In Direct Sales – Ditch Your Frank List and Use Target Marketing

For most of us in Direct Sales, 10 new recruits equals a promotion – either for someone in our organization, or for ourselves. Sometimes it equals qualifications for a special incentive – perhaps a trip to some exotic locale, or maybe some designer jewelry.

Most of us, who follow the out-dated ideas that our upline offers have been spinning our wheels watching THEM earn trips and recognition, while we sit scratching our heads, wondering why we aren’t getting in on the action. I mean, after all, we’re doing exactly what they told us, exactly the way they told us to do it.

Is this happening to you?

Our upline said make a list of 100 people. Check.

Our upline said contact them all and ask them to “help” you get started. Check.

Our upline said it’s a numbers game, talk to everyone. Check.

Our upline said to stay away from running ads in the paper. Check.

Our upline said to do 3 way calls. Check

Our upline said bring our recruits to the opportunity meetings. Check.

Our upline said pass out 500 business cards each month. Check.

Is your team growing by leaps and bounds?

Our upline never told us to be an authority on our company’s best product (that would be YOU!).

Our upline never told us to market ourselves first, and the company second.

Our upline never presents us as the authority. They become the “guru” instead of us!

Our upline never told us we could use the Internet to build our businesses on autopilot.

It means you need to position yourself as the expert. Set yourself apart and start thinking and acting like a leader NOW. Change your mindset – even if you’ve been in the business for years, start thinking like a leader at the next pay level. Already at the top of your game? Great. Start thinking like the owner of your company.

By the way, YOU are the owner of your company. You have the best product to offer anyone – and that is YOU. You can’t get that product from any other company.

Christie Northrup, the Lemonaid Lady, is a champion of ditching the FRANK list. She talks about using “WILMA” instead:

“Who

Is a

Likely

Marketing

Audience?”

Target marketing is the best way to see desirable results. The Shotgun methods still work, but the amount of time and energy you put into growing a business that way is, to me, excessive.

Let’s break down the numbers. ASSUMING you can buy 500 business cards for just the cost of shipping (there are online companies that run specials periodically), You’ve got a $10 investment in materials, plus the time it takes to deliver all of them. From here, we have to make a lot of assumptions:

  • Assume you give away 30 at every party (3 to each guest – who needs 3 business cards?)
  • Assume you have 8 parties per month (that’s pretty standard in Direct Sales)
  • Assume you give away 1 to every person you meet outside a party (that’s another 260 people each month)
  • Assume it takes 1 minutes to deliver each card outside a party (and really, you’re not building a relationship, you’re just shoving a card into their hand)
  • Assume a 1% conversion rate

You’re spending 4 hours each month just giving away cards, plus the additional 24 hours you’ve spent preparing and doing your parties. And I must reiterate – who really needs 3 of your business cards? More to the point, who’s going to TAKE 3 of your business cards?

And if you give away 6,000 cards each year, you’ve got 60 new leads (about 5 per month) that may book, buy or recruit. Most of those will probably come from your shows anyway, to be honest. For $120 in business card expenses (plus other show and travels costs) and 336 hours of your life. Each POTENTIAL lead costs you $2 and 5.6 hours of your life!

Is your head spinning yet?

Now if you really, truly have no other method of building your business, it’s a start. But I hope you realize that there are other, better options to growing your business. You could definitely be putting that time (and money) to better use elsewhere.

Find a niche and fill it.

In direct sales, there are targeted groups of prospects for every product line available. All you have to do is ASK your home office what the target demographic is for your direct selling company. If they can’t tell you, you’ve got bigger problems. If you sell kitchen tools, who it your target market? Men? Women? What about age, income, ethnic origin? The more you focus, the smaller your market will be.

Smaller market=bigger return on investment

If you invest your time and money wisely in your target market, you can easily bring your time and money cost to less than half of what you would have paid for the shotgun business card method.

Think of it this way, would it be wise for a retailer to send advertisements to everyone in an entire city, when all they sell is children’s clothing? Absolutely not! A better use of their advertising dollars would be to focus on places where there are mothers of children who want/need their kind of clothing. Moms buy the clothes, not the kids (in most cases), so it’s wise to find out where they buyers are.

Think about your product? Who are the most likely buyers? Yes, contrary to what your upline has told you, it IS okay to pre-judge. At least for now. Focus in on that market. You know where they are most likely to spend their money (with you!), now figure out where they are most likely to spend their time. Go there. Market yourself THERE.

You’ve heard it said before that parties/demos are the life blood of a direct sales business. Your most targeted market is right in front of you – in a semi-captive group. This is a place where you would NOT want to pre-judge. Everyone is there for a reason. That reason may be you.

20 Ways to Increase Sales With Direct Mail Letters

1. Adapt letter-headed paper

If you’re using company letterhead for direct mail then adapt it to your requirements. The company name and selling benefit should stand out. If you want people to email you, then the email address should stand out. If you want them to phone, then make the phone number prominent. Use the footer as a place to increase sales by drawing attention to a trade association or quality control mark. Make legal information as small as possible.

2. Postal replies

Do you want potential customers to reply by post? Include a pre-paid envelope.

3. Long letters

Don’t be afraid to write long letters (over a page). Nobody will buy something without enough information to make a decision. Keep selling until you have run out of sales points. Every word should be relevant – no rambling.

4. Be friendly

Address your letter to a known person if at all possible because it shows that you care who they are. Second best is to address them by their job or interest, eg. ‘Dear Dog Owner’. The worst salutation is ‘Dear Sir/Madam’.

Sign off in a friendly way. Instead of a secretary signing the letter on your behalf, sign it yourself. Include your Christian name and a friendly title. ‘Customer Services Manager’ says that your company cares about its customers.

5. Powerful headlines

At the top of the letter write a headline that communicates the product’s main benefit. It gives the potential customer a reason to read on. Keep it clear and simple – think communication not clever word play.

6. Powerful openings

Grab your reader’s attention. Study magazine articles and newspapers. How do they it? What works? Use your research. Here is a list of letter openers to get you started: http://www.procopytips.com/sales-letter-openers

7. Subheadings

Subheadings make letters digestible. Each subheading should sell the product.

8. Ask for what you want

Don’t beat about the bush. If you want your reader to buy your soaps then tell them so. If you want them to take out a subscription, ask them to sign up (and make it super easy). Ask straight away – don’t leave it until the middle of the letter.

9. Talk benefits

Know the difference between features and benefits. Instead of saying ‘the X65 lawnmower has a barrel of sixty rotating blades’ say ‘the X65 lawnmower develops a healthy lawn within weeks’. Decide which is the most important benefit and put that first. All the other benefits follow.

10. Make it personal

Address the reader as if you were sitting beside them. Make it about them and not you. Every time you write ‘we’ try and change it to ‘you’.

11. Emphasise important points

Emphasise important words by using bold or underline, but don’t overdo it or the power is lost. Indent to emphasise key paragraphs.

12. Make sure the letter flows

Guide the reader gently from one point to another. Sentences should be linked (‘what’s more… ‘, ‘but… ) and ideas should be set out in logical order.

13. Entice the reader to act

Your letter must end with a ‘call to action’. Now you’ve (hopefully!) sold the reader make it easy for them to act. Don’t make it complicated by providing lots of alternatives which involve decisions. Give an incentive too: ‘reply by 20th August and you will receive a free watch’.

14. Provide reassurance

Make sure the reader knows they can’t lose. For instance, say you won’t take payment until the product has been dispatched or that they won’t be charged for 60 days.

15. Use a PS

When you receive a letter do your eyes go straight to the PS? So do your reader’s. There should be a new ‘just remembered’ benefit here to seal the sale.

16. Make it a parcel

You don’t have to send a letter on its own. A creative package is likely to generate a higher response rate. You could include a sample of your product or a promotional item which will be a constant reminder of your company eg. a drink coaster or a pen.

17. Include a reply device

Pre-paid postcards with tick boxes make life easy for potential customers. If you can print their name and address for them, all the better. Reassure people that a salesman will not call and that they are under no obligation to buy.

18. Include an endorsement

Comments from satisfied customers go a long way as do market research statistics: ‘85% of our customers have used us for over 2 years’. Always be truthful. Never be tempted to lie – to do so cheats your customers and undermines your reputation.

19. Involve the reader

Ask rhetorical questions: ‘What would you do if… ? Write questions that potential customers might ask and answer them: ‘How much will it cost?’ Provide an example of a company or individual who reaped the benefits of your product: ‘When James & Son bought our product they halved their production costs in a week’.

20. Overcome objections

Make a list of all the possible reasons your customer might have not to buy. Decide how you would answer these objections and put them in your letter. For example: ‘I can’t afford it now’ could be solved with an easy payment plan. If you think people will want to compare deals with other providers then provide a comparison chart.

The Difference Between Network Marketing And Direct Sales

This post covers the different aspects of network marketing – Direct Marketing, Affiliate Marketing and Multi Level Marketing and makes a comparison with Direct Sales.

This term really relates to the distribution system. It is the marketing and selling of products directly to consumers away from a fixed retail location ie bricks and mortar building. The oldest form of this selling was actually peddling! Modern direct sales includes sales made through one-on-one demonstrations, party plans, other personal contact arrangements such as home parties as well as internet sales. A textbook definition is ‘The direct personal presentation, demonstration, and sale of products and services to consumers, usually in their homes or at their jobs’.

According to the WFDSA (World Federation of Direct Selling Associations) consumers benefit from direct sales because of the convenience and service it provides, including personal demonstration and explanation of products, home delivery and generous satisfaction guarantees. The cost for an individual to start an independent direct sales business is typically very low, in relation to franchising, with little or no required inventory or other cash commitments to begin.

Direct Sales is distinct from direct marketing because it is about individual sales agents reaching and dealing directly with customers. Direct marketing is about business organisations seeking a relationship with their customers without going through an agent/consultant or a retail outlet. Direct Sales, often but not always, use Multi-Level Marketing.

The largest Direct Sales companies by revenue in 2010, according to Direct Selling News were:

Avon Products, Amway, Natura,Vorwerk, Herbalife and Mary Kay

The Difference Between Network Marketing And Multi-Level-Marketing

Multi-Level Marketing is where a salesperson is paid for selling and for sales made by people he has recruited himself or sponsored rather than single-level marketing where the salesperson is only paid for the sales he makes himself. This marketing strategy is where the sales force is compensated not only for sales they personally generate, but also for the sales of others they recruit, creating a downline of distributors and a hierarchy of multiple levels of compensation. Other terms for MLM include pyramid selling, network marketing and referral marketing.

The usual course is that salespeople are expected to sell products directly to consumers by means of relationship referrals and word of mouth marketing. Some people use the term ‘direct sales’ as an actual name for MLM, although MLM is only one type of direct selling.

MLM companies have been a frequent subject of criticism as well as the target of lawsuits. Criticism has focused on their similarity to the illegal pyramid schemes, price-fixing of products, high initial start-up costs, encouraging if not requiring sales people to purchase and use the company’s products as well as placing the emphasis on the recruitment of lower-tiered salespeople over actual sales. Often these companies have complex and sometimes exaggerated compensation schemes and little integrity when it comes to dealing with their members and people generally!

The Difference Between Network Marketing AndAffiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts. Examples include rewards, sites where users are rewarded with cash or gifts; for the completion of an offer, and the referral of others to the site. The industry has four main players: the merchant (also know as the ‘brand’ or ‘retailer’), the network (that contains offers for the affiliate to choose from and also takes care of the payments), the publisher (also known as ‘the affiliate’) and the customer. The market has grown in complexity to warrant a secondary tier of players, including affiliate management agencies, super-affiliates and specialised third- party vendors

Affiliate marketing overlaps with other internet marketing methods to some degree, as affiliates often use regular advertising methods. Those methods include organised SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), paid search engine marketing (Pay Per click -PPC), e-mail marketing and in some form – display advertising. Affiliates can sometimes use less orthodox techniques like publishing reviews of products of services offered by a partner.

Affiliate marketing – using one website to drive traffic to another – this is a form of network or online marketing which is frequently overlooked by advertisers. While search engines, e-mail and website syndication capture much of the attention of the online retailers, affiliate marketing carries a much lower profile. Affiliates however continue to play a significant role in online retailers’ marketing strategies.

I trust that all is now clear!

Whichever way you go – here’s to your success!