Wednesday, March 30, 2011

How to Successfully Promote your Direct Sales Business

Lets face it, having a successful direct sales business can be challenging, but everyone has the opportunity to be successful.  A new direct sales business is like an infant that must be nurtured and grown in a supportive positive environment.  If you join up and expect buyers to flock to you without putting forth much effort you may find yourself discouraged and feeling like you've been misled.

The truth about life, applies here as well, you'll get out of it what you put in.  To save you time and energy, I've outlined tips on how you can promote your business one day at a time.  I hope this information will help you to stay on track, stay motivated, and feel a return on your efforts.  These tips are not intended to be completed one day after the next.

Once you have joined a direct sales company it's time to get the word out and advertise you business. Word of mouth among your family and friends is great, but there is much more you can do with minimal time and effort-- the best part of all is most of these ideas are free!

You want to expose your business to as many people as possible, but how?  Here are some suggestions on things you can do by simply devoting 30 minutes per day to advertising.

Create a FREE email Signature Tag, and attach it to every email you send!  Email tags are easy to set up and every email has one.  Each different email program will have different  instruction on how to set up your signature...  if you can't figure it out on your own, try doing an Internet search on "how to set up an email signature on_______ (hotmail, Gmail, outlook, etc)  Some programs will allow you to attach an image and some just text.  No matter what your email providers restrictions, something is 100 times better than nothing.

Order your business cards.  Vista Print provides great business cards at an affordable price.  You never know who is going to be a potential customer.. or a potential recruit so you'll want to try to mention your new business to as many people as possible.

Update your answering machine or voice mail to let callers know you represent a particular company.  Great way to always keep your business on the top of mind with everyone you know.
Day two:

Establish an external website.  FIRST be sure to check with your direct selling company to make sure you're not breaking any rules.  External websites are a great way to increase your exposure online.  It gives you a voice to share why you love your company and what new and exciting things are happening... promotions, sales, new member benefits, rewards... etc.. the list can go on and on.  If you're not technically aware of how to design a website from scratch there are plenty of free resources on the web, but it's just as effective to start with a blog. is free, and user friendly.  It's okay to start with a blogger template... the most important things is to get started, post regularly, get links.  With a blog, the easiest way to create links is with your "blogs I read" list, or creating a "websites of interest" list on your blog sidebar.  For an example, you'll see mine to the right.  Ask your fellow team members to link to you, and return the favor by linking to them.  Everyone wins. 

Day 3

Register your website business on every FREE search engine you can find.  There is a bit of debate over this on the Internet.  The argument rests with submitting your site manually to all the search engines out there, verses instead getting your site linked to high profile pages, such as popular blogs.  Google, and several other search engines are popularity driven, meaning the more links your page has, the higher your listing will appear in a related Internet search.  I would strive for a combination of both to see the most immediate success.

Day four

Search and join online work from home, work at home moms, and direct marketing forums online.  Join, and PARTICIPATE.  Participation is key.  Be careful not to dive straight into promoting your business on every post as that will be seen as rude and socially ill-mannered. Get involved in the discussions and get to know the people on the forum. Post about your business in your profile, and mention your business in forums when appropriate.  Many of these forums will have specific forums to promote your business and recruit.  Be sure to read the forum rules before you get started.

Day Five

Go to other peoples personal websites and blogs and sign their Guest Book or leave comments, make sure you include a link to your blog in your signature so they can find your site too.
Contact other webmasters or blog owners and offer to exchange banners with them! If you do a online E-Zine or Newsletter swap banners with others and place them in your online newsletter and have them do the same!  A banner is simply an image embedded with a link to your website.  Here's a free site (one of may I'm sure) that can help you get started.

 Day Six

Another great way to drive business to your site and expose your business is become an online editor.  Write articles that praise the benefits of your business or product and submit them to online publishers.  The articles go into a database and can be used for free by people writing newsletters, articles etc.  To created useful articles you'll want to leave specific mention of your company and product to your signature only and make your article informative and educational.  The rules set by the online publishers generally require anyone who uses your article to use it exactly as written and they must credit you as the source, INCLUDING your signature line.

For example, If my direct sales company specialized in beautiful customizable home decor made in the USA, I would want to write articles such as:

  • The benefits of buying from US manufactures.
  • What makes a gift meaningful and memorable.
  • Changes and developments in the direct sales market.
  • Why direct sales companies are thrive in a down economy.
 If I do mention my company in the article, which I would generally not recommend, it should from a third party, independent standpoint, not associated with you, for example a quote from the owner of your company, with reference to their title.

Your signature should be posted in the following format:

Camille S. McClelland
Rendi Independent Stylist - Leadership team

Day Seven

Run a Contest on your site for registered customers/newsletter members ONLY and then list your contest at all the FREE Contest & Sweepstakes Web pages!  Give away a free product, discount, etc...  just remember the more appealing the benefit of your giveaway the more participants... and leads... you'll get. 

Day Eight
Start thinking about your target market... and target them.  For example, if your direct sales business would be a great benefit to busy executives who don't have a lot of time to shop, of would make an incredible wedding gift start searching for forums or alternatives to reach out to those groups.  Consider advertising on a bridal forum, or contact a company with lots of busy executives and see if you can set up in their break room for an afternoon and share what your business has to offer. Target small companies and point out how they can earn free items for their company.  Once you begin to brainstorm the possibilities are endless.   

Day Nine

If your direct marketing company doesn't offer one, consider utilize a service like Aweber to create a database of online clients.  Create online bi-monthly or monthly email newsletter. Once you have an online customer base built up consider doing a print version  to hand out at promotional opportunities like parties, or events.  Keep your customers informed of new products and promotions, and well as constantly marketing the business opportunity.

Day Ten 

Exchange business cards or fliers with other work at home business owners from non competing companies. Use these as "bag fillers" for your party guest orders or party takeaways and have the others do the same. You both get FREE advertising!

Day 11

Networking with other home business owners can be invaluable.  Check for Home Business EXPO's locally in your area.  If there isn't one, consider planning one with the help of other interested business owners.

Day 12

Hold a Mystery Hostess Open House party! 1. Send out invites to everyone and post fliers every where! 2. Offer door prizes, and refreshments.  3. Tell everyone who comes and orders they get one entry, if they bring a friend they earn a bonus entry.  4. If they book a party at your party they get 3 more entries and so forth....  you set the rules.  5. At the end of the party, draw a name and the winner becomes the hostess and earns all the hostess credits for the party!

Day 13
Referrals!  Give friends who contend they don't have time to do your business the opportunity to refer business to you.  Offer them free products and discounts for bring buyers your way.  As they see how easy and profitable your business can be they'll become your strongest recruits. 

Day 14
Donate items or gift cards to fundraisers.  Schools, and non profit organizations are a great option.  The expense to you is at wholesale price, and most organizations will give you full credit and reference your website if your donation is of a certain retail value.   

Day 15

Contact local business owners and ask to set up a small table display. Offer them a personal discount or a freebie for allowing you this business exposure or swap "bag filler" business cards with them.

Day 16
Distribute fliers and business cards to apartment complex rental offices along with a free or loaned product sample. New tenants are almost always interested in making their new space personal.  You could also do this with real estate agents, or real estate home loan offices... etc!

 Day 17
Advertise yourself as a free personal buyer on grocery store memo boards, school teacher lounges, church directory memo boards, senior centers, nurses & doctor lounges etc. So many people simply hate to shop, but don't want to disappoint their loved ones.  Provide an out, that keeps them in.

Day 18

Contact your local hospital and ask them if they give out the FREE new baby bags filled with gifts etc to the new moms in their hospital.  Ask if you can add a flier, business card, coupon or catalog to the mix.

Day 19
Register to be a vendor at a local job fair.  The expense is minimal and you'll meet many people looking for great business opportunities.

Day 20
Host parties for friends, co-works & family members who would like to give a bridal shower, or baby shower. Great to do if you sell memorable gifts, home decor, kitchen baby products, invitations/stationary companies or lingerie companies!

Day 21
Give a product from your company as a gift as much as possible! Not only does someone really appreciate the gift but its FREE advertising and you are helping your own sales. Always check with a tax consultant, but generally advertising is an acceptable tax write off for your business as well. Why buy something elsewhere and get NO sales credit for it or any free advertising! Works GREAT for all Holiday Gifts plus birthdays, anniversaries, wedding and so forth.

Day 22 
Leave your business card behind every where you go. You can also do this at restaurants, bars, clubs etc. Anywhere you might leave a tip behind!

 Day 23

Contact your local Welcome Wagon Group. Ask if you can add your business card, flier, or catalog to the Welcome Wagon Package in your area. If you have samples then donate one to their package.

 Day 24 
Contact local kitchen & cabinet tradesmen and home builders in your area. Ask to set up a display in their show room about your business.  They get free staging, and you get free advertising.

 Day 25

In this day and age it's sort of a bit of a treat to receive anything personal in the mail.  Create and print postcards advertising your business on one side and blank on the other.  Send out lovely postcards letting previous buyersknow you appreciate their business, and potential buyers that you were thinking of them.  Make it personal and thoughtful, not just a plug for your business.
Day 26
Personalized giveaways.  Invest in getting some printed refrigerator magnets, snack bag chip clips, post-it note memo pads, pens, pencils with your business information.  They make great party freebies, and are perfect for events and shows.

Day 27

Design your own hostess promotion.  On top of what the company already offers, add something extra.  A half price item or product credit for getting a certain number of guests to the party...  The important thing is to incentivize areas you feel your parties are struggling.  The extra sales and commissions will more than make up the minimal cost to you.
The same concept could be applied to your team.  Offer your own incentive for recruiting, top party sales, or where ever your team may be struggling.

Day 28

Create and send a marketing mailer to small companies in your area advertising your products as business marketing opportunities.  This is especially effective if your products can be customized.  Offer to handle all the time consuming work involved in the order personally as a free service. That's a huge benefit to a business who may be ordering holiday gifts for clients located in different geographic regions.
Day 29

Get and stay organized.  As your team begins to grow it's important to keep track of where each of your downline is in terms of their goals, sales, and areas they excel and struggle.  Remember, you recruited them, it's up to you to lead and train them to be successful. 

 Day 30

Get yourself a self inking or rubber stamp made up with your website URL and contact info on it! Stamp everything. Not only does this save you time but you will be more apt to stamp everything and anything if it ONLY takes a second to do it!

Finally, Don't forget to stay positive, and keep working on your business. 

Best of Luck!

xoxo Cam

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Worst Case Scenarios

I am willing to admit that I have a problem.  I seem to be addicted to the finding out the absolute worst that could have happen...

First..  I have to go into detail about my last few weeks... because I'm a drama queen and I can't help myself.

I got sick.  I had the flu.  :(  no fun.. but honestly other than that I didn't feel overly sick...  really tired, aches and pain, cough... typical flu symptoms, right? 

About 3 days into it I started to develop some breathing difficulty on my right side.  Nothing to be too concerned about, but as I had been getting progressively worse throughout the day, I decided I'd rather head to the hospital at 7pm and see if they could give me a breathing treatment or something rather than waiting until 2am when I expect it would have been much worse...

So Andy takes me to the ER and literally drops me off at the curb and goes home.  I thought he was just parking the car and was going to come in, but honestly not a big deal.  The ER doctor was a little on the cocky side, chastised me for not getting a flu shot, and set me up for some morphine and fluids, after which he intended to send me home... and I intended to go home.

As soon as they gave me the morphine...  AH!! oh my heck, I totally get how people can become addicted to that stuff.  Immediate relief from the pain and chills, and I fell straight to sleep. 

That's when the problems started.  My blood pressure dropped to 80/40 and oxygen saturation from 98% to 72%.  The ER Doctor got a little more serious, a little more confused.  Took me for a CAT scan, and found pneumonia. I have never had pneumonia...  in fact, the last time I even recall having the flu I was in high school.  The bacteria from the flu had gotten into my blood stream.  Oh and yes, I also tested positive for the flu, which is unrelated to the pneumonia.

From Wikipedia:

Sepsis and septic shock are potential complications of pneumonia. Sepsis occurs when microorganisms enter the bloodstream and the immune system responds by secreting cytokines. Sepsis most often occurs with bacterial pneumonia; Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause. Individuals with sepsis or septic shock need hospitalization in an intensive care unit. They often require intravenous fluids and medications to help keep their blood pressure from dropping too low. Sepsis can cause liver, kidney, and heart damage, among other problems, and it often causes death.

My timing could not have been any better.  If I had waiting to go to the hospital things would have been much more serious.

My second day in the hospital was not going well.  Anytime I stood up I went into Tachycardia...  heart rate jumps way up to try and supply enough oxygen.  My nurse... oh heaven help her...  was briefing the night staff nurse at the end of her shift...  right outside my open door.  She's telling him about my current status and then says I'm either going to completely crash tonight or start to turn around.  If I had been able to use my voice and lungs I would have said... "I CAN HEEEEEAR YOU..."

Long story short, I did start to turn around that night.  The hospital pumped so much fluid into my body to maintain my heart rate that I literally was carrying 24lbs of water retention.  Seriously...  I looked ridiculous, and was sooooo incredibly uncomfortable.  I finally got off the oxygen, and my blood pressure was getting back to the normal safe range. 

Finally after 4 days I got to go home!  The treating physician at the hospital offered to let me stay another night.. but um, no thank you.  It's impossible to rest in the hospital.

Another week and a half of recovery at home and I'm finally starting to feel human.  Still very tired, still don't have the full capacity of my lungs.  But my vital organs are all begin to function normally again. (yay!!)

This whole things was WEIRD.  Shocking weird.  I had just had a doctors appointment a month earlier and was healthy as ever.  I'm in good shape and have a pretty good immune system.  I rarely get sick, and usually recover quickly.  I saw my doctor again today, and he kept saying, "I know I shouldn't be laughing, because this was really serious, it's just so surprising..."  When he first got the notification from the hospital of my condition he had to double check the information. 

Anyway, I definitely do not ever want to relive the past few weeks. 

Back to worst case scenarios...  I can't help it.. as soon as I started to feel better I had to start researching everything that was wrong with me...  how sick was I really?...  could I have died?... what are the odds someone in my condition would get this?... If I hadn't gone to the hospital when I did what would have happened?... how much would my condition have deteriorated?

Just how lucky was I really??

I also have a runny tally of how many times I would have likely died if I had lived 100 years ago.  It's up to 5 now...  just so you know.

I remember all my worst case stats for all my serious illnesses or hospitalizations..

Am I alone here?  Do other people obsess about this stuff?  While I was still sick I texted a friend of mine with some fatality rates for my current illness. 

Her response, classic:  "Quit scaring yourself...  everything is fatal."

Hey, you just minimized my near death experience... aren't you impressed I pulled through alive?


I'm a freaking miracle of nature and science.

I'm a freaking something...