Posted on Leave a comment

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.

Posted on 3 Comments

How do I sell from my home?

If you’re thinking of starting a direct sales business Coffee and cards, at home eventthen you’ll be probably be told to do some at home events, at least a launch one.

Why? Because it’s a tried and tested way of successfully launching your business. You’ll be inviting people you already know, who already trust you and care about you to come and test your new business idea. Once you’ve done it, if you follow some of the ideas I’ll give you here, your confidence will grow and hopefully you’ll get a friend who wants to do the same kind of event in their house and invite other people you didn’t know!

We Flamingo Partners call these kinds of events, pop up shops or coffee and cards, or ‘wine and cards’ too sometimes!

So what’s the big deal with an at home event, I’ve found there are 3 main hurdles to get over; too scary for you, house too messy, don’t like baking!

Too scary?

Get over it! These are your friends, they already know you and trust you. You’ve probably already told some of them about the business you’re starting, they’re already curious. If they turned up at your door anyway, would you be too scared to let them in to your house? Unlikely, so what’s different? Ah, they might not support you and you’ll feel let down. Yes that does happen from time to time and it is harder to take from people you expect to support you than from complete strangers but these people are your best chance at launching your business because you’ve already built a relationship of trust with them so go on, bite the bullet and invite them round. Try saying, “I’m starting a new business and I’d really love to know what you think of it.”

House too messy?

Your friends (not necessarily your family if my mother is anything to go by) will be most forgiving. Don’t you find it reassuring if you visit a friend’s house and it’s not totally spotless? Reminds you that you’re as normal as they are. Sure, clean the toilet a little and don’t have dirty dishes lying around, run the hoover around and make sure they can sit down somewhere but don’t go overboard, they’ll only feel uncomfortable!

Don’t like baking?

You think if you invite people round you’ll have to put on a big feast, you’ll have to get the baking bowl out and whip up some Mary Berry standard delights. No you don’t, that’s not what you asked them round for is it? Open a packet of biscuits and have the kettle on – if you want to really splash out go for chocolate biscuits not plain. Keep it simple, you’ll feel more relaxed and so will they.

So what’s stopping you now? Ah, you don’t know enough people. Would it surprise you to knowparty, at home event, coffee and cards I’ve done really successful home events with just 3 people turning up? It doesn’t really matter if there aren’t many. After all it’s meant to be an informal get together. Sometimes less is more because you can have more meaningful conversations with fewer people. The thing is those 3 people know other people. They know people you don’t know but because the 3 people you know trust you, they’ll pass on that spirit of trust to those other people who don’t know you.

Remember to ask if someone else would like to host a similar event too, at any home event you do. Keep it simple and your guests will be relaxed. Give some incentives like a % of sales in free stock or special free gifts just for hosts, then someone else will host a home event for you. Then they’ll invite people you wouldn’t have met otherwise and so your sales business grows.

Still too scary?

Then why not invite your local Flamingo Partner round to host a pop up shop for you, that way you can see how easy it is, and get some free cards and gifts too. You can keep these or use them to start your business along with your starter stock pack when you join!

Are there limits to how much I can do?

At some point your sales business will reach a limit. You can only be in one place at a time, at some point you’ll be so busy you’ll have to turn down events. It takes time to sort orders and make deliveries. You need to expand! You need a team. Share the same business opportunity you had at the start with someone else (even better, with a lot of someone elses!). Direct sales companies (also sometimes known as network marketing companies) don’t have shareholders. So instead of profits going to big cheeses at the top they are shared out through their network of Partners in the form of commission payments. Each Partner has the potential to earn the same money. It’s up to each Partner how much time, effort, positive mental attitude they invest to determine how much they grow their sales and their team network.

You can be growing your team from the moment you start your own business. It can be really fun if someone starts at almost the same time as you and you can build each other’s business from the very beginning.

Motivating your team