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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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Phoenix Trading Review

Phoenix Trading review

Phoenix Trading closed down in August 2017. From its ashes we have a new company called Flamingo Paperie. You can view and buy the new stock on my website here. My Phoenix Trading review still stands but if you’re more interested in what’s happening now in Flamingo then I’ve put together some Frequently Asked Questions or you might like to read my review my first 6 months with Flamingo. Alternatively please contact me for more information.

I’ve added a quick note at the end with my personal opinion about ‘what went wrong’ with Phoenix Trading and what will be different about the new company.

If you want to join my new team now let me know here.

If you want to join my new customer loyalty programme you can do that here.

So you’ve heard of Phoenix Trading, you love their products and you want to know what’s happened to the company? In this blog post I reveal my experience of Phoenix Trading. What I expected from it and what I discovered. Here is my Phoenix Trading review.

Monster bookmarkI became a Phoenix Trader by ‘accident’!

What is it about Phoenix that attracted your attention? Did you find their cards were unlike any you see in the shops and better value? Had you received a present gift wrapped with roll wrap that looked better quality and prettier than any you had seen before? This is what most people say. Well for me it was the bookmarks!

While selling children’s books, I thought the bookmarks would compliment my stock…gradually I fell hook, line and sinker for their entire range of cards, stationery and other gifts.

a241 dragon castleHave you wondered if it would be worth being a Phoenix Trader just to get your hands on some cards, gift wrap and stationery that you love? I fell in love with the children’s range as I had young children. It was worth being a Phoenix Trader just for the birthday and Christmas cards I was going to use myself.

If you are worried that there will be lots of sales and recruitment targets, there aren’t. In all the time I’ve been doing Phoenix no one has pressured me to sell a certain amount or to recruit people.

I hadn’t intended to build a business from Phoenix but when I took a closer look at the commission package that Phoenix offer I realised that building a team and getting to the level of business bonuses was entirely doable. It wasn’t a requirement, no one would try and make me do it but it looked achievable. So if you are looking for a business, not just some free cards for yourself, there is that option too.

Do I need team members to make money?

There are two ways you can earn money with Phoenix; profit from sales and commission from the volume of sales your team do. You don’t have to do both it’s your choice and there are no targets for either. You decide what you want. I wanted an income from it!

Sales profit is simple as you get 30% profit on everything you sell. Furthermore there is more than that on greeting cards when people don’t take advantage of their 20% discount by buying 10 or more assorted cards at a time. I think that’s a pretty good profit margin for a direct sales company (and of course it means 30% discount on anything you use!).

Minimum of 5% commission on team sales – but how do you get a team? In the first few months after I started I was busy trying to work out how to ask people to join my team and the fear that goes with not knowing how to start that conversation when people started asking me! I realised it wasn’t about trying to convince all my friends and family to join my business but about listening to what customers were saying and picking up on the cues to let them know ‘you can do this too if you want’.

I now have a team of Phoenix Traders across the UK and in Australia.

Good friends stars Phoenix Trading reviewWhat’s the company support like?

You don’t want to be stuck on your own, not knowing what to do when your starter pack arrives. On the other hand you probably don’t want to be bombarded by emails and phonecalls from your team leader either. I’ve found the support level to be just right. My team leader calls me when I want her to. There are Facebook groups to share ideas and encouragement. There will be team meetings (usually involving cake!) near you that you can choose to attend if you wish. I do not get any pressure, just support. I don’t get hassled by phone calls or emails telling me I’ve not done this or that. However I do get constant recognition when I reach a milestone, which I love.

It’s up to me to ask for input from others, it isn’t forced upon me and that’s the way I like it. I think it also makes for a better business to be honest as it’s then your responsibility.

What has really impressed me is how Phoenix Traders support each other across teams. This is something I feel very strongly about. If one grows we all grow as the ‘brand’ grows. I have received multiple nominations for the past two years for supporting other Traders outside my team. It’s this spirit of support across Phoenix which I think is somewhat unique to companies like us.

There has to be some negative in my Phoenix Trading review surely?

The ethos of Phoenix is about having an ethical business with beautiful artwork that makes people smile. We send cards and we sell cards. We wrap presents in the best wrapping paper I’ve ever used. So we aren’t as hot on social media but I’ve seen improvements since I joined.

When you show your starter pack of cards to your friends, colleagues, family the chances are they will ooh and ahh over the quality of the illustrations and product. They will see how fabulous your products are much more by physically holding them than from your Facebook page, or from a text message. Showing your cards to people is how you build your business and your personal ‘brand’. You can of course sell online too through a custom made website.

My top 5 highlights from my Phoenix Trading review

Low cost start up

Start from just £35, which includes 10 brochures to start collecting orders and 45 cards to sell immediately. Potential sales value of £70.

Flexible business

No one sets any targets except you. I have never felt under pressure to achieve any level of sales, recruits, bonuses or anything.

Great products you will use yourself

We all know someone with a birthday! You will use the cards yourself. In fact the hardest bit might be selling them and not sending them all yourself!

Really helpful and friendly people both fellow Traders and head office

Most friendly company I have ever worked amongst. You will meet people you wouldn’t have met otherwise and make great friends, if you want to.

Nothing to lose!

What’s the worst that can happen? You get left with a few fabulous cards that didn’t cost you much that you can use yourself.

So, what went wrong with Phoenix Trading? What will be different about Flamingo Paperie? (added August 2017)

If you’re still reading this far then you may well be asking what went wrong? Why did Phoenix Trading close? What will be different about Flamingo Paperie, given the involvement of some of the same management? These comments, like all the others in this article, are just my personal opinion based on what I know. There is probably a lot I don’t know.

What went wrong with Phoenix Trading?

In my opinion there were 2 major things that went wrong, trying to expand in to the USA and warehousing issues.

Expansion in to the USA – didn’t make money. Lost money and cost the company a lot of its reserves. Phoenix management are not the sort of people to give up easily and probably could have pulled out of USA sooner than they did but isn’t hindsight wonderful? It’s easy to throw that judgement in now knowing that the idea wasn’t profitable but at the time it would have been easy to persevere. After all it takes time to build a business right?

Warehousing – because we love our products so much it’s very difficult to pulp them! Phoenix rarely pulped discontinued lines. Phoenix offered sale items to Traders. However, this had the knock on effect of leaving Traders with lots of stock to sell that was no longer in the catalogues. Personally I think we should offer sales and special offers direct to customers. I also think we should ultimately pulp discontinued lines. This would have saved warehouse costs and kept the business fresher. This will now be happening in Flamingo when you join the Flamingo Customer Club.

I have a few other ideas about things that could have been done differently too but these two issues above would have made a big difference.

So what will be new with Flamingo Paperie?

Well we aren’t trying to expand in to any other countries for a while! We’ll be outsourcing our warehousing, which should make it financially more efficient. We are introducing a customer loyalty programme. This is going to be fantastic for you if you’re a customer! You will get direct access to special offers and discounts and have the chance to buy stock that is due to be discontinued before it goes to pulp. We have a new director called Stuart Millar.

I know Stuart personally. He has even taken time to come and visit my small team in the Outer Hebrides. Stuart has been a Phoenix Trader for years and he’s a listener. I’m pretty much a nobody in the whole scheme of things but Stuart has had phonecalls and Skype calls with me and taken time to listen as well as encourage and develop my team. Without going in to too much detail of the previous commission structure, Stuart has done this despite the fact that he doesn’t earn commission directly from my sales. Having Stuart on board brings direct Trading experience to the table. It brings someone who was very much in touch with all activity-levels of the previous business. And therefore brings a greater understanding of what Traders need as well his own business and customer relations experience and knowledge.

Flamingo Paperie will be a much more enhanced company built on experience, lessons learnt and listening to what all parties are saying.

Like most direct sales, network marketing businesses Phoenix Trading is flexible so you make it work to suit you. Therefore, another person’s Phoenix Trading review might be totally different. I hope you’ve found my Phoenix Trading review helpful.

To join my new team with the new company click here

To ask me any questions click here

You could leave a comment telling me what you thought about Phoenix Trading. Perhaps you’re thinking about joining the new venture, what do you like about the idea, what are you not sure about? Were you a Trader, feel free to tell us what you loved about it. Or were you a happy Phoenix customer – what made us different to other card outlets? What’s your Phoenix Trading review?

If you liked my Phoenix Trading review then you might also like:

What’s Special about Flamingo Paperie
Strategies for success in direct sales, from an Executive Flamingo Paperie Partner
Is there room for more?
Can I make money at this?
What is a Pyramid Scheme (and what is not?!)

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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?

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5 Ideas for Facebook Networking with your Page

Phoenix Trading cards, inspiration Facebook networking

Here are 5 ideas for how to do Facebook networking with your Facebook page. What happens when we network, who we can network with, including comment buddies and networking groups. Finally a wee look at how much time to spend Facebook networking and what to do when it’s not working.

I’d like to start with my disclaimer! I am not a social media expert, I just offer to share what has or hasn’t worked for me. I trust that you will do the same so that we can learn from each other. Please feel free to ask questions or add your comments, tips, strategies or alternative opinions.

Phoenix Trading cards, inspiration1 Understand networking and what happens when you network

“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” Zig Ziglar

The idea of Facebook networking is really no different to networking face to face. You are engaging with people in conversation. It’s about building other people up who will then do the same for you.

On Facebook this means liking, commenting and occasionally sharing other people’s posts, maybe pages.

If you don’t interact with other people’s pages then they will not interact with yours. It’s as simple as that – unless you have a very very engaging page that attracts a lot of interest or controversy!

When you like or comment on someone’s post then all your Facebook friends get notification of that in their newsfeed. Also it tells Facebook that the post you’ve commented on is interesting. Facebook will then show it to more people meaning that person’s engagement/’people who saw this post’ will go up. In turn, the page holder will (should!) respond to your comment, which in turn will show up in people’s newsfeeds and show people that you are someone who engages. If you network consistently with someone in this way, they will start doing the same with you.

2 Who to do Facebook networking with.

Some ideas are; other similar businesses, local businesses, any other businesses you already know, common interest groups.

A) – other similar businesses. This might depend on your business type. For me, I’m a Independent Phoenix Trader so to raise the profile of Phoenix Trading on Facebook then it’s a good idea to interact with each other.  It also means that if I post once a day on your page, and regularly interact with say 2 others who do the same, then my friends could see 3 posts a day that are linked to Phoenix cards (when I am only posting 1)…it shares the workload. Most customers are loyal and it won’t matter that they’ve seen something they like on someone else’s page, they will probably still come back to you to ask to buy whatever they have seen.

I am part of a fabulous Phoenix Trading comment buddy group.

There are 3 of us who comment on pretty much every post we each do. We have set up a secret group on Facebook just for us, makes it easier to talk to each other if we need to, which we don’t have to very often. We’ve also (I think) got to know each other quite well and our interaction with each other has encouraged us in many aspects of our Phoenix business, not just Facebook. We deliberately chose three of us who weren’t part of the same team or in any way connected through our uplines, except very distantly. We don’t benefit financially from each other and we don’t live near each other.

I definitely saw my reach improve as soon as we started doing this and we’ve been doing this about a year now and it still makes a difference to how many people see my posts.

Idea – why not find two other similar business pages who post about the same amount as you and agree to a strategy to comment on each others posts. You can set limits (in case one of them goes a bit post happy and posts 20 times a day!)…that you comment on up to 3 posts a day, say. You can be as flexible as you like as to when you comment and you don’t have to comment the minute you post, you can always catch up on their posts a day later.

B) – Local businesses. Most of our customer base is usually built in the local area. It makes sense to have local customers, delivery is easier, you can make face to face contact and build meaningful sales relationships with them a lot easier than you can online. Facebook networking with local businesses can lead to new contacts for baskets, sales or even Traders.

Where I am there were no local business networks on Facebook so I started one!

We have both a page and group. On the page we share and comment on local business posts (it is a lot of work and I don’t do it on my own anymore!). The page is Western Isles Emporium if you want to see it. I set up the group so that we could find out about events in the area – ever feel you’re always the last to know what’s going on, after it’s all booked out??? That was me – so I started the group, turns out every one else felt like they didn’t know either! As a result of this we started a new monthly craft fair that I coordinate and we now have monthly small business networking lunches.

Since the page started sharing my posts, I’ve seen my post reach jump from 1-200 to 5-600 on a regular basis. It’s taken a couple of months to get it going but it’s been worth it and I certainly feel more connected with other businesses locally.

Idea – find out what local business networks already exist on Facebook and join in. Bizmums have groups in various parts of the country, here we have ‘Business Gateway’ and there are lots of other individual local groups. Maybe you already know of a group from craft fairs or events you’ve been to. Support the other businesses on there. Click ‘get notifications’ on their FB pages so you can like and comment on their posts.

C) – Other businesses of a similar genre, e.g. craft businesses if that’s what you do. I suggest this because this is the group of people I’ve found most interested in Phoenix. On the whole the crafty people appreciate the design/artwork of Phoenix and seem to respond positively to our products.

There are lots of networking sites out there and many of these will share your posts for you if you share a link from your page to their wall.

To do this go to your page and click on the picture that you’ve already posted on your page, that you want to share. Then copy the link and go to the page. Where it says ‘write something on this page…’ paste the link and add an extra comment if you wish. If you don’t add a comment then it will come up with whatever comment you’ve already put on the post on your page before. I should say it’s a good idea to post to these sorts of walls from your page – this means switching to your page, not using your personal profile.

Idea – find two Facebook networking pages on Facebook and post to their wall. Tip – They will appreciate it if you also comment on some of the posts they have already shared (remember it’s not just about you!). See if they share your post. If you get some engagement back then try and share with them from time to time.

D) – Common interest groups. I’m part of a #WednesdayNightBakeOff group – we only post once a week with that #. Always at the same time/day, we tag the pages that are taking part each week. (It’s not compulsory so it can be different each week.) We all comment on each other’s posts. It’s only a once a week so not demanding, quite fun and means once a week I know what I’m posting about!

Idea – find something you enjoy doing that you could share on your page once a week. Start a common interest group and agree to post something interesting once a week with your made up #. (# makes it easier for you to find each other). This doesn’t have to be related to your business, it’s only once a week and it makes you look human as it’s a personal side of you.

3 Comment Buddies and Networking Groups

So we touched on comment buddies already. I mentioned my Phoenix comment buddy group of 3. It doesn’t have to be the same business as you. Perhaps you already have friends who are running business pages on FB. Why not make an agreement with a couple of them to comment on each other’s posts.

Facebook networking groups can be bigger than comment buddy groups. I guess my #wednesdaynightbakeoff group is more of a networking group. Another I’ve been involved in does one or two different things each week. E.g. they’ll do a ‘photo experiment’ where you post a link to a photo that you’ve already published on your page, as will anyone who wants to take part. They agree that on whatever day everyone who’s taking part will visit each post and leave a like and comment. Or they might do a video post, or a one up one down where you comment on the person above and below you in the list on a certain day.

Idea – who do you already interact with on Facebook? Why not ask them to form a networking group? You may find that other business pages are grateful of this, most of us want to improve our Facebook reach!

4 How much time should I spend on Facebook networking?Phoenix Trading cards, motivation

Only what you can and ideally no more than 20 minutes a day.

Of course it depends how many groups you get in to but you probably don’t want Facebook taking over your business. There are so many other ways to develop your business, Facebook is only a part of it.

Try to be disciplined. Once you know what ‘groups’ you are going to be networking with, stick with them and try not to digress. Spend 10 minutes at the beginning of the day catching up on comments/likes, responding to comments on your posts. Then 10 minutes at the end of the day. Or longer if you need to but set yourself a time limit and stick to it!

Schedule your posts on your page. If you can you can schedule your whole week’s posts in one go. Then you just need your 20 minutes a day with the comments/responses.

5 What if someone never comments back or engages with me in return?

Stop wasting time on their page. They clearly don’t understand how Facebook works and could therefore learn a thing or two from you. You need to find someone else to engage with. Facebook networking, like any networking has to be 2-way.

Finally – Top tips!

When someone comments on your post or your page – always reply.

Schedule your Facebook page posts as much as you can.

Limit your time Facebook networking and stick to it!

If someone doesn’t engage back – move on.

PS – If you’ve found this helpful please comment and add your tips and strategies for others to see!

PPS – If you liked this, you might also like 5 Steps to improving your Facebook business page

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Saying ‘Thank You’

Phoenix Trading gift card just to say

For people who run small businesses, it can be hard sometimes to stand out from the crowd. Competing against big multi-nationals who may sell similar things to you, at a fraction of the price – how do you make yourself different?Phoenix Trading gift card just to say

Changing what you sell doesn’t make you stand out as much as making sure the service you offer is better than everyone else’s.

How often have you bought something from a multi-national and received a personal ‘thank you’?

I don’t mean an automatically generated message, which cleverly has your name on it to appear personal but you know is the same message they send to every customer – I mean a real personal ‘thank you’ written just for you.

Be different, offer that extra personal touch and send a personalised ‘thank you’, if possible hand written.

Take a look at 3 Ways to Make a Genuine Impact Simply by Saying Thanks to see what I mean.

PS If you think sending a thank you card would help you build better relationships with your customers you might want to consider these.

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5 Steps to improving your Facebook business page

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

reach for the stars phoenix cards phoenix tradingI don’t claim to have the best Facebook page there is but I’ve learnt a few tips over the last couple of years and wanted to share them with you. I don’t have any official social media training or background – I’m in the same place as you, just learning as I go along and offering to share my little experience with you. So here are my 5 steps that I have found have increased my reach on my Facebook business page, grew my audience and stopped my posts being ‘lost in space’.

1 Understand your audience
2 Understand how Facebook business pages work.
3 Likes
4 Post reach
5 So what do I post?

Whether you run a Facebook page or a group for your small business, the principles of getting your audience to engage and what to post are still the same. Using Facebook to develop your small business is hard work, like every other aspect of running your small business! Don’t expect it to be easy. Later I’ll post about networking and some ideas of how to network without spending your whole life on Facebook. In the meantime if you want to pop over to my page and say hello, please do, leave me a link and I’ll say hello back on your page but don’t ask me to like just cos you’ve liked my page! As my 4 year old now tells his sisters when I’ve said no to something, ‘Not happening!’ (Read on and you’ll see why)

www.facebook.com/cardsandgiftwrap.co.uk

1 Understand your audience

Firstly, you need to ask yourself, ‘Why do people go on FB?’

Facebook is not an online shopping platform, though people do use it to shop. Most people go on Facebook to catch up with friends, read something funny or see what the latest gossip is. In short they want to feel connected to something.

They generally don’t want to see adverts, horror stories or political/religious posts. Therefore keep your page fun and light hearted.

People want stories!

2 Understand how Facebook business pages work.

Facebook chooses which posts to show people. Unless someone has marked your page to receive all notifications from your page (which to be honest they are unlikely to do as I doubt your page is their main priority for going on Facebook)…then they won’t see your post unless Facebook decides to put it in their newsfeed.

Facebook will show posts that it thinks people will engage with (that means like, comment or click on).

There is no definitive list of words not to use but it does seem that words like ‘offer’, ‘sell’, ‘price’, ‘website’ etc will make your post less likely to be shown. Facebook wants you to pay for these posts as they are advertising. In my business I am not allowed to pay for boosting posts…and to be honest I wouldn’t want to. If my Facebook friends are anything like me they will be switched off by a ‘sponsored’ post! As a Facebook user I don’t want to see adverts.

So your posts need to be ‘engaging’.

3 Likes

Firstly – you want people who like your Facebook business page, to actually ‘like’ your page. No point someone clicking the ‘like page’ button and then not wanting to see anything you post. That makes Facebook think you’re not a very interesting page and therefore they are less likely to share your posts.

Who do you want to like your page? I would suggest that you want your friends to like it first – they already know you and are most likely to engage with anything you post. Surely the start to building any business is to engage with the people who already know and trust you – after all if you’re selling anything (product, service, idea) you have to sell you first.

You can invite everyone you are friends with on Facebook to ‘like’ your Facebook business page. On a desktop go to your page and scroll down the left hand side.Invite friends facebook page

You’ll see the invite friends option at the bottom of that list. Click that then invite everyone you know.

The next way to get more likes is to start networking – but I’m going to do a separate post on that as it’s quite a big topic.

DON’T get hung up on likes – you may invite all your friends, they might accept and decide the next day to unlike your page – that’s cool, they weren’t your target audience then, they weren’t going to engage and you’re better off without them.

DON’T do ‘like for like’ – not worth it – both you and the other page end up with a meaningless like, makes your figures look good but doesn’t impress Mr Facebook and makes him less likely to share your posts.

You want people who like your page to  really like your page so they’ll engage. (Think I might repeat myself a few times here – it’s important!)

4 Post reach

Your reach is all to do with how many people see your post. This is boosted by how many people like, comment or click on your post.

There are different sorts of posts, mainly 3 (status, photo, video).

  • A status is just a statement. A status that is brief and funny, or asks a simple question can be successful. Of course questions need to be answered so that helps to get a comment too.
  • Photos obviously help to show off products, this works well for me as I sell gorgeous Phoenix cards. I simply upload the photo onto my Facebook page with a nice comment.
Stop trying to sell the products

People want stories. Tell them a story and pick a photo that suits what you want to say. By all means put at the end of your post what the image is that you’re sharing, or put a link in the comments, below your post, to your website (don’t do it in the post, I have found it reduces the chances of Facebook showing it to anyone!)

  • Videos are great and usually get seen by a lot more people. You can do this in two ways – you can make a video on youtube, you don’t need a camera – you can do it via a slideshow of images, then share the video on Facebook. You can also do a slideshow of images (3-7 images) on Facebook directly.

create a slideshow on facebook page

Can you see where you go to post a status or a photo? If you click photo you now get 4 options with the last being ‘create slideshow’ – simply choose your (up to) 7 images and write a post to go with it.

It’s all about the clicks!

If you do long posts where people have to click on it to read the end then Facebook thinks that your audience are interested in your post and will show it to more people.

Here’s a post I did recently that got really good reach (my normal reach is about 200 people seeing a post)

good post on facebook page good reach

You can see that 1,100 people saw that post – why? Because it was personal, most people who engage with my page are friends so they know my daughter and found it funny. It had a nice picture and people had to click on it to see the whole story.

If I click on the bit that says 1,100 people reached you’ll see what I mean about clicks

clicks on facebook page post

It’s not a perfect post – it didn’t sell anything or produce any leads – I didn’t do any ‘call to action’ like sharing where the image was from or my website link or say I was putting an order in. (might have if I’d realised it would reach so many people!!!) Obviously I don’t want to put a call to action in every Facebook business post, not when I post between 2-5 times a day.

5 So what do I post?

Funny, engaging stories

Quotes or sayings – these work well for me. I use Canva to put the quote on to one of our notecard images, I can then put my website link on the picture, not the post writing, which I think seems not to stop FB showing it to people!

A collage of images – again I use Canva to do this – I think it means that some people will click on the image to see the detail and therefore FB shows it to more people. Picmonkey is also another good site especially for photographs.

Here’s an example of one I made for my page

cake facebook busuness

National Days – if you’re stuck there are some good websites like nationalwhateverday.com that tell you what supposed national days are (it’s American but don’t think that really matters whatever country you are in). Write an interesting fact and find an image to match, of a product if you can.

Seasonal posts – Valentines Day, Mothers Day, Christmas…etc

Personal stories – why do you do what you do? For me, being a Phoenix Trader involves eating a lot of cake and luckily people like posts with cake on them! – with these you want a ‘call to action’ something like ‘ask me if you’d like to know how you can do this too’.

Videos – obviously you can make your own but you can also share other peoples. Keep a look out in your personal newsfeed for videos that others share and that get a lot of views (it usually says under the video how many people have viewed it). You don’t have to share immediately – if you click on the little down arrow at the top right hand side of the video you can ‘save for later’. Then you can share it when you’re stuck for something else to share. It might not lead people to buy anything or join your business but it improves your reach and helps to get people to like you!

 

Finally – a few DON’Ts!

DON’T

  • share anything that is controversial- political, religious or otherwise.
  • whinge, e.g. don’t say ‘no one is seeing my posts so blah blah blah’ – it’s very tempting but to be honest most people couldn’t care less, you’re not going to get any sympathy!
  • share anything too personal about your children or anyone else (I probably cross the line occasionally on this because I innocently think I’m safe living on the edge of the world as I do).
  • share a photo of someone without their permission.

 

PS – IF THIS HAS BEEN USEFUL TO YOU, OR IF YOU’D LIKE TO ADD YOUR TIPS, PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT.

PPS – If you liked this you might like 5 Ideas for Networking with your Facebook Page

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Can I make money at this?

join flamingo paperie direct selling cards

I must get asked this question so often by people considering joining my team of Independent Flamingo Partners. My answer to this question probably applies not just to Flamingo Paperie direct selling but to all direct sales opportunities and possibly to all businesses too.

In short, yes, you can make money from this but – Fast car, get rich quick

How much you make depends on how much you’re prepared to put in.

I don’t believe there is any get-rich-quick-with-little-effort scheme. Flamingo Paperie direct selling is no exception.

To build any successful business you need to invest time and effort, a lot of positive mental attitude and probably some wise financial outlay.

Time and effort

Don’t expect to start your new business with a new personal online shopping website and for people you’ve never met to suddenly purchase huge amounts from your website without ever seeing the product or having a recommendation from someone who has.

People need to see a product between 3-7 times before they will make a purchase and they are more likely to purchase based on a recommendation of someone they know and trust.

So if you’re not prepared to repeat a sales activity at least 3 times then it’s probably not worth doing. It takes time.

Positive Mental Attitude

You will need to be determined. People will say no, it happens. Are you prepared to ask someone else? The more you ask, the more ‘nos’ you will get but you will also get some ‘yes-es’ and if you don’t ask you won’t get the nos but you certainly won’t get the yes answers either.

People aren’t really buying the products, they are buying you. Customers need to trust you before they will buy.

If they already know the product then they might trust you because of the trust they already have with the brand you’re selling but if they don’t know the product then they have to trust you first. That’s why when new Traders start in my team I always suggest they begin with an at home launch event with friends. Coffee and cards, at home eventThese people already trust you, they have probably already ‘seen’ your product through you talking about it so they’ve already had a ‘visit’ to your stall, even if only in their mind. It constantly amazes me the number of new Traders who refuse to do an at home event and then wonder why they struggle. If you can’t start with the people already within your trust circle you’re making it very hard for yourself to get your business going.

Money

How often do I hear people wanting to start a new at home business with no financial outlay. Often the reason is fear, not a lack of finances.

If you really want something, you’ll find the money.

Build your businessIf you’ve bought the product and you like it, then surely others will too? Most direct sales companies offer really good, heavily discounted start up stock packs. This isn’t to lure you into the business. They know that starting a business is the hardest part. However, with a good start up stock you are more likely to recoup your initial investment quickly and have repeat customers on board.

So perhaps you’ve read all this and are now thinking that Flamingo Paperie direct selling is not for you.

Well, maybe I’ve saved you a little heartache – or perhaps I’ve helped to prepare you to invest in your business. Maybe you can see the bigger picture, which is that when people who trust you, buy from you, and keep buying from you, then tell others who in turn become customers, that’s how your business grows. Perhaps now you won’t focus so much on the success or failure of an individual ‘event’. Instead you’ll see a process of growth that has many individual steps to it.

You might also be asking if there is a limit to how much money you can make? Through sales alone then yes there definitely is. At some point you’ll be so busy you’ll have to turn down events. There are only so many orders and deliveries you can make. If you want your business to grow then you need a team, a network of Partners who work with you and that you support. In return you’ll get commission from the parent company. How much, just like with your income from sales, is up to you. You can start building your team from day 1.

In direct sales every Partner has the potential to earn as much as anyone else. We all buy at the same level of discount and we call get the same commission opportunities. This is why it’s not a pyramid scheme. How much you earn depends on how much you put in. 

Find out more about Flamingo Paperie

STATUTORY NOTICE

It is illegal for a promoter or participant in a trading scheme to persuade anyone to make a payment by promising benefits for getting others to join a scheme. Do not be misled by claims that high earnings are easily achieved.