Network at Direct Sales Events to Boost Future Attendance

One of the most important skills any direct sales consultant must acquire is the ability to network with event attendees to convince the attendees to keep coming to presentations. The trick to getting people interested in your products is to make yourself available to answer questions and create value in your products that is not readily available.

Developing an effective direct sales training course for your associates is just like anything else in the business world in that the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. By putting in some extra work and teaching your associates useful tricks, you can start to really expand your business.

– Enhance Your Products

The catalogs you give out at each presentation are excellent resources for people to use when learning about your products. But if you work to find one or two more uses for each product that is not in the catalog, then you become a resource for your clients for information that only you have. When you give your presentations, include little bits of product information that is accurate but not in the catalogs. You will find that your clients will continue to call you and attend future events to buy products and get more information.

– Spread Your Contact Information Around

One of the more important elements of direct sales training is getting associates to understand the power of communication. When you or your associates set up for an event, your contact information needs to be all over your catalogs and available on every piece of literature you hand out. You should also carry business cards that you give to each attendee as something they can carry with them with your contact information on it.

– Stay in Touch

When you give a presentation, be sure to ask attendees for their standard mailing or email address so that you can send reminders for upcoming events. You can also use this list to send out short messages on uses for your products and announcements on new product releases. Do not saturate your clients’ inbox or mailbox with mailings, but do enough to maintain your status as a valuable resource.

-Book In Tight – Narrow Choices

The chances are good that your most immediate dates will fill up first. That is why you should only show prospective clients your calendar for the next two to three months. You will find it much easier to fill up your calendar when you already have dates filled in. If you give your client an option of choosing dates that are three months away or more, then it looks like you have more open dates and you lose that sense of urgency.

-Make your calendar look full!!

A sense of urgency in prospective clients is important because it helps to decrease the chances that the client will cancel. In order to create that sense of urgency, you need to know how to keep a calendar that always looks booked and busy.

When your calendar looks full,even if it is not full, then you will become better at booking shows at your show.

Establishing friendships at a direct sales event can be tricky because those friendships only benefit you if they result in sales or more events. That is why you should always act professional, be courteous, be fun and be an invaluable resource for your clients when it comes to your products.

Business Ideas in Recreation

Certainly, the best business ideas are those that are based on your own recreational activities. It is surely nice to enjoy your form of recreation and maintain a business at the same time. If you are truly passionate about your recreational activity, you surely would find it easier to gain passion for your business. Thus, pursuing a recreation now is more than just a source of entertainment and relaxation.

Many of the greatest business ideas have actually been taken from recreational activities of entrepreneurs. You could turn your favorite recreation into a good business opportunity that would surely generate money. Here are several business ideas that could be practically culled from recreation.

Traveling

Since time immemorial, traveling has been a recreational activity that most influential and opulent individuals indulge into. Everybody surely could not resist the urge to go to places, especially those with superb tourism attractions. Traveling is more than a recreation. It is actually more of a luxury. Now, even the middle class and lower class people are striving so hard to partake and enjoy the leisure of traveling. Many people prefer to travel for their vacation.

Perhaps, you could startup a small traveling agency. You could make use of the basic knowledge you have garnered about the activity. You could out up an online travel business wherein you make use of your ability to write through coming up with travel guidelines, tips, and insights. Try out various options about traveling and generate good revenue from it.

Beauty

Many people are obsessed with beauty. Women and men alike almost always want to look gorgeous and appealing. If you have a passion for beauty, you may take it as a recreation. Perhaps, your own beauty regimen and practical knowledge could be a form of recreation you do during your idle moments.

Turn your beauty regimen into business. You may be using home remedies that could be shared to other people. You could prepare or formulate your own solutions and sell them as your own products. Now, you could earn from trying out herbs and other ingredients and turn them into effective beauty secrets or products that everyone would be willing to try out and use.

Food

Of course, indulging in good food is the best recreation. Who could ever resist the temptation to feast on the most sumptuous meals? The world simply loves to eat. If you take it as a recreation to enjoy different cuisines from all around the world, you could surely express your own passion for food in various ways. 

How about putting up your own restaurant? You could set up a theme or experiment using your top favorite dishes. Prepare lovely dishes and make other people appreciate your love for food, too. It is said the food businesses are almost always lucrative no matter what happens to the economy. Perhaps, you could also use your journalistic talent to promote and market your food business. The online media is a good venue to promote and even market your food products.

What’s Preventing You From Succeeding in Business?

While writing a series of articles on business planning, I had the opportunity to discuss the real-world applications of these ideas when meeting with clients.

Recently I sat down with a couple of smart, experienced guys. One of them was completing a near year-long course in a highly specialized trade.

This person wanted to start his own business.

The course gave them some “training” in doing so. In fact, over coffee, he pulled out several workbooks that he was expected to fill in so that they could help him with his plan. “Great” I thought, as starting to jot down your ideas makes business planning easier, for you or whomever you hire to put one together for you.

The problem was that the books were blank. Yes, there were words on the pages but where the individual was to start… there was nothing.

That reminded me of a previous article on the “size and scope” of the business plan. When you work in a field and/or are writing on a topic, you do not often start with a blank piece of paper. What we mean by that is that you come with your thoughts and analysis; your beliefs and prejudices; your experience and your background. Each of these things impacts on your process and on your Business Plan.

We acquired a well regarded planning kit that we were considering for a client and whether we would offer it to the public. The kit was very good (even excellent for the price) BUT the kit assumed:

You knew where to start

You knew Word

You knew Excel

You knew PowerPoint

You knew Marketing

You knew Accounting

And of course, you knew YOUR BUSINESS and how to write copy to express your business.

That is a lot of knowledge.

That is a lot of assumption.

That is a lot of hope.

The reality is that if you go to anyone who is strong in Product Development, Marketing, Accounting, Finance, Human Resources, Legal issues or Computer applications – you are likely to get a plan that is strong in Product Development, Marketing, Accounting, Finance, Human Resources, Legal issues or Computer applications.

In our experience, you would be best served by hiring a copywriter (unless you have a gift there) – but will they have the knowledge of the above topics? Probably not, but they, like us Business Analysts, learn to ASK questions and LISTEN to the answers. Many of the other professional types that we mentioned are busy thinking about what they KNOW and what they think that you should do, that they are not really listening.

Our experience is that is it best to ask a few questions and listen for a while.

The business person is an expert in their field (or has the passion to overcome the lack of expertise) AND the smart ones will admit to what they need…if you let them talk.

Quit Your Day Job: 10 Steps to Venturing Out on Your Own

If you’re one of the 58% of Americans who have considered starting a business but don’t know how to proceed, help is at hand. The following steps will show you how to transform your dream of business ownership into reality.

1. Figure out what you want to do. You’re not alone if you know that you want to work for yourself but aren’t yet sure what exactly you want to do. Start by making a list of your interests, talents, and skills. Talk to your family and friends and begin brainstorming ideas. The sooner you begin your quest, the sooner you will find the answers.

2. Start saving now. It is wise to have at least one year’s worth of living expenses in the bank before you quit your day job. It will take time to make a new business profitable, and it could take longer than you expect. Start saving now so you can be prepared for the worst while you hope for the best.

3. Educate yourself. You can take classes through your local Small Business Administration (www.SBA.org) or seek free small business counseling from the Service Corp. of Retired Executives (www.score.org). Business books and magazines are also essential, and so are industry-specific trade associations.

4. Utilize a checklist. There are many tasks involved in starting a business and using a checklist will help you keep your priorities in order. Take it a step further by adding target completion dates to each task.

5. Formulate a plan. No matter what business you decide to start, it’s crucial that you outline a plan for success. A formal business plan is best, but at the very least begin by mapping out your goals and ideas. Committing your plan to paper will help you anticipate the direction of your business and identify potential weaknesses.

6. Obtain licenses and permits. Business license requirements vary by state and county, so check with your county offices to find out what the requirements are for your area. In most cases you will pay an annual fee to renew your license ranging from $50 to $300.

7. Start part-time. There are numerous advantages to starting your business part-time. If you can find a way to keep your day job while you launch your venture, you will have the opportunity to test your business model and make sure it’s viable while you evaluate your passion for the business and determine if it’s something you would truly enjoy on a full-time basis. You can also reinvest any profits from the part-time venture into the future of the business, and may even be able to take advantage of home business tax deductions at the end of the year (talk to your accountant for assistance).

8. Dedicate the time it takes. Planning your business will take free time from your day, but if it’s something you want badly enough, it can be worth the sacrifice. You can get up an hour earlier, skip the evening news, or work during your lunch hour. This extra work time will also prepare you for the first two years of business ownership, which typically require long hours.

9. Develop a backup plan. Many businesses fail due to under-capitalization. Forecast the cash that you need for both your business and your living expenses and have backup sources for money in case you get into a jam.

10. Don’t take the leap until you’re ready. Before you even think about quitting your day job, make sure you have everything in place: a solid business plan, enough capital to make the business successful, a savings account to cover personal living expenses, insurance (medical, dental, liability and any other required policies), a thorough understanding of what you’re in for, a backup plan if things don’t go as expected, and the passion to make it succeed.

Unfortunately there are no guarantees in business. You could have a rock solid business plan but be hit with a natural disaster, new competition in your area, or other uncontrollable circumstances. As long as you don’t invest more than you can afford to lose and your business is carefully-planned, you can minimize many of the risks and increase your chances of success.

How to Amaze Your People

The world is full of tribes. Some use words. Some use clicks. Some use clay. Some use ancient corn, harvest fruits, and wild locusts.

Whether you’re a metropolitan American or a rural Peruvian, you’ve got your tribes too. Social tribes. Media tribes. Startup tribes. In fact, the best entrepreneurs in the world all do one thing fantastically well: thrill their tribe. These tried-and-true tips will help you do exactly the same.

1. Listen fabulously.

People thrive off people who listen. Walls are torn down. Bridges are built. Partnerships are forged in the thick of it. Agatha Christie, who had a huge cultic following in her day, clearly got this.”An appreciative listener,” she explained, “is always stimulating.”

Yet even the best us are capable of missing the mark, of forfeiting the best opportunity in the world: the chance to listen. So practice like an Olympian. Learn to hear to what people say… how they say it… when they say it… what they fail to say.

Take deliberate steps. Enable comments on your blog. Create a cyber suggestion box. Host a weekly call-in talk program. Organize a bite-sized focus-group. Talk over coffee. Whatever you do, remember to actively listen to (yes, stimulate!) your tribe regularly.

2. Dish the beef.

Good information is better than a Picasso. And no one gets this more than Eli Pariser. In a world of ever-increasing “secret” collection of personalized data, he wrote a startling 300-page book–The Filter Bubble–to reveal “what the Internet is hiding from you.”

Bright Simons, a native of Ghana, created a business to stop medicine fraud in developing nations. Currently operating in eight countries worldwide, the Pedigree Network lets people determine with a text message whether their medicine is legitimate.

Sojourners magazine recently published an article to hip its tribe to the corporate world’s next move: eyeing the earth’s public water sources–salivating at the chance to turn it into a billion dollar “pay-to-drink” commodity.

Follow Pariser, Simons, and Sojourner magazine’s example. Folks need to know what’s happening, preferably from an engaged tribal leader like you. Be forward-thinking. Be brave. Never skimp on a slab of good information.

3. Bring the fireworks

What do Kaggle, YouNoodle, and Dwolla all have in common? They “wow” the socks off their tribes. And it’s not about rocket science.

For Kaggle, it’s about data science. A startup that marries “minds” to “matters”, Kaggle hosts online contests that allow the best and the brightest minds to solve hard-to-crack data problems. Able to enter from anywhere in the world, contestants are wowed not only by the sheer crank of the challenge, but also by the juicy rewards. (Think $6K or more, on average, per solution!).

YouNoodle builds competitions at the intersection of technologists and entrepreneurs. CEO Rebeca Hwang, much like Anthony Goldbloom of Kaggle, knows how to use her ‘noodle.’ Calling herself a “mega-connector” who helps make innovation happen, she’s got the right idea and the right platform: digital wonderment.

Ben Milne is educating business owners everywhere about unfair transaction fees–costing U.S. merchants alone a total of $66.5 billion in 2012! His solution? Dwolla: a no-fuss, bank-connected payment system that charges only.25 cents for any transaction of $10 or more. Anything less is hilariously free–signaling many corner-stores and coffee-shops to make a mad dash for Dwolla. (Thanks, Ben!)

Truly: The list doesn’t end here. Add your name today. Become a tribe-thriller and set your followers ablaze today. After all, this is not a job for the ‘Fantastic Four’. It’s a job for anyone who can lead with good listening, good information, and good innovation.

(Hint: That means you, Sherlock).