Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Making Smart Investments in Your Avon Business

  Making Smart Investments in Your Avon Business 

This month we're going to talk about making smart investments in your business. There's a few different areas that you can invest in your business.
Demos and Samples

The great thing about having and Avon business or a Direct Sales business in general is that we don't have to invest in inventory, Avon is the warehouse for us. So we don't have to have a lot of product on hand to service our customers. We can get orders from our customers, order the products they want, deliver those and have our profit right away. 
We don't have money tied up in products on the shelf. 

A few instances where you might want to have a little product on hand is if there are products that you get customers or potential customers calling because they need some right away. Maybe they are heading out of town, visiting from out of town or a regular customer that forgot to order a daily needs item.

You'll get  a feel for what products would be good to have on that as you build your customer base. And of course you have to consider if spur of the moment deliveries is something that fits in with the way you want to or are able to run your business.  For example if you are also working a 9-5 and juggling kids school and activities you may not be able to drop everything and deliver an order outside of your normal delivery schedule. In that case, product on hand may not do you any good. 

Another time it could make sense to have product on hand is when we have a REALLY good sale on a product that you sell regularly it may be worth getting a FEW extra so you will make a bigger profit when you sell them later. Of course you are going to be making sure that your customers are ordering some this time also. 

For example Glimmersticks will go on sale a few times a year at 4 for $10 versus the typical sale price of about $3. It can be tempting to stock up on a ton of them. Let your customers know about the sale and they will order 4, 8 or 16 Glimmersticks themselves.  So you can let the customer stock up instead and you won't really need to. 

Speaking of stock up offers in general, sometimes we get caught up in the excitement of a new product coming out and we see those stock up offers where there are different levels such as buy 5 get 1 free which is great.  Maybe you'll use the free one as a demo to sell the other 5. 

Then you see the buy 25 and get 5 free and a bonus check and another bundle of products, and it can be really tempting. But you really want to take a look at your business and you want to have a plan for how you're going to sell those 25 or 30 products quick enough that you don't have product collecting dust on a shelf or end up having to deeply discount the product to move it. 

When you're making those investments in stock ups they can be a great way to stretch yourself. Say we have a new fragrance coming out and you normally sell 2 or 3 of the new fragrance. Doing the level 1 stock up can make you reach to sell a few more.

Another place where we tend to want to stock inventory is if you are doing events. There's this urge to have a lot of product on hand so you can make a lot of sales that day. the fact is that if you're going to make a significant profit on a regular basis you would have to be at an event at least once a week, or a really big event once a month to be able to move enough product for it to be worth the investment to have a significant amount of product on hand. One exception to that would be something like a swap meet where you might set up once a week or once a month and for that you would want to look for product you can sell at bargain basement prices and still make a profit because that's what a lot of people look for at the swap meet. 

In general when you do events, what  you really want to invest in is a few demos, something to display on the table and talk to guest about and then your biggest investment is going to be your time and the cost of the event, and brochures. The most important thing to have at an event is not product to sell that day, it's brochures and business cards (with your website address) you can get in people's hands, and interest cards so you can get people's contact information and allow them to sign up for your brochure and email lists or request information about becoming a representative.

You want focus on talking to people and sparking that interest in Avon, or rekindling an existing interest in Avon and getting their contact information so you can continue that relationship beyond the conversation at the show. Talk to them, find out what they are interested in, get them interested in some new products they haven't tried before. So that's where your investment in events would be. You don't have to have a lot of inventory. 

It's nice to have a little cash and carry, maybe a bargain basket or if you want to invest in a little bit of inventory consider small things that people might be likely to buy on the spot that you wouldn't necessarily want to deliver just that one item such as an eye liner or hand cream or deodorant. 

If you have a lot of inventory already and need to free up that investment and it's not moving you really want to look at what you can do to free up those funds. Take a look at how long it's been sitting there. If it's within that 120 day window for returning product to Avon, that is something you should consider doing. You do want to try to sell it, even if you sell it at cost, it's still better to sell it and not have to return it.  Anytime you can avoid returning product, that's great. It's better for the company overall and if you find you are making a large percentage of returns versus what you are purchasing that could put you into a situation where you would  have to return product to Avon before you can get credit for it rather than the current option of getting credit right away and then shipping the products back. But if you are within that 120 day window and it is not selling, send it back.  Get it out of your house and get those funds back into your business or back into your household budget. 

If you're outside of that window then really consider going bargain basement on your items to move them.  Carry a Bargain Basket as you make your deliveries and let your customers shop from that, or put a list of your inventory clearance specials in your customers brochures or orders.  

The next place we want to look at is investing in demonstration products. Having those products so customers can see it, smell it, feel it and try it out is a great way to build your business. And you can invest in demos in a way that doesn't take a lot of funds. Start with the products that you or someone in your family is going to use anyway.

Clothing and jewelry are good because you can wear them, and sometimes they will even spark a conversation with someone new who compliments what you're wearing.

In your bag where you carry your brochures or your handbag carry the latest fragrance and some cards so you can spray the card and write the name of the fragrance and leave that with them. 

I love to carry the hand creams and the body butters because any time I run into someone with dry hands I offer them a chance to try it. 

If there are demos you would like to show, but they are not something your family would use, think about picking a few really good customers and let them choose one item out of the What's New at a discount if they will let you show it for 2 weeks before delivering it. The amount of the discount is up to you, it can be the actual demo price or it can be somewhere between book price and demo price so you still make a profit on that item. It's a great way to reward your best customers for their loyalty and their business while building your sales with other customers. 

A third way that you can invest in demos is a demo bank. Say for example you have $50 you can invest in demos this campaign.  You take that $50 and purchase your demos.  Show them for the 2 weeks, then sell them, at a small discount, and use the money collected for those items to buy next campaign's demos. Offer it to those who are interested in them item when your are showing it and let them know they can have the demo at a discount if they will take that one instead of a new one. 

Investing in samples ... the sample bundles are a great way to get a lot of samples at a good price.  But don't just throw the samples in the bottom of the bags, tape them to the page in the brochure, or better yet, hand them to the customers.  Tell them you'd love to get their opinion on the product, and then follow up with them after they've had a chance to try it to see what they thought. Even if they don't order that product, you may be able to steer then to something that will be a better fit. 

Speaking of brochures...the best investment you can make in your business is brochures. It can't be said enough...Your brochure is your store.  Yes we have an online store, but a lot of people still like to look at the actual brochure.  Put your website address on it so they can go shop online after they are done looking. And the brochure is great for getting new customers. People who aren't familiar with Avon or haven't seen what we have to offer lately probably won't go to the website to shop. But if they have they brochure to browse through they will see what they've been missing out on.

You want to make sure you are getting the best return on the investment you are making in those brochures so be sure you want to be sure you are getting contact information for an many people you give a brochure to as you can. At the same time, never throw a brochure away, always leave it somewhere someone can find it. Even if it's the counter in a public bathroom, a park bench, the top of the ATM, anywhere is better than your recycling bin. 

Lastly, investing in training. When you are new your investment in training is mostly your time because there is so much free training out there, both the training that Avon offers and the training you can get in other places. There are a lot of representatives within the company that do training outside of the training that Avon offers. There are a lot of people who just train on direct sales in general. Some of the trainers that I follow are Dex Bixler, Julie Anne Jones, the Direct Selling Women's Alliance has phenomenal training, Bob Burg, Darren Hardy, Jim Rohn...just too many to name. And most of them offer something for free, from articles to webinars to podcasts that you can take advantage of for free, and then once you know what you want to get additional training on and which trainers you really connect with you can invest in their programs, seminars or books. Take advantage of as much free training as you can and let that guide you to the training you want to invest in. 

I hope I've given you some food for thought about how to make some smart investments in your business. I know this is a little bit longer than the typical Meeting in Your Inbox, so thank you for hanging in there with me.  I hope you are having a wonderful Avon day and I'll talk to you again soon. 

Chris Arnold
Avon Gold Leader
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