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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 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!

How to Get People to Join Your Team

How to Get People to Join Your Team

How to Get People to Join Your Team from http://dsef.orgWhen you’re ready to take your direct sales business to the next level, recruiting others to join your team is the place to start. You have the potential to create a steady income stream while helping people achieve their own financial goals. In today’s post, we suggest some ways to build your downline and grow your business.

  • Share great ideas that help everyone. Whether the idea is your own or someone else’s, if you think it will help others, don’t hesitate to share it with your prospects. While presenting your opportunity to a recruit, for example, share an idea for having a successful launch party that worked for you. Your method will help the recruit by giving him or her a jump start on the business, and it will help you by finding customers for your downline. By sharing great ideas that are mutually beneficial, you generate excitement and enthusiasm about your opportunity, which will in turn increase your chances of signing your prospect.
  • Do both big and small things to help make your team members’ lives better.  After a team member’s initial launch and first few months working the business, it can be easy to lose touch or at least frequent contact. One small way of making your team members’ lives better is to check in regularly with words of encouragement, a motivational quote, or even a little gift of appreciation. On a bigger scale, you might host a weekend brunch at your house or local restaurant to reward your team’s hard work and accomplishment. Take the initiative to be a positive force in their lives. You can recruit others to join your team by introducing them to people in your downline who will attest to your role in their professional lives.
  • Stay optimistic and enthusiastic. Even if a prospect seems skeptical, unsure, or even confused about the opportunity, it is important to maintain a positive attitude and enthusiastic outlook about the business. If you don’t falter, he or she will notice that you are confident enough not to be shaken by a possible rejection.
  • Always do the right thing. There may be times when you are faced with some sort of conflict or dilemma. One direct sales consultant was excited to sign her very first recruit, but it became clear during the presentation that this person was so eager that she didn’t think to ask a lot of important questions that might sway her decision about whether or not to sign with the company. The consultant was tempted to ignore that fact and let the recruit sign on the dotted line anyway, but she listened to her conscience and offered the important information to the recruit as well as a chance to ask more questions. The recruit wound up signing, but even if she hadn’t, doing the right thing will allow you to never have to look back at your past action and feel guilty. Direct sales is about helping people, so your actions should always reflect that.
  • Listen more than you talk. A prospect wants and NEEDS to be heard. He or she may want to tell you why joining this business is even a consideration. And although, he/she may have lots of questions for you and provide you with plenty of opportunity to speak, make sure that you are doing most of the listening. By truly listening to others, we can tune into what their message is, and find effective ways to help.
  • Stay humble. No matter how high you climb to the top of that proverbial ladder of success, ALWAYS stay humble. Remember that there are always improvements to be made and higher levels to reach. Continue helping those who are just starting out, take compliments with gratitude and grace, and pay it forward. Your sincere humility will increase your likeability and have a positive effect on your business.

Building your team requires a lot of preparation, patience, hard work, determination, and the right mindset. We hope our list above gives you some guidance in getting started. What would you add to the list? Please share your comments below!

How to Get Your Customer to Buy

How to Get Your Customer to Buy
How to Get Your Customer to Buy

How to Get Your Customer to BuyWhen figuring out how to get customers to buy your product or service, it is often helpful to put yourself in the customer’s role. When was the last time you bought something? What about it made it interesting? Why was it appealing? What made you ultimately purchase it? Whether the most recent thing you bought was a box of diapers or a new car, the same principles still apply. Read our brief list below for tips on how to get your customers to actually buy your product.

  •  Make your product/service interesting and unique. In order to pique the interest of potential customers, emphasize your product’s unique qualities. What does it offer that competitors’ products don’t? For example, one company specializing in children’s meal time needs offers a line of sippy cups that help a toddler transition from a bottle to a regular cup. A customer can choose what kind of top to use like a spout or straw, which is a pretty standard choice when it comes to transition cups. The unique part about this company’s line of cups, however, is that if your child doesn’t take to a certain one, you can exchange the top free of charge until you find the one that your child prefers. As many mothers will tell you, this is a unique concept that prevents having to buy several different kind of cups to find one that the child will actually drink from. This company’s consultants most often highlight this feature and find it to be their top seller.
  • Make it easy to understand and use. Depending on what the product or service is, this can either be a simple job or something more complicated. Whichever the case, find a way to make sure the customer is completely confident using it independently. If the product has a multi-step process, allow customers ample time and plenty of opportunity to try it by themselves so they will have enough confidence to make the purchase. One beauty consultant, when giving makeup consultations, demonstrates the products on the customer. Once the customer is satisfied with the end result, the consultant creates a customized magnetic card that can be placed on a vanity or bathroom mirror while a customer applies her own makeup every day. Taking the time to do this for each customer proves financially worthwhile because even the most inexperienced people can easily understand and use the products.
  • Demonstrate that there are multiple uses and applications. When you show the versatility of your product, you are demonstrating that it has value. People are generally willing to pay a little bit more for something if they know it is of high quality, will last a long time, and can be used for more than one thing. Also keep in mind that different uses for something will appeal to different kinds of customers. A handbag that easily expands to a larger size will satisfy the needs of a young college student and a stay-at-home mother. Evaluate your customer base to decide how and when to highlight the versatility of your products and services.

The more you know about your products, the easier making the sale will become. Create interest, make it easy to use, and demonstrate versatility. What else would you add to our list? Please share your ideas below!

Three Keys to Establishing a Loyal Customer

Three Keys to Establishing a Loyal Customer
Three Keys to Establishing a Loyal Customer

Three Keys to Establishing a Loyal CustomerWhen trying to establish loyal customers, put yourself in their shoes. Surely, you are a loyal customer of a business yourself. Perhaps you always get your hair cut and styled at the same salon, or maybe you grab your coffee from the same deli each day, even though you pass three other coffee shops on your way home. What is it about the business that keeps you coming back to only that place? When did you decide that you wouldn’t frequent any other competitor’s business? Asking yourself these questions and following our suggestions will help you create loyal customers.

  • Focus on the individual. From the very first interaction you have with the customer, demonstrate your genuine interest in him or her as an individual with unique needs and concerns. In making conversation, remembering one or two details about the person will serve you well in the future. A customer interested in skin care products for her teenage daughter mentions that this purchase is part of her high school graduation gift. In subsequent meetings, the consultant usually starts off by asking how the daughter is enjoying college and how the mother is adjusting to an empty nest. These types of details shows people that they are more than just customers to you, and your interest in their lives will make them happy to bring you repeat and exclusive business.
  • Make sure you have enough time for the person. Once your business really begins to grow, (this is a good  thing!) you likely won’t have as much time to spend on each customer as you’d like. If this is the case, make sure that you make time for your potentially loyal customers. Make a personal delivery on your way to pick up your kids from soccer practice, send a quick text message asking how he/she likes the newest product, etc. If the person reaches out to you at a time when you can’t return the call right away, send an email to say you’ve gotten the message and are looking forward to returning the call; provide a specific date and time you’ll call back. In doing so, you are showing the customer that he or she is important to you and you appreciate the loyalty.
  • Ask; then really listen. Asking the right questions is a smart way to engage a customer, but it doesn’t end there. Truly listen to the answers, and consider going so far as to jot down a summary of the conversation afterward. Refer to your notes regularly to keep the customer’s needs in mind and stay proactive in satisfying them.

Always remember that whatever product or service you are selling, you are in the business of people. Be kind, caring, and genuine, and you’ll already be one step closer to achieving a loyal customer base.

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

Four Quick Tips to Stay on Task

Four Quick Tips to Stay on Task
Four Quick Tips to Stay on Task

Four Quick Tips to Stay on TaskDirect sellers need to have a strong sense of self-discipline in order to succeed. When you are answering only to yourself, it is crucial to eliminate distractions and stay on task for both your daily and long-term projects. Here are our four simple suggestions for doing just that.

  • Get involved with activities that help your business. This means everything from professional development workshops held by those in your upline to more informal lunches with colleagues or prospects. Find ways to incorporate your business into things you already enjoy doing. For example, Heather, a direct sales consultant for a company that provides fitness programs and equipment, integrates fitness into her daily life. Aside from working her business, she follows her company’s exercise programs regularly and once a month, invites a few friends over for group workouts.  She leads a small group of friends to try a new workout, then serves healthy snacks and bottles of water afterwards. By doing this, she is able to stay healthy, work her business, and make time to socialize with her friends all at the same time. 
  • Make sure that your business utilizes your strengths and passion. Heather already had an interest in health and fitness, so it made sense for her to choose a wellness company to sign with. She enjoys learning about how to create and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and she is passionate about educating others who struggle with this to do the same. Because she gets so much joy out of helping others achieve their fitness and nutrition goals, it’s easy for her to stay on task. Even when it gets hard to stay the course, her passion for what she does and her ability to do her job well prevent her from getting off track.  
  • Focus on small positive improvements. When there are things you want to improve about your business, it can be overwhelming to figure out where and how to begin. Start small to build momentum. It can be as simple as re-organizing your desk or purging a filing cabinet drawer, but once you get a few small tasks accomplished, you will be motivated to take on bigger, long-term projects. 
  • Make sure the business gets you excited. As with any job, if you don’t enjoy what you do, it will be that much more difficult to succeed. Tap into your interests and passions to get excited about your business. When you can do this, you can get others excited about what you are offering and build lasting professional relationships. 

The longer you work your business with focus and passion, the easier staying on task will become. Involve yourself in business-related activities, make small improvements, and create excitement within yourself about what you’re doing. What would you add to our list? Please sound off in the comments section below!

4 Ways DSA’S Code Of Ethics Protects You And Your Customers

4 Ways DSA’S Code Of Ethics Protects You And Your Customers

4 Ways DSA's Code Of Ethics Protects You And Your Customers

Ethical conduct is at the heart of good business decisions and these videos demonstrate this premise to consumers, entrepreneurs, direct selling executives, educators and public policy officials. Abiding by DSA’s Code of Ethics protects both the interest of consumers and sellers.

To learn more about direct selling ethics, please visit Direct Selling 411.

Ethics Initiative Videos

What Is Direct Selling?

What is direct selling? Let us show you what an ethical opportunity is all about!

What Is Direct Selling? (en Español)

What is direct selling? (en Español)

Intro to DSA Code

Learn more about what the code is, and why ethical companies comply.

Product Claims

Any claims a direct seller makes about a product must be truthful.

Ethics Initiative Videos

Meet a Direct Seller

Meet a direct seller who is learning to navigate the DSA’s Code of Ethics.

Product Buybacks

Learn about the buy-back policy that all DSA member companies adhere to.

Cooling Off

Learn how the “cooling off period” protects consumers from buyer’s remorse.

Earnings Claims

When recruiting someone into a direct selling opportunity, be honest.