Have you ever had a consultation with a financial advisor? When my advisor started spewing out terms such as stocks, bonds, markets, capital, trusts, and so on, the only comprehension I had was the fact I was glad he was handling this for me and I didn't need to fully understand the market to be able to save for retirement. But, the one concept he did share that stuck in this cobweb of a brain of mine is DIVERSIFY! Oh, I know diversify all so well! Now, he of course meant it to mean limiting investment risk by purchasing different types of securities from different companies representing different sectors of the economy. But I can't help think o the line from the Chappell Show, "If you're tryin to get in the biz you gonna have to diversify your bonds son." Essentially, diversification means don't put all of your eggs in one basket. You need a few different sources of referrals and ways to get your name and business out there for your customer base to know you. Not every marketing tool will be a home-run, but you may get a bite here and there from across various marketing avenues that will eventually add up to a busy calendar.
Don't jump down the rabbit hole looking for an easy way out!
Don't be like Alice and fall victim to the dream that you can chase this business by a simple one step leap of faith. There are several direct sales marketing gimmicks out there, especially on the internet, that will make promises of auto-generated lists and marketing tools that are scams.
They may look like the following:
- “We’ll Submit Your Website to Hundreds of Search Engines!”
- “Get #1 Ranking in Google!”
- “We Will Submit Your Website to Over 1,000 Directories!”
- Banner Exchange Programs
- “Send An Email Ad to 10,000 Opt-In Subscribers”
So then, what does work?
The best way to find new leads and keep your business growing is by implementing simple, cost effective, ways to get your name out there in your local community, so that you become known as THE lia sophia lady in town.
- The best and most effective way to bring in new shows is by being the best lia sophia adivsor to your current customers and hostesses! Keep up on your customer's needs. Have fun at your parties, and encourage bookings at each show. Even if someone doesn't book that night, you will be planting a seed within them that may grow into a future booking.
- Give Referral Bonuses. When holding a party or show, tell customers that when they supply three names of people who actually become customers, they will receive a fixed amount of free product or a dollar amount gift certificate. Referrals can make your direct selling profits soar, if handled correctly. A customer will only supply referrals if they truly trust you and like your product. When you receive these leads, make sure to deliver impeccable customer service to reinforce the relationship of trust.
- Use your expired catalogs. Print up some stickers with your contact information, including email and website, that say “Contact Me for a Current Catalog!” Put one on each expired catalog before you begin to distribute them.
• Leave them on a table in your local library. Our library actually has a box set aside for people to drop off used magazines and books. I’ve picked up catalogs for several direct sales companies there.
• Drop them off at local doctors, dentists, chiropractors and other offices where people have to wait.
• Leave one in the dressing room when you try on a new outfit.
• Cut a circle of netting or sheer fabric (or buy circles ready-made at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby). Place 4-5 Hershey’s Kisses® in the center of the circle and tie with ribbon. Attach one to each expired catalog and drop them off around town in any office that has a receptionist. Consider car dealerships, insurance offices, contractors, etc.
• Ask if you can drop off a few at your child’s day care center.
• Leave a few in the restaurant’s restroom when you go out to eat, and leave one on the table with your (generous) tip.
• Give one to your bank teller when you go through the drive-through.
• Take a couple with you when you have your nails done.
• Ask your hairstylist if you can leave a few in her shop. Offer her a discount for any orders that come from there.
• Drop one off with the secretaries at your local elementary, middle and high schools.
• Leave several around your local college campus. You can also add a recruiting sticker to these since college kids are always looking for ways to make a little money.
• Leave a few in your local laundromat.
- Help a Nonprofit Organization. When you hear of your favorite nonprofit holding a future fundraiser, talk to the organizer and arrange to have a table of your products set up at the event. You can donate a percent of profits to the cause. While you won’t personally make money at the event, your presence will make people aware of your business and the quality items you have to offer as well as your philanthropic commitment to the cause
- Donate a Prize. Keep yourself updated on local fundraisers and networking events. Many of these events host silent auctions or raffles where local businesses donate items for the fundraiser. Donate one of your nicer pieces for the auction or raffle. Your business name and card will accompany any raffle or auction piece. Often, these donations are tax deductible when made to a nonprofit business, but check with your certified public accountant first.
- Social Media. Use Facebook, twitter, blogs, etc. to keep your customers updated on lia sophia discounts, hostess incentives, and recruiting. Be sure to visit the lia sophia University to read the policy about Facebook rules though! Remember, you are representing YOURSELF, not lia sophia directly, upload your own snapped photos, not any from lia sophia's website or catalog, and do not make false claims.
- Advertise. Advertising is a slippery slope. First of all, utilized the pre-approved advertisements at lia sophia University, and be sure not to violate lia sophia's copywrite rules. (Simply, do not use the lia sophia logo or tag line, and you're good to go). Advertising can be effective, but it can also be costly, so do your homework. Find local and inexpensive ways to advertise such as via school programs, yearbooks, church directories, sporting events. Remember your target audience, and keep your message simple, catchy, and relevant.
- Giveaways. I hand out candies at the local Halloween Kiddie Parade. This is a great opportunity to get my name out there to the moms, but also get leads at the event. I have my show display set up on my table, along with hundreds of mini-catalogs with my contact information that I give to each of the moms who come by. But, I also have a drawing for a FREE $100 jewelry item that the ladies walking by sign up for. This way, I have their contact information to add to my mailing list! This similar approach can be integrated into a PTO fundraiser, small craft show (be careful of paying $$$ to have a table set up, go for smaller venues that are free or very little cost), or fundraiser event.