Note: This is Part 4 of a 5 part series, More Customers in 30 Days: 5 Awesome Strategies to Book More Parties and Attract Motivated People to Your Direct Sales Business
Enticing you to sign up for an email list, or become a customer with a juicy free gift, is the secret strategy many businesses are using to scale and grow quickly. BirchBox, UBER and Sephora are just a few examples of companies who use samples to grow their biz. Makeup maven Estée Lauder pioneered the giveaway idea, offering a “free gift with purchase” to build a billion dollar makeup and skin care empire. Leave it to a woman to lead the way. Small biz owners and direct sellers can duplicate the sample phenom to connect with new customers quickly and keep them coming back for more.
Here’s how to use samples as part of your direct sales strategy to find new customers:
TYPES OF SAMPLES
Product: There’s no better way to connect with a new customer than to get your product in their hands. Think outside the (sample) box. UBER gave away free rides to launch their biz and speed up their growth. You can too. If you have a low cost product, or your direct sales company provides samples, stock up and offer a sample to accelerate quickly. For example, I use a PartyLite tealight as my go-to sample to light the way to new customers.
Service: If you sell a higher-end product, or you’re in the service industry, offer a free consultation as your sample. A simple example is a free makeover. Turn this idea into a sample party by offering a free LBD makeover (I just made that up). The host invites friends to join the freebie train by encouraging guests to arrive in their LBD’s (little black dress), so you can makeover their look. Use fun names like, from drab to fab, or from fizzle to sizzle. You get the idea. And yes, it’s all completely free! Until the guests decide they love their new look, and want to buy all your makeover suggestions. Wohoooooo! Updating a classic dress that’s already hanging in the closet is a huge budget and time saver = big value for all.
Video: From How-To’s to room makeovers, short videos are a really effective way to connect with new customers. I use a video on the home page of this website to show a sample of who I am and what I do. I also send my PartyLite customers product videos to give them more ideas of how to use the product they purchased, or experience a new product that reflects their taste. They say if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million. Imagine the possibilities!
Coupons/Free Trial: Try-Me coupons and trial memberships are awesome tools to grow your customer list quickly. For example, I give a free chapter of my book when you sign up for my email list, and my PartyLite customers get a coupon code for a free dozen tealights when they join a rewards program, which is also free. If you’ve ever shopped at DSW for a new pair of shoes, you know the power of coupons and rewards. They keep us coming back for more. And don’t forget to include a SIGN UP button on your Facebook biz page.
WHAT TO PUT YOUR SAMPLE IN:
Nothing. The faster your potential new customer gets to see, smell, touch and experience your awesome product, the better! Cute bags, gift wraps and boxes are overrated, and could result in your new fun friend never getting to the good stuff. Think of this: how many shower favors have your received in a box, gift bag or plastic goodie bag that you never took the time to unwrap? It probably stayed in your purse for a week or two, and then landed in a trash can. Just give ‘em what you got.
WHERE TO HAND OUT SAMPLES
Vendor Events: Stand in front of your table, make eye contact, and see who lights up when they approach your table. Offer a free sample for signing up for your list, booking a party (pick a date, pick a prize!) or placing an order. Take a pic of you handing out samples and post to your social media sites to spread the love. Hashtags are encouraged.
Out and About: This one might be out of your comfort zone, but out and about networking is key to getting out of your inner circle. You don’t have to be pushy or overbearing. Really. Think of it as giving a gift. Love your server at a restaurant? Give her a gift. Great service from the checker at the supermarket? Say thanks with a free sample. Made a new friend at happy hour? Seal your friendship with some swag. You have the power to make someone’s day, so go do it. And, don’t forget to ask for their contact information so you can follow-up.
Networking Events: I’ve connected with loads of new customers by giving out a free tealight at a networking event. Turns out gifts are great icebreakers. Note: Your free sample should be given out after you’ve built rapport and made a connection. Only fools rush in.
Sample-Bombing: Think of this as photo-bombing, but with samples. <wink> Invite a few consultants on your team to join in the fun, and arrive at an area restaurant, hair salon, office building, college, retail store, or anywhere your ideal client might be hanging out with… free samples! Be aware of solicitation rules and always call ahead first. Say, “Hi! I’m from ______ and today is Free _____ Day (or something you totally made up)! We’re sharing the love and giving out free samples! Can we stop by today to pass out some freebies today?” Or, post this on your Facebook page >>>
Let’s make one of your work days a FUN DAY!
Do you work in an office??? Nominate your place of employment here and I will come by with a basket filled with prizes, catalogs and samples to enjoy on your lunch break!
**Winner will be posted at 5pm on Sunday!!
Opinion Surveys: What’s an opinion survey, you ask? It’s a re-invented party, with free samples and survey questions (max of 10). Shhh…your Hostess doesn’t know she’s hosting a party. She’s having an opinion survey to share her opinions and rate new products. With a few friends. Who get free samples for telling you what they think. They usually want to shop, too. Genius, right?
Social Media: Give your Facebook fans a juicy freebie and include a SIGN-UP button that links to your email/CRM list. You can also upload a welcome video, pin it to the top of your biz page and include a call to action to sign up (click on the gear thingy in the left corner when you upload) that links right to your email list. I recorded the welcome video on my PartyLite biz page on location, in my parked car.
As the saying goes, the fortune is in the follow up. DO NOT (notice all caps) give out a sample if you are not going to get a contact number and follow up. Otherwise, you are throwing money down the toilet, or maybe it’s the drain. Wherever the money ends up, without follow-up, it will not end up in your wallet. Get the contact information by saying, “I’d love to hear what you think about my (product). What’s the best way to reach you, text or Facebook message?” Take out a note paper/pen and start writing. Assume you will easily get the contact information, until you are told otherwise.
Drop me a note in the comments below and share how you’re using samples to grow your direct sales or small biz. Do share!
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Lynn Bardowski is an award-winning entrepreneur and bestselling author of Success Secrets of a Million Dollar Party Girl. She speaks to global audiences about work-at-home success, vision and branding and is a resource for press, media and bloggers. Like her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and subscribe to her YouTube channel. Learn more about her VIP Group: The Visionista Connection.