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Direct Sales Success: Quarterly Planning Made Easy

No, it’s not glamorous, but an hour of your time now could net you some big gains before Summer hits.

It’s time to start looking at your Q2 planning.

What? You mean you haven’t ever DONE quarterly planning?

I hear you. Most direct sellers live two weeks from bankruptcy – meaning they’re booking shows in so close, they haven’t really thought much beyond the next 30 days of life in business.

It’s time to make a change and get your numbers in order. We’re going to lay out two quick ways to do “projections” for your quarterly planning.

First, gather your results from last year. If you’re brand new, use your numbers from the first quarter. I realize we’re still IN the first quarter, but bear with me here.

Look at what your numbers were for first quarter last year, compare them to first quarter this year. You’ll see where you’re up, down or about the same. Not sure what numbers to be looking at? Check out my previous post on knowing your averages.

Now look at quarter two from last year (that would be April-June, if you’re not sure). Compare Q2 of 2009 to Q1 of 2009. Most direct sellers will see an increase in their numbers because the holiday ‘slump’ is over, new product catalogs are coming out, and people are more likely to book early spring parties in April and May than they are in February and March. But it’s not important if the numbers are higher or lower -what’s important is that you KNOW whether they were higher or lower.

This gives you an opportunity to look at your business and see where you can improve, as well as what to reasonably expect for the coming months. We only look at a quarter at a time because – well – life happens. ESPECIALLY as direct sellers that are learning to treat your business with more respect, we have to flex those business owner muscles and get used to looking at the numbers in our business in the first place.

Look at the goals you have for the next three months – show sales, recruits, team promotions, bookings, etc. If you have company incentives coming down the pike, how are you planning to achieve those incentives? What activities do you need to schedule into your business over the next 3 months to make sure you hit those goals?

Now, pull out your planning calendar – your personal one, as well as your business one. You want to look at what’s already on the radar for the next three months, events, kid stuff, vacations, holidays, sales meetings, rallies, national conferences, leadership camps, incentive trips. Identify any potential items that could prevent you from holding the number of shows you’d like. Identify big expenses that might require you to do an extra show or two in the coming months to help generate additional income. Identify locations in which you’ll find yourself that might make good ‘recruiting recon’ destinations.

By starting now – and it may take a good hour of your time to do it – you’ll have a road map for the next three months of business. You’ll easily know what nights you will work – as well as the nights you absolutely can’t. You’ll also have a good idea about how much income you can count on.

But the BEST part about planning is that if you pinpoint a potential gap (in income, recruiting, shows, etc), you’ll have a few months to formulate ideas and ACT on them in order to fill the gap. Otherwise, you could end up staring down a blank calendar at the beginning of May, wondering what you’re going to do to pay the bills for the month.

Quarterly planning doesn’t sound all that sexy, but once you begin, it almost becomes a game. How many gaps can you fill before the end of the quarter? How much MORE money can you make this quarter? How many days off can you actually ENJOY for a change? Quarterly planning makes it possible to know all the answers to those questions – and then some.

© 2010 Lisa Robbin Young.

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Lisa Robbin Young is a certified direct sales marketing coach, teaching direct sellers to grow their business like a real business instead of an expensive hobby. Sign up for her free weekly ezine at http://www.homepartysolution.com/

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