Thursday, November 21, 2013

When the Best Service is Not to Serve

As Sales Representatives our customers are the reason for our business. Without them we have no business and providing good customer service is our primary job. In our efforts to get and keep customers we sometimes fall into the trap of trying to be all things to all people.  We feel that we must do whatever it takes to make customers happy and get the order, especially when we are working hard to build our business. This can result in us being overwhelmed, or possibly risking our business for the sake of making a customer happy. To keep our business healthy we must learn when it is okay to say "I am not the Avon Lady for you".  

There will be rare cases when the best service we can provide for someone is NOT to serve them.  If a potential customer needs someone who delivers to their home on Monday morning and you work another job on Monday mornings you would be unable to meet with that customer at that time.  If none of the alternatives you can offer such as ordering through your website, or having the customer leave a check under that mat so you can drop off the order when they are not home then the best thing for that customer would be to refer them to another representative who's schedule is more compatible.  

The same principal applies to customers who may be in conflict with a practice or policy that you have set for your business.  For example if you have decided that your business runs more smoothly when customers pay for orders when they are placed then a customer who is not willing to pay in advance may not be an ideal customer for you. You would have to decide if can afford to allow an exception to your policy and if you are willing to do it for that customer. 

When deciding how far you are willing to compromise for a customer you really have to consider if it's worth the compromise. For example, you have decided that you will always take off Saturday mornings to spend with your family. A customer who you normally deliver to during the week will be going out of town and will only be available on a Saturday morning. Making a one time accommodation is probably going to be worth it, especially if it is a good customer.  That's different from someone who is regularly only available on Saturdays. 

If you haven't already, take the time to decide what your policies for your business will be and what alternatives you can offer to prospects if there is a conflict with those policies and what exceptions you can make. And it goes without saying that any customer who is disrespectful or extremely unpleasant is one you can feel free to cut loose.  There are plenty of customers out there for representative who are looking for them.  When you find them offer them the best service you are able and they will bring you more customers worth having. 

Chris Arnold
Avon Gold Leader
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Monday, October 14, 2013

Business or Hobby?

Do you work your Avon as a Business or a Hobby? What's the difference you may ask? A business MAKES you money, a hobby COSTS you money. 

The great thing about Avon is that you can work your business in whatever way you like,   If your goal for your business is just to save on your personal purchases or make just a little extra money then working your business as a hobby will be just fine. But if you want to earn enough money that you can depend on it to cover regular expenses, or save up enough for larger expenses you will need to work it as a business.

A hobby is something you do in your spare time. A business requires that you make time for it on a regular basis. As an Independent Sales Representative you set your own hours – you determine how many hours you want to devote to your business and when you want to work those hours, but you need to put those hours on your calendar and commit to those hours each campaign to see consistent results.  

Start by determining how many hours you are willing to commit to your business each week. Then look at your other commitments and find where you will fit those hours in.  It does not need to be large blocks of time, in fact doing a little amount every day for your business is often more effective than working 1 or 2 large blocks of time a week. Even 30 minutes a day focused on your business can have a big impact.

Plan out when you will work your business and what activities you will do on each day. 
Suggested Activities for each campaign include: 
Making contact with potential customers / sharing brochures
Following up with customers 
Promoting your business on social networks
Pathways training
Attending workshops / sales meetings
Entering and submitting orders
Sorting and bagging order and delivering orders 
Tracking your income and expenses 
Planning what and when you will do for the next campaign. 
Once you've planned out what you will do and when, consider those time appointments and keep them just like you would any other appointment.  Flexibility is fine, but if you don't keep your "appointment" with your business, be sure that it gets rescheduled and not just brushed aside. 

********** 

Have you checked out the What's Happening Videos on the Campaign Tools page?  These short videos created by our marketing department are a great way to see and hear about products featured each campaign.  On the Campaign Tools tab you'll see the current and two upcoming campaign brochures pictured. Clicking on the brochure will open up the What's Now sheet for that campaign showing five products to highlight for that campaign along with sales tips and conversation starters to use when selling those items. Under each brochure picture is a link to "view highlights from Campaign xx"  which will open the video.  The 5 -10 minutes you'll spend reviewing these two tools each campaign will be time well spent as you get more comfortable sharing about and selling our products.  

Chris Arnold
Avon Gold Leader
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Saturday, August 31, 2013

What' s in your bathroom?

What products are in your bathroom?  Since you are an Avon Representative I hope your answer includes mostly Avon products. I have always thought that using Avon products versus other brands was an obvious step in being a successful Avon Representative, but this week I saw a post by another representative on Facebook that showed me this may not be as clear as I thought.   

I personally came to Avon with a long time love of the products...my Mom and Gramma both used Avon when I was younger and My Mom was a representative for a while. As soon as I became a representative I began replacing the personal care products I had been using with Avon, after all if I wasn't using Avon products, why would I expect anyone to buy them from me?  

If you're not already using Avon products, think of all the toiletries you use each day. Starting with your morning shower, you've got shower gel, shampoo and conditioner, facial cleanser and shave gel or hair removal cream.  Once you're dried off you have body lotion, face cream, eye cream and styling products for your hair, plus a little spray of your favorite fragrance.  Of course if you wear make up we've got you covered there too. These products are going to be a better value than the majority of other brands because they will either be less expensive than the alternative or a better quality than the cheaper options. 

I you have already converted your bathroom to an Avon bathroom, it's time to start working with your customers and prospects (especially those who say they can't afford Avon) and help them make the switch.  The more customers you get stocking their vanity with Avon instead of the other brands, the more you will see your business grow. 

Once you have your customers getting the products they use every day from you be sure to keep track of what they use so you can make sure they don't run out of their favorites and always get them at the best price possible.  That's an added bonus we offer that the big box and drugstores can't offer. 

Chris Arnold
Avon Gold Leader
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Monday, July 8, 2013

Become the Make up Expert / Scam Warning

This summer is the perfect time to make your self the makeup expert that your customers turn to.  Avon has 2 super makeup launches coming over the next few campaigns.

Campaign 17 introduces new Mega Effects mascara.  For 50 years the one thing that the thousands of mascaras introduced have in common was the way they were applied, with some variation of the brush at the end of a stick applicator.  Mega Effects turns that idea on its side.  With its innovative new brush you can cover your lashes from root to tip, corner to corner in one swipe.  You can visit youtube to view the official Avon videos for Mega Effects as well as tutorials created by representatives across the country.  Choose your favorite and share that with your customers and on your social media networks. 

In Campaign 19 Avon will be relaunching our core eye shadow and lip color lines.  New True color technology gives truer colors in the True Color Eye Shadows, Ultra Color Lipstick, and Glazewear Liquid Lip Color.  In addition to new formulas the color palettes have been updated.  You can review your customer history in the web office to find your customer's favorite colors. If their color is in the updated palette offer them a sample of the new formula.  If their color has been discontinued consult the conversion chart in the What's New to offer them a sample of a similar color, or show them the clearance sale in Campaign 16 so they can stock up on their favorite while it's still available.  

In addition to the great information on the new color products in the What's New, you can also order the Makeup Selling Guide available in the Campaign 19 What's New (order on your Campaign 17 order).  This small investment is jam packed with tips, tools and training to help make you the make up expert:
  • Exclusive product information
  • Consumer insight
  • Selling Tips
  • Conversation starters
  • Selling full looks to increase sales
  • Shade selector tools
  • Swatch sheets
I also recommend making AvonProductsInc one of your favorites on YouTube.com.  There you will find the official videos about all of our makeup lines, complete with application tutorials.  There are also many talented Avon Representatives who post their own how-to videos.  Again, share your favorites with your customers and social networks to set your self up as their go to source for all things makeup.

Most of all, get a few demos of the new products and just play.  Some of my best makeup looks and application tips have come from just being willing to play in my makeup.


~*~*~*~*~

Unfortunately one of the less than pleasant things about having your own business is people who make their living by scamming hard working people.  There is a particular type of scammer who tends to target online, independent retailers like direct sales representatives and people who sell on ebay, craigslist and the like.  Here is what to watch out for and how to protect yourself.

Typically the scam will start with a "contact me" request through your website.  The prospect will only include an name and email address and no other information.  While a contact request with only an email address does not automatically mean the contact is a scammer, in my experience most genuine prospects will include a phone number or address. 


Because there is always a chance it is a real prospective customer you send them a message asking how you can help.  They will reply and thank you for your quick response.  They will want to place a big order, often with multiples of each item, and they will not want to handle the payment or delivery of the order in the typical way.  

They will say they are from outside of your area but want to deal with you personally, usually because they will be coming to your area for some kind of business or event which is what they need the products for. Most often they will tell you that they cannot make the purchase online because they don't have or can't use a credit card.  They will ask for the address where they can send the check.  If you gave them the info, they would send a check for much more than the amount of the already large purchase and ask you to cash it and either return the excess to them or pay someone for them.  The checks are fraudulent and it will take a few weeks but when the check is found to be fraudulent you are on the hook for the money.
They will either ask you to ship it to an address they will include with the check or say that they will arrange shipping and ask for your address to have their own shipper pick the order up. 

The messages also tend to have really bad grammar, like a computer translated it from a foreign language, and the speech in them just seems unnatural. 

These are just the most common red flags you will see in these messages so if you ever get a message that just doesn't seem right to you, feel free to forward it to me and I can let you know if it looks like a scam. 

To protect yourself in general don't take checks by mail from someone you don't know, especially for a large amount, and don't take checks or money orders for more than the purchase price.  

There really is no reason for you to ship products to a stranger yourself.  Shipping for direct delivery orders through our website is only $3 and that is only if the order is under $30 and there are no free shipping codes available for smaller order.  This is less than you would pay to ship any order via any carrier.  If they can't use a credit card, then they should be looking for a local representative they can meet in person to pay by cash. 

Again if you have any doubt at all about an email order please don't hesitate to call me and remember if it looks too good to be true, it could be and it's better to be safe than sorry. 
~*~*~*~*~

Chris Arnold
Avon Gold Leader
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Monday, June 10, 2013

Sample Success

One way to increase your sales is to give Customers and Prospects an opportunity to try before they buy.  One easy way to do that is by using samples and samples can make a huge difference in your business but they only work if you use them.

  • Choose a single sample to feature for a campaign. It could be something new or something that is on a really good sale in this campaign. Include that sample in every brochure that you give out and/or every order you deliver for that campaign. Tape the sample to the page, with the top edge or corner sticking out of the brochure to be your customers see it.  As you do your follow up for that campaign ask everyone how they liked it.  
  • Choose several samples (aim for 4-6) to feature for the campaign and buy 1-2 packs of each to make "lumpy" brochures.  Tape the samples on the page where the product is featured (this is what makes the brochure lumpy. Choose 5-10 customers to receive the "lumpy" brochures.  Choose different customers each campaign and don't worry about choosing the right color/scent/formula for the customer. You can put a label on the book or tell the customer when you give them the book that the samples may not be perfect for them, but you'd be happy to help them find just the right product for them. And they can feel free to pass the samples on to someone they know who might like them.
When possible, have the customer try the sample while you are with them.  This not only increases the chances they will actually try the sample but gives you the opportunity to use their initial reactions to close the sale or help them find something that would be better for them.
  • With skincare samples offer to give the customer a "handcial" while you are with her.  Use the skincare sample on the back of one hand so she can compare it to the untreated hand to see the immediate results. 
  • With fragrance samples, open the sample and give it a moment to breathe before handing it to the customer.  Fragrances are mostly alcohol and if you sniff the sample the moment it's opened you will smell mostly alcohol.  If the customer likes the scent on the sample they should then try it on and see how it works with their individual chemistry.  
  • Use samples as a gift for service people you interact with throughout the day.  Give a sample and business card or even make a small goodie bag of samples to share with cashiers, waitresses and other service providers you meet while you are out and about.  If they respond positively and seem interested in Avon, be sure to get their information for follow up.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
Chris Arnold
Avon Gold Leader
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Monday, May 13, 2013

How My Avon Business Made Me a Better Mom

How My Avon Business Made Me a Better Mom


In honor of Mother's Day this past weekend, I'd like to share a little something different this month.  My personal "WHY" for having an Avon business.  I know my story may not be relevant for you personally, but you may meet Moms who could benefit from having their own business, and hopefully my story will help you to offer that gift to them.

Before I started my Avon Business, I had left my full time office job and I was working weekends while my husband worked during the week so that we could take my daughter out of daycare.  We felt that we had missed a lot of important moments in her first 18 months by being away from her so long during the day. The weekend job allowed one or the other of us to be home with her every day, but left little opportunity for time together as a family. 

After 2 years at the weekend job, I got a call from the head office explaining that the 2 day a week position was being eliminated and I would need to work 4 days a week if I wanted to keep my job.  By the time I paid a caregiver for my daughter for those extra 2 days, I would have been making less money in exchange for being away from her for 2 days a week. The impact on our income would soon become even greater because I was 7 months pregnant with our second child.  I had to give up my part time job...I couldn't afford to keep it. Being pregnant, I knew my odds of finding a new job with the hours that I wanted were pretty slim so I needed another option.  

I had started selling Avon a year before this and had done pretty well building up a nice little side income as a result.  My husband and I decided that I would put a little more effort into the Avon business in the remaining months of my pregnancy and the time that I would have been out on Maternity leave, and hopefully that would be enough to keep us afloat until I could get another job. 

As it turns out, that extra effort was enough to increase my income from my Avon business to the point that it more than made up for what I lost from the weekend job.  The "baby" is now 15 and I have not needed to work another job besides Avon since then. To this day I would say that becoming an Avon Representative was the best decision I ever made for my family. 

Unknown to me at the time having a home based, service oriented business was also going to be a very positive thing for my daughters.  The benefits included:
  • First and foremost that I was home to care for them the way their Dad and I wanted them cared for, not the way the daycare wanted them cared for. 
  • I haven't had to choose between work and being there for the important moments in their lives. First day of school, school field trips, music performances, and the little moments like our annual last day of school luncheon with the girls and their friends. Even taking a whole week to help my older daughter move to college. 
  • Even when I was working, I was still with my daughters so I was able to take advantage of all of those little teachable moments. Those opportunities to teach them the big life lessons in a real world situation rather than a lecture that would likely be tuned out. 
  • It was easier for me to be involved with their school.  I had time to volunteer in class and serve on the PTSO when they were in elementary school. I continued being involved in their schools up through High School in some degree or another. 
  • Over the years they have taken on an increasingly larger part in running my business, learning vital job skills such as task management, customer service, marketing and networking skills.  They have already started using these skills to their personal benefit and they will continue to use this knowledge as they move out into the world on their own. 
  • They have enjoyed being exposed to people from many backgrounds, with different cultures and views and opinions,  which has helped them to be very open minded and embracing of different ways of living and thinking.  Interpersonal skills vital to being successful in the world that cannot be taught in a classroom or with a lecture. 
Over the years I have heard women use their children as an excuse for not working on their business.  For me my girls are the number one reason to work my business, and I am grateful every day for the person who unknowingly set me on this path nearly 17 years ago. 

What questions do you have about this or any other aspect of your Avon business? I'm always happy to hear from you. 

Chris Arnold
Avon Gold Leader
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Thursday, April 11, 2013

How do people know YOU are the Avon Lady?

Do you enjoy being and Avon Lady?  Are you wanting to expand your business? 
Those questions are probably pretty easy, but this one may be a little more difficult. How do people know that YOU are the Avon Lady?  When you meet someone new, how do they find out that you can provide them with Avon service?  

Throughout your daily routine you have many opportunities to connect with people who are interested in Avon products but sometimes we can't work Avon into the conversation, and sometimes we don't have the chance to start a conversation at all. What can you do to increase the chances that you will make those connections. 

When you are out and about running errands, wear an Avon name badge, logo shirt or pin.  That way anyone you talk to can see that you are an Avon representative and start the conversation for you. You can also let people know you are with Avon by having signs or decals on your on your vehicle, or carrying a bag with Avon on it. Anything that says Avon can catch the eye of someone looking for a representative or get them asking questions that can give you the chance to talk about your business. 

Of course you can also get people's attention and start a conversation by wearing Avon's clothing, jewelry and accessories.  Often you'll get compliments on the items you are wearing, and it's easy to turn the conversation to Avon from there.  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Do you have a page set up for your Avon business on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter or a board on Pinterest?  You can add links to all of your social media pages on your personal Avon website.  Click on "edit website/upload photo" in your web office.  clilck edit on the banner at the top of the main page (next to your picture) and click on the social media icons.  enter the details for whichever sites you want to link to and the appropriate icons will be added to your personal webpage so your customer can click right on through to connect with you on their favorite social media site. 


Chris Arnold
Avon Gold Leader
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Monday, February 4, 2013

The Value of Brochures

This month I'd like to take a look at our most valuable sales tool...our brochures

The brochure is your store. Make sure it's open for business!
The number of brochures you buy each campaign determines how many new customers you can attract.  Challenge yourself by always buying more brochures than your customer list. sounds expensive  - huh? not really - think of these 3 scenarios

Scenario 1:
You place a $25 order every campaign for your personal/family needs and enjoy the discount. In addition to your $25 personal purchase, you order 10 brochures to share with family, friends and co-workers.  As a result, you pick up two additional orders of $20 each.
Brochures                        10 for $6.49
Sales                                    $65
Earnings %                            20%
Savings on personal order        $8
profit from customer's orders $1.51*

Scenario 2:
In addition to your $25 personal purchase, you order 50 brochures to share with family, friends and co-workers; plus approach 3 people every day, Monday-Saturday, and meet your neighbors to distribute the remainder.  As a result, you pick up 10 additional $20 orders.
Brochures                        50 for $15.09
Sales                                    $225
Earnings %                            30%
Savings on personal order        $7.50*
profit from customer's orders  $60*

Scenario 3:
In addition to your $25 personal purchase, you order 100 brochures to share with family, friends co-workers; plus approach 3 people every day, Monday - Saturday, and meet your neighbors to distribute the remainder.  As a result, you pick up 20 additional $20 orders.
Brochures                       100 for 21.49
Sales                                    $425
Earnings %                            35%
Savings on personal order        $8.75*
profit from customer's orders  $140*

This scenario also means you are selling at President's Club level and when you reach President's Club ($10,100 in total sales for the cycle) you get guaranteed 40% earnings on core products and 25% earnings on fixed earnings items among other great benefits. To learn more about President's Club visit the Rewards and Recognition tab on youravon.com

Which of these options is most appealing to you?   

*all scenarios estimate profits based on core product earning percentage. 

As you are handing out the brochures you want to get a name and contact information (phone, email or address) so you can follow up with your new contact.  This allows you to take control of your business by contacting those people who have the brochure to ask what you can get them that campaign. 

If you have time to chat with them before leaving them with the brochure, let them choose from 2 or 3 samples that you have to offer for that campaign.  I try to have fragrance, skincare and either a makeup or haircare samples available each campaign to offer with my brochures. 

~~~~~~~~~


Are you making all the money with your Avon business that you would like to? If not please call me so that we can look at ways to make your business more profitable.
Chris Arnold
Avon Gold Leader
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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Follow Up Resolutions

 Happy New Year!!!

Is one of your New Year's Resolutions to follow up more with your customers and prospects?  This month we'll focus on some tools that make follow up easier and more effective.

Your Customer's profile in your web office:
You can add notes to each customer's profile to remind you of things such as the best way to contact them, or the best day or time to reach them.  Include information on their favorite products or things they are looking for. 
On the Personal Info tab you can record their birthdays and anniversaries and they will show up on your calendar so you can acknowledge their special days with a note, a gift or a special offer.

On the main page of the Web Office tab there is a box in the lower right corner that says "the fortune is in the follow up"  If you click on that box it takes you to a list of customers who have not ordered in the last 3 campaigns along with their contact information and the details of their last order.  You can see further order information by clicking on purchase history which will take you to the customer history page where you can see the past years purchases for that customer. You can use that order history to see if one of their favorite products in on sale this campaign, or if they may be due to replenish their supply of a product they use regularly. 

Speaking of the Customer History page, which you can also reach directly from the Web Office main page by clicking on Customer Management then Customer History, it's a great way to make the most of each campaign's best sales.  Say for example the Anew Genics Treatment Cream is on sale.  You can plug in that product on the Customer History page and pull up a list of all of the customers who have purchased that item in the last year.  You can then contact them and make sure they know about the sale.  Even if they are not ready for a new jar, they may order now in order to get the sale price rather than waiting until they are almost out and paying full price.  

What follow up challenges are you having?  Come on over to out Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/AvonMeeting/ and share, to get help from many of the representatives on our team.  Or give me a call at 702-501-8704 for help with this, or any other part of your business. 

Chris Arnold
Avon Gold Leader
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Join the conversation on the team Facebook Group
Missed an Issue of Meeting in Your Inbox? View the archives here Check out the Featured Training of the Week here Get Back to Basics with the New Representative Tips Series 

Become a Representative

Not an Avon Representative yet? Join our team today and earn $1000 in your first 90 Days.  Contact me for more details or sign up today here.