Thursday, October 8, 2009

The R Word

Subject: Recruiting Mindset – Part 1
When I got involved in party plan 20 plus years ago, we were taught that there were five basic reasons people got started in the business:
1) Money – and I want to work from home, flexibly!
2) Social – I want to make new friends & I love parties!
3) Recognition – I just LOVE to walk across stage!
4) Product – I LOVE everything in the catalog!
5) Mission driven – I LOVE how this company improves people’s lives!
To that list I would add a sixth reason (my reason for joining):
6) Need a life – HELP! I’m home with my kids – I love them, but I’m pretty sure my ‘grown-up’ mind has left my body!
Truth be told – reason number six is probably just a variation on reasons number two and three. BUT, the bottom line was that I got involved with my company to sell product – nothing more, nothing less. That first year that I was in business I wore a recruiting blindfold.
I sold product like crazy – and loved every minute of it. “But”, I told my recruiter/manager, “don’t even TALK to me about the ‘R’ word. I don’t want to ‘do’ that to anyone.”
An interesting attitude, wouldn’t you agree? It was birthed from an unpleasant experience with an overly ambitious consultant from another party plan company who – in her attempts to sign me – did lots of talking, very little listening and was more interested in advancing her status in her company than being sensitive to my needs and concerns. I had vowed never to be that party plan lady. I didn’t want people to run the other way when they saw me coming.
However, in hindsight, I realize that there were many friends who crossed my path that first year who were genuinely interested in joining me in the business. As I replay conversations with different individuals in my mind – I realize they were asking all the right questions and I was giving all the right answers. I never took it a step further and asked them if I could share business information with them. Because, you see, I didn’t do that part of the business.
Do you or your team members need help getting into a recruiting mindset? Don’t miss tomorrow’s Part 2 of this mini-series on The Recruiting Mindset.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Trade Shows

Here are 5 steps to help you have a successful show experience this fall:
1. (30 sec) Engage
Draw people to you by making eye contact, smiling and inviting conversation. Make a connection with the person. People connect with people first.

2. (2 min) Qualify
Not all attendees will need or want your product or service. Acting like what you have to offer is a fit for everyone is both disingenuous and turns off visitors. Present your product or service with a healthy dose of enthusiasm and a decent measure of objectivity. It is respectful to give people the choice to take advantage of what you have or not. Ask a question to help you decide if they are a qualified lead and part of your target audience. Your goal is learning quickly if the person has a need/desire for what you offer, can make a buying decision or if they can influence the person who makes the buying decision. Try to find out their needs by asking some strategic questions.

For example:
"Tell me what brings you to the show today?"
"What's your main goal regarding...?"
"How would you feel if..?"
"Can you tell me if ...?"
Once you ask a question to learn more about the person in front of you, LISTEN.
42% of attendees felt that the booth worker did not understand their needs because they did not fully listen - not because the attendee did not try to express their needs (Source: CEIR).
This requires concentration on your part because typically there are lots of stimuli and distractions during the event.
3. (5 - 7 min) Present
Give a brief overview of your top services or products that match your leads interest. Watch their reaction in order to determine their interest or resistance. By paying attention, you will be able to gauge how much information to share.

Visitors attend events for different reasons:
For recreation
To get ideas
To keep current
To solve a need or problem
To purchase
To identify resources
Because their job requires them to
While you are presenting a quick overview of your products or services (fashion show style-share the highlights), ask your prospect to complete a lead form or exchange business cards.

4. (1 min) Close
Thank them for their time. Determine what is the most appropriate way to respectfully follow-up with them. This provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate your ability to keep your promises and pay attention to their individual needs and wishes. For example, "I will call you tomorrow before noon and send you a link to my web site prior so that you have a chance to see our new items (or sales specials, gift ideas, new programs etc.)."

Depending on the number of people gathered around your booth, read their email and phone number out loud to confirm their details, if you can. This one step helps me to remember the conversations I had with leads and connect their business card (or contact info) with them. It is a reminder to make sure you have the contact information you need to provide service.

If they hesitate to give you their phone number, look them in the eye and try this word choice, "May I please have your phone number? I will be courteous with your contact information." You might even add if there is further hesitation..."and if at any time, you prefer not to hear from me, please let me know and I will take you off my call list. I want to provide service on your terms."

5. (Within 48-72 hours after the event) Follow-Up
When you complete an application to participate in a booth or fair, block your post event follow up time in your planner. Make a firm appointment with yourself for follow-up. By connecting shortly after the event, you will make a memorable impression in their mind. Remember, they met a lot of vendors at one time. To set yourself apart, follow up by phone, mail, or email.
80% of attendees receive no followed-up! What a waste!
Follow these five steps to make your fall festivals, shows, and booths more fruitful.
1 Chicago: Why Train?, (accessed October 6, 2009).

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Attention: Catalog error

Hi Gals!
I just wanted to post a quick update because they still haven't updated the Thirty-one Website yet. But, if you have received your new 31 kids catalog preview then you will notice that the activity pad is listed as $5.00. This is not so though.The activity pad is still only $3.00 so if you have purchased any of the new catalogs please double check them and make corrections. Good luck to all on the new October incentives! YAY! US!