How To Create More Demand

You have a winning product and you have a great sales presentation, why are orders only trickling in? It could be many different factors, and you will have to consider each one and possibly experiment a bit before you come up with the right answer:

1. Your expectations are out of whack

Perhaps you have good sales and you are just looking to get rich overnight. Let’s say you spend $100 on advertising and get $20 in orders. That’s not bad. Hopefully the orders you’ve received are from customers who will buy from you again.

2. People like the product but they like another vendor

Maybe your sales presentation needs a little bit more about why people should buy from you. Why should they buy from you and not somebody else? Just because you gave the sales presentation doesn’t mean you’ll get the sale.

3. People don’t understand your product

Perhaps either people don’t understand why they should buy the product or why they should buy this product when other comparable products sell for less. A little salesmanship could overcome this problem by going into more detail about the product’s features and benefits, and why the customer will be happier with this product.

4. The price really is too high

Generally as the price of your product goes down, demand should go up. You should not be selling for a loss but maybe a minor adjustment could change things. A little research is in order to figure out what people are willing to pay.

5. You aren’t selling your services

Many services add much value to a product. For instance, if you offer a long guarantee or you engrave the item. Perhaps you deliver the product to the person’s door the same day ordered. Make sure to offer free services that cost you little, or save you money.

6. You haven’t considered customer retention

Often initial orders are great but follow up orders are poor. How is the customer being treated? Are you meeting their expectations? Is the product falling short? Make sure to follow up with customers who order and ask them if there is anything you could do better.

I mentioned services that save you money. We found that many of our efforts to improve our customers’ experiences were worth spending a little more money for and saved us money compared to other distributors who did not do these things. For instance, we offered a six month money-back guarantee where other distributors offered 30 days. We found that more of our customers were successful with the product and we had significantly fewer returns.

We also had a policy of going above and beyond for our customers, and doing our best to eliminate the hassles of doing business with us. We found that people appreciated the effort so much that they would only buy from us, we had very few complaints, and almost nobody took advantage of our good nature. In fact, we only ever had 2 credit card charge backs because we would usually be able to work things out with our customers. I had mentioned that we used to bill customers who would send payment. We had so few customers not pay us that we saved money versus customers who used credit cards. I would also call customers who didn’t pay just to ask them if everything was ok. I ended up writing off 2 of the accounts but we generated a lot of word-of-mouth advertising.

Chris and I used to have meetings to discuss “the right thing to do” when we had an issue with a customer. This led to better customer service policies and more happy customers.

Hopefully you can come up with other ideas to improve customer retention and pump up your sales.

Step By Step Startup Plan

So you have just joined a new multi-level marketing program? What should you do now to help you be successful?

1. Become a business. Being in business has a better image than being an MLM representative. You don’t work for the MLM company do you? You work for your own business so you should have a business name.

2. Get business cards. Exchange them with other people that you meet for their business card so you can stay in touch.

3. Announce your business to your family and friends. Let them know that you are going to sell your products at cost to the people you know and ask if they would like samples. Along with the samples make sure to get them a product brochure or catalog. Note that your family will give you free publicity to their friends, who you also can give samples to, but sell at full cost or at a minor discount.

4. Begin networking your business. Ask people you know for referrals of others who would like the products or might be interested in a business opportunity.

5. Get a web presence and a twitter account. Facebook, twitter, and other social networking sites are nice places to promote your business. You may or may not get orders but you can give it a try. You may also be able to use an affiliate web site set up by your MLM company or an upline distributor to promote your MLM business.

6. Set up a web site, if you can afford it. Having a web site name will improve the image of your business, especially a .com site. Having a web site name can cost you as little as $10 a year, you can either forward it to an affiliate web site for about $10 additional per year, or you can buy web space for about $120 or so per year.

7. Learn by reading books. Marketing, Sales, and Business Management are areas you want to concentrate in. You may also want to read MLM or Network Marketing specific books. Use the library because most books you can buy will also be found there.

8. Remember that you want to market and sell, but don’t forget about the management of your business. You will need to be able to fulfill orders, take telephone calls, and various other support functions for your business. Your business policies will assist in the success or failure of your business.

Make sure to have fun with your business and avoid spending money when you don’t absolutely need to. Good luck to you!

Multi-Level Marketing Shortcuts

Multi-level marketing companies usually provide training and materials needed for the new distributor to begin making sales. Often the material is not well tested but it is usually professionally created so that it does help to create a professional image for the distributor. Materials provided can be used to sell the product and or recruit new distributors, and is compliant with company policies. It would cost quite a bit to produce your own materials and you would still have to make sure the company would approve of them, so using the company’s printed material is preferable.

When you make the move to the internet, you won’t have an option to take web pages directly from the company so you will be designing your own. The nice thing is that you can use the copy from the company’s printed material, you just have to include the trademark and copyright symbols. You probably also have to identify yourself as an independent business person. You can check with the company or your upline for requirements of doing business on the internet. But using the copy, or the words, makes it a little simpler than trying to write your website from scratch.

It is possible that the company has a distributor marketing plan already created that can be put to use in your business. Be careful taking a pre-packaged marketing plan though, because if everyone is doing the same thing it may not be a good way to go. It is always best to market in a way nobody else is doing to get the best response.

This brings up a good point about selling a multi-level marketing product: When you are the only one selling an item there is no worry about competition, but selling amongst a group of other distributors might make it difficult to market the product. Always remember to sell yourself and find benefits of doing business with you. Avoid competing head-to-head with other distributors when possible.

How To Write A Website That Sells

So you want to write your own website? I would suggest a good web page designer and a lot of practice before moving on to a hosted web site with your own URL. What is a URL? It is a website name like SplashPlan.net. But I digress. The technical aspects of your web site are important, but there are many sources for this information. What I want to talk about is the general design of a web site to sell a product, an opportunity, and to support your customers and your distributors’ needs on your website.

The basic design of your website should have a menu of links near the upper-left-hand corner of the page, either along the left side or along the top. The menu will be jumps to various places on your website, major categories. Your home page should begin selling the product, opportunity, or both. The presentations on the website should be kept at a high level with links to more detail should the visitor want to see it. Under the individual page’s presentation should be three links, with the most logical next step first, one where the user will request more information by mail, and one where they can place an order.

Graphics should be kept to a minimum to speed up each page load. Links can be text rather than graphic links. Pictures should be relevant and not frivolous. For instance, a product picture is a good idea but pictures just to support the idea being discussed are not really needed. People use the internet for the information and not the pictures. The text, though, should be well presented and readable. At the bottom of each page I usually include a copyright notice and webmaster email address.

Contact information, frequently asked questions (FAQ), and other information can be presented in major categories. Information to include should be anything that supports the business and its functions, such as providing information that somebody might call to ask. Information about the company’s founders or history should only be included if relevant to supporting the business’s functions.

Having said all of this, most of this represents my own personal preferences. Today most people have high speed internet; however, there are some people that still have dial up, as incredible as this sounds. Including graphics, videos, or other media that takes a while to download may or may not be an issue for your customers. It is important to know who your customers are to make this determination. For instance, we learned that many people shopped our web site over lunch at work, that they typically paid well, and that they were suspicious of paying with their credit card on the web site (in a lot of cases). We gathered a lot of information about our customers and made our overall marketing plan support our customers’ needs.

I am a technology professional by trade, but when it comes to creating a web site, I am an artist first, a salesman second, and a techie third. I pour over my website making little changes here and there on a daily basis. I test all the links over and over again. I create test orders to make sure everything is working. I read and reread my web pages over and over again to make sure there are no spelling errors and that I am getting across the meaning I intend. I get feedback directly from customers by telephone about their experiences. I test with several different browsers to make sure the web site looks and acts right with each one.

After our e-commerce site was in its final condition, I rewrote the pages in perl (a computer language) so I could do various things that maybe someday we’ll talk about.

I don’t think I would ever expect a business person to do the kinds of things I did. Still, writing a web site is easy; making it effective as a sales and business support tool is the hard part.

Elements of a Good Sales Presentation

We give a sales presentation to our warm prospects who respond to our mini-marketing message. Our mini marketing message was given during our networking calls or through our advertising. These mini marketing messages are meant to get our prospect asking for more and our sales presentation is the more that they will get. Sales presentations are typically used to get the prospect to the point of buying the product or service, though they may still have questions or objections after the sales presentation. A good salesperson will be able to handle any questions or objections the prospect may have, as unusual as they may be.

There are many ways to present a product sales presentation. You can give a stand up speech with slide show, you can give the prospect a video or brochure, or you can have a web site that gives your product demonstration. The easier on the prospect is usually the best, as their time is valuable to them. In my opinion, a web site is usually the easiest on a prospect.

A good sales presentation will provide product features and benefits, reasons to buy over competitive products, common questions and answers, and reasons to buy from your company over others. You can tailor your presentation to the prospect, giving them a quicker presentation unless they ask for more detail. You can also build on your presentation by getting feedback from your prospects and using their suggestions to improve the presentation.

On a web site, keep the presentation concise but give the visitor the option of looking deeper into the details. The more details you can offer online, the more the prospect will feel comfortable buying the product. You can give technical details on how the product was invented, who the inventors were and their biographies, and details about the company that manufactures it. You can show the product label, the packaging, and the raw product. You can give testimonials and show people using the product. Feel free to use your imagination to provide your potential customer with anything you think may be relevant.

At the end of your sales presentation, you must give your customer a way to buy. The easier it is for them to buy the product the better. We used to take orders from our website, by 800 number, and by fax. We allowed the customer to pay with credit card or send in a check. Again, the easier you can make it the better. If you are doing a personal product demonstration, you can simply ask for an order.

Sometimes your customer will continue to have doubts about purchasing your product. If this is the case, you can give your prospect samples or offer a trial discount on the product, if the product is consumable. You could also offer a guarantee or free trial on the product, which could work even if the product is not consumable.

Our goal for the sales presentation is to provide enough information to the potential customer so that they can make a buying decision. The better we can make our presentation fit this goal, the easier it will be to make the sale.

How To Get Free Effective Advertising

Having warm prospects is the gasoline for your business engine. Too little gas and the engine stalls, too much and you can have a fire or explosion. However, too much is usually better than too little. So how do we go about getting warm prospects without spending money?

Networking can be done step by step using the telephone. First you write down everyone you know and their telephone number. Then you call each person and ask them if they know anybody that fits into your demographic profile (don’t literally say this, say “Do you know anybody who cooks?” etc.). Then you get the name(s) and phone number(s) and add them to your list. Then you repeat. If you are unclear what I mean by demographic profile then go back and read my previous blog posts on demographics.

Networking can also be done by meeting new people at the bar, gas station, golf course, grocery store, etc. and exchanging contact information with them. You want their contact information and you want to give them yours. Then you socialize with them. You can add them to your contact list at any time and do what we talked about above, but just like your normal family and friends, you want to continue being close to them and socialize with them. For most people, this kind of networking comes naturally but for introverts like me, this can be difficult.

Other than networking, our option for finding warm prospects is to advertise. You can advertise for cost in many different ways. In addition, you can advertise for free in many different ways, some more effective than others. The most effective advertising you can get is when lots of people in your demographic profile see your ad. However, if you are advertising for free, lots of eyeballs seeing your ad can be a good thing, even if they are not part of your profile. They can filter themselves, you just want to get noticed. The best way to get noticed is to be featured in an article. An article that mentions what you sell and how to contact you is the best. Often companies write their own articles and submit them to newspapers or news outlets, and try to get published. It really is possible to get published and this is one thing you may want to consider attempting.

There are many outlets on the internet to advertise for free and there are websites devoted to telling you where to advertise for free. Just do a google search. Personally, I like the social networking sites but I have also found that responding to blog posts is a good way to publicize your company.

Off line, you can put a big sign in your front yard or a magnetic sign on your car as a couple of ideas. But if you really think about it, there are tons of ways to advertise your business. I often put business cards on bulletin boards at grocery stores for instance.

Use your imagination to see if you can come up with more free ways to advertise. Did you read about the 911 call about the balloon carrying the little boy? DON’T DO THAT. There are limits to what you should do to drum up publicity.

Be ready for when people start to contact you. How are you going to do your sales presentation?

Similarities and Differences Between Small Business and MLM

A multi-level marketing distributorship typically is a small business run by a person, a couple, or a family. It can also be a larger distributorship run by a company with several employees. I have known distributorships to have revenues of several million dollars per year.

In a typical small business, a product is invented, manufactured, and or purchased, and can be sold to a customer or to another business. Similarly, a multi-level marketing distributorship purchases product or the product is purchased on behalf of a distributor from the company, then is sold to a customer. A distributor will recruit other distributors to sell the product, which is similar to finding other businesses to sell the product.

In a small business, you could have the product drop-shipped to your customer (which could be another business). Similarly, the typical multi-level marketing company allows the product to be sold from the MLM company directly to the consumer with the distributor getting the credit. Drop shipping typically allows a company of whichever kind to keep their inventories low or non-existent.

So we see that the typical small business and the typical MLM distributorship function in exactly the same way. They buy and sell products for a profit. They can sell to customers or other businesses. They can both keep their inventories low or they can stock to meet customer demand.

The main way MLM is different is that it earns commission on several levels of business to business sales, i.e. your downline or network. This gives you a great incentive to help out those you sponsor, those they sponsor, and sometimes those 10 levels below you. MLM is a helping business. Multi-level marketing is also the kind of business where you can build up income over time for a less than superhuman effort today. You leverage your efforts with independent business people rather than employees. The income you generate can take you through retirement and you can potentially leave it to your heirs.

Now a multi-level marketing distributorship is a business and it can get busy. Busyness is a good problem to have though.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

You are excited. You sign up and buy the kit. You are going to make big money. All you have to do is sponsor three and teach them to sponsor three. Sounds soooo easy. You call all of your friends and none – zero want to be your distributor. But but all you have to do is… Then you try and try and try, you get more and more frustrated. Then discouragement sets in. People are telling you that you seem like you are part of some cult, and that this will never amount to anything. You know what else your sponsor told you? That you never have to sell… Hey, you’ve been selling your opportunity to your friends and family right?

These are the two lies that sponsors tell: You only have to sponsor 3 – and you don’t have to sell. “Everybody” uses these lies, because they are true in theory. I mean, you don’t have to sell if you are buying for yourself and sponsoring others, or do you? Sponsoring is recruiting and is very similar to selling; so technically – it is selling. And you do sell to yourself. If you advertise, your marketing message is a sales pitch and usually requires a sales presentation as a follow up. Even if you are recruiting this is true.

As far as needing to sponsor just 3 people and teach them to sponsor 3, in my experience your attempt to sponsor from your warm market is nearly impossible and where else would you get just 3 from? Let’s say that you beat your head against a brick wall long enough and it crumbled… in other words you sponsored 3. The likelihood that all 3 will want to do anything is slim and none. Especially if you use the same “sales” pitch: sponsor just three, no selling involved. Some people will just sign up to get you off their back. Others will sign up and get busy. Others must watch Monday night football and have a case of beer nightly. Some just have the misfortune of getting sick, injured, fired, divorced… you just never know what you’re going to get.

Ok, so what do you really have to do? First, realize that you are in business. You started a small business and you will need to know how to sell your product. No way around it. You must sell to yourself, your warm market, people you know, and people you don’t know. You do this to learn their objections. Hey if you sell something, that is great, but your greatest learning experience is when people don’t buy. Why did they choose not to buy? Very important stuff because we need to learn how to overcome the objections to your product… mainly because the product is also the opportunity.

When you sell an opportunity, you are selling yourself as sponsor and your lifestyle, but you are also selling your product. Because… who is going to buy the product? We know from earlier posts that legal MLM companies must have product sales in order to pay commissions to distributors. If everyone is recruiting and nobody is buying or selling the product, how much money do you make? That’s right, zero. “Gasp,” you say, “I don’t want to work my butt off and earn nothing!” Well then, you must sell the product to yourself, to customers, and to your downline distributors.

Second, you must realize that even though theoretically it’s possible to only need to sponsor three (or four or five), the reality is that 95% or more of distributors will drop out. No matter how they are recruited, no matter how much support, no matter if you build their business for them, no matter if you have the greatest product ever… they will drop out. So you will constantly need to replace your drop out distributors in order to keep your business growing.

Another sad reality is that good distributors (i.e. big fish) work not with all of their distributors constantly, but mainly with their best producers. Do I agree with doing this? Absolutely. You should be there for all your distributors but usually it’s the best ones who want and deserve help. The others are bothered when you call them.

One thing you can do to keep drop out distributors happy: Don’t oversell your opportunity. If you tell your distributors they can make money while playing on the computer, they’ll be playing solitaire wondering why the checks are not flowing in. Tell them that hard work pays, they will either work hard or not, but they won’t be unhappy either way.

The Use of Loss Leaders, Discounts, and Promotionals

I don’t believe in giving away the store but there are times when loss leaders and discounts are in order. Loss leaders is product, samples, information, booklets, catalogs, etc. giving away at a loss in order to secure future business. A discount is a reduction in price but not so much that it creates a loss. A promotional item is something useful to someone else that promotes your business.

Many people expect samples, catalogs, and promotional material to be given away for free but they do cost you money. One thing I will say about giving away these kinds of items is that you only want to give them to people who want them. For instance, if you are doing door hangers, use cheaper materials and give catalogs to people who respond. People who receive catalogs otherwise will just throw them out and they are very expensive to you.

Giving away product is similar. It is very expensive to you so I would try to avoid this practice. Samples cost less. However, if you have a very warm sales prospect or very warm distributor lead, giving away an item might be in order. Use this practice sparingly or it may get very expensive very fast.

Sharp discounts should definitely be given to your warm market, i.e. family and friends. In fact, I would sell at cost to your warm market because they will be your best source of word-of-mouth advertising. Smaller discounts can be given to your best customers or those who buy a lot of product.

Promotional items are useful in some cases. For instance, I like to use inexpensive key chains or pens with my company name and web site address. I usually give them to people who ask for information. More expensive promotional items can be given to your best customers or prospects who may mean a lot of money to you. The more useful an item is, the more they are likely to use it and look at it. Still, I would not use it as a substitute for networking or advertising.

One thing you should never, ever do: You should never pay for a distributor to sign up. However, offering freebees to your best prospects is useful, especially to promote good will and to get them to open up to you. I like mailing postcards offering to send them free items to help them with their decision. Now they may call you because they have something to talk about, and that can lead to questions and answers about the business.

Even using freebees to people requesting them, i.e. free information and samples, can get expensive. We used to spend our entire profit from selling products on freebees, and we sold a lot of product. Especially when first starting out it is important to give yourself a business budget and stay within that budget, because you don’t want to find yourself out of business before you even get started.

The Difference Between Selling and Recruiting

The major difference between selling a product and selling an opportunity is really not much. In fact, you could sell them in the same way. However, you really want your new distributor to want to build their business so you want to avoid any pressure to sign up. In fact, you may want to give them a lot of space to decide that they really want to join and be successful.

Often in recruiting, you need to find the right person at the right time. They may be ready to jump right in, they may be looking at several opportunities, or they may just be procrastinating. In any case, asking or pressuring them to join is the wrong move. They will do things when they are ready, or they may do nothing at all. The best thing you can do is to keep looking for new prospective distributors and not worry about the ones who may join.

Another thing you need to understand is that besides an opportunity, you are selling a lifestyle. Your lifestyle in fact. Take a look at what you do on a day-to-day basis. What would other people think about your lifestyle? Not to say that you need to spend money lavishly to attract distributors, you don’t. You just need to be the kind of person other people are attracted to, the kind of person people want to be. If you are obsessed with your business and look nervous all the time you will attract no one.

One last thing about recruiting: Remember that you are the big fish. You should never sell the prospect on what your upline, sponsor, or company can do for them. You sell them on what you can do for them. Which leads me to this point: What can you do for your distributors? What special skills or aptitudes do you offer? Consider this before you begin talking to prospects.

Image can also play a role in sponsoring. Again, it is not about how much money you spend. Millionaires make a lot of income but spend very little of it. If you drive a Mercedes or an old beat up pickup, it does not matter. Image is more about being professional. Having nice looking business cards. Being a company rather than an individual. Having nice looking presentation materials. Looking well dressed and groomed. Image can also be how well you follow through. If a person asks you for something and you promptly get it to them, that will go a long way.

I would like to finish by reviewing key points: You will do well at sponsoring if you can identify your distributor’s demographics (a description of who they are), find people in that demographic, present to them (i.e. give them a video), be the big fish by giving them advantages for working with you, then let them have their space. Follow up but avoid pressure. Then find more people and do the same. Don’t worry about sponsoring, it will happen.

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