Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Direct Sales: 5 Tips for Making the Most of Events

The Fortune is in the Follow….THROUGH

As many of you head out to fairs, festivals and events this season, I would like to remind everyone that the fortune in our business does not just lie in the follow-up….it is in the follow through!

In talking with a coaching client this week, she commented that she had done the follow-up phone call to a customer and was “gonna” mail her a new catalog. My question to her was “When is GONNA?” She had talked with the prospect three days earlier and still had not mailed the catalog.  The follow-up was spot on…the follow through was missing the mark.

Be on target with follow up and follow through - 
Set Yourself Apart From the Rest for Success

A key to successful events is not just in getting a box full of leads, but is in the follow-up and follow through with these leads in a very timely manner.  “Very timely” meaning within 48 hours…or sooner when possible.

These actions alone will set you apart from 80% of the other vendors.

In a nutshell, here are five tips for having successful events:
  1. Before starting any event, have a plan.  Be sure you set (and write out) realistic goals for the event so you can evaluate it. Did it met your goals, needs and expectations?  Note that going into an event to get “name recognition” or “product exposure” means you don’t expect any monetary gain. Don’t be disappointed when you hit that goal!
  2. Be prepared for the event.  This will vary greatly on your product, company and goals.  At minimum be sure to have a way to collect prospective client, customer, etc information.  Include asking, “What is the best way to reach you?”  TEXT, EMAIL, FACEBOOK, PHONE, etc.
  3. Contact every lead within 48 hours of the event. Preferably this is by their “best way“…but if needed it can be an email sent to everyone (privately — no CC) thanking them for visiting your booth and you will be in touch soon. If you did a drawing, this is a great time to announce the winner such as “Mary C from Appletown won our grand prize.” Including a picture of your booth in the email or a link to your Facebook business page with a picture there is a great way to stay fresh in their minds.
  4. Follow up with each lead using their “best way” as soon as possible.  HOT leads should be followed up with immediately. Personalized follow up is key to developing the long-term relationship and even securing the initial sales.
  5. Follow through as promised. This seems to be the step that is overlooked.  Once you have made the initial follow up, be sure to provide the information or future contact the prospect needs.  Do not wait two or three days to mail a catalog. Have packets pre-made or materials ready to assemble as you make the follow up calls.  Mail, email, Facebook information as you commit to doing so.
Following those five tips will help you make the most of every event and build your success.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Direct Sellers: 3 Ways to Boost Your Creativity and Stay Ahead in Your Business

As a direct seller, you know how important keeping your business fresh and exciting is to attracting and keeping hosts and customers. As a Director of Field Development with over 20 years in the direct selling industry, I understand the need for keeping creativity flowing and have found articles which offer insights and tips on growing and maintaining creativity.

In an NPR (National Public Radio) article, “Wish You Were More Creative” , Dr David Fessell, professor of radiology at the University of Michigan Medical School, explains that emerging science is finding that creativity isn’t inherent but can be learned, practiced and improved. Dr. Fessell sites specific MRI scans of the brain are unlocking the secrets to creativity. They are finding that creativity is not due to some people having different parts of the brain but rather they have learned to improve creativity with practice. The ways to improve creativity are both common and uncommon and could be utilized by direct sellers to boost their creativity.

Travis Bradberry, Co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, examined the habits of highly creative people and outlined his findings in the article “ 6 Unusual Habits of Exceptionally Creative People”,  in Entrepreneur. Bradberry examined habits of creative writers and found several common factors that lead to their creative success. These included exercise, having a schedule and learning to work anywhere, anytime. Bradberry summarizes his findings that creative people are intentional and don’t stop their creativity from flowing.

Creativity is not a gift of the few but can be enhanced and developed by all. To increase your activity, try the following actions:

  • Get active – Physical exercise and active, such as taking walks enhances creativity. Take a brisk walk before setting down to work on your business ideas.
  •  Start early – Studies find we are most creative before daily tasks take over. Set aside one morning to write out your ideas before the bustle of the day begins. Let your creativity flow and write down every idea.
  • Play games – Simply improv games develop quick thinking and deeper thinking skills.

If you are looking to grow your business, out of the box thinking can have a huge impact. Increase your creativity by taking these actions today!

Marian (Brown) Smith is Director of Field Development with a DSA member Direct Selling Company. She has over 20 years in the direct selling industry both in the field and corporately. She is also a Certified Vision Board and Life Coach.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Creative Thinkers: 3 Ways to Organize Your Thoughts and Ideas with Spreadsheets

“First comes the thought; then organization of that thought into ideas and plans;
then transformation of those plans into reality.
The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination”
~Napolean Hill

As entrepreneurs we are full of ideas! Our thoughts are often free-flowing and mind-blowing! Most of us also struggle with getting these ideas firmed out and completed.

If you are like me, you have several brilliant ideas in various forms of completion. You also then may suffer with the disappointment of not completing your idea or seeing someone else act on a similar idea first.

Here are three ways to use spreadsheets to keep your creative ideas on target and task.

  • Use spreadsheets to create and track your projects and "to do" lists
  • Use spreadsheets to delegate, collaborate and track projects
  • Use spreadsheets to prioritize your tasks

Photo credit flicker.com Photo by Glen Forde

What I have found to be useful is keeping a “Project List” or “Pending List” in spreadsheet form. I have found this list to be a great time and energy saver. I create a list in a spreadsheet. Simply list the project and then keep track of the various tasks that need to be done.

Make notes of dates, delegations and progress on each task or step if as it is broken down. This keeps notes and progress neatly in one place and easy for reference. Add specific tasks to your daily “To Do” list and then move on.

For example, if you want to create a newsletter for your team, you could quickly use the spreadsheet to organize your thoughts and the tasks involved. By outlining what needs to be done, you can break it up into smaller, daily tasks and have a completed newsletter ready to send within your deadline. By letting the idea fly around in your head, chances are your newsletter will never get sent.

Another advantage to a spreadsheet is the its ability to be shared with others who may be working on projects with you. A mastersheet can be created with various tabs for delegated actions.

Using the spreadsheet method also allows for prioritizing of tasks and ideas using the A, B, C, D method detailed by Steven Covey in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Tabs can be labeled with "Important & Urgent", "Important but not Urgent", "Urgent but not Important" and "Not Important and Not Urgent".  Assigning ideas and tasks to the tabs will help to focus and organize your creative ideas and tasks.

Spreadsheets with their multiple tabs can be a quick and easy way to organize your ideas and tasks.

Take the time to organize and prioritize your thoughts and work. Your success depends on it!

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