All posts by TheDSEF

Easy Ways to Build Great Habits

Easy Ways to Build Great Habits
Easy Ways to Build Great Habits

Easy Ways to Build Great Habits“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” This statement penned by author Jim Ryun speaks to how you can find long-term success in both your professional and personal life. It takes time to make something a habit, and it certainly is a difficult thing to do. In the spirit of making resolutions for the New Year, we give you a few suggestions to help you make a habit out of your desired behaviors.

  • Make time to do it. As obvious as this idea may seem, so many people neglect to take this important first step. For example, if you plan to make exercise a part of your daily routine, you need to set aside a specific time to do that. Look realistically at your schedule and lifestyle to set yourself up for success. Someone who has the most energy and motivation at the beginning of the day would do well to carve out the first 15-30 minutes of the morning for a workout. Establishing the time beforehand will encourage you to stick to your goal and encourage you to continue.
  • Connect habits you already have to new habits you’d like to adopt. If your exercise goal is to spend 20 minutes on the treadmill once a day, then incorporate that into something you already do every day. If you always sit down to watch the 5:00 news every night, then spend that time on the treadmill in front of the television instead of sitting on the couch. Or if you always check your email at a certain time, work your exercise into, before, or after it. You’ll have a better chance at sticking to your desired behavior this way.
  • Make it as convenient for yourself as possible. If you want to exercise first thing in the morning before work, set out your clothes and equipment, fill your water bottle, and cue up your music the night before so you can roll out of bed and get right to it. You’ll have less of an excuse to skip it if it’s easy and convenient to accomplish.
  • Keep a calendar to chart your progress and reward yourself for meeting milestones. In order to stay motivated, you need to set goals and keep track of your progress. Set some benchmarks ahead of time and record them on a calendar, either digitally or on paper. Every time you reach a milestone, reward yourself in a way that will encourage you to keep going. Make the reward enjoyable and guilt-free so that you continue working toward your next benchmark and reward.

When developing good habits, do everything you can to set yourself up for success. Plan ahead, be realistic about your lifestyle, and track your progress. What great habits would you like to build in 2015? Which of our suggestions will be the most helpful to you? Please share your ideas in our comments section!

Get Your Head in the Game and Succeed!

Get Your Head in the Game and Succeed!
Get Your Head in the Game and Succeed!

Get Your Head in the Game and Succeed!Have you ever heard the phrase, “Get your head in the game!”? It means that aside from being physically ready for a challenge, you must mentally prepare yourself as well. Mental strength is just as important a skill for success in your direct sales business. In today’s post, we offer some suggestions to help you strengthen your mind and equip yourself with the tools you need to face all that your business has to throw at you.

  • Set aside the things you have no control over. Dwelling on things over which you have no control will only bring you down and take precious time and energy away from doing the things you CAN control. Make a conscious choice to set aside what you can’t help, and move forward. Is your company retiring your favorite product that happens to be your personal best seller? Ok, you might take a slight hit at first, but you’ll find something else to put in the spotlight of your presentations. Spend your time finding that product and creating a new pitch around it. Bottom line: don’t sweat the small stuff.
  • Always act like you are in control. Sometimes, you just have to fake it ’til you make it. Even if you don’t know exactly what you are doing, always act like you do. Your confident demeanor will demonstrate professionalism, knowledge, and trust to your customers and colleagues. For example, let’s say you are in the middle of your presentation at a home party when some latecomers arrive. The hostess gets up to greet them, gets them a drink, and gives them a catalog. The newly arrived guests also say hello to the other guests and start some small talk as they haven’t seen each other in awhile. You try to regain the floor a few times with no success. Instead of acting flustered, as you probably feel inside, just pretend that this is part of the normal protocol and wait until everyone is situated. You won’t be able to control when guests arrive and how they act once they do, but you can control how you react to the situation. Always remain professional, and act calm and collected, even in a harrowing situation.
  • See your mistakes as lessons in life and business. Mistakes are inevitable; once you accept this fact, you will be able to take them in stride and recover quickly. Realize that mistakes are part of the journey, and use them as an opportunity to learn. Figure out where you went wrong, how to fix it, and what you can do to prevent the same mistake from happening again. This goes for your professional and personal life. You will be a much happier person with this attitude, and a more successful businessperson as well.
  • Celebrate the successes of others. No matter what you happen to be dealing with at the time, if your upline, downline, friends, or relatives are having success, be active in your role as someone who congratulates them. Don’t hesitate to give credit where it is due to a job well done, and you may even go so far as to learn from others’ successes when possible. Act as a supporter to those around you.
  • Don’t feel sorry for yourself. It’s okay and completely normal to feel down in the dumps when things aren’t going your way. However, don’t dwell on those negative feelings, as they tend to bog you down and keep you from achieving your goals. Acknowledge your own feelings, but move forward to what’s next. This will help you keep a steady momentum going in your business even when the unexpected happens. You will also strengthen your ability to bounce back from adversity.
  • Focus on improving with every step. Even when things are going better than you could have imagined, don’t lose focus or get over-confident. Always remember that there are ways to improve, and there is someone out there doing it better. With this mindset, the sky is the limit, and your mental readiness for a successful business will be within reach.

Just as a star athlete never stops conditioning his or her own body, you should never stop conditioning your mind. Mental strength can take you through the ups and downs of your direct sales business.

Which of your suggestions do you find the most helpful? Please share your comments below!

How to Build Your Business on the Cheap

How to Build Your Business on the Cheap

How to Build Your Business on the Cheap from the http://dsefnew.wpengine.comOne of the many advantages of a direct sales business is that for the most part, the initial investment is minimal, especially when compared to a traditional startup. Whether your startup cost is $100 or $1,000 though, it is important to keep costs down when you are just starting out or looking to grow your business. The good news is that it’s not necessary to spend a lot of money up front in order to build successfully. Here are some tips for building your direct sales business on the cheap.

  • Don’t pay for marketing. There has never been an easier time to market your business for free. Start with your social media presence. Most social networks allow you to create a page for your business. Take advantage of this option, and engage your contacts by regularly posting content that sparks an online dialogue. Check here for some effective ideas to get started on the most popular social networks. Aside from marketing online, however, you can easily market your business in more traditional ways. Always keep yourself looking professional when you’re out and about town, and arm yourself with business cards and some catalogs. Consider wearing a button advertising your business or if applicable, a noticeable product itself. People may ask you about your business, resulting in instant bookings or at least requests for follow-ups. Finally, don’t forget to post information about your business in community bulletin boards and similar places. Many businesses will also allow you to leave a catalog in their waiting rooms or reception areas as well.
  • Use the power of word of mouth. Get used to talking about your business in ways that are relevant to the conversation. Relay anecdotes, discuss how or why you got started, and what you’ve accomplished so far. Encourage other satisfied customers to do the same, as people take great stock in user reviews, both written and oral.
  • Before you spend money on something, ask yourself if the return is worth the expense. You’ll of course have to spend money on certain things, but make sure the return will be worth it. Although it may be tempting to buy a ton of promotional merchandise with your company’s logo and your contact information on it right away, it isn’t necessary to get a good start. Those types of purchases are best saved for when you’ve already started making a profit. Always think of your potential expenses as a possible risk. Think seriously about whether or not spending the money is worth the risk, and as your business grows, your needs and “risk factors” will change. Adjust accordingly.
  • Spend the least possible money to get your products/services to the market. When you do pay for getting your products to your market, do some research and comparison shopping to make sure you aren’t overpaying. For example, a friend has booked a home party for your direct sales jewelry business and is expecting a large amount of guests. If you are just starting out and don’t have a large inventory of samples, you might be worried that the guests won’t order as much as they would if they were able to try on the pieces. Instead of hurrying to order more from your company, ask your upline if you can borrow a few pieces for this one party since there will be so many people there. By getting creative and using resources available to you, it is possible to find ways to spend as little money as possible to get the results you want. 

Building your direct sales business on the cheap is an effective way to maximize your investment and set yourself up for long-term success. What other suggestions do you have for building your business in an affordable way? Please share your ideas below!

What Makes Your Business Better

What Makes Your Business Better
What Makes Your Business Better

What Makes Your Business BetterSetting long-term goals for your direct sales business is an effective way to keep you focused and motivated to give it your all. As you likely already know, you should always aim to grow your business and move it forward. In doing so, take a look at how you operate certain aspects that could use improvement. In today’s post, we offer you some suggestions on where to begin.

  • How your products/services provide a solution – This is the foundation on which your marketing and sales pitch should be based. Educate yourself thoroughly about what problem your potential customers have, how they may have tried to solve it in the past, and how your product or service is the best solution. Furthermore, use this information to find your target market. For example, a skin care company that specializes in organic products has a line just for babies. A consultant for this company would want to know that many parents want to use shampoos and lotions without added chemicals that have unknown effects on the baby. Also, these parents have tried other organic products but weren’t satisfied with their effectiveness, fragrance, or price. Equipped with this information, the consultant would emphasize the quality of her product, how well it works, and how affordable it is. The bottom line is that this product solves a problem that many parents have with products they use on their babies every day.
  • Using real testimonies – Consider the level of importance internet shoppers place on reviews. Websites like Yelp and Angie’s List thrive on the fact that real people who have truly used the products and services have given their honest and unsolicited opinions. The advantage you have as a direct seller is that in using these testimonies, you can also personally explain a little bit about the customer making them. At a home party for example, while demonstrating a product, you can easily give a short anecdote about a customer from a recent party about how she discovered the product and why she loved it so much. These types of testimonies are especially meaningful because they are true, first-hand accounts.
  • Telling people what you are best at. Recognizing your strengths and playing them up is important, but don’t be afraid to share them with others. If you have a strong ability to remember names and faces after only meeting people one time, it’s okay to tell people that and demonstrate it. In the example above about using real testimonies, that would be an appropriate time to lightheartedly add that you have this unique ability that many people find fascinating about you. In addition to telling people about what you do best, find ways to show it in your interactions with customers.
  • Putting it in writing – You don’t need to draw up a formal contract in order to make something official, but putting things in writing does place a level importance on it that a verbal promise doesn’t necessarily have. For example, adding the phrase “call or text me at (your cell phone number) on your business card, gives customers permission to send you text messages, which may be more convenient than a voice call. Because it is in writing, they will feel comfortable doing so, possibly without having even met you first. Mean what you say and mean what you write. The strength of your word is a valuable thing in business.

In what ways have you tried to make your business better? Will you be putting our suggestions to use? Please share your comments below!

Three Ways to Find New Customers Online

Three Ways to Find New Customers Online
Three Ways to Find New Customers Online

Three Ways to Find New Customers OnlineWith so much communication happening on social media and on the internet in general, it can be beneficial for you to take advantage of this resource. It is possible to find new customers online as long as you remember an important thing about direct sales: relationships. Even though you are venturing into cyberspace, building relationships is still a necessary part of running a successful direct selling business. Here are three ways for you to get started.

  1. Join and interact with a group online. Most of the most popular social media sites have groups to join for special interests. For example, a new direct sales consultant found a group on Facebook specifically for work-at-home moms in her town. After joining, she promptly began interacting by asking questions, commenting on others’ posts when she had ideas to contribute, and sending friend requests to those she has met in real life so they could see each others’ news feeds. Groups such as these contain like-minded individuals who can join forces, network with each other, make referrals, and provide support. Local groups are especially effective because you can meet others initially in an online setting, but follow through in real life so you can continue building the relationship. 
  1. Follow and interact with online leaders in your industry. If you don’t already know the names of your industry’s leaders, make it your priority to find out. Ask your upline, refer to your company’s corporate website, and search other direct selling websites. Choose a few who seem to contribute regularly to online discussions (blogs, articles, etc.) and follow them on social media. Twitter is a great forum for such discussions, since the microblogging site provides maximum exposure. Once you get a sense of how these industry leaders interact, get in on the action. Post questions, share success stories, and retweet (repost with credit) posts that are important to you. Keep in mind that most industry leaders have thousands of followers, so you may not get a specific mention or reply, but you are continuing to learn from the best and getting your name and brand out there. 
  1. Start a simple blog and/or be a guest blogger for established sites. Start your own blog using a free web publishing service like WordPress or Blogger. Be yourself, share your experiences, and invite others to interact. You’ll make connections and continue building relationships that can translate into new customers. If you really enjoy blogging, offer your services to established sites in your industry as a guest blogger. You’ll make a bit of extra money and increase your name recognition. 

The direct selling industry as a whole is continuing to evolve as we find new ways to use the internet to our advantage. Jump right in, use your existing people skills, and build those online relationships to find new customers. 

Do you have additional ideas about finding new customers online? Please share them in the comments sections below!

Three Quick Ways to Make Your Business Better

Three Quick Ways to Make Your Business Better
Three Quick Ways to Make Your Business Better

Three Quick Ways to Make Your Business BetterIf you want long-term success in your direct sales business, your main goal should be to continually find ways to improve it. A flourishing business is one that moves forward and grows, rather than remains stagnant. Figuring out what to fix and where to start can seem like an overwhelming task, but in today’s post, we give you three things you can do right now to get started. 

  1. Identify the processes that work and fix the ones that don’t. A process works if it is efficient and either directly or indirectly helps your bottom line. For example, you have developed a rather specific protocol to follow after you’ve finished up a home party that has allowed you to book new parties consistently. If you find that month after month, you have worked your goal number of parties, then you know you are doing something right. Don’t change what is working for you; focus your energy on weak spots. Perhaps your party booking process is successful, but your opportunity bookings are few and far between. Assess what you currently do, why it isn’t working, and create an action plan to improve it. 
  1. Use solutions that speed things up and increase sales. With all the responsibilities you have in your business, it can be easy to get bogged down with tasks that don’t directly affect your bottom line. What solutions can be put into practice that will increase sales without a huge investment of time? Take a look at the structure of your sales pitch, practice upselling when customers order popular products, and seek referrals at each party. These are all quick and effective ways to improve your business where it really counts. 
  1. Keep track of your improvements. Doing so serves more than one purpose. First of all,when you need to make improvements, you can easily look back on what you’ve changed in the past for inspiration and motivation. Secondly, if you need to revisit a problem you’ve solved before, you can review what you did the first time as a jumping off point. For example, say you’ve recently noticed a slight dip in sales since your company released this season’s new catalog. You remember that you created and followed through with an action plan to increase sales in the early months of your business’s life. Since you kept track of it, you can review the steps you took and see what applies to your business today. You may even get some new ideas by looking back over some old ones. Keeping track of improvements also serves as a form of self-reflection, which is necessary for continual improvement. 

Remember, to succeed in your business, it needs to move forward and constantly grow. Always be on the lookout for ways to improve upon your existing mode of operation. Seek help when necessary and use the resources available to you. 

How will you use something on our list to improve your business?  Please share your ideas and feedback below!

How to Share Your Idea Quickly and Effectively

How to Share Your Idea Quickly and Effectively
How to Share Your Idea Quickly and Effectively

How to Share Your Idea Quickly and EffectivelyHave you ever felt pressured to convey your message quickly? Maybe as you walk into a coffee shop, an old friend is walking out. You stop for a couple of minutes to chat before she heads out on her way. During the chat, she asks you what you do for a living or what’s new these days. Depending on the circumstance, it may be necessary to make whatever you are saying as brief as possible. If you find yourself in such a situation, the following tips might help you out.

  • Start with the solution first. Since you don’t have time for a whole back story, you have to spark interest right away. By introducing the solution from the get-go, you’re capturing attention so that even if you have to leave out some details you deem important, the person will want to know more and follow through, perhaps at a later date. For example, your friend asks what you’re doing these days. As a new consultant for a nail wrap company, your response could be something like this: “You know how I always complain that I never have time or money for a manicure? Well I started using these cool nail wraps! I loved them so much, that I started selling them.” Your very first sentence presents a solution to a problem. This is especially effective when you know your audience has the same problem as well. Even if the rest of the conversation is rushed, the next time that person is thinking about doing their nails, she’ll remember your solution and will be more likely to either give you a call or respond with action to your follow-up.
  • Make it personal. This definitely requires either some prior knowledge about the person to whom you’re speaking or one or two smart questions to find out more about the person in order to customize your message. In the example above, the nail wrap consultant could mention that because her friend is home with her newborn baby every day, it’s understandable that getting to the manicurist can be challenging. She has then created her opening to briefly describe the product. If you don’t have that kind of personal information right away, have a couple of questions prepared that you would ask someone so your message can be more personal.
  • Give concrete, factual examples. Speaking in general terms comes off vague, generic, and irrelevant. Instead of saying, “These nail wraps are easy and affordable,” you could say, “A $15 sheet gives me 3 manicures that each last two weeks.” The latter gives specific information in the same amount of time as the former. Furthermore, it has more meaning, which will make it more memorable for the other person. Again, concrete examples should be prepared ahead of time for you to give when needed.
  • Don’t repeat yourself. Many people do this when they are nervous or anxious. Use other methods of emphasis besides repetition, which causes the other person to tune out. A good idea would be to record yourself in a hypothetical conversation in which you are trying to get to your point quickly. Make note of any repetition, and adjust accordingly. Practice often so you are always prepared. 

Much of what you do as a direct seller requires quick thinking and strong communication skills. Our suggestions in this post should help you improve both of those things. 

What would you add to our list? Please share your ideas below!

The Secret To Long Term Success In Direct Sales

The Secret To Long Term Success In Direct Sales

The Secret To Long Term Success In Direct Sales Ongoing Professional Development:  A Key to Long-Term Success in Direct Sales

Continuing your education is a critical ingredient to the long-term success of your direct selling business. Make sure to take advantage of your company’s training and educational offerings such as webinars, monthly conference calls and, of course, your company’s annual convention. You’ll also want to participate in training offered by your upline and regional leaders. And, if you are in the Ann Arbor areas, you can soon take a direct selling entrepreneurship course at your local community college!

The Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program (DSEP) is a thirty-hour, non-credit course designed to help independent representatives—and those interested in exploring a career in direct selling—operate stronger, more profitable businesses. Through this personalized approach to entrepreneurship, any small business owner or independent contractor can learn real-world skills to start or grow a successful business. If you’re a direct seller, or considering a career as a direct selling business owner, this course is a great way to gain small business management skills such as:

  • Business Operations
  • Using Technology
  • Goal Setting & Future Strategy
  • Marketing & Selling
  • Communication
  • Financial Management
  • Leadership & Ethics

Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program at Washtenaw Community College

Where: 4800 E. Huron River Drive

Ann Arbor, MI  48105

Morris Lawrence Building

When: Tuesdays, Thursdays 6:00 p.m. – 8:55 p.m. Oct. 7, 2014 – Nov. 6, 2014

Cost: Register by Sept. 30, 2014, for a reduced tuition rate of $125. After Sept. 30, tuition is $325.

Register: Click here.
For more information, call (734) 677-5060 or email ecdevelopment@wccnet.edu. DSEF thanks Amway for its support in bringing DSEP to the Ann Arbor area.

Taking a course like this is a great way to learn how to bring your business to the next level. Remember that you should always aim to move your business forward, and that requires commitment to ongoing learning. Seek out opportunities to learn more about the direct sales industry, keep up with current industry trends, improve your salesmanship and learn ways to efficiently run your business more efficiently.  DSEF will announce more courses soon, and you can check for the updated schedule here.

What are some ways that you have continued your education? Would you consider taking a course like this? Please share your comments below!

Four Tips to Build Your Personal Brand

Four Tips to Improve Your Personal Brand
Four Tips to Build Your Personal Brand

Four Tips to Build Your Personal BrandAs a direct seller, your company has its own ways of promoting its brand. However, you are responsible for making it your own and improving upon the individual qualities you bring to your brand. In today’s post, we give you four tips to help you do just that.

  1. Give your clients ways to promote your brand. Engage customers in creative ways that will allow them to get a conversation going about your products and services. For example, use your Facebook page or Twitter feed to start a top ten list. A consultant for a company that sells manicure quality nail wraps held a contest in which her clients posted pictures of themselves wearing outfits that coordinated with their nails. Anyone subscribed to the page could vote on the best photo. The winner got a free gift, and the clients got new ideas for how to use their wraps as well as inspiration to try new ones. This type of engagement was the consultant’s way of getting to know her clients and giving them a fun way to promote her brand.
  2.  Always keep your word but also exceed it. In a business where you likely have many competitors who can offer similar products and services, your word is one of your greatest assets. If you say you will do something, there is no option other than to do it. Take this idea a step further whenever possible. For example, a customer needs her order rushed to be delivered in time for a loved one’s birthday. As the consultant, you say that you’ll personally put the order in first as well as double checking with corporate to make sure it was received and will arrive on schedule. After doing so, you get the product from the hostess when she receives it and hand deliver it to the customer. Going above and beyond your responsibilities increases your credibility; your clients will also associate your reliability with your brand.
  3. Focus on being the best at one thing at a time. Although it is important to have lofty goals for your business, don’t try to take on too much at once or you’ll risk burning out. Choose one aspect of your business at a time to become the best at. For instance, you aspire to be the best on your team at getting guests at your parties to book their own parties and keep their dates so the party actually happens. Invest your time and effort into creating ways to get potential hostesses excited about having a party and following up effectively. While working toward this goal, focus exclusively on it until you’re ready to move on to the next one. You’ll be able to make yourself stand out, therefore improving your brand.
  4. Continue to improve and be better than your competitor. The best way to begin besting your competitor is to gather information about how the competitor does business. The nail wrap consultant researched similar companies, emailed some of their consultants, and attended some parties as a guest. She was able to take mental notes about what she did and didn’t like about the business as a whole. When she signed with her chosen company, she knew exactly how she wanted to improve upon the competition’s ways.

Use your strengths and unique qualities to improve your brand. Your clients and prospects will associate you with those attributes and pass along a good word to their friends and families. How can you use the tips from our list? Please share your ideas in the comments below!

Targeting Potential Customers

Targeting Potential Customers
Targeting Potential Customers

Targeting Potential CustomersWhen you are on the lookout for potential customers, you want to make sure you’re focusing your energy in the right places. Remember that not everyone fits the profile, so spending time and money on trying to attract those outside your target demographic will be a waste of your resources. An effective way to find potential customers for your business is to ask yourself the following questions.

  • Can they afford your products/services? Of course, it’s impossible to know everyone’s financial situation, but you can get a good idea by looking for certain clues. For example, a consultant for a high-end ladies’ jewelry company should consider factors such as which town the potential customer lives in, if she wears designer clothing, if she drives a luxury car, etc. If your company sells products that range in price, consider the average and build an ideal customer profile from there.
  •  Are they the decision maker when it comes to the purchase? There are several different ways that people handle finances within their households. Some couples agree on a reasonable level of autonomy when it comes to making a purchase. Either person can buy groceries or even a new lamp for the living room without consulting each other, but neither would buy a car or book a vacation without both agreeing to it first. Be sure that the person you are targeting as a potential customer has the ability to make decisions about purchasing your products. This especially applies to products and services geared toward young children and teenagers. A skin care company’s acne treatment is mostly used by those between ages 15-21, but is almost always actually purchased by the parent. Whoever has the final say about a purchase is your potential customer. 
  • How much do they need the product/service?  Ask yourself if you are fulfilling a need or solving a problem for a potential customer with your product. Someone who will be returning to the work force after a long hiatus staying home to raise her children may need all new makeup and accessories to complete her professional appearance. A cosmetics or jewelry consultant would consider this person a potential customer because there is a certain level of need for the products and services offered. The most effective way to find out if a need for your product exists is to ask the right questions. Demonstrate a sincere interest in people by asking them questions about themselves. Give them an opportunity to talk about their family, interests, and hobbies. When you discover that the person needs your product, you’ll know you are talking to a potential customer.

Targeting your niche toward the right people will help you spend your time and marketing resources efficiently, which will in turn allow you to have long term success. By asking the above questions, you are creating a sort of customer profile that can be used to identify potential customers.

How have these questions helped you find your own customers? Are there any other questions you would add to our list? Please share your comments below!