Monday, February 25, 2013

What are the Best Party Plan Companies?

There are so many party plan/direct sales companies that it's impossible to compare which is the best because you're not comparing apples to apples as there are many variables. All things being equal, a more realistic evaluation is- what's the best home party plan company for YOU? Not what's best for someone you know that's already in the business. Someone else's success is not a guarantee that you'll be successful.

Likewise, someone else's lack of success doesn't mean you won't be successful in the same company. That's why choosing a party plan/direct sales company can be tricky on the surface without digging deep and getting to know what's really important for you, your family, lifestyle, schedule, financial goals, personal goals, and so forth. These factors will help you find the best company for you.

Remember that people join a party plan business for different reasons. And if you're looking to build a large business, ultimately YOU will be the deciding factor whether your business will be successful or not.

Here are some suggestions to guide you:

Are you the party type? We all might enjoy going to parties and hanging out with other gal pals but let's be honest- a direct sales party is not only fun but it's also work because you're running a business.

If you're a business builder, your main objective is to sell and sponsor and grow your business. If you don't enjoy getting out there, marketing, and networking so you can meet more people and potentially get more people to host parties for you- a party plan might not be a good fit for you.

What is your working style? Do you enjoy meeting one-on-one to demonstrate products and talk about your business? Are you more comfortable in this intimate format than being with a large group of people? If this is more your style, does the company you're considering offer products that make it easy to share the products using this format? Some products can be harder to show and sell in a one-on-one setting.

Are you an early adopter or prefer stability? Some people prefer to partner at the beginning of a new company and be part of the growth as a "founding consultant". Others prefer stability and want a company that have name recognition.

There are benefits to new and established companies but it depends on you and what you're looking for. Some people find it stressful dealing with inventory shortages, the growing pains, and other issues that are can be more common with new companies. If you understand this is what it means to partner with a start up and you're patient enough to grow through the pains, you're probably more of an early adopter.

To start, it's helpful to think about what's important to you using the above tips and find a company that offers products you love, a business structure that's going to work for you, and a company that you'll be proud to represent.

I truly believe you can't go wrong with a party plan business because even if you decide it's not for you after you purchase the start up kit, all the products are yours to keep!


Janette Stoll

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Can You Build a Direct Selling Business Online?

You all know I'm a huge fan of marketing my home based business online. So naturally, I'm an advocate of choosing a business that I can realistically market and grow online.

More and more, I'm hearing people looking for a direct sales business that they can do online without doing parties. It begs the question- can you do direct sales without doing parties?

And the answer is yes but it depends on a few factors such as the monthly personal sales requirements or team sales requirements. The higher the requirements, the more difficult it is to get those sales online, which means you're relying on home parties, vendor boutiques, and other offline avenues to meet sales requirements.

But it's also not impossible to do direct sales exclusively online, even with the high monthly sales requirements because it depends on each person's willingness to put in the work to hit the sales requirements. If you're willing to do what it takes to grow your business, there's no stopping you, but this is not the norm.

For the majority of the people, booking home parties consistently is difficult to sustain, and if you're the type who doesn't enjoy the pressure of getting parties booked ... there's real hope that you can realistically build and grow a direct sales business online without doing parties, but there are some requirements:

Don't buy into the hype that anyone can do direct sales online with zero experience because it's not true. You need some experience. If you're starting out online, be willing and committed to learning new skills so you can attract leads.

Many direct selling companies offer good online and social media training although not great. The training is still heavily emphasized on booking parties. But even if your company doesn't offer the most stellar online marketing training, there are a lot of resources available.

There are fantastic direct sales/social media trainers such as Jennifer Fong (I love her blog) and many others. There are also books on blogging and social media that you can pick up at the library (free). If you really want to succeed online, resources are everywhere, and there's really no excuse not to learn new skills.

Building a direct sales business online can take longer for some people. If you're a seasoned internet marketer and already have a blog and an online presence, it will be easier. But if you're starting out, give yourself time to build up your online presence such as starting a blog, building its content, gain traffic, creating social media profiles, and networking online.

Be patient and realistic with this process because internet marketing is about building relationships which is done over time and offering value. You're more likely to attract interest if people like what they see from you. Your efforts will be fruitless if you use your online presence to spam or pitch your business opportunity without connecting with people first.

The most successful direct sales internet marketers use their online presence to share their knowledge, experience in the industry to help others, and in the process attracts people to their businesses.

If you're an exclusive online direct seller, how are you leveraging the internet to build your business? Would love to hear your comments.


Janette Stoll

Friday, February 15, 2013

Low Start Up Fees Good for Home Party Plan Consultants?

There are two types of party plan companies: top tier and low tier. Top tier direct sales companies  have significantly higher start up costs such as CAbi women's fashion, Doncaster, Etcetera, and a men's line J. Hilburn. CAbi also has territory restrictions which is brilliant because it reduces the saturation from having too many consultants vying for parties. And the high costs to join one of these top tier companies can limit some people's financial ability to join.

Compared to low tier companies, the start up costs can range anywhere from $10 to $199+, which naturally attracts more consultants because the costs are more affordable. But the downside is that you can end up with a lot more consultants in a concentrated area all competing for home parties.

What's great about top tier and low tier opportunities is that there is something for everyone. That is one of the most attractive features of the direct selling industry. But if you're thinking about joining a party plan which relies on home parties to earn the most money: keep these considerations in mind:

Is your area saturated? I know some people think saturation is a myth. To a degree, I agree because not everyone who signs up is even actively doing parties, so even if you have 100 consultants in your area chances are most of them are NOT actively out there hustling and getting parties booked. This is great news for those that are highly motivated and willing to do whatever it takes to get parties booked.

That said, if you're a mom selling jewelry or handbags and there are 10 other consultants in your area, you're bound to cross paths because moms network with other moms and they tend to network at their kids' schools, after school activities, sports, and so forth.

In fact, a friend of mine signed up to sell jewelry last year when she was the only one in her area and there are now thousands in the company and at least a dozen in her area all competing for home parties.

Does this mean you're too late if you missed one of the first waves- hardly; however, you will need to be out there marketing, networking online and offline to attract new customers which is vital to a party plan business. The heart and soul of a party plan business is to party.

When you're in a business that depends on home parties, having too many consultants can potentially flood your area. Low entry fee such as $10 or $29 might be easier to sponsor new people but realistically, you're sponsoring more people that are essentially competing with YOU for parties.

There should be a balance for party plan companies to attract new consultants with affordable start up costs but not make it a "wholesale" shopping experience by introducing a $29 sign up fee which could compromise a consultant's ability to sell at "retail".

Although you're more likely to see wholesale options with network marketing however network marketing companies typically offer consumable products that are more likely to generate repeat sales. And network marketing relies less on parties and more on customers to consume products therefore the low fee "wholesale" option tends to work for network marketing such as Arbonne, Votre Vu, doTERRA, and many others.

This isn't to deter you from choosing a party plan company that offers a low entry fee but to give you food for thought and think about what your ultimate goals are and make a decision that's best for you.

What are your thoughts on low start up fees? Do they benefit consultants?


Janette Stoll
#1 Top Leader

P.S.  Do you love direct sales but not the party plan type? Email me and let me share how you can build a home based business using products you're already buying elsewhere and never have to bug your friends and family for parties.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Direct Sales Tips: Why You're Not Getting Customers

There are only a few excusable reasons why you're not taking care of your leads or customers unless you're no longer representing the company. Otherwise, if you're an active direct selling consultant, rolling out the red carpet treatment should be your standard of excellence. Let me share a couple incidents that turned me off because these consultants weren't willing to earn my business.

What makes direct selling business unique is the outstanding personal service that you don't always get at regular retail stores. These companies pay direct sales consultants commission to market, attract leads, and build a network of customers. If you're a rep, it's going to be 100% up to you to earn someone's business, and that means making sure you're providing exceptional service otherwise there's always another consultant waiting to take your business.

My experience with requesting a catalog and samples to try from two consultants were friendly, however both seemed more interested in selling me products, without offering to mail me a catalog or samples to try first. Their suggestion was: "buy the products knowing that it comes with a money back guarantee".

Of course I know their companies offer money back guarantee, so does every other company. I could have easily gone to a regular store and buy the products but because I'm also in direct sales, I try to support other direct sellers whenever possible.

If someone contacts me requesting a catalog or sample, I will get a goody bag out the next day, same day if possible. Why? Because not only are these potential customers but in my experience, people that contact me are more often than not, are also interested in possibly starting a home-based business with my company.

So it's a big deal how you handle a lead. And don't make assumptions i.e. whether she's really interested or maybe she's just a looky-lou. People move around in this industry even if they're currently with a company so you can't make assumptions. A lead is a lead and it's up to you to work with the lead such as pre-qualifying, getting to know the other person, asking questions, building rapport, and so forth.

Even if the lead doesn't work out, I never see it as a waste of money or time, instead I'm grateful for the opportunity. This is why I'm in the business I'm in and every opportunity is a gift. You'll be amazed what can happen when you treat every lead as a valuable person, even if she's not a customer. I've had leads I've stayed in contact with over the years, casual friends that turned into loyal customers and business partners, that would have never happened if it wasn't for the way they were treated at the first point of contact.

Would love to hear your thoughts. Do you offer free samples to prospective customers?


Janette Stoll
#1 Top Leader

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Vault Denim Jeans and Skin Care Products?

I came across this topic "Vault Denim Jeans and skin care?" on WAHM forum and I was intrigued with a jeans company adding skin care products to their fashion line which doesn't seem fitting. I could see a fashion line being expanded, with accessories, but a consumable product line such as skin care and jeans?

My curious mind wanted to know if it was a rumor or the real deal so I reached out to a Vault Denim consultant for clarification. And it's definitely not a rumor as the company is indeed adding a skin care line. I'll get to why this addition does make sense in a minute but first, why skin care?

If you're not familiar with Vault Denims Jeans, it's a direct sales party plan company, offering designer jeans where shoppers buy and take home jeans at the end of the party. I'm a jeans girl and love premium jeans but truth be told, unless my jeans are frayed or I can't fit into them for some reason, I don't buy new designer jeans that often.

As a customer, clothes and jeans in particular is difficult for me to buy online unless I'm already familiar with the brand. And as for gift buying, jeans don't exactly make great gifts because with jeans, you have to try them on and clothes fit people differently depending on brand.

Therefore, this type of business is best sold through home parties where women are more likely to buy after they've had a chance to try on jeans. By the way, if you love fashion, a fashion home party is a ton of fun!

However, one of the biggest problems with the "home parties" is getting enough people willing to be hostesses. And that is the biggest down side to a non-consumable party plan business- whether it's jeans, clothes, home d├ęcor, or jewelry. A party plan company relies heavily on home parties because it's the most fruitful.

As you see, perhaps it isn't all that surprising that Vault Denim is introducing a skin care line because skin care is not only highly consumable but it's a loyal product line that women tend to stick with once they find something that works for them.

First, Vault Denim Jeans already has a female base that the company can easily tap into. After all, these female consultants are most likely already buying skin care elsewhere. If you're the CEO and looking for additional avenues to keep the business sustainable, I can see the appeal of having a skin care line.

By introducing a consumable product line that women need to use, this will give the consultants an opportunity to use the products and have an additional source of income, in addition to selling jeans. There's nothing like skin care products that you know women will return again and again if they love it.

Some people might not be convinced that these two product lines compliment one another but from a business of sustainability, consumable products make a lot of sense!

What are your thoughts on Vault Denim Jeans and skin care? Would love to hear your comments.


Janette Stoll
#1 Top Leader

P.S.  Are you looking for a sustainable, long-term business that you can build online from home? As the #1 Sponsor for a ground floor company with only a few hundred consultants nationwide, I'm looking to coach future superstars on my success team. If you're curious how I'm building my business online- email me :).

Monday, February 4, 2013

Starting an Online Bath and Body Products Business from Home

There are so many ideas for starting a business from home and if you start searching online, unfortunately, the many "so-called" home based online businesses aren't exactly legit so you'll need to be careful in your search.

If you love bath and body personal care products, there's a huge market for these products, and plenty of opportunities to sell these online from home. Not to mention it's a stable product line used by females everywhere.

Opening a store selling bath and body products is an enormous cost but there are options for someone who loves bath and body products to sell online. If you're not interested in wholesale labels or making the products yourself then these are go-to options:

First, look into an affiliate program for bath and body personal care products.  Start with a product line you're already using and look on the company website to see if there's an affiliate option. If you're already a fan, becoming an affiliate marketer won't be hard to share with others, provided you have some internet marketing skills.

Read through the affiliate guidelines carefully and if you meet the requirements sign up to be an affiliate. What I like about being an affiliate marketer is that there are no upfront costs involved but you'll need a blog or website, and some internet marketing experirence. Once you sell a product, the company will pay you a percentage via PayPal or some other method.

The downside of affiliate programs is that there are no training, hands-on support, other than some tools such as affiliate banners. Of course, I'm sure there are companies that offer outstanding affiliate programs but in general, the ones I've worked with have been basic with some support.

If you're an experienced internet marketer, this won't be a problem, but if you're an inexperienced marketer, not having the proper training and support will be hard to sell products.

If affiliate marketing isn't for you, the direct selling industry offers dozens of bath and body/personal care companies with affordable start-up options. You can find many direct sales bath and body personal care companies with start up costs ranging from $10 to an average of $99.

The upside with a direct selling company is that you'll get hundreds of dollars worth of products and fantastic training. Even if you decide not to sell anything after your initial kit purchase, all the products are yours to keep. There are even companies that offer free websites for consultants which is even better for you!

With any work at home business, it's not always as easy as some make it out to be. In fact, it takes every bit if not more work from you because you're on your own which means you need to be even more disciplined to see any progress. However, working at home can be incredibly rewarding on so many levels for the right person.


Janette Stoll
#1 Team Leader

P.S.  If you love bath and body/personal care products and would like more info on how to partner with a growing direct sales company, feel free to visit my Verefina website, or email me.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Eclipse Candles Direct Sales Party Plan Company Closing

I just heard of the sad news that Eclipse Candles, a direct selling party plan candle company, is closing after 2 1/2 years. As a blogger and direct seller myself, I've announced other companies closing as I hear of them to share with others in the industry, and with my readers. I've come across a few Eclipse Candles Consultants and although I haven't tried the candles myself, it seems like a terrific company of giving and sharing. It's always sad to a hear direct selling company closing. I hope other direct sellers allow these consultants to cope and not use this opportunity to recruit them.

According to the company's Facebook page, Eclipse Candles will continue taking orders until February 7th through its independent consultants. And according to its Facebook page:
We are saddened to share that after two and a half years, Eclipse Candle Company is beginning the difficult process of closing our business. It has been our great honor to serve our wonderful Glow Team Members and to have had our products so lovingly welcomed into so many homes.

This is, of course, a difficult time for our ECC family, and Ken and I ask that other direct sellers show our Glow Team Members respect and empathy by refraining from contacting them during this time of healing.

Our hearts are incredibly heavy - this is not how we ever perceived this fantastic journey would end, but we can certainly be thankful and give the Lord our praise for all that we’ve had the opportunity to learn and share with the amazing people who have believed in ECC and stood tall with us. Our Glow Team Members are forever in our hearts and our daily prayers.

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him!” Lamentations 3:22-24

Thank you for allowing us to be part of your lives.

Ken and Tammy Knibbs
My best to everyone,

Janette Stoll