Category Career

Ten Ideas to Market Your Direct Sales Business

direct-marketingMarketing is an integral aspect of any small business success. As a direct sales consultant, marketing your business and website helps you achieve your sales goals. The more people who are aware of your business and products, the more success you’ll have. Here are ten great marketing ideas to help you get started.

#1 Offer a free newsletter – On your website or off you can offer a newsletter. You can email it or print and mail it. Email is a better option generally. It’s inexpensive and can lead to immediate click-through sales. In your newsletter, provide information that helps your recipients. Include promotions or special offers and link to your website.

#2 Advertise – Online or off you there are a number of advertising options available. You can take advantage of classified ads, online banner ads, text ads and pay-per-click (PPC) ads.

#3 Social networking – Social networking has become a really effective marketing tool. You can use it to drive traffic to your website. Announce special promotions or invite people to attend online or offline parties.

#4 Publish – You can write and publish articles for your local paper, online newsletter or article directories. If you’re publishing on line, make sure to include a clickable link to your website. If you’re publishing offline, make sure to include contact information including your website address. What do you write about? Anything that’s relevant to your industry. For example, if you sell outdoor gear then write articles about outdoor fitness or survival.

#5 Printing – Make flyers, brochures and business cards and post them around town. Post them in coffee shops. Ask physicians, dentists and other service providers if you can leave them for their clients. Post them on community boards and in places of worship.

#6 Partnering – Partner with other direct sales consultants and promote each other. You can even have double parties.

#7 Charity – Participate or host charity drives or fundraisers. Donate a portion of your profits to charity.

#8 Swag – Use your own products and use them blatantly. Don’t hesitate to share the swag. Help your customers promote you by offering them conversation pieces. For example, a nice tote bag with your business name on it can help spread the word. Also the happier your customers are, the more likely they will be to spread the word.

#9 Referrals – Consider offering customers rewards for referring new customers. Maybe they receive a free product or credit on their next purchase. Additionally, offer incentives for referring a party host.

#10 Networking – Don’t forget the value of your local small business association, chamber of commerce and other networking groups. These groups are great for making connections and learning better ways of doing business.

When it comes to marketing your direct sales business, use your imagination. Take advantage of your resources too. These ten ideas are just the beginning.

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    Is Direct Sales Right for You? Five Questions to Ask and Answer

    direct salesDirect sales is a great business model for many people. It can be a way to own your own full-time business. It can also be a nice way to supplement your income. Part time or full time – being a direct sales consultant does require a few interests and personality traits. It’s not for everyone. Answer these five questions to be sure direct sales is a smart choice for you.

    #1 What motivates you?

    Many direct sales associates are motivated by money. It’s a great motivator, to be sure. However, you don’t have to be motivated by money to really enjoy direct sales. You can also be motivated to help people live better lives. Your products solve problems and provide a benefit.

    You may also be motivated to help others succeed. When you recruit other direct sales team members, you’re providing a career opportunity to them. You can mentor them to be successful. So, what motivates you?

    #2 Are you independent or a team player?

    If you’re independent then direct sales is a great business model. You are able to work on your own to grow your business. You’ll work with party hostesses so there is a social element. However, for the most part you can work on your own.

    If you’re a team player then consider looking for a company that offers a tiered system. You can recruit teammates and enjoy the benefit of working with others. Of course, you’ll also spend some time on your own developing your own business.

    #3 Do you enjoy selling?

    In order to be successful as a direct sales consultant you’re going to want to enjoy selling. As a direct sales person you’re going to get the opportunity to sell in a party environment which can be very different than a typical retail environment. You’ll also market your business online and off through various means. However, your profits will come from your sales.

    If you would enjoy talking to people about how they can benefit from the various products you represent, direct sales may be your best decision ever.

    #4 Do you have good business and organizational skills?

    As a business owner there will be a number of things to organize and track. The more organized you are, the better and more efficient your business will be. You’ll want to track sales and profits, inventory and expenses – just to name a few items.

    #5 Do you have a positive mindset?

    Owning your own business can be challenging. Because you’re an independent sales person, you’re solely responsible for everything. You have to be self-motivated. A positive mindset will help you push through any challenges that may arise. It’ll keep you motivated to achieve your goals.

    Direct sales isn’t for everyone. However, for many it can be a dream come true. Do your answers to these questions support a direct sales career? If so, the next step may be to find the right company for you. To your success!

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      Five Steps to Direct Sales Success

      Interested in becoming a direct sales consultant? It’s a great business successroadmodel choice for many. It provides a number of the benefits of owning your own business without many of the drawbacks. Before you sign up with a direct sales company, take these five steps. Once you’ve worked your way through this process, you’re ready for your own direct sales business and tremendous success!

      #1 Analyze your strengths and weaknesses. What are you good at? What are you not so skilled at doing? What do you find uncomfortable? Where are you in your element? Spend some time answering these questions either on paper or in your head.

      The answers may surprise you. They are also incredibly important to your overall success as a direct sales entrepreneur. For example, if you love talking in front of groups but dislike administrative tasks, then you’ll know better how to position your business. You’ll know that the party aspect of your business will be great. You’ll also know that you may want to hire an administrative assistant to manage those tasks.

      #2 What are you interested in? There are direct sales businesses for just about every type of product. Make a list of your interests before you start searching for your ideal company. The more enthusiastic you are about your products, the better you’ll sell them.

      #3 Attend direct sales parties. Spend some time attending various direct sales parties. In fact, if you can connect with other direct sales consultants this is a great learning opportunity. You can learn the ins and outs of the business. You can learn more about particular direct sales companies. And you may find a good mentor in the process.

      #4 Brush up on business-building skills. Spend some time reading not only about direct sales but also about owning your own business. There’s a lot to learn. Study selling skills. Study time management advice. Study organizational information like cash management and bookkeeping too. Setting your business up right in the beginning will help you avoid mistakes later on.

      #5 Take a look at the money. How much do you have to invest? How much do you want to make? You’ll likely need a small investment to get started as a direct sales consultant. Do you have money set aside? If not, start saving now. You’ll probably only need a few hundred dollars to get your starting inventory. Once you’re up and running, how much do you have to invest in new inventory and products?

      Also take a look at your income goals. This is important. Setting financial goals helps you stay motivated. It also helps you plan. For example, if you know you want to make $24,000 in your first year and you know that the average party earns $1000 then you know you need to have at least two parties a month. This is important information.

      Once you’ve worked your way through these five steps and are confident with your answers and what you’ve learned, it’s time to find that perfect opportunity. Start researching direct sales companies and find the one that’s right for you.

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        Finding the Right Direct Sales Company for You – Three Steps for Success

        Direct-SalesDirect sales has been a successful business model for decades. However, within the past ten years it has really grown. You can now find a direct sales company that sells just about anything. From power tools to kitchen gadgets, there’s a direct sales company that support it. This can make it difficult to find the right company to choose.

        Here are three crucial steps to help you narrow your choices and find the right direct sales company for your ultimate success.

        Step #1 What are you interested in?

        Take a look at your own passions, interests and hobbies. What do you like? What direct sales products, if any, do you own? Make a list of potential items you’d enjoy selling. For example, if you’re a fitness enthusiast then you may enjoy selling fitness gadgets, nutrition supplements or outdoor gear. Make a list of 5-10 products you think it would be fun to sell. Remember, fun is important. If you don’t like the products they’ll be tough for you to sell.

        Step #2 Research direct sales opportunities

        Now that you have a list of potential products you’d like to sell, it’s time to research. You can find direct sales directories online. You can also visit the Direct Sales Association, dsa.org, for information. Write down the companies that offer products that match your interests.

        Step #3 Compare opportunities

        Not all direct sales companies are created equally. In fact, they can be quite different. Visit the website of each direct sales company you’re interested in. Compare:

        * Company growth and history – How long have they been in business and how successful are they? Is the company growing?

        * How they support their consultants – Do you get marketing materials? Do you have access to a mentor? Do they provide a website?

        * How much does it cost to get started?

        * How much do they pay? How are you compensated?

        * Do they offer a tiered system? Can you recruit new consultants and earn a percentage of their sales?

        * How often do they add new products?

        * What are their marketing rules? Can you create your own marketing materials? Can you have a website? (Some companies do not allow this.) Do they allow you to sell however you see fit?

        You’re likely going to find pros and cons for each company you research. If you need help narrowing down your choices, consider attending a party in your area. Getting to know other direct sales consultants who also represent the company’s products can answer your remaining questions.

        You’re going to invest a lot of time and energy into your business. Make sure you’re representing a company that is going to support you to succeed.

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          Fairness is Overrated

          Product DetailsFairness is Overrated
          by Tim Stevens
          Thomas Nelson
          Retail Price $14.99
          Amazon Price: $11.43

          Book Description: 

          Profitable organizations require a healthy culture, and Pastor Tim Stevens knows the secret sauce for a vibrant and successful workplace. Drawn from his experience working at Granger Community Church in Indiana, where he leads a team of more than 130 people, and from growing a worldwide ministry—5,000 people in three locations in Granger and 1,800 churches in India—Fairness Is Overrated lays out a practical blueprint for success. Short, digestible chapters—fueled by practical bullet-points, discussion questions, and real-life examples—give lessons and practical advice few leadership manuals teach, such as how resumes are worthless and Facebook and Twitter shouldn’t be prohibited at work. Whether it’s the power of switching off the iPhone in a meeting, balancing the visions of artists and leaders, or how to fire people with grace, Fairness Is Overrated is packed with practical tips for real leadership, every single day.

          Review

          If I had to recommend only one book on leadership for someone to read, this would be it.  All leaders, born or made, should read this.  The book is small and organized in small, bite-sized chapters.  The author’s insights are succinct and highly useful and he supports his advice with real business stories and leadership anecdotes, then he shows you how to apply his suggestions to your own situation.  If you are looking for principals that will work in your office culture to make it successful, look no further.  While the book is short and sweet it is packed full of good information.

          ~Reviewed by David H.

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            What Motivates Me

            Product DetailsWhat Motivates Me
            By Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton
            The Culture Works
            Retail Price $24.95
            Amazon Price: $18.78

            Book Description: 

            What Motivates Me will help readers align the work they do every day, for the rest of their lives, with what truly motivates them. It also includes a code to the Motivators Assessment. This is not a personality test, but a scientifically valid assessment that digs straight to the core of what motivates you at work. The book also features a set of thought-provoking exercises to help readers sculpt their jobs with 60 powerful strategies.

            After analyzing the results of 850,000 interviews, the authors sought to discover why so many people are not as engaged and energized as they could be at work. They found those who are happiest and most successful are engaged in work that aligns with what motivates them. What Motivates Me offers an extensively tested method to help readers identify their core motivators and figure out the disconnects between their passions and their current work, and guides all those searching for joy and engagement by asking the important questions – “What motivates me?” and “What can I do about it?”

            Review

            I have read a number of books about life and career and this has sparked me like none of the others. I found the  writing style to be easy to read and the suggestions offered to be very helpful. The narrative was peppered with great advice that I could apply to my life and the motivation assessment really helped me to pinpoint what my motivations are.   I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is struggling with any life issues, whether career  or otherwise.
            ~Reviewed by David H.

             

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              What Do You Want to Create Today

              What Do You Want to Create Today
              by Bob Tobin
              Benbella
              Retail Price $19.95
              Amazon Price: $15.45

              Book Description: 

              Forget what you think you know about success and make your own happiness.

              Dr. Bob Tobin lived what looked like a great life in Southern California: he had a house by the beach, a good consulting practice, and a BMW. But he wasn’t truly happy. Work didn’t really work for him.

              After losing a job, going on a life-changing trip, and gaining a major change in perspective, Bob relocated to Japan, where his career path changed in ways he had never predicted and he finally found personal satisfaction, success, and happiness.

              But how did he do it? And how can you do it?

              Many of us are dissatisfied with our lives but don’t make happiness a priority. It’s time to forget everything you think you know about success, and stop trying to fit the mold. Traditional models of “success” don’t work—not in a way that is right for you. Start learning more about yourself and your passions—and start realizing your creative and professional dreams—today.

              What Do You Want to Create Today?: Build the Life You Want at Work shows you how to develop your career in a way that uniquely suits you. Tobin has spent 25 years using the strategies outlined in this book to inspire hundreds of executives and thousands of students to create the kind of lives they want at work.

              Offering a mix of inspiring advice, practical suggestions, questions for reflection, and uplifting stories, What Do You Want to Create Today? is an essential guide in finding happiness and fulfillment via your work.

              You’ll gain a new perspective as you learn:
              Why focusing on objectives is holding you back
              How to “read the air” and act on what people don’t say
              How to develop courage and confidence
              How best to handle difficult coworkers

              It’s time to embrace your dreams, surround yourself with positive people, summon your courage, have fun working, and never stop learning.

              Review

               

              My father worked at the same job for 50 years and hated his job for most of his adult life. Growing up seeing how unhappy he was made me determined that I would do life differently.  I never could stand being unhappy in my work, so I gravitate toward books that help you find work that you love.  That is exactly what this book does.

              The author confronts the reader to determine if the work they are doing is just a way to pay the bills or is it something that is enjoyed.  He will show you how to believe in yourself and find the courage to make the necessary changes to help you find happiness in your work.

              This book was well-written and thought-provoking.  It really made me think about whether I am still happy with my current employment and what changes I should make.

              ~Reviewed by Adam B.

               

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                Delaying Social Security Could Increase Lifetime Income

                For those who are nearing retirement age can increase their lifetime income if they can wait a bit to start drawing Social Security benefits.  It is between the ages of 55 to 64 when folks start thinking seriously about retirement.

                Workers can start taking Social Security at age 62. But for those who can wait, the benefits go up.

                “If you need Social Security early, take it – you’ve earned it,” said Virginia Reno with the National Academy of Social Insurance, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. “But waiting even a year or two can make a big difference in the long run. The extra benefits are there for life.”

                Payments increase by 5 to 7 percent for each year of delay between ages 62 and 66, and by 8 percent for each year of delay between ages 66 and 70. The increases stop at age 70.

                For someone who can wait until age 70 to take Social Security, the reward is a lifetime monthly benefit that is 76 percent higher than if taken at age 62.

                For example, a worker who qualifies for a Social Security benefit of $750 at age 62 would receive $1,000 by waiting until full retirement age (66 for people born in 1943 to 1954). By waiting until age 70, the retiree would receive $1,320 a month.

                The higher benefit would also be the basis for future inflation adjustments.

                Around New York, only about one in three residents who are currently receiving Social Security retirement benefits waited until full retirement age to start their payments, according to the Social Security Administration.

                Getting the most out of Social Security benefits becomes more important the longer retirees live, said Leticia Miranda, a policy adviser with the National Council of La Raza, a nonprofit that focuses on Hispanic issues, including retirement.

                “You may be here longer than you think,” Miranda said.

                About half of seniors aged 65 to 69 get most of their income from Social Security. Many have other assets or work part time. But for three out of four seniors in their 80s, Social Security is the main source of income.

                Nationally, a woman who is 65 years old today can expect to live until she is 86. For men, it’s 84 years.

                Another consideration is how the timing of benefits will affect a spouse’s income, Reno said.

                “If you are the higher earner in a couple, delaying benefits not only means a higher benefit for you for the rest of your life,” she said. “It also means a higher benefit for your spouse if she or he outlives you in old age.”

                In more than half of couples who are 65 today, one spouse will live beyond 90, she said.

                But residents of nonmetropolitan areas  may have a harder time delaying their retirement.

                “In rural areas there is often a challenge as folks move toward retirement,” said Deanna Sharpe, a personal finance professor at the University of Missouri. “They are more likely to face unemployment. Jobs are not as available. And when they are, they tend to pay less.”

                Economic downturns can also affect when people decide to start receiving Social Security, Sharpe said.

                “One of the coping mechanisms during the recent recession was to pick up Social Security at age 62, even if they might not have planned to do that before the recession,” she said.

                Retirees need to make informed decisions, Sharpe said, but too often that doesn’t happen.

                “We find in surveys of financial literacy that quite a large portion of folks don’t understand the basics,” she said. “That’s a concern.”

                But retirees can easily find free or low-cost advice. Sharpe said many USDA Extension Service offices can provide information on retirement planning. She also recommended nonprofit organizations such as the National Endowment for Financial Counseling and Financial Education (www.nefe.org).

                The Social Security Administration website (ssa.gov) has a calculator that allows workers to estimate their retirement earnings based on their own work records and estimated retirement age.

                And the National Academy of Social Insurance has materials online about the impact of delaying Social Security benefits (www.nasi.org/WhenToTakeSocialSecurity).

                With national discussions about Social Security frequently in the news, some workers may worry whether the system will be there when they need it. Sharpe said people should stay abreast of the issues. “That’s part of making an informed decision,” she said.

                But Reno said that should not influence a personal decision about when to draw benefits.

                “Social Security will be there if you wait,” she said. The system is fully financed for about the next two decades and is three-quarters financed thereafter, she said.

                “Despite what you may hear, lawmakers have some good options to fix the system for the long haul,” she said.

                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                Tim Marema is editor of the Daily Yonder (www.dailyyonder.com), a national website that covers news about small cities and rural America.

                Roberto Gallardo is an associate professor at the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

                Support for the research and production of this article was provided by the National Academy of Social Insurance. The content of this article is solely the responsibility of the Daily Yonder, which is published by the Center for Rural Strategies, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization based in Whitesburg, Ky.

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                  Sell or Be Sold

                  Sell or Be Sold: How to Get Your Way in Business and in Life

                   

                  Sell or Be Sold
                  By Grant Cardone
                  Greenleaf Book Group
                  Retail Price $24.99
                  Amazon Price: $16.46

                  Book Description: 

                  Whether it’s selling your company’s product in the boardroom or selling yourself on eating healthy, everything in life can—and should—be treated as a sale. And as sales expert Grant Cardone explains, knowing the principles of selling is a prerequisite for success of any kind.In Sell or Be Sold, Cardone breaks down the techniques and approaches necessary to master the art of selling in any avenue. You will learn how to handle rejection, turn around negative situations, shorten sales cycles, and guarantee yourself greatness. Cardone will also teach you the success essentials of

                  •    Selling in a bad economy
                  •    Overcoming call reluctance
                  •    Filling your pipeline with new business
                  •    Staying positive, despite rejection

                  With the experience of a seasoned sales vet at the helm, Sell or Be Sold will change the way you perceive the sale—and life.

                   

                  Review

                  This is a nice reminder about taking action and continuing to be active.  The author reminds us that regardless of what your plan of action or your goal is, step one is always to get committed/sold. If you can’t be sold on your idea, you should cut your losses and move onto something else.  Cardone believes that we are all “in sales” in one way or another, whether it is product or an idea.  He is obviously an aggressive salesman and a person that makes things happen. He sure lit a fire under me!

                  ~Reviewed by Grey C.

                   

                   

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                    Leisure Services Financial Management

                    Leisure Services Financial Management With Web ResourceLeisure Services Financial Management
                    By David N. Emanuelson
                    Human Kinetics
                    Retail Price $59.00
                    Amazon Price: $55.10

                    Book Description: 

                    Leisure Services Financial Management equips students and professionals with the knowledge and skills to plan, implement, analyze, and report on the financial operations of leisure service agencies, businesses, and organizations. This unique text examines financial management systems, standards, and practices in recreation, leisure, tourism, and related fields, making it an essential reference for both future and current professionals.Leisure Services Financial Management prepares students for the roles and responsibilities of entry-level to middle managers in public, private, and nonprofit sectors of the leisure service industry. Readers will learn• foundational knowledge used in economics, accounting, finance, and marketing;• the technical and technological skills involved in managing the financial aspects of a leisure service agency, organization, or business;• how to develop a financial management philosophy and practice ethical financial management; and• interpersonal skills useful for financial managers interacting with various stakeholders on fund-raising and development initiatives.Leisure Services Financial Management presents current financial management approaches, giving students an understanding of the differences in accounting methodologies and financial report methods across the private, nonprofit, and public sectors. By examining and working with varied examples of financial reports and analyses, students gain experience in creating and interpreting a range of financial report models.A comprehensive package of online ancillaries, including an instructor guide, presentation package, and test package, assists instructors in delivering engaging lectures, facilitating class discussion, and creating effective assessment tools. The instructor guide includes chapter overviews, learning objectives, glossary terms and definitions, learning activities, critical thinking questions, case studies, web links to additional resources, and sample financial reports to assist instructors in planning lectures and student assignments.

                    A student web resource offers a range of learning resources, including learning activities that replicate the work professionals do on the job. The student web resource also contains examples of management case studies, which offer insights into the realities of the economic, political, and financial workings of the leisure service industry. Both the instructor guide and student web resource contain sample financial reports from each sector (private, public, and nonprofit). Included with each of these reports are problem-solving activities, which provide students with practice in reading, understanding, and analyzing financial reports similar to those they will encounter as professionals. Problem-solving activities in each sample report help students show their understanding of how to interpret these financial reports.

                    Leisure Services Financial Management offers students in-depth discussion of the knowledge and skills necessary for beginning a career in the varied and dynamic leisure service industry. This foundational guide to financial management will serve as an essential resource to both future and current professionals in the leisure industry.

                     

                    Review

                     

                    The leisure service industry is very varied, incorporating tourism, travel, parks, recreation and community-based activities. A leisure services degree equips graduates with the skills to work in a number of fields, including leisure administration, events management and community services. A leisure degree professionally prepares graduates to help others improve their quality of life through recreational activities.  This book is for the serious student who would to enter this field.  It provides an excellent economic foundation for today’s sport and leisure services manager.

                    ~Reviewed by Kayle H.

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