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Strategies for success in direct sales, from an Executive Flamingo Paperie Partner

strategies for success

So you’re looking for a new way to earn some money. Direct Sales seems a good option with its flexible working hours and it looks like it has some good prospects. But you haven’t quite worked out how to fit it in to the nooks and crannies of life. I’ve been in direct selling for over 12 years now and promoted to Executive Partner with Flamingo Paperie in the first month it launched. I have 4 children aged from 2 to 12 and as you can imagine that keeps me very busy. The flexibility of direct selling works really well for me and my strategies for success in direct sales are really different ways you can make your chosen company work for you.

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

Walt Disney

My strategies for success are based on my experience with Flamingo Paperie, a direct sales company that produces cards, gift wrap and stationery but I believe these ideas could be adapted to most direct sales businesses. If one way of working seems to fit your lifestyle but the direct sales company you’re looking at doesn’t offer it then my top tip is to think twice before you join. All my strategies for success are possible if you become a Flamingo Partner. You don’t need to turn your life upside down or find more hours in the day. Here are ways you can make it work by using what you already have or do.

10 Strategies for Success in direct sales

1 Add it on to something else you’re already doing

It doesn’t have to be either/or. It’s unlikely that you will want to drop everything else to try and make room for a new business. Choose a product that will compliment your lifestyle, hobbies or other business. If you’re making crafts for sale then gift wrap will add an extra to your service, or a greeting card to go with a gift gives you the ability to offer the complete gifting package.

2 Take it with you

Can you take your products to the office, to the school gate, to yoga class, to toddler group or wherever you go on a daily or weekly business? Use the networks you already have to show off your products and attract repeat customers.

3 Use your products

In theory you don’t have to like to your products to sell them. A good salesperson might be able to sell water to a well but it does help if you love what you’re selling and use it regularly. Not only does it give you confidence in what you’re selling but giving your products, in my case by sending cards or wrapping presents in style, is an opportunity to show them off.

4 Raise some money for a good cause

Are you involved in a community group or is there a charity close to your heart. Use your products to raise some money. Offer 10% or more of your sales to your cause. People love to help and love to feel that others are benefitting from their purchases. Make use of that and help others while building your customer base with some good publicity.

5 Enhance your subscription box

If you already run a business that sends out a regular subscription box then use the new products to enhance your box. Gift wrap or tissue could be used to wrap the contents while advertising the same gift wrap and tissue for customers to buy for their own wrapping needs. An appropriate card could be included to match the theme of your box or the time of year, again advertising the range of cards available for sale. The average person in the UK sends 33 cards a year. Be creative with how you present your products, this will make you different to the rest and attract others to your business.

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

Steve Joba

6 Add the personal touch

Do you run a company that provides a service to others, or does your partner or another family member? For example, I know estate agents who like to give a ‘New Home’ card to their clients when they pick up their keys. Or a Vet who likes to send a sympathy card when a loved pet is put to sleep. I have a customer who runs a Beauty Salon who likes to send cards to her clients when they have get married, have a baby, suffer a bereavement etc. Sending greeting cards can add a very powerful personal touch to your business.

7 Treat your employees

Similar to the previous idea but if you already employ staff then can you use your products to treat them? Can you reward them for a job well done? Send a birthday card or occasion card to show you take note of their lives outside of work. Personal touches make people feel valued and that builds loyalty within a workplace. Little acts like these can make you stand out from the crowd as an employer.

Everyone talks about building a relationship with your customer. I think you should build one with your employees first.

Angela Ahrendts

8 Provide a community service

No I don’t mean of the criminal penalty kind! Do you live somewhere that people find it hard to access the products you offer? I have a good friend of mine who got so fed up of hearing her neighbours say they were off to town for a birthday card that she asked to take one of my baskets of cards to have at home so she could offer a better and more convenient service and product to her community.

9 Help a hospital or care home

Do you work in or visit a hospital or care home on a regular basis? Similar to the community service idea, many people who live or work in these places have great difficulty in getting to shops to purchase things. Bring your ‘shop’ to them. Ask if someone can care for your ‘shop in a basket’ which you can leave in a safe, convenient place for them to buy from when they need to.

10 Build an online business

Do you spend time on social media? Are you a Pinterest addict or an Instagram lover? Use that time to build a business. Share images of your products with links to your direct sales website. No need to even buy stock, just let people love what they see and tell them how to click and buy for themselves. Rather like affiliate marketing but usually with higher profit margins. If you’re already doing affiliate marketing then treat your direct sales business as an extra string to your affiliate bow.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

Mark Twain

Whatever you do, however you do it, get started. Don’t put it off by waiting for the prefect business model to come along. Find the products you like then make the business opportunity work for you, in your situation. Use the strategies for success that fit with where you’re at. Start there and build out as you grow.

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Flamingo Paperie Review

flamingo paperie review

If you’ve heard of Flamingo Paperie but aren’t sure what it’s all about then you might find this answers some of your questions. Flamingo Paperie is still a relatively new company, which rose out of the ashes of Phoenix Trading. It’s about to enter its busy period with the Christmas range launching late August. Now is possibly the best time to join and reap those rewards. But you might be wondering how it all works. Whether it could work for you and possibly even who or what is Flamingo? Well here’s my Flamingo Paperie review after 6 months being an Independent Flamingo Partner with the new company.

Who or What is Flamingo Paperie?

Perhaps you haven’t even heard of Flamingo Paperie and that wouldn’t be surprising as the company only launched in February 2018. You might have heard of its predecessor Phoenix Trading. Flamingo is a different company with a new focus but it comes built on 22 years of Phoenix Trading with many of the same staff and independent Partners. Flamingo is a British greeting card company specialising in exclusively illustrated greeting cards, gift wrap and stationery. I’m proud to be part of a company with a strong ethical and charitable vision. All Flamingo’s cards are ethically printed in the UK, using FSC card and vegetable based inks and all our Christmas cards are charity cards. The design team are passionate about supporting and promoting the illustrators and artists who create the designs (I’ve met the design team, their passion really shines through them when you talk to them).

Who am I and what do I know about Flamingo?

Flamingo don’t sell through shops, at least not in the UK (it’s slightly different in Australia and New Zealand). Their fabulous cards can only be purchased through an Independent Partner, which is what I am. I was a Phoenix Trader from 2012 until they closed and have been a Flamingo Partner since they launched in February. I’m an Executive Partner, which means I support a team of my own and their teams too. At the last check I was the top sponsor, which means I have added more people to my team than any other Partner in the business since February. I have a team from Shetland to the Channel Islands and in France. I love sending cards and I’m a complete stationery addict! This is my personal Flamingo Paperie review from my experience.

How does Flamingo ‘work’?

There are prinicipally three ways to earn money as a Flamingo Partner. You can buy and sell stock to friends, colleagues, relatives, at craft fairs, pop up shops and more. You buy stock at 30% off the retail price but you do pay delivery on all your orders (£6 max). It is possible to sell without buying any stock. You can do this by directing people to your personalised website. Here the company ships all the orders direct to your customer and you get 20% profit. The other way to earn is by building a team of Partners who you support, with the help of your upline Executive Partner. E.g. if you joined my team and someone joined your team then I would support both you and your team member in your businesses. When your team sell you earn a commission from the company depending on how much you sell and they sell etc. If you would like the details of how this works exactly just ask.

Flamingo Paperie review of the good stuff so far?

I live in the Outer Hebrides and pay the same delivery on all my orders as everyone else in the UK. It means we all have the same opportunity.

The quality of the cards and gift wrap is outstanding. Phoenix were reknown for their high quality affordable cards and gift wrap. I think the designs and quality that Flamingo now have are even better. The gift wrap always had a reputation for being quality and ‘unrippable’. Now it’s even thicker with Flamingo than it was with Phoenix. It still has the same invaluable cutting grid lines on the back. This helps to make gift wrapping a pleasure not a chore.

Everyone gets a personalised website as standard. This is simpler because we all get the same but it’s included in the starter pack cost and everyone has the same opportunity to sell online if they want to.

We have a narrower range than we had with Phoenix. This gives the company more focus on what they do and doing it really well.

The ‘team’ feeling is outstanding. The mutual support that most Partners give each other in Flamingo is something I’ve not seen anywhere else. Given that we earn commision on our own teams and not on other people’s you’d understand if it was all a bit cliquey but it’s not. I’ve had support from other teams. I also have quite a few Partners who have asked to receive my team emails and be part of my Facebook team support group. In the long run if we support each other we all grow as the company grows.

30% profit is a really good rate. I find it pretty easy to reach a monthly level of sales where I earn a further 10% on my bonus sales volume.

There are no targets that have to be met or sales levels that have to be achieved. There are rewards for selling and growing a team but it’s up to each Partner to decide what they want to achieve.

What could be better about Flamingo Paperie?

We have a narrower range than we had with Phoenix. Wait a minute, I said that before!? Well while I think it’s a good thing on the whole there are products that I loved that we don’t do now. So I have supplemented my business with colouring in tablecloths from Eggnogg and gift wrapping accessories from British wholesale companies like Deva Designs alongwith designing my own inspirational stationery.

Brand awareness. This is my personal opinion only. I think the company could do more to promote the name and range of Flamingo Paperie. They believe it’s up to us as Partners. I think it’s a joint venture. Without the company using their clout to get us ‘out there’ we are struggling. Too many people have never heard of us.

Social media. I have nearly 1800 followers on Facebook, 3000 on Twitter and 500 on Instagram. As far as I know I’m the Flamingo Partner with the biggest social media following. But I’ve done most of that myself and it’s hard work. Other direct selling companies I know produce a library of images and suggested posts for their Partners to use. We have access to all the stock images. I’d like to see more of the creative eye catching images that work well on social media produced by the company. What is great is how Partners who create their own images and posts are willing to share them with other Partners. The ‘team’ feeling, which I mentioned before, that exists in Flamingo is priceless.

How could Flamingo work for me?

Do you love cards?

If you love cards and/or gift wrapping and/or stationery then by becoming a Flamingo Partner you will have direct access to Flamingo products you will love.

Do you know other people who love cards?

If you know other people who also love cards then you could make some money selling your Flamingo cards to them. There is no doubt that Christmas is the most lucrative time of the year for this especially with our traditional advent calendars. If you haven’t seen our advent calendars before and you love Christmas then you are missing a treat! Selling your Flamingo cards could make you some nice spending money.

Do you fundraise a lot?

Do you support a local charity or are you involved in a local community group? You could direct people to your online website and donate your 20% to whatever cause you are passionate about without having to handle any stock.

Do you want to make money?

If you want to make serious money with Flamingo then you’re going to have to work very hard. You will need to build a team. There is only so much you can sell. Growing a team is like opening new shops to sell to people you can’t get to. This takes time.

Do you have another selling business that needs a little boost?

If you have another business then I seriously suggest that cards and gift wrap will go very nicely hand in hand with almost anything else. If you sell books, chances are they are often bought for gifts. So why not sell the gift wrap and card to go with them. If you sell skincare, jewellery, candles, cosmetics, chances are there are gifts in there too. Your customers will need wrapping paper! Whatever you already sell, or whoever you sell to, everyone knows someone who has a birthday!

Want to know more?

If you think that Flamingo could fit in to your life, your passion, your business then let’s brainstorm together to make it work for you. Ask me for more information or for me to give you a call. Or take a look at the current joining offers on my Flamingo website.

What’s really good about Flamingo is that it’s totally flexible. Every Flamingo Partner runs their own business their way. Join today and start writing your Flamingo Paperie review story.

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The Day that Changed my Life

Follow your dreams Phoenix Trading cards

I didn’t know it at the time but that day was to change my whole outlook on life. What happened planted a seed in my mind that was to grow over the next few years.

I was in my early 20s, just married and in my second job following graduation. I had a career ahead of me and any thoughts about children were way in the future. Although everything may have seemed fine on the outside, on the inside I was struggling. Battling with depression as a side effect of the contraceptive pill, I was finding it hard to get through each day. I wouldn’t say I was actively suicidal but the thought of my life ending abruptly wasn’t unappealing.

Feeling under the weatherIt was at this time that I had a review with my line manager.

He had noticed that I’d had a few days off sick, not a lot but a few. He’d noticed that I was struggling and didn’t seem at all surprised when I confessed that I was seeing the doctor about my depression. (I had stopped the medication but was still climbing back out of the pit.)

I was encouraged to hear him say he understood, he’d been there but his next words knocked me for six:

‘Well, we clearly don’t want to push you over the edge but we do need you to work extra hours.’

Extra hours??? I was barely making it through 9-5, 5 days a week!!! And for what? Extra hours wasn’t going to earn me any extra money or even develop my career path, it was simply to be able to bill the client more and put more money in the pockets of the shareholders. How pointless that seemed then.

Moose of MotivationI left that job shortly after but it wasn’t until years later that I discovered how to work for myself. I wish I had known then but life’s experiences have shaped who I am now so no regrets. I now have 4 children and run my own business selling Flamingo cards and stationery. I’m not making millions, which isn’t surprising as my family are my priority just now not my work. Like any business you only get out what you put in and right now I’m investing in my family but quietly building a business for when I do have a little more time to make it grow bigger.

Being with my young children is priceless and I wouldn’t change a thing. Being my own boss suits me just fine. Life is really too short.

Only I can push me over the edge and I choose not to.

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Why “poaching”clients or downlines is business suicide.

Fantastic, clear reasons why poaching is not good for your mlm direct sales business – happy to say it’s not something I’ve seen very often with Phoenix Traders but I’ve been approached many times by other company representatives.

Why “poaching”clients or downlines is business suicide.

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What is a Pyramid Scheme (and what is not?!)

pyramid scheme reach for the stars phoenix cards phoenix trading Facebook business page

“A pyramid scheme is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products or services. As recruiting multiplies, recruiting becomes quickly impossible, and most members are unable to profit; as such, pyramid schemes are unsustainable and often illegal.” (taken from Wikipedia)

Often you hear people wrongly call multi-level marketing, or direct sales schemes pyramid schemes.

What I think are the 5 main differences between a Pyramid Scheme and an MLM

1 Overall Profit

The big difference is that any commission paid to team leaders in a direct sales scheme is from the profits that the overall company makes from selling a product (or service) and not directly from any sign up fee.

2 Shareholders

Compare that with your typical shareholder owned company where any profits made by the worker go directly to shareholders. The worker usually earns a fixed wage, most probably gets no overtime and rarely receives a bonus for any extra sales or revenue generated. Whereas the shareholder will get their share of the profits with very little input into developing the worker’s role. (Now that sounds more like a pyramid scheme to me – and certainly doesn’t seem fair!)

3 Bonuses

In a direct sales business you have the same opportunity to make profit on the goods/services you sell as anyone else in your upline or downline. You can usually earn further bonuses if you sell certain amounts and it’s your choice to do that. Work hard and you can earn the bonuses. Choose to do it as a hobby and make some pocket money, the choice is yours but the money you earn comes from what you sell.

4 Team Building

In addition you can make commission based on having other people in your team who also sell. The commission does not come out of their pay packet. The profits of the company make up the commission scale. In other words you get the shareholders cut. But only if you work hard do you get this reward – seems fair to me!.

5 Rewards for effort!Follow your dreams Phoenix Trading cards

Mentor and support your team and they’re more likely to blossom. They’ll make more profit from more sales. They may well start building their own teams and you’ll get commission as a reward for working hard and supporting them.

 

 

PS – I love being in direct sales and if you’d like to know more about what I do then you’ll like Can I make money at this?