Free Isn’t Necessarily A Good Price

free-starter-kitI was an image consultant in a previous life. We used to give away free makeovers as a way to generate business. At first, I thought this was a great idea, and I found it pretty easy to book these appointments. What I often found, however (probably more than 50% of the time), was that people either cancelled, rescheduled, or just plain didn’t bother to show up for the actual appointment. Sometimes they didn’t even bother to call and say they wouldn’t be there. It just wasn’t important enough to them, because the perceived value of what they were getting from me was zero and they had no investment in the appointment.

 

Do you ever wonder why people sign up for your business, buy a starter kit, and then never do anything? It happens for the same reason. The average price for a starter kit in our industry is less than $150.00 (and some companies make it easy to earn the kit for nothing). We proudly tout the fact that you can start your business for under two hundreds bucks. It’s a blessing and a curse.

 

The perceived value for someone making such a low investment is virtually non-existent, and so their commitment to their business can easily follow suit. Several years ago I was working with a Direct Sales Leadership Accelerator Coaching Program client who is a founding leader with a direct sales company called Miche Bags. She’d been with the company since it first began and had had great success. Her company abruptly moved from a distributorship model (where new representatives had to make a sizable investment in inventory in order to get started) to a pure party plan model, where the starter kit is $199.00. She was very concerned about how she’d build a strong team of intentional leaders without the commitment that comes with a large investment and she ended up quitting after diligently trying to make it work for over a year.

 

Turns out it was a fair concern. A few weeks ago, Miche closed it’s doors. From what little I know about the failure of the company, it started with that transition from high investment to low investment. The problem, as I see it, was that Miche never educated (or re-educated) their field about what they were actually selling. Whether it’s $99.00 or $1999.00 doesn’t matter because what you’re selling in any direct sales opportunity isn’t the starter kit.

 

It’s the business and the earning potential that’s represented in that kit. Most people who say “yes” to your opportunity don’t have a clue about what they’re truly getting when that box arrives on their doorstep. It’s your job, as their recruiter, to really communicate to them the true opportunity they’re holding in their hands as they begin their business.

 

Not sure how to do that? Here are a few ideas:

  • Ask them some general questions about what they love and what’s most important to them in their life so you become more familiar with their dreams and passions.
  • Ask them questions (based on that information) about what they’d like to change or improve in their lives, which gets you (and them) clear about their “why.”
  • Ask them what would change in their lives if they could improve the area of their life they’ve identified (helping them really see what’s possible with your opportunity).
  • Share with them your own and others’ success story, including pay stubs and specifics about how your opportunity has been life changing.

You have to create the value for those brand new representatives, and that starts with understanding where they’re coming from. It takes some time, but if you’re serious about building your business and growing a team of committed people, it’s essential. Get clear about what you’re really offering when you share your opportunity, and start selling that instead of your starter kit.

 

Book Yourself Solid In The Next 30 Days-BannerNeed some help filling up your calendar for the second half of 2016? Grab your complimentary copy of my “Book Yourself Solid In The Next 30 Days” roadmap. It’s yours for free when you subscribe to my mailing list. Already a member of the list? My system won’t add you twice, so go ahead and grab the roadmap anyhow. Click here to grab your roadmap now!



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Julie Anne Jones is a direct sales corporate consultant, coach, and trainer, and the CEO of Julie Anne Jones, Inc. She is known for her authentic and easy-to-use scripting and specializes in specific systems, language, and tools for success in direct sales. To learn more about Julie Anne and her products and services, and to read her weekly blog posts, visit her at www.julieannejones.com.

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5 Tips For Getting The Most Out of Your Vendor Show Booth

Vendor-eventWe’re heading into trade show and county fair season and I’ve been getting questions about effectively using these types of events to build your direct sales/home party plan business. You’ll make some kind of investment to get a booth at one of these events, and depending upon the event, it could be a sizeable one. That’s why it always amazes me when I see booth owners (especially direct sellers) totally wasting the money they’ve invested by not optimizing the opportunity.

 

I’d love to share some simple tips for how to avoid the most common pitfalls and walk away from your vendor event with a ton of leads and bookings on your calendar. Here are my top five tips:

 

1. Keep It Simple

 

Keep your display simple and eye catching. If you overload your space with too much stuff, it’s overwhelming to passers by and they may keep walking. What I’ve noticed when I attend these events is that the booth’s that have a crowd of people are generally the ones with virtually no clutter, that compel the passer by to stop and ask more about the product or service.

 

2. Draw People In

 

Make sure there’s a reason for people to stop by, and more importantly stay, at your booth. People tend to have short attention spans and there is a ton of stimulation at these events. You’re basically competing for people’s attention. Post a huge question prominently in your booth that compels people to stop and chat. I’ll give you an example. When I was an image consultant years ago I did a booth at a women’s fair and put the question, “Do You Have A Closet Full Of Clothes And Nothing To Wear?” in huge letters front and center. Every women who passed by wanted to stop and tell me how that described her and her closet. It was a great way to engage my target market in conversation.

 

3. Stay Front and Center

 

Never sit or stand behind your booth. I can’t tell you how amazed I am every year at our local county fair when I see direct sellers whom I know have paid handsomely for their booths sitting behind messy displays of their products chatting with each other or reading a book, waiting for me to step up and see if I can get their attention to ask them about their product or opportunity. Just FYI, I’ve never asked and I’ve rarely seen anyone else do it either.

 

You invest good money and serious time into a fair, expo, or trade show booth. So work it! Make sure you wear comfortable shoes because you won’t be sitting down. If there’s a chair behind your booth when you arrive to set up, move it to the booth next to you and once you’ve gotten everything set up and stored away, don’t walk to the back of your booth again until the end of the day. You want to be out front, chatting, connecting, and working with the participants at the show.

 

4. Be Smart About Your Drawings

 

Just about every single week on the business Page I have someone ask about how to follow up with the hundreds of leads they’ve gotten the weekend before at a tradeshow or expo. I can almost guarantee that a huge percentage of those leads aren’t quality, interested people. You’re not there at that event to collect names. You’re there to collect quality leads. There’s a difference. I didn’t allow just anyone to stop by with their return address stamp, grab a handful of free candy (and while popular, this is not the smartest way to draw people into your booth), and enter my drawing.

 

I would engage someone in conversation, find out a little about them and their needs and whether or not my products or opportunity might be a good fit for them, and if they were, I offered to enter them into my drawing. That way, you’re sure that every lead you put into your drawing is at least mildly interested in learning more about what you have to offer (and not just the chance of getting something for free). I also made notes on those drawing slips so when I did follow up, I could have an intelligent conversation about our booth conversation and experience. You’ll meet lots of people during that event and believe me, you’ll be happy to have those notes after the fact.

 

5. Stay Curious in Your Conversations

 

As you step into conversation with passers by, start by asking, not telling. Yes, I know you’re excited about all that you have to share with them and of course, they’re curious about it or they wouldn’t be stopping by. But if you start out by barfing a bunch of information all over them about how great your product is or how much money they could make with your opportunity, you’re getting off on the wrong foot. Instead, start by asking them a question about their life (“So, where are you from?” “Are you a mom?” “What do you do for a living?”) so that you can share your information in a manner that’s relevant for them. I promise, you’ll have much more productive and meaningful conversations with people if you take this approach.

 

The key when you’re doing a booth at one of these events is to remember that you need to find a way to stand out. You’re there in a sea of other direct sellers and retailers and you’ve got to give people a reason to want to stop and learn more about you. Use these tips and get creative about what else you could do to make your booth and yourself stand out, and please post your ideas below. I’d love to know what you do to make sure your events are a good use of your time and money.

 

Book Yourself Solid In The Next 30 Days-BannerNeed some help filling up your calendar for 2016? Grab your complimentary copy of my “Book Yourself Solid In The Next 30 Days” roadmap. It’s yours for free when you subscribe to my mailing list. Already a member of the list? My system won’t add you twice, so go ahead and grab the roadmap anyhow. Click here to grab your roadmap now!

 

 



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Julie Anne Jones is a sought after speaker, certified life and business coach, and online trainer, and the CEO of Julie Anne Jones, Inc. She is known for her authentic and easy-to-use scripting and specializes in specific language and tools for success in business. To learn more about Julie Anne and her products and services, and to read her weekly blog posts, visit her at www.julieannejones.com.

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Increase Sales At Your Home Parties By Offering Your Customers FEWER Choices

good-1122969_640Do you invite your customers at your parties to shop out of your entire catalog with no guidance regarding which products might be best for them? Do you overwhelm them (and create a ton of extra work for yourself) by bringing boxes and boxes of inventory to show during your live presentation? Well, consider this. Choice is really a big illusion. You might think it’s giving your customers the unlimited possibility and the freedom to choose from every option available to them but in reality, too many choices can cause them to feel overwhelmed and to shut down and NOT make a choice at all. Restricting your customer’s choices is actually a better option.

 

Think about it for a second.

 

Have you ever walked into a coffee shop, browsing all the fancy drinks before emerging with a simple hot chocolate or coffee? Have you ever scrolled through your YouTube subscription box for ten or fifteen minutes before deciding to not watch anything? The fact that you had so much to choose from did not in fact help you make a decision. It made it impossible to do so.

 

If you give the customer an overwhelming amount of options, you’re effectively giving them none.

 

The paradox of choice states that by reducing the options your customers have, you reduce their stress, making it easier for them to choose. People like being told what to buy, what to wear and what to watch. It’s the reason why Apple dominates the smartphone market, and why HBO dominates the TV scene. They have quality products behind them, but they aren’t too grand in scope. They stick with a familiar, small set of devices and shows, making it easier for people to pick one. Quality, not quantity.

 

Your sales tactics should take a similar approach. Rather than attempting to expand to the stars and beyond, stick with what you know and keep things simple. One of the best ways to do that is to offer your customers packages of products you’ve put together to help them make a quick choice (kind of like choosing a “value meal” at the drive through at McDonalds). If you’re a direct sales leaders and have a team, pass on this mentality to them through your training as well.

 

Famed psychologist Barry Schwartz once spoke of the effects of choice overload, stating:

 

“As the number of choices grows further, the negatives escalate until we become overloaded. At this point, choice no longer liberates, but debilitates.”

 

It’s a fundamental principle of all the most successful business practices. You don’t want to overload or confuse the customer. You want to present them with the information (as jargon-free as possible) they need to make an informed decision. If you have too many products to describe, your job becomes harder, and this presentation of information becomes less clear.

 

On top of this, you risk alienating the customer and losing a potential sale. When a person has to browse through product after product, items that do largely the same thing, it gets tiring. Anyone who’s ever been shopping for appliances for a new home will be familiar with this feeling. It leaves you exhausted and saps any excitement you may have had about the process when you walked in the door.

 

The choices you give the consumer will dictate your success rate, especially at your parties. Focus on a smaller range of products in your demonstration and offer your customers pre-selected packages and watch your sales average boom, rather than doing a long presentation with dozens of products and settling for average sales. 

 

Book Yourself Solid In The Next 30 Days-BannerNeed some help filling up your calendar for 2016? Grab your complimentary copy of my “Book Yourself Solid In The Next 30 Days” roadmap. It’s yours for free when you subscribe to my mailing list. Already a member of the list? My system won’t add you twice, so go ahead and grab the roadmap anyhow. Click here to grab your roadmap now!

 

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN PRINT OR ONLINE?
You may, as long as you do not alter it and include the following information (with active links as appropriate):

 

Julie Anne Jones is a sought after speaker, certified life and business coach, and online trainer, and the CEO of Julie Anne Jones, Inc. She is known for her authentic and easy-to-use scripting and specializes in specific language and tools for success in business. To learn more about Julie Anne and her products and services, and to read her weekly blog posts, visit her at www.julieannejones.com.

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