WHO'S READY TO PARTY?
You definitely want to get in on these parties.
Each Smart Party has multiple vendors, games, prizes and an outstanding atmosphere to enjoy. Click on the link to see the latest parties that are scheduled as of today. http://www.asmartparty.com/live-parties.html.
Check back tomorrow for additional updates.
Smart Party is always getting new parties ready for you. If your an Independent Consultant or just LOVE to shop. This is where it all happens.
by Fred Bendaña and John Schnettgoecke
Adapting to a Changing Environment“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
We’ve entered a new era—one that requires both adaptability and flexibility above all else.We’re currently experiencing one of the most disruptive shifts in business since the 1950s. Brian Solis, highly regarded author, marketer and futurist, has famously said that we’ve entered the era of “Digital Darwinism”—or a time when technology and society are moving faster than most organizations’ ability to adapt. Put more simply—“nature’s way of weeding out the average business.”
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing most businesses—direct selling organizations, in particular—is that of velocity. Velocity refers to the notion that the external environment now changes at a faster rate than an organization’s ability to adapt. This raises questions of relevance and focus as direct selling organizations prioritize where to invest their resources.
What’s more, there is now a stark generational gap between baby boomers and millennials—who are now starting to enter their 30s and outnumber boomers and Gen Xers by millions. For the first time in history, the shift in buying power lies with these “digital natives,” individuals who’ve literally grown up during the digital age. Most direct selling organizations now face a similar challenge—how do you unlock the hearts, minds and wallets of this massive group of consumers?
Direct sales has the opportunity to “set the standard” in a new era of one-to-one marketing.This type of opportunity requires the ability to intimately understand the constantly evolving needs of the salesforce, relevantly market to an ever-changing consumer, improve efficiencies between distributors and consumers, effectively manage brand requirements in never-before-seen consumer channels, and provide a superior experience throughout the entire value chain.
The direct selling space has always placed a premium on high-impact messaging delivered via unique, storytelling mediums. New technologies have created a shift in power from supplier to consumer. Mediums have evolved—from print media, including catalogs and direct mail, to digital technologies, including web, email, e-commerce, push and text messaging, short codes, and digital coupons that can all be accessed anytime and anywhere.
Direct sales organizations must find new and non-traditional ways to both grow and foster meaningful relationships in places where messages are most likely to be heard and received. Very simply, direct sellers must do a better job leveraging technology to more effectively attack this massive opportunity.
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing most businesses is that of velocity, which refers to the notion that the external environment now changes at a faster rate than an organization’s ability to adapt.Start with a shift in thinking—treat technology like a product, not an “add on.”Most organizations can start by changing their thinking. Instead of treating technology as an “add on,” treat technology as a product. Thinking of technology as a product requires a different mindset—and, depending on the circumstances, a unique building process. When done right, organizations balance a build versus buy mentality, resulting in productive, technology-driven experiences that produce results.
Identify your objectives, then start focusing on five, immediate opportunity areas.The exact starting points for most direct sellers will be dictated by a variety of custom variables, including business prioritization, financial feasibility, and existing tools and systems, just to name a few. Nevertheless, most direct sellers (if they haven’t already) should immediately begin to think how technology could augment existing processes or systems in order to:
When compared to other industries, direct sellers have been slower to both pilot and adopt new and emerging technologies up until this point. Those that make a concerted investment in technology will put themselves in the best position to reap the rewards and remain relevant. Heed Darwin’s advice—adapt, flex and embrace digitally driven opportunities.
Fred Bendaña is Senior Vice President at Creative Producers Group, and John Schnettgoecke is Senior Product Owner at RevUnit. Creative Producers Group is a creative and experiential engagement agency, specializing in brand experiences and distributor engagement. RevUnit is a product-focused digital agency who helps clients innovate faster and on smaller budgets through the latest product development techniques. Creative Producers Group and RevUnit are members of the Nitrous Effect, a cross-agency collaboration across marketing disciplines that delivers powerful brand solutions. To learn more, visit www.nitrouseffect.com.
by Renee and Don Martin
Finding the right niche to serve or spotting a new trend before anyone else may seem like hunting for a needle in a haystack. But learn how to do these things and you'll beat the competition every time. Learn how other entrepreneurs put these and other secret weapons to work in this excerpt from The Risk Takers by Renee and Don Martin.
Authors of The Risk Takers: 16 Women and Men Who Built Great Businesses Share Their Entrepreneurial Strategies For Success
Whether you're considering starting your own business -- or looking for ways to expand an existing enterprise -- there are three time-tested secret weapons you can use to help gain a sharp competitive edge. These weapons are three broad business strategies that can help you to create a new business or push your company to the next level of success:
If you adopt these strategies as your entrepreneurial mantras, so to speak, you're more likely to identify and take advantage of real opportunities to expand your company's product line and customer base. The stories of America's highest-achieving entrepreneurs prove that applying these strategies in imaginative, clever and timely ways can help catapult a small start-up to the status of industry leader.
© 2010 Renee & Don Martin, author of The Risk Takers: 16 Women and Men Who Built Great Businesses Share Their Entrepreneurial Strategies For Success
Author Bios Don Martin epitomizes the rags-to-riches entrepreneur success story. Raised in poverty in a small town in the Ohio Valley, over the next four decades he founded and built the largest privately held insurance brokerage in California: Cal-Surance. Ranked in the top fifty of insurance brokerages in the U.S., Cal-Surance generated over $200 million in annual revenue. Renee Martin was a dynamic real estate broker when she switched careers entirely, to work in community service. She became a rape counselor, a court-appointed special advocate for The Children's Court (CASA), a director of community relations of a child abuse crisis center, and a public relations spokesperson for many community organizations. After publication of the book, she and Don coauthored, The Survival Guide for Women, she became a frequent and popular speaker at women's seminars across the country. The Martins also collaborated on TeamThink: Using the Sports Connection to Develop, Motivate, and Manage a Winning Business Team. They live in Palos Verdes, California. For more information, please visit www.RiskTakersBook.com.
You spend a lot of time and money drawing people to you. Don't drive them away before you make the sale.
No matter how many visitors you are able to attract to you, there are still ways to lose them before making a sale. Below are the top ways to lose a paying customer.
1. Point of Contact - When your customers have a question they want to be able to easily contact you. For example many websites display their email address, phone number, or a link to their contact information either in their menu or at the top/bottom of their website, which makes it easy to find.
2. Hidden Pricing - Customers want to have all of the necessary information before they make a purchase. Make sure your prices are available up front. When customers have to dig for pricing information, there's a good chance that they will get frustrated, give up and leave.
3. Customer Service - You can set your business apart from all the rest by offering fast, friendly and helpful service to your customers. Try to respond to emails and phone calls within twenty-fours hours. Smile while you type or talk on the phone because your customers will hear the it in your voice and respond back.
4. Follow-up - If your customer asks a question about a product or service, follow up within 48 hours to see if they have further questions. Many times this follow-up can lead to a sale. Neglecting follow-up can lose you customers.
5. Spam - If you offer a newsletter or other type of mailing list, be careful with what you send to your subscribers. Avoid mailings that look like spam. Choose a template that works for you and that will be recognizable to your readers.
6. Professional Conduct - In the business world it's important that you're professional, especially when dealing with difficult clients. It's imperative to be kind, courteous and take care of business. Refrain from any type of name calling or blame placing. Stand up for your business in a professional manner and treat your customers with respect at all times. Remember the old adage - the customer is always right.
7. Payment Options/Security - Customers want to know that they can trust you with their financial information. Have a payment provider that offers a secure way to transit orders and credit card information. If possible, offer more than one payment option to give your customers the ability to choose how they will pay.
Creating a customer-friendly base isn't as simple as one might think. There are many aspects to consider and the consultant must choose carefully or risk losing sales. Avoid these no-no's and make your company into a successful business venture.
The Art of Self Expression
Make your space a reflection of the unique individual you are. Whether you identify with a deeply motivational thought, a beautiful embellishment, a bold image, or a combination of these, Uppercase Living® expressions let you be who you are and let you express that uniqueness in your surroundings. We call this the art of self expression
Join My Team
- Heather A. - Senior Director
Uppercase Living is a fantastic place to start a new career. You can be involved as much as you want. Whether you’re looking for a flexible full-time gig or something fun to do to supplement income in your spare time, being an Uppercase Living Demonstrator is totally inspirational. If you’d like to learn more about this uplifting career, browse through the Starter Kit options below, then contact an Uppercase Living Demonstrator today!
Starter Kit OptionsBusiness Opportunity Kit $49: The Business Opportunity Starter Kit includes $50 in Living Rewards product credits, a one-year subscription to your Uppercase Living Demonstrator website ($59.95 value), and a sample of the latest catalogs and other supporting materials. This is a quick and easy way to get started as an Uppercase Living Demonstrator today!
Uppercase Executive $199: This starter kit has everything you need to get your business off to a fast start right away. It is packed with product samples, catalogs, brochures, accessory items, and many of the top selling vinyl expressions offered by Uppercase Living. The Executive Starter Kit also includes a one-year subscription to your personal website and has a value of over $550.
Business Tools and Support Once you've started your career with Uppercase Living, you'll have a whole world of new tools to help you support your business. Upon enrolling you will receive your own Demonstrator website. It's a great place to send customers who want to start shopping. You'll also get access to UL Express, our online Demonstrator support portal.
All about Do You Bake?
We LOVE Food. All kinds. Sweet stuff, spicy stuff, fun stuff, amazing stuff, ethnic stuff. Yep, you could say we just love it all. Our passion for food is seen each and every day in our DYB? Kitchens. Always creating and developing new and exciting meals, sweets and flavor inspirations. We don’t stop until it is just perfect.
We are built by and for our Ambassadors and our Customers. Their love for food keeps us motivated on a daily basis to continue to create YUMMY options with real ingredients.
Thanks for sharing a spot in your pantry with us! We hope to inspire your next culinary adventure!
Are you looking for a direct sales company to join?
A NEW LIFESTYLE. Choose your house, be your own boss, and YUMMY up your world with amazing food products.
We are all about real people, real food. Our products never have preservatives, chemicals, dyes, colorings or any other additives.
There are so many ways to build this versatile business. Bring a casual gourmet experience home. Fill your pantries with delicious options. Improve your culinary experience and develop your own food or culinary point of view to share with your friends, family and customers.
HOW DOES DO YOU BAKE? HELP ME SUCCEED?
We support you each and every step of the way!
Here are four tips for anyone considering going into direct selling for fun and profit:
1. Keep in mind that direct sales involves selling. Obvious, right? Actually, though, many people attracted to the lifestyle benefits of direct sales seem to forget this.
If you’re shy or would feel uneasy asking your friends or family to purchase products or help host parties, this is not the best career choice for you.
Remember, too, that direct selling requires quite a bit of behind-the-scenes work. You’ll need to place product orders, attend training sessions, recruit distributors and handle the paperwork that comes with running a business.
2. Look for the right company with the right products for you. Select one that offers quality goods you can get excited about selling. Be sure it has a good reputation, along with rigorous training programs and a compensation plan that will reward you fairly for your efforts.
The Direct Selling Association’s website is a good place to learn about firms. Its roughly 200 members must abide by the group’s code of ethics. At this site, you can search by the name of a company or a product or service category.
Do an Internet search to find out the buzz about a company and whether its sellers or regulators have reported problems. After running a search for recent articles and blog posts, do another one using the company’s name and words like “scam” or “complaint.”
3. Read the fine print. You’ll want to learn how much you’ll pay in start-up costs and ongoing expenses before agreeing to become a company rep. The average starter kit for a Direct Selling Association member company is $99, but some firms charge much more, especially those with expensive inventory, like high-end fashion companies.
In addition, you might be required to pay membership fees or maintain a certain level of sales to continue receiving your consultant discount.
Be sure to get the company’s compensation plan and refund policy in writing.
4. Ask questions – lots of them. The FTC has an excellent online list of queries for the person who'd be your sponsor or for other distributors. A few examples:
If you don't get satisfactory responses, this direct selling company should be a "no sale" for you.
CHECK THESE OUT
You must absolutely make it to these parties. Great Themes! Great Companies! Great Consultants! Games & Prizes galore! Meet new people, new companies and make awesome friends with this weekends SMART PARTY EVENTS!
March 14th: SMART PARTY BRINGS YOU "CASINO NIGHTS"
(March 14th at 1:00pm to March 18th at 4:00pm in CST)
The Sponsor and Host: Crystal Metz with Do You Bake?: Doyoubake.com/cmetz
Host: Dolores Everett with Nerium AD: www.nerium.com/dolruns
Host: Lizz Neal with Younique: youniqueproducts.com/shoppingwithlizz/products/landing
Host: Jenni Moon with Uppercase Living: Http://jennshomedecor.uppercaseliving.net
March 14th: SPRING FORWARD WITH SMART PARTY
(March 14th at 3:30 pm to March 18th at 6:30 pm in CST)
The Sponsor: Aymee Myers with Pink Zebra: Www.pinkzebrahome.com/Aymeelynn
Host: Lynn Pistacchio with Younique: www.lynnslashenvy.com
Host: Jamonica Abston with Thirty One: www.mythirtyone.com/JamonicaD
Host: Barb Yaden Meekhof with Monat: www.barbm.mymonat.com
March 14th: SMART PARTY PRESENTS SNOOPY'S EASTER FUN
(March 14th at 6:00pm to March 18th at 9:00pm in CST)
The Sponsor: Aymee Myers with Pink Zebra: Www.pinkzebrahome.com/Aymeelynn
Host: Julia Gonzalez with Jewel Scent: www.jewelscent.com/JulieRecinos
Host: Barbara Ortiz with Mary Kay: www.marykay.com/bortiz6975
Host: Tanya Benson with Pampered Chef: http://www.pamperedchef.com/.../guest-landing/8907251432603
March 15th: SMART PARTY PRESENTS LUCK OF THE IRISH
(March 14th at 3:30 pm to March 18th at 6:30 pm in CST)
The Sponsor: Anne Nace with Linen World: www.mylinenworld.com/annenace
Host: Heather Friedman with Perfectly Posh: perfectlyposh.com/heatherfriedman
Host: Melissa Decker with Pink Zebra: http://www.pinkzebrahome.com/melissadecker
Host: Patti Giese with Tastefully Simple: http://www.tastefullysimple.com/web/pgiese
Host: Lisa MacKenzie with Keep Collective: www.keep-collective.com/with/lisamackenzie
Opportunity Time from your SMART PARTY News!!
Hello and good evening. This is Erik Boh with your breaking Smart Party News.
It has come to our attention that there are a lot of people out there looking for a direct sales company that they can call home. With all the different companies and offers out there they are having a difficult time deciding which way to go.
So here is you assignment Consultants. If you are interested in having people contact you, PLEASE leave your information here for a quick directory of sorts for the new entrepreneurs of the world. I would leave a brief description about you, your company and your company link as well to help the investigating folks out.
Thank You for your attention. You may now continue with your regularly scheduled evening.
Most of us think we treat our customers very well. We thank them when they place an order, some of us (I admit, I don’t ) send handwritten thank you notes to every customer or make follow up phone calls to each one. Those are excellent touches (I am a HUGE fan of the handwritten thank you note in this electronic era).
However, some people smother their customers. And when you do so, you repel them, because you make it totally clear that they are a dollar sign to you.
I have always been very low-key about my business, and more interested in making friends. My friends know what I sell–if they want what I sell, they’ll let me know. I have made thousands of friends through my direct sales businesses, and learned the past year that many of them are very loyal to ME, not the product I sell. I literally had a hostess tell everyone at her party a couple weeks ago that she’d still have a party with me no matter what I sell. In fact, the actual quote (which I recorded, since it made me laugh) was, “I don’t care what crap she’s selling, I just want Joyce to come to my house to sell it.” The same hostess was gracious enough to see I was exhausted and had a two hour drive home and volunteered her spare bedroom for me to use. That’s not just a hostess…that’s a great friend as well, who I met through a party several years ago.
You build loyalty by NOT treating people like a dollar sign, but instead by actually caring about them and building friendships. You will naturally gravitate to some people, and they will gravitate to you. Build friendships. Friendships are so much more important than a one-time sale, and I guarantee you, your friends will spread the word about your business. Friends are a “team” of two with you. Even if they are not having parties with you right now, or buying from you right now, when they hear someone asking if anyone knows someone who sells what you sell, your name will be the one they pass on. Don’t be so quick to go for the immediate dollar and smother people with constant reminders about what you sell–show people that you care about them for THEM, not for their wallet.
I see examples of this on Facebook all the time. In fact, one exchange inspired this post. A former hostess/customer of mine posted a beautiful picture of herself out at a festival. I posted that she looked great, that I had sent her a message, and had some hilarious gossip for her the next time we talked. The next post was from another direct seller, who right away had to make reference to the necklace she was wearing, naming the brand (she sells that brand). Ironically, I sold the gal the necklace. I have to admit, I grimaced when I read her post, and just shook my head. Why not compliment her on her great hair color, beautiful smile, or how much fun she looked like she was having? You look like a total business vulture when the only thing you post to her is about the product that you sell. It just looks desperate and makes her like like a dollar sign to you.
It would be the same if a mom posted a picture of her kid crossing the plate scoring the winning run at his baseball game, and the 31 Gifts lady only commenting on one of her companies bags in the bleachers in the background. Tacky, right? Or if someone posted a Pinterest-perfect picture of a cake they just baked/decorated and the Tupperware lady only commenting on how great the storage container she has the cake in is. Everyone else reading it would be instantly turned off by both those reps, and possible their products as a result.
I always tell the gals on my team to not be like the obnoxious uncle in the family who sells insurance and bugs everyone at family holiday gatherings to buy insurance from him. Everyone KNOWS, what he does. If they want his insurance, they’ll come to him. By him constantly shoving it in their faces, they avoid him.
It’s the same with direct sellers and our customers. Remind them every so often what you do, but don’t make your relationship with them ALL about you and your business, or you will have NO relationship. I have people who had parties with me seven years ago who have not bought from me in years, but we are still friends. They know what I do. And the LAST thing I am going to do is go up to them, smell them and say, “Oh, you need some custom-scented body butter.” Can you IMAGINE? UGH. When they want some, they’ll let me know. In the meantime, I will keep showing them indirectly how fun my business is, and they are welcome to join in the fun any time they want to.
I guarantee you, if you treat people well, care about THEM, and not their wallets, you will have a lot more friends, and eventually be in a situation where most of the time, when you go to “work”, you are just spending several hours with good friends. Not many people can say that, so count your blessings when you can, and lay the foundation by treating everyone like a friend, not a dollar sign.
By Joyce Moravec Foy on May 27, 2014
By popular demand from my friends who do not like to visit the Smart Parties this was made just for you. No game, No crazy Facebook rules.
24/7 Shopping. Just a 1 stop shop for all your shopping needs. Smart Party now has it's own Website. Please go check out our NEW Smart Party SHOPPING MALL. We have many companies that you have grown up with like Avon and Tupperware and many new companies like Jewel Scent, Jamberry, Country Hearts Gifts, Linen World, Younique and so much more. Just like any mall. Food, Shoes, Clothes, Jewelry, Make-up. We have it all! Check us out for new stores opening soon and for weekly deals at www.asmartparty.com
Deciding on a direct sales business was the easy part…now it’s time to market your new business and find customers. But where do you start? Finding new customers can be a daunting task if you start telling everybody you know and anyone you meet. Trying to tell everyone about your business can be exhausting.
Why you ask?
Everybody is not a potential customer – contrary to popular belief, you should not try to market your business to anyone that’s breathing or has a checkbook. In order to be successful and manage your time and marketing expenses efficiently, you really need to find a “niche” of potential customers.
Finding out who really needs or can use your product is the key to finding customers quickly. By targeting your marketing efforts to find the people who are best suited to use your products, you maximize your chances of them needing the product and therefore, buying the product or hosting a party.
For example: let’s say you sell jewelry, what kind of jewelry do you sell? Does it appeal to a younger generation or the successful business woman? Is it reasonably priced or is it high fashion and it costs a little more?
Now that you have identified what kind of product you sell, who could use it? Or a better question to ask is who doesn’t need it? When you ask yourself “who” needs your product, you are identifying a group of people who could benefit from your products and services.
Once you’ve identified who can use your product, it’s time to start making a list of people to contact. This will get you started on finding customers quickly.
You can start with the F.R.A.N.K. list: Friends, Relatives, Acquaintances, Neighbors and Kids associations. Now that you have a list of the people you know, prioritize them based on who needs your product – think about how you can make things easier for them. Identify what problem your product solves so that you can create a targeted conversation piece to introduce your new business.
Example: “Hi Sally, this is Julie. How are you doing? How are the kids? I was thinking about you today because Spring Break is coming up and I know you are going to California for your brother’s wedding. When we talked last week, you mentioned that you didn’t have any nice jewelry to wear with your dress for the dance. I thought you might still need some jewelry to finish off your wardrobe for the different events and I just started selling xxx jewelry and we’ve got some great pieces for day wear and evening wear. When would be a good day to stop by and drop off a catalog with some recommendations?”
Using this type of script helps you to introduce your new product in a way that will help the person you talked to. By offering personal shopping services to help your friend get what they need, you are offering more of a service rather than just trying to sell something.
People want to do business with people they know, like and trust. So if someone already knows you and realizes that you have taken time to listen to their needs, they will be more receptive to what you have to offer. The key to that script is personalizing it to your style of conversation and tailoring it to each person’s needs. Here are the 3 components you need:
Here are some other ways to find customers for your new direct sales business:
Smart Party had another couple of successful parties this weekend that produced another group of winners. Let's give them a great big hand and congratulations.
From the Party on March 7th "Hip Hop Over to Easter":
Jenae McGehee won a prize from Anne Nace with Spirit Lockets
Kim Avery won a prize from Jennifer Mayhew with Initials Inc.
Kimberly Beasley-Milan won a prize from DeAnna Clark with Magnolia & Vine
Sherrie Herman won a prize from Barbara Ortiz with Mary Kay
Kim Avery scored a huge second prize by winning the overall Door Prize as well.
From the Party on March 8th "Room Full of Treasures":
Brenda Oldaker won a prize from Julia Gonzalez with Younique
Dominique Lauck won a prize from Jackie Bridges with Thirty One
Jenae McGehee won a prize from Misty Gilbert with H&G Crafts
Crystal Metz won a prize from Aymee Myers with Young Living
Tamara Ayers won the great Door Prize.
We have 4 incredible companies and consultants ready for you today. We have Perfectly Posh, Younique, Thirty One and Young Living at the ready for you. Please come and visit them and enjoy the games and prizes.
March 8th: SMART PARTY PRESENTS "ROOM FULL OF TREASURES"
(March 8th at 6:00pm to March 11 at 9:00pm in CST)
The Sponsor: Heather Friedman with Perfectly Posh: Perfectlyposh.com/heatherfriedman.com
Host: Julia Gonzalez with Younique: www.youniqueproducts.com/JulieRecinos
Host: Jackie Bridges with Thirty One: mythirtyone.com/494979
Host: Aymee Myers with Young Living: Www.youngliving.org/Aymeelynn
Smart Party brings you ~ Hip Hop over to Easter with 4 great Direct Sales Consultants. The companies that will be showing products today will be Initials Inc, Spirit Lockets, Mary Kay and Magnolia and Vine.
Our Party Starts At
1:30pm Pacific , 2:30pm Mountain, 3:30pm Central, 4:30pm Eastern
Your Sponsor: Jennifer Mayhew with Initials Inc: www.myinitials-inc.com/jennmayhew
Host: Anne Nace with Spirit Lockets: www.spiritlockets.com/#SpiritLocketswithAnne
Host: Barbara Ortiz with Mary Kay: www.Marykay.com/bortiz6975
Host: DeAnna Clark with Magnolia and Vine: www.mymagnoliaandvine.com/DEANNACLARK/frm_event_my_events.aspx
MYTH #1:99.9% of direct sellers lose money; people are afraid to drop out for fear of looking like a failure
More than half of direct sellers report that their net income from direct selling, after taxes and expenses, is positive. In addition, a positive net income is reported by nearly half of new direct sellers — those representing their current company for less than a year — and by nearly half of direct sellers who say that they are not very likely or not at all likely to continue in direct selling in the future. In addition, research shows the following:
This myth is also quite interesting because it essentially asserts that 15.6 million people in the US and 92 million people around the world continue as direct sellers despite losing money. Are we to believe the 5% of the US population would continue in a business where they are losing money? Simply put, most people do not lose money in direct selling. Neither the facts nor common sense supports that theory. Further, anyone who gets involved with a legitimate direct selling company should not risk financial loss by doing so. The Direct Selling Association’s Code of Ethics, for example, is designed to protect direct sellers and their customers. Inventory buybacks (which include sales aids) and other provisions allow sellers recourse if there’s an issue with the company – no one should lose money in direct selling, nor should anyone feel like a failure if it doesn’t work out for them.
MYTH #2:Most direct selling companies are pyramid schemes that are doomed to fail.
There’s a big difference between legitimate direct selling companies and pyramid schemes. Pyramid schemes seek to make money from you (and quickly). Legitimate direct selling companies seek to make money with you as you build your business (and theirs) by selling real products and services.In fact, legitimate direct selling companies work hard to protect consumers from pyramid schemes. Before you sign up with a company, investigate carefully. A good way to begin is to ask yourself these three questions:
MYTH #3:Recruiting is the key to success in direct selling; sales to end-users of the products and services are minimal
There’s no doubt – recruiting is an important element of direct selling – just as expansion is important to any business that wants to grow. For direct sellers looking to build a business, recruiting others and mentoring them so they, too, can achieve their goals is important. But, recruiting is not a requirement for individual success in direct selling, and compensation must always based on the sale of products and services – whether your own sales or the sales made by your recruits.Consider the following: Thirty-four percent of direct sellers do not earn money from the sales of others, but just from their own personal sales. (Source: 1999 National Salesforce Survey, MORPACE International, Inc.)And what about those customers? It is true that most direct sellers are also consumers of the products and services they sell – for many they got involved after having already used the products, and some get involved just to buy those products at a discount.But, half (50%) of U.S. adults purchase products or services using the direct-selling retail channel during any given year. That’s roughly equivalent to 150 million people in the US alone who make at least one purchase from a direct selling company in a 12-month period. When you consider there are 15.6 million direct sellers in the US, that leaves a lot of customers who aren’t also direct sellers. (Source: 2004 General Public Attitudes Toward Direct Selling, Burke, Inc.)
MYTH #4:The vast majority of new recruits quickly drop out
Nearly four in five (78%) direct sellers who are in direct selling for less than a year report that they are very or extremely likely to continue as a direct seller in the future. In addition, in a survey of former direct sellers, only 34% of them had a tenure in direct selling of less than one year at the time they dropped out from direct selling.
(Source: 1997 Survey of Attitudes Toward Direct Selling, Wirthlin Worldwide)
Moreover, the turnover rate of direct sellers is similar to the turnover rate of employees in the retail industry. During 2001-2003, the average annual turnover rate of direct sellers was 56%, compared to 53% for the retail industry. When considering the drop out rate, one also has to consider direct sellers who get involved for several months each year to earn extra money for family vacations, holiday gifts or other seasonal purchases. These sellers don’t “drop out” because they weren’t successful, they drop out because they achieved their goal and don’t choose to sell all year. For many, they’ll join again the next year and drop out just the same.
MYTH #5:Direct selling is an outdated method of buying and selling
More and more people are getting involved in direct selling because they enjoy the personal service that accompanies shopping this way. With hundreds of direct selling products and services to choose from, both those looking for supplemental income and those looking for a fun way to shop and socialize with friends find direct selling appealing.Home parties offer great opportunities to chat with friends in a relaxed atmosphere and browse through great products at the same time. And, you might even learn a new tip, trick or skill, or even pick up a new hobby. Many direct selling companies today emphasize education about a particular topic, taking the focus off the sale and onto having fun.Similarly, person-to-person demonstrations of products provide an opportunity to try products, talk to a knowledgeable salesperson and get personal service that only comes with direct selling.Outdated? Not at all. Today’s consumers demand high levels of personal service that many retail establishments just can’t deliver. Couple that with fun and flexibility, and you’ve got a winning combination. Direct selling is based on people so it easily changes with the times.
MYTH #6:Direct selling products are overpriced
The consumer market won’t sustain products that are overpriced for long. Competition is a powerful force and products that aren’t competitively priced won’t sell and can’t last.But for direct selling, there’s a bit more to the price equation than might immediately meet the eye.The decision to sell a product through direct selling is often based on very specific factors. For example, products that require demonstration to convey the finer points of their operation are ideal for direct selling because a knowledgeable salesperson can personally conduct that demonstration for every customer. In a traditional retail setting, consumers might not understand the product’s unique qualities based on appearance or packaging.It’s true that some direct selling products are priced at the upper end of the retail market’s acceptance level, but there is higher acceptance based on the value-added incentive of the demonstration and personal service. Lexus brand cars are also at the upper end of the retail market acceptance level, but superior performance and service after the sale make that higher price reasonable.Each customer needs to weigh the price, quality and desirability of a given product and make a purchasing decision accordingly.
MYTH #7:Direct selling companies are unregulated
Several governmental bodies, as well as the Direct Selling Association and organizations like the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators, National Consumers League and Better Business Bureau, work to protect consumers against fraud. It is an unfortunate truth that some scam artists try to masquerade as legitimate direct selling companies, making these laws and regulations necessary. Here are a few of the protections on which consumers can rely:
MYTH #8:Most companies require inventory purchasers; direct sellers who drop out are stuck with the inventory they purchased
Companies that belong to the Direct Selling Association agree to abide by a strict Code of Ethics. Among other things, the Code requires members to:
MYTH #9:If you attend a direct selling party you are expected to buy something
The only thing you have to do at a party is enjoy yourself! And the key to enjoying your shopping experience is to work with knowledgeable and friendly consultants who can tell you about products or services, answer any questions, and let you and your friends peruse the items on display or in catalogs that offer a wider selection. You’re absolutely not obligated to buy, but chances are you’ll walk out with something you’ll really enjoy.
MYTH #10:Everyone who gets involved in direct selling wants an easy way to make money
People choose to get involved in direct selling for a lot of reasons. Some hope to make it a full-time career, but most sign up to either earn a little extra money or to receive a discount on their own purchases.Legitimate direct selling companies are very careful to represent earning potential accurately. The DSA Code of Ethics requires companies and their salesforce members to provide potential independent sellers with accurate information about the company’s pay structure, products and sales methods.And no one should be fooled into thinking direct selling is a way to make money with little or no effort. Don’t be convinced by ads or people who tell you you’ll instantly make thousands of dollars just by signing up or recruiting a few people. As with any business, it takes time to establish a customer base and build a business.While direct selling is not an opportunity to get rich quick, you can be successful if you establish your goals and a plan to reach them. Legitimate direct selling opportunities offer the flexibility to set your own goals and achieve them on your own terms.
Here is an article I came across that I thought all of the Smart Party friends would be interested in. It will not work for everybody across the board. It may get you to think of your own situations though. I hope you get as much from it as I did.
Make It Easy for Customers to Choose You
by Karon Thackston
Do you know what makes your company stand out from the competition, and do you tell your visitors about it?
Isn't it frustrating? All you need is a new computer desk (or whatever you may be currently shopping for), but you can't make a decision you're comfortable with. It shouldn't be this hard, should it? What's holding you back? Probably lack of information.
Here's something every web site owner should know. When visitors come to your site, they are looking for a reason to buy from you. Think that's stating the obvious? You'd be surprised! I come across countless sites every day that do everything but give the visitor a reason to buy, subscribe, click, call or otherwise take action. It's a fatal mistake in any business, but it's especially damaging for web-based companies.
Let's continue with our example of buying a computer desk. You start with the big three office-supply stores. You click the "office furniture" link, and you're faced with a barrage of links to pages about lamps, printer stands, bookshelves and more. Then you get to the desks. Computer desks, desk collections, metal desks, workstations. geez! There are lots of links, but no information. Finally, after drudging through pages of links, you find some actual copy that describes a desk you think you might want.
You look over the features. You write down the price. You gather the shipping or delivery information. Great! Now, on to the next site.
When you arrive, everything looks almost the same except the logo. Same navigation, same links, same inventory, same prices. The shipping amount is the same, and the delivery policy is identical to the site you just came from. As you click from site to site, it's like deja vu. How are you supposed to make a decision to buy when all your options are equal? What will be the determining factor between site A and site B?
If you're feeling frustrated just reading this scenario, imagine how your site visitors feel. When they come to your site, they are looking for a clear reason to buy from you instead of all the other sites. Do you give them a reason? Do you give them several reasons?
If all factors are equal - even if all factors are similar - your visitors will find it difficult to make a decision. When they start guessing at which site would be best to buy from, you start losing business. Maybe they'll choose you, maybe they won't. There is a way to ensure you are chosen over your competition. You have to clearly point out how you are different or better than every other option available.
MarketingExperiments.com recently published their findings in regards to differentiating your company from others. They reported that most companies - when asked what their most unique aspect was - answered, "Our great customer service." I have bad news for you. That won't cut it. Why? Because, in most cases, when customers are visiting sites to gather information and make purchasing decisions, they won't come in contact with your customer service department. It would be a nonissue until something went wrong.
Also, since most businesses are claiming excellent customer service, it's an overused promise that has begun to carry less and less weight. You need something solid. You need something that is persuasive. If I were standing in front of you and told you that I was considering buying my desk from you or from Vendor Z, what would you say to convince me to buy from you? Here are some things to consider when trying to discover ways to differentiate yourself from other businesses.
Copyright 2006, Karon Thackston, All Rights Reserved
Karon is Owner and CEO of Marketing Words, Inc. who offers targeted copywriting, copy editing & ezine article services.
Staying in touch with customers is so much easier than it used to be, but if you aren't meeting your customers where they are online, you're missing the boat. Here are four ways you can use the internet to communicate with your customers.
If you’re running a retail business today, you probably already recognize that customer service needs to go beyond just setting a stack of “Tell us how we’re doing” cards at the front of your store. Whether you operate out of a brick-and-mortar location, sell online, or both, you should be using your online presence to communicate with consumers effectively. Most business owners recognize this, but not all of them are making the most of the online platforms and services available to them.
Unfortunately, if you’re one of those retailers who isn’t doing much with online tools, you definitely have competitors who are—and potential customers who are choosing the company with the better online presence.
Want to better engage with customers and improve your online presence? Try these four tips.
Create content that gets people talking. No matter how sleek your website is, you can’t just sit back and expect customers to come to you. Some people might find their way to your website on their own, especially if you’ve built up a loyal brand following, but you’re missing out on other potential customers who might love your brand—if they knew it existed.
In order to bring more potential customers to your site, produce high-quality content that can be shared in a variety of spheres: think white papers, a free downloadable e-book, posts on your company blog, guest posts on high-traffic websites, and links to interesting articles shared through social media.
And keep in mind that “high-quality content” doesn’t just mean well-worded pitches for your products. You should be sharing information that benefits your readers in some way and encourages them to comment or share that material through their own social media profiles. Creating shareable content is the best way to put your brand in front of a larger audience.
Use social media for efficient customer service. Back in the pre-internet days, customers who were dissatisfied or had a question about a product usually had to resort to calling a company’s help line or revisiting the store in person. Now Facebook and Twitter have made it easy for retailers to offer quick customer service solutions online—and consumers have come to expect that just about every business will do this.
Social media is a great customer service for retailers because it makes it easier to find out about and resolve potential problems quickly. However, it’s also a lot more public than a phone call or a handwritten note—if a customer tweets a complaint at you on Twitter, all their followers and all your followers can see. Because of this, you’ll need to regularly monitor your social media profiles and respond both promptly and professionally when you get a complaint or question. Often, a quick response and an offered solution can win over even the most irate customer.
Manage your online reputation. Are you paying attention to reviews of your store on sites? Other people certainly are. According to a survey from Dimensional Research, 90% of shoppers say they’re influenced by positive online reviews, and 86% say their purchasing decisions have been swayed by negative reviews.
Make sure that you’ve claimed your business name on major review sites (otherwise anyone can claim it) and regularly check in to see what people are saying. If a past customer posts a negative review, don’t get defensive. Just like with tweets, anyone can see an online review as well as the response, and you don’t want to come across as combative and unprofessional. Respond to the negative review with an apology and, if possible, outline what you will do to make the customer’s service better in the future.
WHAT IS SMART PARTY?
PUT SIMPLY. . . .IT'S AN AWESOME PLACE TO SHOP!!!
WE OFFER YOU, THE CUSTOMER, AN EASY PLACE TO FIND AND SHOP FROM YOUR FAVORITE STORES.
WE WOULD LIKE TO ALSO INTRODUCE YOU TO STORES THAT YOU MAY NOT OF KNOWN ABOUT, BUT IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR. SO STAY ON THE COUCH IN YOUR PJ'S AND ENJOY YOUR SHOPPING EXPERIENCE.
IF YOU ARE A VENDOR WITH A DIRECT SALES COMPANY THIS IS THE PLACE FOR YOU. WE OFFER LIVE PARTIES, A SHOPPING MALL TO POST YOU STORE AND A DISCOUNT/SPECIALS PAGE FOR YOU TO PUT YOUR CURRENT DEALS. VENDORS SHOULD CHECK OUT THE MANY OPTIONS AVAILABLE TO YOU UNDER THE VENDORS PACKAGE OPTIONS.
PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT AND BROWSE OUR WEBSITE AND VISIT THE SMART PARTY SHOPPING MALL. REMEMBER TO CHECK BACK OFTEN AS WE ARE ADDING NEW STORES ALL THE TIME.
For the Party "Sham-Rock the house":
Shawn Marie with Kitcheneez gave her prize to Melissa Bassett
Shawna Riles with Linen World gave her prize to Melissa Dunn
Aymee Myers with Pink Zebra gave her prize to Brenda Oldaker
Rosetta Slutsky with Country Heart Gifts gave her prize to Julia Gonzalez
The winner of the Door Prize was Crystal Metz.
For the Party "Once Upon a Fairytale":
Jennifer Garzo with Sass N Frass gave her prize to Mel Gish
Patti Giese with Tastefully Simple gave her prize to Kim Avery
Heather Friedman with Perfectly Posh gave her prize to Melissa Bolster
The winner of the Door Prize was Anne Nace
For the Party "Going In Like A Lion":
Crystal Metz with Sass N Frass gave her gift to Heather Friedman
Aymee Myers with Pink Zebra gave her gift to Julia Gonzalez
Susan Boh with Jewel Scent gave her prize to Lynn Pistacchio
The Winner of the Door Prize was Crystal Metz
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE WINNERS!!!!!
March 1st: SMART PARTY PRESENTS "GOING IN LIKE A LION"
(Mar 1 at 6:00pm to Mar 4 at 9:00pm in CST)
The Sponsor and Host: Mandy Rea Moyer with TruVision: www.getyourtruvisionhealth.com
Host: Crystal Metz with Sass N Frass: Sassnfrass.com/#cookiemetz
Host: Susan Boh with Jewel Scent: http://www.jewelscent.com/SMART
Host: Aymee Myers with Pink Zebra: https://www.pinkzebrahome.com/Aymeelynn
COME AND ENJOY THE FUN AND GET READY TO WIN SOME FREE PRIZES!
Erik Boh and Lynn Pistacchio are the contributors to our