Category Archives: networking

Are Parties Necessary for Direct Sales Success?

the wish place logoPeople who are considering a home based business in direct sales begin to think about companies that use party plans as a means to generate income.  Party plans encourage prospective customers to host a party in order to earn free or discounted products.  Are parties necessary if you want to work in direct sales?

Not all direct sales companies require their associates to conduct parties.  In fact, some direct sales companies don’t require parties at all.  You may want to look further into companies offering a different plan for marketing if you are not comfortable talking to crowds of people.

Melaleuca, Avon, and World Book, among others, do not require a party plan.  So, are they necessary for success?  Obviously, the answer is no.  Even people that are associated with party plan companies can succeed by using other marketing plans.  It happens every day, you just have to do some research and determine what the other options are.

Direct sales success really depends more on you than on the method of marketing the product to potential customers.  If you don’t believe in the company and the product, it doesn’t matter what you do – you won’t be able to make your home business a success.  Here are some ideas to help you succeed whether you’re using a party plan or not:

1. Familiarize yourself with the business manual you received in your start-up kit.  Make a list of questions you have and then contact your upline sponsor as soon as you can.  Understanding what is expected of you, what you can and cannot do to market the product, and how the company will pay you will make all the difference in how you conduct your business.

2. Follow the instructions given to you during training.  Most likely you will be told to make a list of everyone you know. This will be your master list, the first people you will contact about your new business.  If you don’t complete this task, you’re not going to do the rest.  Swallow your pride and ask for your money back.  This company is not for you.

3. Begin networking with other business owners.  Join the local Chamber of Commerce and get plugged into regular meetings.  You must promote your business if it is to grow, and networking with other business people is a great way to let others know about your company.

4. Schedule specific times during the week to work on the various aspects of your business. If you’re at home, make sure to let friends and family members know that you do not want to be interrupted during your “work” hours.

5. Tell everyone about your business. Don’t assume that they already know about it or that they’re not interested.  You might be surprised to find that more people are interested than you think.

These five points show that you do not have to be involved in home parties in order to succeed in direct sales.  Your success is ultimately up to you, and depends on how serious you are about treating your business as a business.  If you want to see your business grow, you have to act in ways that will cause growth to happen.

julianne-wish-avatar15Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, homeschooling mom, business owner, professional writer, blogger, nature photographer and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

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Tips for Shy People Who Want to Network

shySome people are scared of the networking process. If you are naturally shy and the idea of going to a business function, shaking hands with strangers and making small talk makes you quiver, don’t despair. You don’t have to go to an actual business event to network. There are opportunities to meet new people in everyday situations. The following are some tips to help you network, even if you are shy.

Friends and Family
Many people hesitate to go to their friends and family when they need help with their business. They don’t want them to think they are unsuccessful or obligated to help. Chances are, your friends and family would love to help. Ask your friends and family to spread the word about your business and the services you offer. Let them know you are not expecting them to buy anything from you; just put in a good word about your business to others.

Neighbors
You may talk to you neighbors casually from time to time. If you have not told them about your business before, you may want to bring it up the next time you talk to them. They may know someone who is looking for your services.

People You Know Because of Your Children
If you have children, you have boundless networking opportunities. If you have an infant, you may want to consider joining an exercise group for new mothers. If your child is a bit older, you probably find yourself at the park several times a week. And if your child is in school, you are surrounded by other parents on a daily basis.

Introduce yourself to the other parents. You can make small talk about the weather, a store that is having a sale on children’s clothing, or anything else. Eventually, the conversation will turn to what you do for a living. Briefly explain what you do; but try not to turn the conversation into a commercial about your business. The next time these parents need someone who offers the type of services you offer, they will think of you.

Volunteer Groups
Volunteering will make you feel good, and it can also help grow your business. You will be meeting lots of people; again, the conversations you have with these people may bring up the topic of what you do for a living. The more people that know about your business, the more referrals you can receive.

On the other hand, the organization may recommend you to other organizations and groups who are willing to pay for your services.

While it may seem unnatural at first to bring up your business in these types of conversations, it will become easier. You can always ask the other person what they do first. If you already know what they do, ask how their business is doing. This will lead them to ask you the same type of questions.

julianne-wish-avatar15Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, homeschooling mom, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

Tips for Effective Networking

networking imageWhen people set out to network, they may be thinking about the benefits they will receive, such as new clients and increased business. To get the most out of your networking, however, you need to build trust and relationships between the people you are networking with. The following are some tips to help you in this process.

Be Genuine
Always be genuine and authentic when you are networking. The people you are networking with need to get to know you in order to trust you. If they do not feel that you are being yourself, they may be wary of forming a relationship with you.

Determine Your Goals
What do you want out of your networking experience? Do you want to make contacts, learn new skills or something else? Do you want to network locally or via the internet?  Knowing what you want will help you determine which groups are best for you to join.

Join Several Groups
Joining several groups will help you broaden the spectrum of your networking relationships. To create a wide networking circle, you may want to join both local and online groups.

Give It Time
It may take time to build up a network of business associates. Keep participating in the group and get to know people. Relationships take time to develop.

Ask Open-ended Questions
When having a conversation with someone from your networking group, ask open-ended questions instead of questions that can be answered with a “yes” or “no”.  This will keep the conversation flowing and let people know you are interested in them.

Help Others
Position yourself as a powerful resource by helping others. Share leads and referrals with those in your networking group. The people you help will appreciate your efforts and return the favor.

Ask for Referrals
Make sure the people in your networking group know what you do for a living. Ask them for referrals. A referral is the name of someone who is in need of your services. A referral is a “hot lead”; the person who gives you the referral should call the referral and let them know you will be getting in touch with them. While some people may automatically give you referrals, that won’t always be the case. If you don’t ask for them, you may not receive them.

Follow Up
When you are given a referral, follow up in a timely manner. Call or email the referral as soon as possible and let them know who you are, the name of the person that referred you to them, and the services you offer.  The referral will surely report back to the referrer; if you did not handle yourself professionally, you won’t be getting any more referral from that person.

julianne-wish-avatar15Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, homeschooling mom, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

Tips for Creating an Effective Facebook Profile

facebook find usIf you’re thinking of sharing your business via Facebook, creating an effective profile is important. It’s easy to go into Facebook and set up a profile that doesn’t do much to reflect what you’re about. So here are some tips for Facebook beginners.

1. Be careful

It’s wise to exercise care when you set up your business profile. You may or may not already be on Facebook to socialize, but it’s a good idea to keep your business Facebook page separate. It’s also a good idea to limit who reads your status updates so that your personal news does not conflict with your professional news.

You can use Facebook’s privacy settings to control who sees your updates. And remember, privacy settings aren’t perfect; some cross-over is possible, so take care what you post. Some things you don’t need to share!

2. Your name

Most business people suggest using your real, full name in your profile – another good reason to pay attention to privacy settings. But you’re a business, so you want your name out there. Using your real name makes it a lot easier for people to get hold of you.

3. Your avatar

You will need to choose an avatar. Some successful business people suggest using a professional picture of yourself, but it’s entirely possible to get a good photo with your home camera. Let your “look” reflect the mood of your business (you don’t want to be pictured in overalls, for example, if your business is a professional marketer; but overalls would be an excellent look for a gardening business). If you have some photo software on your computer, you can adjust the background and so forth to construct a good avatar.

You can also use your business logo as your avatar. Various sources disagree as to which is the most effective from a business perspective, so ultimately it’s up to you and what you’re comfortable with. Consider your avatar’s look and colors, and see if it makes an effective avatar or not.

4. Think like a client

If you were a prospective client of your business, what would you like to see on a profile? Be thorough and truthful, but keep your prospects in mind. There are some things your clients don’t need to know, and other things they should know – remember, this is a business profile. Include those aspects of yourself that coincide with your business intent.

Something else to consider are online resources such as free printed guides and tutorials.

julianne-wish-avatar15Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, homeschooling mom, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.

Benefits of Friendly Competition

competitionIf you thrive on challenges and hate to be outdone, you may want to find some “friendly competition.” By nature, “friendly competition” is not meant to hurt anyone’s feelings. It is there to create motivation and to help people reach goals.

There are a number of message boards and forums that are focused on business; you can create a post that explains your goals for the next month and ask other members to reply back with their goals. All of you can keep adding updates each week on what you have accomplished.

You may choose to put together a more formal, tight-knit group of a few selected people that correspond via a yahoo group or private chat room. You can update each other daily, if you wish. You can even take this a step further and meet weekly on a conference call; as it may be easier to discuss problems and brainstorm with each other via telephone.

If you find yourself connecting with one person more so than with the others, ask that person to be your accountability partner. You can even give each other a quick call every morning to pump each other up, or at the end of the day to talk about what you had accomplished and what you plan on doing the next day.

Aside from going over each person’s individual goals, you can also create monthly “contests.”  For instance, if you are in direct sales, you can meet with other people in the industry and have a contest over who can book the most parties, sell the highest dollar amount, or recruit the most people.

If you are an internet marketer, your group can have contests such as who can write and distribute the most articles or press releases. If you create information products, your group can hold a contest over who can develop the most new products in a given month. The possibilities are endless when it comes to creating motivating contests.

The simple fact that you are letting people know your goals, and meeting at designated times to cover your progress, can be very motivating. No one wants to admit that they haven’t done anything and that they are not even close to accomplishing their goals. This is especially true if the other people in the group have worked really hard and have accomplished several things.

Knowing that other people are going to hold you accountable for your actions and “kick you in the butt” if you need it, can drive you to work hard and accomplish your goals. However, friendly competition can take a downturn if the competition turns vicious or mean. If you are working at your best level, and attending your meetings makes you feel bad or “not good enough,” that group may not be the one for you. Look for a supportive, fun spirited group that inspires you.

Julianne Wish avatar1Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of The Wish Place. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.