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"The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible"

~ Anonymous

Tea Time with Liv

Not getting sales?

You have become a consultant for your favorite company or started your own business but can't seem to make any sales. You have shown everyone your link but nobdoy is buying. Why?

Many people, men and women, are increasingly signing on to new ventures trying to bring in extra money. I have seen an ever increasing number for those signing on to more than 1. You can find several who have 5 or more companies they represent. While this is not impossible to manage, this will no accomplish what many are hoping which is free up time to care for family and stay at home.

Before you decide to sign on to an overload of fun companies, particularly those with free sign ups, know what you are signing up for. Not only do your research on the company and owner but on building a business. Some make it look very easy and for them it is. You have to see why it is in these cases. Many have been doing this for years and know what it takes and put the time into it.

No matter how it happens, you now have a company or 5 you represent that need sales before you go bold with such frustration. Before you do anything, think about why you signed up? Was this ONLY because it was free? You need extra money and fast? You really like the product and want to make money on the side? Or because it was an easy way to make money without investing too much time?

It is time to set your goals. The first goals to set are long term. What is the ultimate goal? Long term financial freedom? To stay home until Sally enters kindergarden? Bring in supplemental income to make ends meet? No matter the goal, you need to know what that is. You can't go in a direction you have never determined.

Next, what are you NOT willing to do to make those goals happen? Are you NOT wanting to work for someone else? NOT wanting to host hundreds of parties? NOT wanting to make phone calls? You need to know these as well otherwise you can be doomed from the start. These you should know before starting any business. Just like a job, you have to know what you do NOT want to do.

Now you know what you are not willing to do so what are you willing to do? Are you willing to work for someone else but only behind the scenes? The occassional home party is fine but you don't want this to be the main source of your income? Are you willing to pass out flyers and business cards?

So you know what direction you are headed, you know what you are and are not willing to do to make your goals happen.It is now onto baby steps. What is the first weeks step? Tell 10 people about your new business? Sign up 1 new person? Make 2 sales? Every week is a new week and every week you need a new goal. If you made your first goal, great! If you have not, its ok. The new week you start fresh with a new goal. Revisit the last goal again on week 3.

But what about getting sales? We are coming to that. Sales are not instant. If you think they are, you are in the wrong business and need another way to bring in extra money. Reality is a home business takes work just like any job outside of the home. The difference is you don't have a boss hovering. You are the boss.

Before we talk about getting those sales, lets talk schedule. You need to work in your new business. Yes you can set your own hours but that does not mean every day you will get to it when you get to it. The lack of organization will be the end to your success. Normally the first thing I hear at this point is "but I have kids all day". Schedule around it. When is their nap time? Do they go to preschool? Do they have play dates? What time do they wake up and go to bed. Find 30 minutes a day. This can be broken into 3 - 10 minute time slots or 2 - 15 minute time slots if needed. No excuses here. Find them. Your success depends on it. Schedule your entire day out. Schedule naps, errands, eating times, house cleaning, business, paying bills, "me" time, and time for your spouse. If you go to school or work outside of the home, still make that schedule. Your schedule is flexible but it is important to set aside time for all you need in the day. Nobody is going to send you to your room for only getting 15 minutes in the day to your business but don't make it a habit. Your business is as important as it is for your children to eat. Your business needs to be nurtured

But what about sales? One thing you will learn in business is patience. Nothing comes fast.

Lets go get those sales. So where do you start? Start with family and friends. Tell EVERYONE you know about your new business. Be excited about it. It doesn't matter if your business is geared towards women only or men only. Everyone knows men and women and eventually they need a gift for the opposite sex. Family and friends are most likely to help pass the word. Word of mouth is very powerful.

Add your business info to your email signature. If you have a website, place your URL here as well. People read signatures more often than you realize. Whenever placing a website link into signatures, make sure you add the http:// in front. For most areas this makes the link live. A live link is more likely to be clicked than one that needs to be copy and pasted into the browser address bar. Now your signature will be included in all of your outgoing emails for all to view.

If you are a work at home mom (you have a business so you are a work at home mom aka WAHM) look for local groups. There are serveral others out there in your area who would love to get together with others. If there isn't one, start one. This can be a once a week meeting where you come together and discuss your business or just get some time away and break free from the daily baby talk.

Find groups online that are of interest to you. There are a huge number of groups on Yahoo!, MSN, Cafemom, Google, and more. Whether your interest is religion, weightloss, scrapbooking, pets, reading, etc, join a group that you can connect with others and not become bored with. This is a great place to network. Be careful not to join so many it takes you hours to check on and talk with others. Make sure to check in every few days and actually interact with group members. When you join post an introduction. Tell a little about yourself. Example: My name is Olivia. I am a full-time WAHM with a wonderful husband and 14yr old son. I own So Chic Bag Boutique and also a Training Manager for Mineral Girlz. I love to read, draw, visit museums, and go to wine tastings. I joined this group because it seems I have alot in common with many of you and can't wait to get to know you all. It doesn't have to be fancy or lengthy. Avoid blatant ads. DO NOT go on and on about your business. A quick mention is all you need. If you go on and on about what you sell, what you offer to group members, how to sign up, etc, etc, you will be seen only as someone joining to post ads and not receive a great reception.

Networking sites are huge right now. Everyone seems to have MySpace, Facebook, and many others out there. Use these to your advantage. While these are not great sources of sales, they are a great way to get your name out there. Be aware of how you set up your profile. Nobody wants to add friends with a full page of ads. They want real people. Add in blurbs about your business in the about me sections, maybe a banner but add in other items as well. Keep it personal. No more than once a week (I recommend 1-2 times a month) post bulletins or a blog about something new with your business. Also post non-business bulletins and blogs as well so friends are not only seeing ads from you.

A common group many are joining are shopping groups. These can be great for some but be cautious here. You may end up spending more than you are earning in return. Know the rules. Most run these with minimum amounts to be spent each month, a consultant of the month (COTM), limits of 1-2 reps per company. Some it takes months before it is your turn. Now don't get me wrong, these can be great especially if you have quotas to meet but don't overextend yourself in groups that only offer limited return. The right group can be great for you and your business. Just know what you are getting into and do your research just like anything else.

Another popular avenue for newcomers is traffic exchanges. If you do not know what these are, these are sites where you surf pages and receive surf points that allow your websites to be viewed in the rotation. If you use the free sign up option, you will be required to surf so many pages in a certain time frame. These are great for recruiting but not as great for sales. Reason is they are impersonal. People are forced to view your page just so they get surf points and not necessarily are you pages getting in the hands of those wanting what you have to offer. That does not mean don't use them it just means be realistic about the outcome. There are some great exchanges out there. Again do your research and avoid joining a ton.

Does your company offer samples or items that can be distributed in sample sizes? Send these to sample companies. These companies take the prepackaged samples you send and place them into some type of bag or box for consumers to buy and try several samples from a variety of companies at once. You send in your prepackaged samples to these type of companies. Look for companies that offer this service free to sponsors. Sponsors are those who send in samples to be included in these consumer packs. There are serveral out there and have been out there for years and have a high demand for these packs. Your product will get in the hands of those wanting your product and those who have never heard of it. Check out companies such as The Sample Gal.

Start a blog. Offer tips related to your business. Everyone has a problem and you may have the solution. Offer a contest on your blog from time to time where they can win a product from your business. Visit other blogs and offer insight when the moment is right. Don't take over someones blog though. This is not highly respected.

Visit local establishments that can benefit from your product. If you offer dog treats, visit groomers. Ask to leave business cards. Even ask for theirs in return to give out to local customers buying your product. If you sell makeup, visit salons (hair, nail, and massage). Offer toys; visit daycare centers and leave flyers about kid parties or even fundraiser info for the center. Many offer fieldtrips and needs funds for these. Visit senior centers with gift ideas. Many seniors need gifts for their loved ones but getting out to shop is difficult. Make sure to offer low cost options since many are on a budget.

Next time you attend a home party, exchange parties or even offer to do a combined party. You can be each others hostesses to earn free products as well as sales. These can be fun for you are well as guests.

There are several fun options out there that are also free. Marketing your business is not just about placing ads everywhere. Its is also about the relationship you build with your customers. Relationships are long lasting.

With all these great tips, you are sure to get sales. Don't be afraid of success. Welcome it with open arms. Take those risks. Make a lasting impression.

Now get out there and get those sales! You can do it!

Olivia Vidal
© Copyright 2008


k-rosenberg said...

What a great set of tips! You know, being your own boss sounds like a dream, but you do need the discipline and organization to keep your business afloat. I think you hit right on in regards to the importance of keeping a regimented schedule, and giving yourself deadlines. This will ultimately help everything move faster, more efficiently and with less complication. Keeping progress reports will also show you what areas you need to improve in to further expand your business. One of the best means of doing this is keeping everything recorded on your home computer. For instance, have you heard of Microsoft Office Live Small Business? It’s a perfect tool for any WAHM to get her business online and maintain a strong presence on the internet. Not only does it keep you updated on your daily/weekly hits, it has a highly organized e-mail platform for all your important invoices, and a great newsletter blast option to keep your customers up to date on all the happenings. It also includes an easy-to-use web page designer, perfect for the less web-savvy entrepreneur. Check it out!

There’s more information at http://smallbusiness.officelive.com

Office Live Small Business is a fabulous tool for getting any starting entrepreneur off the ground fast, easily and efficiently. Microsoft even hosts everything on your site for free! And to top it off, for no cost for the first year, you get a free customized “.com” domain name! Now, I work with Microsoft, so if you or any readers have any questions, I’m always around and would be more than happy to answer them for you! My personal e-mail address is k-rosenberg@live.com. Again, thanks so much for posting the great advice! I’ll be checking in.


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