Welcome to the J-months (June/July), synonymous with the summer slump in direct sales lingo. The weather is hot and sticky and half your customers are probably on vacation. Keeping your direct sales business, and your profit checks, consistent can be a challenge. So “they” say. What’s a Million Dollar Party Girl to do? Reinvent, innovate and turn a hot summer into a hot selling season full of new parties and consultants, of course!
Here’s how to get it done:
Reinvent You, And The Party
Give your business the same priority that you give your hair color and wardrobe, and reinvent with every season. What works during busy months might not work during lean months, so change things up. Your summer marketing makeover should include attending networking and vendor events (where your ideal client is hanging out), and at least one biz conference to stimulate new ideas and strategize with like-minded people. Conferences are also a super fun getaway (especially if you’re chasing after wee ones all day). We’ll keep the “Girl’s Night Out” part between us. We’re learning. Really. <wink> If you’re worried about spending the cash keep this in mind: the investment is probably less than your annual hair color/cut & style budget, which sadly is not a tax write-off. Do it because you’re worth it.
Can’t get anyone to “book a party” in the summer? Here’s an easy fix that might sound a little crazy but, it works. Stop asking people to book a party. Instead, find out what your clients are interested in and reinvent the old school home party to bring your biz into the 21st century. Use words like Happy Hour, Ladies Night Out, Margarita (Mudslide works too) Monday, Thong Thursday (as in flip flop) , Sample Sale, New Line Preview or Poolside Fragrance (Jewelry, Tasting, etc..) Bar. Use the summer season to build customer loyalty and gain new business with a VIP Customer Event. I love treating my customers to chair massages or pedicures, and loads of free prize drawings (recycle retired products for giveaways). They love me back by bringing friends, shopping the night away and filling my calendar with parties. Think outside the box and whatever you do, make sure there’s air conditioning. And wine. When all else fails, create your own party! Team up with another direct sales rep and collaborate to plan a fun “Customer Appreciation” event that includes both your customers. Send a summer catalog to your top peeps ahead of time an offer an incentive for arriving with orders. That’s a grand idea. As in $1,000+ party.
Reinvent your social media marketing strategy (see below for more ideas) to engage and connect with customers, even when they are on vacation. For example, create a contest and ask your customers to take a picture of themselves using your product while on vacation and share it (tag you) on Facebook or Instagram. I got tagged on a picture of a 9-month-old “reading” my book, Success Secrets of a Million Dollar Party Girl, with the caption, “Start ‘em young”. My social media engagement soared, and so did my sales.
Don’t sweat it. Embrace the obstacle and turn it into your biggest opportunity. Here are a few HOT marketing ideas:
Offer a “hot deal” on the hottest day of the week. Example: Customers who shop on the hottest day of the week get 10% off or a bonus gift with purchase. Create a buzz by posting the weather updates on your social media sites with headlines like, “5 Day Forecast calls for a chance of savings.” A 98 degree day in the middle of July could be your best biz day of the summer.
Create a “Hot Date.” If you’re a direct seller, bring wrapped presents (use red wrapping paper) to your event marked with dates you want to work. Everyone who books a party on your hot date, gets a hot gift. By the way, size matters. Check your inventory for the biggest items at the lowest price. Or, put a small item in a medium sized gift bag with lots of tissue paper.
Have a RED HOT virtual sale via a Facebook “Invite Only” Party. Tag early bird shoppers with a thank you shout-out to get the party started. If no one has shopped in the first hour, tag your sister or best friend. Sometimes you have to create your own buzz. Hot tip: award a prize to shoppers every hour for extra Facebook party fun! Warning: Do not tag invitees who have not responded or make your event public. You’ll get flagged for spamming.
Use social media the right away. If posts about your biz on your personal page are salesy (buy from me!), include links and are more frequent than once a week, they violate Facebook’s no spamming rules and your personal page could be shut down. Yikes. Your “friends” want to see a throwback picture of you with big hair, not a sales pitch about your biz. Be innovative by sharing your biz in a social way: take fun pics of customers using your product, highlights of biz events/incentive trips, or your adorable puppy eating your brochure. I’d “like” that.
At the end of the day, your business is what you make it. You can buy into the “summer slump” excuse, or you can put on your flip-flops and get to work. J-months should really stand for Jump-Starting your customer service efforts. Make 5 calls a day and your biz will be on fire.
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Lynn Bardowski is an award-winning entrepreneur, speaker and best selling author of Success Secrets of a Million Dollar Party Girl. She speaks to global audiences about entrepreneurship, vision and women’s empowerment and is a resource for press, media and bloggers. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.