It happens every year. Your direct sales company launches a bunch of “holiday must-haves” just in time to boost your bottom line and entice your buyers to spend more when they’re already in a spending mood.
It’s a great sales strategy. It’s akin to an upsell on steroids. Not only is it time sensitive, there’s a limited quantity, so those products are sure to go fast.
Problem is, sometimes they go TOO fast.
Invariably, one product outshines all the others, and when you come home to enter the show order – poof, they’re sold out.
It’s enough to drive a direct sales consultant insane. For a time, I even gave up on selling limited edition products because I ended up with leftovers: partially used, unsellable products that I didn’t want or wouldn’t use myself. I felt wasteful, and didn’t like the idea of spending money that wasn’t going to serve me well.
And then I got wise.
When I looked at the products that were first to sell out, it was typically the products our company let us buy on special purchase or before they were available to customers. That meant that if I also purchased those products, I would likely be contributing to the sell-out. That also meant that products we couldn’t buy on special were usually the products that lasted through the end of the holiday season.
From there, I developed these strategies to help me navigate the holiday out-of-stocks:
1. What you show, you sell. That means if you demo a product, people are going to fall in love with it and want it. Keep that in mind when deciding what items to put in your kit (or keep out). It’s very rare for me to demo a seasonal product now, although I will have a display that includes seasonal products. Demo less and display more (see #2).
2. Display, don’t demo your limited edition products. Because they can be quick to sell out, don’t demo consumable products (eye shadow, etc). Instead, keep them on hand for your display. That way, if someone orders an item that sells out, you’ve still got the one in your kit that you can use to fill their order.
3. Take a back-up order. I always let customers know that even though the product was available before I started the show, it may be unavailable when I go to put in the order. I suggest that they make an alternate selection in case it’s not available, to avoid playing phone tag and possibly delaying delivery of the order. Most of the time the order still goes through as planned, but this also gives me other product ideas to talk to them about when I do customer follow up calls.
4. Have cash & carry at your shows. As the holiday season winds down, people will want to take their purchases with them the night of the show, if possible. This is NOT giving you license to spend money you don’t have to stock up on products you don’t know you’ll sell. It does mean to be willing to part with display products and to replenish your display more frequently. During the holidays, I’ll use excess host credits or save up to add a few more “stocking stuffer” type gift products to my display. Then, as the holidays wind down, I’ll sell those products right off my table and use the revenue to order more items to replenish my display. The host still gets credit for the purchase, I’m making instant sales, and guest walk away happy.
5. Don’t demo it unless you love it. Once I purchased a limited edition set of holiday eyeshadows. I hated everything about them, and I still have that ugly set of shadows. I take them out and use them at halloween, and to remind me about the costs involved in buying limited edition kit items. If you’re going to invest your hard earned money in a consumable product for your kit, make sure you LOVE it enough to feel good about keeping it when the season ends. Once it’s no longer available, you’re stuck with it. Plus, it helps to actually love a product you’re demonstrating, because then you can “romance” it, and sell the heck out of it.
These five tips have added thousands of dollars to my holiday show sales, and saved me hundreds of dollars in half-used demo products that collect dust after the limited edition cycle ends. You’re in business to make (and keep) money, not to be wasteful by getting caught up in the “gotta have it” marketing fever of the holiday sales season.
© 2010 Lisa Robbin Young.
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Lisa Robbin Young offers direct sales coaching and training to direct sales professionals looking 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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