All posts tagged direct selling

DSEF Top Ten Business Tips

DSEF Top Ten Business Tips

Have you been keeping up with our daily business tips? We are always researching tips that are quick, practical, and easy to integrate into your business. Here are our top ten business tips from the past few weeks:

  1. Create a Referral/Recommendation Exchange for small businesses. Offer to refer & recommend people to your auto mechanic, dry cleaner, hair dresser, baker and others in your community. In exchange they refer & recommend you.
  2. Keep yourself focused during the day by creating a mantra to help you accomplish difficult tasks. For example – Move my feet and get it complete!
  3. Are you always searching for the right words? Develop and use a script to engage, and start conversations with people you meet. Practice the script until it becomes natural and the more you use it the more you will connect with people.
  4. Your brand promotes your strengths and how you service your target market, and it establishes a clear difference from your competitors.
  5. Organize a food collection for your local food bank & as you pick up the food leave a coupon w/ a discount for your products/services. Offer to donate a percentage of their purchase amount to the food bank (make sure you get permission from the food bank).
  6. Establish your business in your local market. It will make it easier to nurture and interact daily with loyal customers.
  7. Choose your social media tools based on your available time. If you’ve only got 20 minutes per day, choose just one, probably Facebook.
  8. Sell more by making it easier to purchase, adding more choices, promoting value, personalizing products/services and anticipating customer needs.
  9. Use testimonials to make a point, promote your message and/or overcome inherent objections to your business.
  10. Remember that when you are engaging a prospect/client, you are not only promoting the value of your products/services, but establishing the value of your relationship.

Do you have any tips to add to our list? Please share.

Here’s to your success!

Using Honesty to Build Your Business

Using Honesty to Build Your Business

”Honesty is the cornerstone of all success, without which confidence and ability to perform shall cease to exist.” ~Mary Kay Ash

Mary Kay Ash was one of the greatest role models for business and business women and a trail blazer in the direct sales industry. If you want your business to succeed, want to attract people, keep their loyalty and create a raving fan base, then honesty is the key. Here’s how honesty can build your business:

  • Your honest story – People will support your business if they feel a connection with you. This is a great opportunity to share how, what, where, when and why about your business. This creates an honest and authentic foundation for business growth.
  • Honest testimonials – Honest testimonials are like gigantic walking billboards for your business. Creating genuine audio and visual testimonials are more powerful than any paid marketing or commercial.
  • Honest references – Ask people who know you to mention and share your ethical qualities. People will seek out your business because they know they are dealing with an honest person.
  • Display a framed Honesty Policy – Boldly display your business commitment and customer service policy by the door or on your written materials. This will make you and your business memorable and generate positive word of mouth.
  • Create an honesty motto – For example: We are true to our customer’s needs. People will share your motto when talking about your business. This is a simple way for people to remember and share your business praise.

In our internet era, your reputation can spread virally very quickly for better or for worse. Setting honesty as your cornerstone will help grow your business strong and give it longevity.

How do you promote honesty in your business? Would love to read your ideas in the comments below.

How to Mentally Reboot

How to Mentally Reboot

You’ve heard the phrase “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”  Forget dull; suffering from work-related stress can cause a myriad of physical and mental issues if not dealt with in a timely manner.  From CEOs to the self-employed to stay-at-home moms, we all get burned out every once in awhile, but it’s important to recognize when we need a mental reboot.

Common symptoms of work-related stress include: a feeling of apathy about a job you once enjoyed, constant anxiety about meetings, deadlines, or even everyday tasks, depression (feeling helpless or overwhelmed), and physical fatigue.

So is your work burnout a lost cause?  Not if you commit to a few simple steps to recharge those batteries.

  • Exercise, eat well, and get plenty of rest.  These are the basic rules of good health. You don’t have to spend lots of time and money at a gym when you can take a power walk around the block a few days a week.  Getting your heart rate up will release endorphins that clear your head and help you feel refreshed.  Furthermore, you can reap the benefits of physical activity if you eat well.  This may take some planning, but you’ll notice a huge difference in a short amount of time.  Exercise and a balanced diet will in turn allow your body to get enough rest.  A good night’s sleep can work wonders for the overly stressed.
  • Do something you enjoy.  Go see that movie you’ve been dying to see, take a spa day, or hit the golf course.  Recreation is an essential part of an enjoyable lifestyle.  Depriving yourself of it in the name of work can negatively affect many aspects of your professional and personal life.
  • Talk to people you trust. Discussing your frustrations with someone not involved with your work can help you gain some perspective.  If nothing else, just being able to express what is bothering you will help you feel better.

Finally, once you have been able to recover from the effects of work burnout, it’s time to reevaluate. How did you get burned out in the first place? How can you prevent it from happening again?

  1. First, and this may take some serious reflection, prioritize your life.  Is your work just a job, or is it the center of your life? Whatever you decide, it should match your overall objectives.
  2. Second, set goals that include personal limits, like amount of hours worked per week or breaking up projects into smaller, more manageable tasks.
  3. Finally, plan some vacation time and stick to it.  You don’t even need to get away from home to have a vacation, but certainly plan some down time.  Your work will still be there when you get back! Everyone needs some “me” time periodically.

When you mentally reboot, you not only help yourself to cope with the stresses of work, but you also make it possible to do your job to the best of your ability. And your family benefits too, because you’ll be able to bring your best to every aspect of your life.

How do you mentally reboot? What would you add to this list? Would love to read your comments 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: Pass it on!

Turn What You Love Into Income

Turn What You Love Into Income

Have you ever thought to yourself, “If I could only get paid to do what I love?”

Maybe you can. In fact, that’s how many entrepreneurs get started. But you don’t have to be an entrepreneur to want to make some extra spending money. The bonus is doing something that you love!

Here are some steps to help you get started:

  1. If you have more than one idea, start by imagining them and pick the idea that brings the biggest smile to your face.
  2. Next, do some research:
    • Is there an obvious way to make income with what you love?
    • Talk to other people with the same interest and see if there’s a void that needs to be filled.
    • Take a look at what’s in the market now and ask yourself if you could that and/or do it better.
    • Talk to a diverse group of people about your income producing idea and ask if any of them would purchase something like that from you.
    • Ask yourself what’s the least expensive way to start that will still provide greater value to potential customers.
  3. Write down your goal or your mission statement. Include your specialty or uniqueness that only you can bring to this product/service. But keep it simple. For example – I will work part time and would like to generate $300. My uniqueness is to provide personalize service and offer customers buying my scented candles a chance to join my weekly Yoga club at my house.
  4. Consider your first 30 days a trial and error period, and be sure to fully commit yourself to doing whatever it takes to be successful. During this period assess how, where, why, who, what, when you can improve, and make sure you can earn a reasonable profit for your efforts.
  5. You may also want to create a simple business plan (optional for now). Include your goals, operational expenses, who your customers are, marketing strategy, and an overview of competitors.
  6. Nurture testimonials and word of mouth to attract new customers and grow.
  7. Keep asking your customers for their feedback and continue to improve and learn.

The key is to keep it simple. You want to share your passion, avoid wasting money, and earn some extra spending money. In the end, you want to still love what you do while you gain some financial benefits. You may be surprise to find yourself a budding entrepreneur, or you may simply want to keep a good thing going.

Do you love what you do? How did you get started with your business? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Direct Selling Executives Get Ready to “Be Connected”

Direct Selling Executives Get Ready to “Be Connected”

Delacey, 7, chats with Santa during the DSEF Pack a Present Christmas event for children from Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas at Mandarin Oriental hotel. GARY THOMPSON/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

by Nancy Burke

A chill is in the air, and the holidays are just around the corner. Things like pumpkin spiced cider and scarves are beginning to make their annual appearances. And thoughts of holiday travel plans, gift shopping, and the accompanying credit card bills are creeping into people’s minds.

As people gear up for the holidays, businesses also gear up for the resulting holiday rush, and the Direct Selling industry is no different.

Seasonal consultants come on board, wanting to have a little extra cash on hand so holiday shopping doesn’t put any extra stress on the family budget. Holiday themes work their way into products by scents, colors, and special offers. And the Direct Selling Association is hosting our annual Be Connected Conference for direct sales corporate executives in Las Vegas.

Some of you may be asking, “How can I afford to leave my business for a few days at the beginning of December?”  The answer comes back, “How can you afford not to go?”

Be Connected is one of the prime networking opportunities for direct sellers and its focus on the new factors of the industry, such as the younger generations now interested in direct selling, social media and adapting to new trends is a crucial conversation all businesses should be having. In addition, there is also a chance to focus on the basics with the Direct Selling 101 pre-conference Seminar option as well. (A MUST for both new companies, and executives new to the industry.)

This conference is a major event for seasoned industry veterans and first-time entrepreneurs alike. Conference speakers include Jason Dorsey, Dan Schawbel, and John Moore, just to name a few! There will be workshops on social media (lots of them), salesforce training, and so many more. Visit our web site for more details about all of the great speakers and presenters that will be there.

The DSEF will also be hosting its annual Pack a Present toy drive to help provide a little holiday magic to children in the local community. Last year at Be Connected, DSA member company executives and supplier members gave generously, donating hundreds of presents to benefit members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Las Vegas. Santa will be on hand to make sure the magic happens again for lots of kids in need. If you’re coming, be sure to pack a present for DSEF’s toy drive!

Be Connected should be high on the priority list of any company even thinking about using direct selling or social selling models in the future. Companies that apply for Direct Selling Association membership by November 21, 2011, will receive one free registration to the Be Connected Conference and member discounts for any additional registrations after that.

So if you’re looking into direct selling for the first time, or if you’re looking for a boost in your established company, look no further! Come to Be Connected in December and we’ll see you in Las Vegas!

Nancy Burke

Nancy M. Burke is Membership Director of the Direct Selling Association.  DSA is the 100-year-old not-for-profit national trade organization representing 300 direct sales firms, and their 16 million independent salespeople. The Association’s mission is “To protect, serve and promote the effectiveness of member companies and the independent business people they represent. To ensure that the marketing by member companies of products and/or the direct sales opportunity is conducted with the highest level of business ethics and service to consumers.” 

 Nancy works with the companies in the membership — from small start-ups to well-known brand names – overseeing the retention and recruitment of corporate members. She earned the distinction of becoming a Certified Association Executive (CAE) from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) in June 2008.

Today’s Highlighted Video from the DSEF: Product Buy-Backs

Today’s Highlighted Video from the DSEF: Product Buy-Backs

Today’s highlighted video from DSEF:

Can’t see this? Click here: Product Buybacks

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

To read more about the DSA Code of Ethics regarding Product Buybacks –

Get The Latest News

Sign up for our quarterly newsletter and receive a free copy of our “What is Direct Selling?” video. Just enter your email address in the upper-right corner of our website here.

What Makes a Good Leader?

What Makes a Good Leader?

Think back to your school days.  Who was your favorite teacher?  What made that person so memorable?  Most likely, he or she possessed the qualities of a great leader.  You can become one as well if you acquire essential skills that will help you run your business more efficiently and build a strong team.

Here are some qualities of an effective leader:

  • Be a planner.  Frequent planning time is crucial to any business.  Great leaders are prepared for both daily and long-term responsibilities, which can only come from organized and prioritized planning.
  • Be proactive.  This comes from effective planning.  Identify and solve potential problems before they cause irreparable damage.
  • Be decisive.   As a leader, you make important decisions for your business all the time.  Although you don’t want to be hasty, you must make informed decisions and stand by them.  In doing so, your colleagues will respect your ability to take the reins.

In addition, great business leaders must build a dedicated team.  Here are some tips to help:

  • Listen carefully.  Chances are you already do this for your customers.  You encourage their feedback so that you can meet their needs.  The same applies to your team.  What ideas do they have?  What problems are they facing?  They should feel comfortable coming to you with these matters and will appreciate having an approachable leader.
  • Encourage communication.  Listening is just one part of communicating.  You also need to get everyone involved productively, and take action on their ideas. For example, when scheduling a meeting to plan new endeavors together, prepare an agenda beforehand and stick to it. After the meeting, touch base with your team regularly during the implementation of the idea. This is will allow everyone involved to be more productive.
  • Lead by example.  This is especially important for creating a positive atmosphere.  Teams will adopt your positive attitude and help create a strong morale.  When people enjoy what they do, they have unlimited potential for success.
  • Delegate tasks.  It may be hard to relinquish control at first, but you will show your team that you trust and respect them when you hand over some responsibility.  Learn their strengths, and offer support along the way.
  • Emphasize teamwork.  Your team members should know that everyone is working toward a common goal and that each person is vital to its realization.  The feeling of being part of something greater than any one individual can be very inspiring, so don’t be afraid to tap into that.
  • Take criticism.  This is an essential skill for any leader.  Look at constructive criticism as a gateway to self-improvement.  Sometimes it takes a step back in order to identify our own areas of weakness and improve.

Not everyone is a born leader, but dedicating yourself to these skills will be a valuable asset to your business.  Like students in that favorite teacher’s classroom, your team will work hard and produce quality results.

What traits do you believe a great leader must have?  Please share with us in the comments below!

9 Ways Your Small Business Has an Advantage Over Large Competitors

9 Ways Your Small Business Has an Advantage Over Large Competitors

Have you ever experienced a pesky fly? You swat at it and try to shoo it away, but you can’t seem to get rid of it. Small businesses are like the fly that has an advantage over a slower, bulkier and less targeted approach. You see, big businesses have a lot of corporate structure that slows down progress. In this ever-changing environment, that means they can’t stay on the cutting edge! But as a small business, you’re a lot more nimble. This means that you can shine, and target your customer base, in a way that big businesses can’t.

Understanding your small business advantages can help you succeed. Here’s how you can take advantage of the benefits of being a small business:

  1. Respond quickly – Start listening and talking to your target market and customers. Formalize a process for customer feedback and suggestions. When you hear something that you can improve on or implement easily to add more value to your products/services, make it happen!
  2. Be flexible to market needs, changes and trends – Sometimes watching what big business can do seems intimidating, but they are usually focused on large volume products/services, and not products/services for smaller markets. Your business can focus on smaller markets for big success. Big business are usually slow in following trends. They want to make sure something will sell first. This again, is where you have an advantage. When you spot a trend, try it, anticipate the needs of your target market, and establish yourself as a leader or innovator.
  3. Give personal attention – Big businesses are always trying to offer special incentives to make their customers feel more important. But that’s only an illusion. As a small business person you know your customers by name, what their favorite products/services are and what their needs are. Develop those relationships with your customers that big business can’t build authentically.
  4. Specialize – Your small business can target unique products/services for niche markets that big business can’t afford to pinpoint.
  5. Be creative – As a small business owner, you are always thinking outside the box to attract customers with limited marketing funds.
  6. Build relationships and community – Small businesses can reach and develop relationships more authentically with local influencers that promote their businesses by word of mouth and create a more deeper and loyal following.
  7. Manage your costs – Small businesses requires less funds to invest, market and innovate, thus making them more cost efficient. But you need to stay on top of your finances to come out ahead!
  8. Avoid red tape – Ideas, complaints, and suggestions go straight to those who can implement or correct quickly without going through endless channels like in a large business.
  9. Enjoy a lot of room for growth – As a small business you have plenty of room to grow and generate greater profit margins.

When you take the time to evaluate where your competitors fall short and focus your business on satisfying those consumers, you can leverage your small business advantages and nurture a loyal following. Your growth will be connected to how well you can successfully utilize these advantages.

How do you take advantage of the unique benefits of being a small business? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Professional Development is Critical for Your Business Success

Professional Development is Critical for Your Business Success

Whether you’re just starting out in business, or have been working your business for years, a key to continued growth is ongoing professional development. The world around you is constantly evolving, and the only way you’ll keep your business relevant and growing is by keeping up. It’s one of the most valuable investments you can make in your business.

Think about what things you regularly spend time and money on to grow your business: a website, business cards, inventory for product demonstration, etc. Professional development should be on this list.  New ideas, technologies, consumer needs, and product lines are constantly changing. Don’t get left behind!

Here are some ways you and your business can grow through professional development:

  •  Time management – This skill is vital to the self-employed.  By learning to manage your time well, you can run a more efficient and profitable business.
  • Product expertise – Do you feel a dual sense of both excitement and anxiety when that new catalog or product line from your company debuts?  It can be overwhelming to re-educate yourself every time new products are introduced. Get yourself to that quarterly or annual training that the company has in place.  There, you will learn the essential features and benefits of new products and the best ways to market them to your customers.
  • Interpersonal skills – Even if you are a seasoned veteran, there is always value in improving your ability to engage with others.  Running your own business requires the building and maintaining of relationships with existing and potential customers, colleagues in your upline and downline, and even those in the corporate division of the company.  Devoting your time to your company’s professional development will help you perfect this aspect of your business.
  • Renewed motivation – Let’s face it: self-employment, although rewarding, is not always easy if you want to do it well.  However, the support system of those pursuing the same goals as you will reenergize your commitment to your business.  Make it a priority to physically attend local and national training opportunities; the rallying and motivating words of others are infectious.  Use them to your advantage.

Successful companies have already invested time, money, and resources into creating effective professional development for sellers.  Take advantage of the training they have to offer; it’s there to help you achieve your business goals.

And don’t forget to check out our resources here on our Direct Selling Education Foundation Blog as well. We provide new content every week to help you grow your business.

How do you grow professionally? What are some of your favorite resources for ongoing professional development? Would love to read your tips and resources in the comments 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: Pass it on!

Impress For Success

Impress For Success

Remember that old shampoo commercial reminding us, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”?  As any direct seller knows, a first impression is crucial for attracting and retaining new customers.  In order to impress for success, focus on two components: your relationships with your customers and your own personal business style.

Relationships – The beauty of your business is the personal relationship you build with others. Here are some tips for nurturing it:

  • Tailor your services to fit your customer’s individual needs.  For example, that new mom with an infant at home? She would welcome free delivery!
  • Reach out to your customers regularly, not just to promote your product, but also for constructive feedback.  Even the most successful business owners have room for improvement!
  • Make it easy, fast, and convenient for customers to contact you for any reason.  Time is a precious thing, and you will certainly impress by making your business dealings simple and friendly.
  • Put yourself in the customer’s role.  Why would YOU buy from YOU?
  • Get to know your customers.  Treat them like friends instead of one of many potential purchases.
  • Follow up after a transaction is made.  Are they satisfied?  If not, how can you make it right?
  • Conduct business with integrity.  If something goes wrong, admit your mistake and correct it immediately.  Customers will appreciate your commitment to their satisfaction and keep coming back.

Personal style – Get to know your own personal strengths and incorporate them into your business.

  • Don’t be afraid to get creative.  Find your inner MacGyver; solve problems and market yourself in outside-the-box ways. After all, there’s only one you!
  • Plan ahead.  Set specific goals for how you can include new ideas into your daily business.
  • Dress to impress. When conducting business in person, you should always look the part.  By doing so, you will exude a confidence that appeals to others.  Go ahead and take pride in your appearance.
  • Smile!  It seems simple, but a positive impression starts with the expression on your face.  So brighten someone’s day with a warm smile that says you are happy to be interacting with them and you love what you do.

You started this business because you believe in your product or service.  When you show customers that you genuinely care, you leave them with a remarkable impression and put yourself on the path to success.

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: Pass it on!