Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why Your Direct Selling Business Should Always Be ON

I just returned from spring break and a once-in-a-lifetime trip visiting Washington, DC and New York City. What an amazing trip to soak in so much history of this awesome country and seeing so many landmarks. Loved my trip beyond words!

As much as I love vacationing, I'm always excited to be home and getting back to the thick of things. One of the things that's never far from my mind, even while vacationing, is my natural/organic home-based business. It's true what they say if you really love what you're doing, it never feels like work :).

Why would I be thinking about my business while vacationing? Because my business is one of the reasons why I'm able to go on vacations.

While on vacation, I still checked emails and followed up on anything that needed my attention such as any hot sales or business leads.

If you're an independent consultant for a direct selling business, your business goes wherever you are, even while on vacation. That doesn't mean you're working while on vacation but with the ease of iphones and other smartphone options easily accessible wherever you go, you can easily check in at least once a day so you're not missing out on potential business or responding to any urgent emails from your team, etc.

There's a lot of competition in the direct selling business so you can't afford NOT to check in while you're vacationing, whether you're away for the day or a week. I can't tell you the number of new consultants and customers my business gained because someone else didn't assist those leads.

It pays to be responsive and return emails within the same day, sooner is always better. People want everything done yesterday so if you have a hot prospect interested in your business, you need to respond promptly.

Even something as simple as to let the person know you're on vacation but will send out samples, catalogs, and provide more detailed info when you return. It shows the other person you're a professional and acknowledged their request.

Perfect example? I sponsored a new consultant for my business in the midst of sight seeing at the Smithsonian while in DC. It only takes a few minutes to answer question via email or checking in to social media sites i.e. Facebook to see if anyone is inquiring about your business or products. That's how I ended signing up my new business partner!

Besides, don't you just love getting that email that someone's interested in your products or business opportunity?

The best part about owning a direct selling business is the flexibility of working the business wherever you are as it's always with you. My business is always on no matter where I am.



P.S.  Want to start your own online direct selling business sharing natural/organic products? You can easily build your business online without hosting parties or selling to friends and family. As a #1 leader and recruiter, I can help you build your business with my marketing tips. More info ->Natural/Organic Business

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Natural/Organic Party Plan vs Network Marketing Companies

These days you're seeing more natural, organic skin care and personal care direct selling companies which is a beautiful thing because not all of the opportunities are created equal. Not only the compensation plans vary with each company but also the price points. There is definitely something for everyone but if you're thinking about joining a natural or organic beauty company, how do you know which is the best fit for you?
Are the products high quality and of value to real customers? What are the retail price of the products? Does someone have to sign up to be a preferred customer or distributor first in order to afford the products?
Direct selling is more than recruiting. You need real customers to grow and sustain your business. You also want to earn money right away. The best way to earn an immediate income is to sell products without having a customer jump through hoops. 
Are the products priced competitively with regular brands so you can sell products easily without someone becoming a preferred customer first because the retail price is too high? Higher price points mean your marketing efforts to attract customers will be more selective.
Compensation Plan
People start a direct selling business for many reasons but if you're looking at it as a real business, it's really important to know how you're going to be paid, what are the requirements for team building, and so forth.
Party plan companies pay differently than network marketing companies. What does party plan based mean to you? 
It doesn't mean you're required to do parties but the personal and team volumes are generally much higher which makes doing parties or selling through events, groups, etc. more effective in achieving those volumes than network marketing plans. 
With NYR Organic, personal sales volume required to earn a team commission starts at $200 and up to $400 and a team sales volume requirement. 
With Ava Anderson Non Toxic, personal sales volume required to earn a team commission starts at $300 but you also need to have a direct consultant also with $300 in sales. And goes up as high as $1000 personal sales as you move up the leadership rank. 
And Lemongrass Spa, you don't start earning a team commission until you sell $2500 in personal sales.
*Note: Check with these companies for most current comp plan details.
It's understandable people want to join a company because they love the products. I use several products from other direct selling companies and have thought about joining their companies but I know their comp plans are not the best fit for me. 
If you love to do parties, have a large network of people that you can easily tap into to host parties for you, or willing to do whatever it takes to achieve a higher personal monthly volume, then a party plan is a great fit for you. It's one of the reasons why some people choose a network marketing pay plan over a party plan because the personal minimum requirements tend to be a lot lower. 

With network marketing, it's typically common to see anywhere from 25 points to 100 business volume to earn from your team sales. In dollar amount, it depends on each company but it could be as little as $50 to earn from your team. That is significantly lower than party plans. 

One isn't better than the other but one is better than the other for YOU. I prefer network marketing comp plans over party plans because of the low personal sales. More on this topic in my future posts.
P.S.  If you love natural and organic personal care products and looking to build your business without having to hit high personal sales volume, I invite you to take a look at my natural/organic beauty business. It is by far the most flexible and achievable comp plan I've seen.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Direct Selling Companies Competing with Consultants for Sales and Recruiting

Some companies start out as a retail business and decides to turn to the direct selling business model. Pangea Organics is one of them however it no longer sells through retail outlets. Others operate both retail and using the direct selling business model.

To me, companies that sell directly to anyone who visits the company's online store without having to go through a consultant poses an unfair disadvantage to the hardworking consultants that are building the brand name for the company.

If you're a consultant, you know how challenging it can be to grow your business. To be fair, I don't think these direct sales companies are trying to compete with their consultants directly. My understanding with some of these companies is that they want to offer multiple options for customers to buy products. Some customers don't want to deal directly with a consultant. They don't want to be bothered with "opportunity spiels" for fear of being recruited. Some just want to shop anonymously. I understand companies don't want to lose sales.

However, when a company sells through retail stores as well as online, they're compromising their consultants' sales and recruiting efforts. Every time a consultant is promoting the brand of the company, she risks sending someone to the corporate website and can potentially lose the business to the company especially if the company does not assign corporate leads to an existing consultant.

Nearly all direct sales, party plan, and network marketing companies have the look up a consultant option so that the company itself isn't profiting from the sales or recruiting generated from the corporate website.

Maybe some consultants don't think it's a big deal that their companies allow customers and potential consultants to sign up and buy directly on the company website but I believe this takes away business from hardworking consultants that are out in the field actively promoting the business thus helping to build the brand name for the company.

Every time you're out in the field branding your company name, you're potentially sending a lead to company, without you benefiting from it or another consultant, especially when the company keeps the sales or recruiting to itself.

What makes the direct selling industry unique from traditional business is that customers can only buy products exclusively through consultants. It's another reason why most companies do not allow reps to sell on third party sites such as Ebay or Amazon.

I personally would not join a company that allows customers to buy or sign up to be a consultant directly on the company website unless the business is assigned to an existing consultant.

If you're going to be a direct sales company then make your products exclusively available only through your consultants.

Your thoughts on why some companies allow people to buy and/or sign up directly on the company website? What are the pros and cons to you as a consultant, if any?


#1 Direct Sales Leader

P.S.  Would you like to learn my tips on how to start a home-based business selling natural/organic products online without having to do parties? Email me and let me share my tips with you.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Skin Care/Beauty Direct Selling Getting Saturated?

Skin care and beauty products are everywhere, in retail stores and online, which would make people think it's a saturated market right? Makes you wonder why people would start a skin care business but the fact is skin care and beauty is hugely successful. Even the direct sales/network marketing companies that didn't start out as a skin care business such as Xango eventually added skin care and beauty products.

Other examples are Scentsy which started out as a wickless candle but branched out by adding bath, body, and personal care products as well as Gold Canyon Candles. These are just two examples. As many companies as there are offering beauty products you'd think it's saturated but it's definitely not the case and here's why.

The first reason is that skin care and beauty isn't a one-size-fits-all as there are many different types of products and price points. One product might get rave reviews by one person but the opposite from another. I've used products that some people rave about and they didn't impress me or products that I can't use because it makes my skin itchy, the smell wasn't right for me, I didn't care for the packaging, and various other reasons.

There are also people that will only use certain types such non toxic skin care, natural, certified organic products, or whatever is the cheapest. There's something for everyone so if you're in this business or thinking about starting one, you'll need to reach people that are interested in giving your products a try. Knowing your audience is key to your success.

If you've been thinking about starting a home-based business in the skin care/beauty area, there's a lot of room for growth! But before you join a company, here are some things to consider:


Since there are different types of skin care and beauty products, what type of products interest you the most? For me, it's all about the ingredients, regardless of what the marketing says on the packaging. Natural, organic and even certified organic are only important if the ingredients are non-toxic and aren't filled with green washing ingredients. The company I would start a business with would have to be truly natural which is more important than the labels "natural" or "organic". So the ingredients matter a great deal to me. How important are the ingredients and quality of products to you?

Price Points? 

How important are price points to you? Would you be a customer even if the company does not offer a business opportunity? No one wants to pay for overpriced products because who doesn't want quality products at a great value. When you see those fancy packaging and marketing, you can bet those overhead costs are built into the price points. I love representing a company that offers high quality, non-toxic products at real prices that fits everyone's budget.

The Business

When it comes to the business and compensation plan, you'll find how you'll get paid varies across many different skin care companies. Network marketing is slightly different than a party plan. Both offer incentives for sponsoring a team of consultants but the compensation plan varies a great deal. Do a careful research and decide what's going to work best for you.

For example, it's common to see auto-ship requirements with network marketing and many of them can be as high as $100-$200 a month that you're required to be on auto-ship if you want to earn a team commission.

Compared to a party plan which typically does not require an auto-ship but many of them have high personal requirement to earn from your team. You can expect to see anywhere from $300 and upward.

One isn't better than other but finding a plan that is the best for you matters. So, if a company requires that you sell $500 each month before you can earn from your team sales, are you prepared to get out and achieve the required sales volume?



P.S.  Do you love natural/organic skin care and beauty products? Would you be interested in hearing about a young company that's already getting lots of rave reviews? Email me if you're interested:

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Customers for Your Skin Care/Beauty Direct Selling Business

Are you having a hard time finding customers for your skin care/beauty business? There's no doubt the market is flooded with all kinds of beauty products. And if you're a home-based consultant representing one of many companies in the party plan, network marketing industry you're up against not only retail brands but competing with other direct selling companies too. Makes you wonder if it's a profitable business, doesn't it?

The good news is the beauty business in direct selling is big business and there are lots of successful companies as well as consultants building a full-time business from home. But how do you find customers for your business?

Here are some tips that have helped me to be the #1 leader in my company.

#1 Know your target market

The reality is not everyone's interested in your products or your business opportunity. We all think we have the best products and opportunity but that's not the case. I know plenty of people that don't give a hoot about non toxic skin care products, consuming organic products, and will buy whatever's on sale at the cheapest price. I'm not going to put much effort in trying to convert them. Your time is better spent sharing your products with people that are most likely to be interested and it's not hard to identify those prospects.

Look for small openings when you're having conversations with people. Don't get into sales-mode but pay attention to the conversation. If you're online, write informative articles on how your products have been beneficial to you and others. Or share news that might be an eye opener for your target audience. I love sharing articles on the dangers of using toxins in personal care and skin care products. That's one way you can use information to reach more people.

#2 Provide superior customer service

A friend of mine who is a leader for Perfectly Posh is the queen of customer service! As soon as her company has new products, she sends out new samples to me right away, without me asking for them. It's no wonder I'm one of her customers. People do buy from people they like and trust.

Be professional and act like a real business. Send samples to your prospect sooner rather than later. I've had people respond to me days later and I've moved on or no longer interested. We live in a highly connected world and it's too easy for people to find a new consultant that will happily take your business. Send out samples the same day or the next day at the very latest unless you're traveling and can't get to it. Follow up within a few days. It's up to you to follow up, not your prospective customer.

#3 Expand your network

Don't rely only on your friends, family, and people you know for business. Consultants get discouraged when they're taught the "friends and family" approach because it's not successful for everyone. It's a good start to share your products with people you know but you need to expand your network right away.

Make a list of the products you're selling and identify people that are most likely to buy your products. Start with your hot prospects first. I know people that are passionate about natural products and would not use beauty products with toxins or represent a company that sells products with harmful ingredients. Those are my most ideal candidates as customers and business partners.

If you're selling dietary products, you probably don't want to reach out to someone who's not looking to lose weight, but that person could be perfect for nutritional products. You can always use a third-party approach and ask if they know of anyone who would be interested in your product.

I've found identifying my most ideal customers and reaching them first more effective than randomly going after people.



P.S.  Are you already buying natural personal care products? Have you thought about selling natural products online and help share the important message of using non toxic personal care products? If you're interested, visit my website and see how you can easily have the same online store -> Natural Skin Care Business

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Discounting Start Up Kit Good for Direct Sales/Party Plan Consultants?

January is usually the time when you see direct sales/party plan companies offering discounts on new consultant kits. It's the new year and it's one of the best time to start a new home-based business. It's a bargain when you consider how much products you're getting with a new consultant kit. Why do companies offer such a hefty discount on their start up kits- some as good as 50% off? The obvious answer is to ramp up recruiting. Nothing attracts new consultants as a discount on start up fees.

In direct selling, every company needs retention and revenue to grow and sustain growth. When it comes to retention, it can be flaky in this business. It's so easy to join but not easy to sustain. When companies offer periodic incentives i.e. kit discount or extra free products it certainly helps to attract new consultants. But is this strategy good for business builders that are looking for serious consultants and not wholesale shoppers?

Some consultants love it because they're more likely to see an uptick with new team members. And new recruits can mean more team sales. But it really depends on the structure of each direct sales/party plan company. Some people sign up just for the kit content without any intention of doing the business. Or they're signing up for the consultant discount which is quite generous with most companies. Why pay retail when you can save 20-30% which is standard with many companies. I signed up with an organic health and wellness company because the fee was so low and it allows me to save 20-30% on all their products.

In my previous post "sales quotas good for consultants ...", I think discounting a start up kit can be great for a consultant's business, if there's some type of monthly or quarterly minimums (ex: $300/quarterly) so consultants are expected to do more than just be shoppers. Of course, the flip side of the argument is that highly motivated people will work the business and people who aren't will find every excuse not to. I agree with this thinking 100%.

As a business builder, if your company is offering a deep kit discount, I would work with each new consultant and find out what their goals are. If they tell you they're only in it for the discount or kit content then you know how much to give of your time.

In general, I think it's always good to offer incentives to keep your business interesting and attracting new people.

Your thoughts?


Friday, February 7, 2014

Sales Quotas Good for Consultants in Direct Sales/Party Plan Business?

Are sales quotas good for consultants in direct selling/party plan business? We know with nearly all network marketing companies there are monthly auto-ship requirements to be an active distributor and/or be eligible for the compensation benefits. But with direct sales/party plan, that's not always the case. There are lots of companies that have no monthly sales quotas. This is good and bad.

The good part is that it allows flexibility- someone can be a business builder or join to get the product discount with no pressure to hit monthly sales requirements. The bad part is that you, as a consultant, may be working hard to sponsor people and could end up with a team of too many "shoppers".  But is that a bad for your business? Well ... no but if your goal is to earn a team commission you're going to need a lot of shoppers to hit the monthly team sales to earn a commission.

But there are two ways to look at this ...

First, I talk to a lot of people that love not having a monthly sales quota and quite honestly, that is one of the main reasons why I have built a large team in a short amount of time. Direct sales/network marketing is a numbers business because most people sign up and do very little, if anything at all. So, the upside of having the flexibility of zero monthly sales quota is that you're likely to sponsor more people.

But the downside is that they may not do much in the long term other than buying products for themselves. It's too easy not to do anything when there's nothing required of you.

For people that are serious business builders, I think having some quota is good for your business as well as for the company. But how much is the right amount that makes it achievable for consultants to recruit new people as well as for them to upkeep without losing interest or frustration because they're not able to maintain their business?

With some companies, requirements are as low as only $100 retail sales for the entire year to be considered an "active" consultant. For a consumable company that's hardly considered a requirement. This is good for people who aren't interested in building a business and are signing up for the discount but this isn't necessarily profitable for the team builder because you need a lot of wholesale shoppers to earn a decent team commission.

I believe sales quotas are good for consultants if it's an achievable volume such as $25 or $50 a month or $200 every 6 months for consumable products. It has be reasonable so a consultant isn't stocking up with a garage full of products in order to maintain her business. The requirement should be realistic so someone can replenish either for personal use or by selling the products, even on an occasional basis. In other words, sales quotas are designed for business builders as well as for shoppers, part-time, or occasional consultants.

Would love to hear the pros and cons.


Verefina #1 Team Leader