales

6 Ideas to Increase Sales

Working as a direct seller requires you to wear many different hats: sales representative, party planner, marketing executive, administrative assistant, etc.  It can be easy to get sidetracked with all of these responsibilities, so it’s important to remember that the bottom line of your business comes down to sales.  Even if you have built a substantial downline, many direct sales companies require you to meet a minimum number in sales every month to earn your commission.

Here are some tips on how to increase sales.

  • Cross-selling is recommending related products that complement others that have already been purchased or are being purchased at the moment.  Your customer is likely unfamiliar with your entire line of products, so introducing something that might be of interest based on past purchases can increase the amount of that sale.  Using this technique repeatedly can quickly add up.  For example, if a customer is buying a baby lotion that is specifically designed for sensitive skin, direct him/her to your company’s line of products that are hypoallergenic and free of unnecessary chemicals.  Besides the lotion, the customer may wind up walking away with body wash, diaper cream, and sunscreen as well.  As an added bonus, you’ve also demonstrated your attention to the customer’s specific needs, which will make him or her want to buy from you again.
  • Best value quick sale is offering products/services that give customers the best value for their money and are ready for immediate delivery. Especially for new customers, this will establish that you’ll sell them products/services of high quality at a reasonable price, and give them instant gratification.
  • Business referral exchange program. By partnering or teaming up with other businesses or consultants in your area, you not only generate more brand exposure, but increase sales. Create relationships with other businesses that compliment your products/services where you recommend each other’s services/products and may consider offering special promotions for each other’s products/services to your customers.
  • Personalize appointments by offering to meet with people face to face and set up private appointment. It gives you a chance to be more social, develop a relationship and explain the advantages of your products/services related to the customer’s needs.
  • Create contests or promotions to market your products.  Whether your company has a featured product for the month or if you have some excess inventory you’d like to unload, contests are a fun and effective way to draw attention to certain products and make them stand out from the rest.  With spring almost over and summer close upon us, it might be a good idea to get a jumpstart on your summer-related products with a raffle.  For every dollar your customers spend on beachwear in the month of May, for example, they will receive one entry into a drawing for a family-sized beach tote filled with goodies for the kids to enjoy while playing in the sand this summer on vacation.  Specific promotions like these allow you to control what products are highlighted, draw focus to featured items, and give customers the opportunity to purchase something now that they may have held off on by offering them a fun incentive.
  • Reward your customers by implementing a referral program.  In direct sales, word-of-mouth goes a long way, especially when there is a lot of competition.  Make sure you have some way of learning how each new customer found you: you could ask them when making a transaction face-to-face, create a space for it on your order form, make it a question on a post-purchase web survey, etc.  Every time a customer refers you to someone who in turn becomes a customer, reward the original customer to show your appreciation.  Some consultants make their own rewards cards a la Subway, while others give away vouchers, coupons, or free gifts.  Whatever you decide, make sure you always follow through and that your customers, especially the new ones, know that such a rewards program exists.

Increasing sales requires planning, creativity, and knowledge of your company’s product line.  Focusing on your existing customers is a great place to start, and always make sure they know that you appreciate their patronage and that you will always do your best to make them satisfied and happy they chose you.

What other ideas do you have to increase sales?  Please share them in the comments section below!

Free e-book “Business Owner’s Road Map to Success.” It has over 50 pages of techniques for everything a small business owner needs to master, from business planning and ethical selling to a success mindset. It’s all there and it’s free for you. To get it, just “Like” our Facebook Page here: http://on.fb.me/KsIN6P Pass it on!