Thursday, October 29, 2009

Home Shows - PART 2

In the previous post which is now the post after this post - I was responding to what I take to shows and what I talk about and how I tailor my shows to the crowd. I got a bit lengthy in that post so here is the part about what I actually talk about at the shows.

Before I talk about what I say at shows and what else I do let me first start off by saying that I am scared to death of talking in front of others. My friends and people that know me would not believe this. I am great in a small crowd with people I know BUT - when it comes to strangers - I am a wreck. When first asked to be a BEE Facilitator 6 or 7 years ago I had no idea how I was going to be able to do it. I took it head on though because I knew it would be good for me. You have no idea how much it has helped me and I have gained to much from doing it. BUT I am still scared to death doing it but once I get started I'm ok.

I still get nervous at Home Shows too. What I always have to tell myself though is I know the products better than anyone in the room and I love the products more than anyone in the room so it doesn't matter as much of what you say as it matters that you show how great you feel about the products. Your confidence and conviction about Longaberger is more important than anything! So - if I can do Home Shows - being afraid of speaking in front of people - then EVERYONE can do home shows.

I don't tailor my shows too much from show to show. I have a beginning - which is a brief introduction of myself. I let them know how I got involved with Longaberger because they all look at me like - A Man? What the hell are you doing selling Longaberger? So I give a quick intro of me. Then I ask them all who is familiar with Longaberger and find out how much they know about Longaberger and find out who has never even been to a show. That way I know what I am working with. Then I do tailor how much I talk about our history because if they are Longaberger fanatics then I need to spend more time showing products. If they don't know anything about Longaberger then I have to educate them. They have to understand the true value of our products and really understand that the basket they hold in their hand was made BY HAND by another human being. I sometimes ask them what they can make with their own hands only using a few tools. This shows them the value of our baskets.

So once I get all that over with i jump right in with the monthly feature. I explain to them that it's one of the things that makes Longaberger so different. We have something DIFFERENT EVERY month. So I basically get through all the products that are featured for the month that I am in and showing the rest of the products as they fit in. If I don't have some ting in hand I show it from the flyer or catalog.

I explain that our baskets come in three stains. I explain the proper way to buy a Longaberger basket is to make sure you also get the liner and protector. It needs to be complete. People always ask if the protector and liner are included in the price. I explain early in the show that all pieces come individually - a la cart just like a fine restaurant so that they can choose all the pieces the way they want them.

I talk a bit about the fact that our pottery is vitrified china and make sure they understand that a vitrified pottery is the best kind of pottery they can purchase especially for everyday use. I also explain how affordable our is compared to what they see in a department store and I also make sure they know how many colors we offer and that they should mix and match the colors and not to stick with just one. I also let them know that our pottery is the best selling casual dinner ware in the US. I heard that somewhere I hope it's true. The other thing that you have to make sure they know about our pottery is that most companies just have place settings with a few accessory pieces or they sell baking dishes and coordinating pieces but no dinnerware. We are one of the few companies that has EVERYTHING for setting the table with all the pieces needed for baking and fixing food and serving it in.

So anyway get through explaining the products with as much detail as you can without talking too much. Try to keep things under 30 minutes. A few times throughout the show you have to mention and show the booking items. I have the hostess hold them in her hand and tell everyone what she wants and they I explain how she will get them. Somewhere at the beginning of the show I explain that we have two goals to accomplish and one of them is to help the hostess have a high show total to get the most benefits and that we also have to help her get her booking items which is another benefit of doing the show. Another thing I do at the beginning of the show is to explain that we need everyone to help make the show a success and that I have something for EVERYONE! (making them all know they are expected to make a purchase - ok - It's subtle and not pushy - of course they don't have to buy - BUT if they want to help the hostess they will make a purchase)

Do an introduction if yourself, of Longaberger, show products, give details, show value, explain benefits of doing their own show and show excitement of our products. It's that easy.

Don't be afraid of making mistakes. I forget names of things, I go blank when speaking, I drop things. Sometimes I am a complete mess. When I make a mistake I correct myself, we laugh and we move on. DON'T be stiff! Show them that you are having fun. Show them that you LOVE Longaberger and the rest will come through. You don't have to be perfect. If being perfect at a Home Show was a requirement then I better stop now!

If you don't want to get up in front of people - sit on the edge of a chair and pull it up close to everyone while you talk and act like you are just being more inclusive with everyone. It doesn't have to be like a lecture or actual program. Just get to talking and get them talking too. Sometimes if I have a very small group I take things to the kitchen table and show products while they eat. So many of our products work on the kitchen table so it's a great place to show products. If it's a larger group I usually use the family room where there is more room. That is where i do most of my shows.

Again, there is no right or wrong way. Do your shows in a way that makes you feel comfortable but at the same time makes you come off looking like a professional about our products. Be casual is you have to but don't be casual about the knowledge of the products. Don't be afraid to make a mistake though and don't be afraid of not knowing something because you can always get the answer. Make sure you are having fun and everyone else is having fun too.

Ok - I could go on and on about what do to at Home Shows so if you have anything specific you want to know that I haven't covered let me know and I will get back to you. What ever you do though - DON'T use the excuse of not knowing how to do a Home Show as a reason of not doing a home show. Don't use the excuse that you feel uncomfortable either. Figure out a way to get comfortable. The Home Show is the best way to sell our products, our company and our selves. If you haven't figured it out yet - People are hungry for our products but so many Consultants aren't hungry to get out there and give them what they want! If you aren't out doing Longaberger Home Shows - someone else is in those homes selling their products instead!

Home Shows: What to Take, What to Say..............

Chantel LeMaster wants to know: "Maybe you could share with us what you take to shows and what you talk about. And/or how you tailor your show to the crowd?"

The Home Show is the best way for us to do business. It's at the Home Show where we get the opportunity to meet people and show our products in person. People get so worked up about Home Shows though because they feel they have to do it a certain way for it to be right. Guess what - EVERYONE has their own way of doing it and you should do Home Shows the way it works best for you.

What do I take? Let me first start out by saying that I take WAY too much. I just feel that people really have to see everything in person. Let me talk out both sides of my mouth though because you don't HAVE to take a ton to a show for it to be successful. I know that because know matter what I take it seems that I sell mainly things I didn't take to the show anyway. So I try to guess what I think WILL sell when I should just be taking things to show the full range of products that we offer.

Here is what I will be taking to most shows in November. I repack what I take to shows at the beginning of the month and I don't change it much through the month unless a Hostess requests something that I don't have.

For November I will be taking: Holiday Helper Treats basket, Jumbo Mugs, Mug Rack, John Deere Basket, Oval Muffin Basket, all 3 Little Gifts Basket, candles, a sampling of the rest of the holiday items, and I will take the Sweetheart Basket as a teaser for December. That's what I will take for the November Specials and highlights. I will also take items from the Wish List that are my staples. They include the Soap and Lotion Dispensers and Salt and pepper caddy as well as the Utensil Caddy. I will also take the Batter Bowl and the Muffin Pan - although they were on sale in October - people in November won't know that and they are easy items to sell. I will also take a few other items from the Wish List that are good sellers for me or new items that I don't have much history with yet. ANY of the Sort and Store Storage baskets sell well for me and so I will take a version of one of those.

Ok - so you can see - that is way too much and most people don't have that many products. So let's cut it back. What do you have to take? If you went to the Bee and got the Bee kit - use that as a base for what you take and then fill in from there. Take at least 1 basket in each stain so people can see the difference in the stains. I like to make sure I have protectors in both versions - they regular ones and the sturdier ones so people can see the difference. I also like to have at least 2 different pottery samples with me. I ALWAYS have a tomato pottery piece with me - it really stands out and it's really popular for me. I also have at least one wrought iron piece with me. The salt and pepper caddy is a great one and having the soap and lotion dispensers with me are a good sample of the pottery.

So don't worry so much about what you take. Worry more about showing the full range of the products that we offer. People don't need to see 10 warm brown baskets. They don't need to see each and every pottery piece. Our Wish List is the BEST in the industry. Customers can really get a good idea of what our products are like from it. They just need to see some things in person to get a better idea of the colors, weight, and feel of things.

If you can't get each monthly feature to show don't worry about it. Take what you have! BUT - if you continue doing Home Shows you will soon be able to afford the monthly feature as a sample and then you will have them to show in person. If you don't have the Sweetheart Basket - Hershey Kiss Basket - CRAWL OVER BROKEN GLASS TO GET IT! I can't even believe the reaction I am getting from it. The first day it came I couldn't put it down. It is just about the cutest basket we have ever had. Get it - Sell it! I challenge EVERYONE to set a goal for how many you can sell. EVERY single consultant in this company should sell that basket. Ok - don't let me get ahead of myself. Let's sell November first!

I have gone on long enough about what to take and got off track a little. If you have any individual questions please ask. I'm going to start a new post to answer the rest of the question.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What's Selling this Season??????

June Zeringue asks "What's selling for you so far this season?"

Our Fall and Holiday selling season is the busiest and best time of year for our business. Sometimes though we seem to think that we have to rely on just a handful of items to make this selling season work. I can tell you that this year it has been all over the board for me. There isn't just one thing that stands out.

In September I did well with the Soup and Sandwich plate - so well that I have quite a few on back order. I also had some good sales from the NFL baskets. The way you are going to sell those though is to have them on hand and take them to every show and let people take them as cash and carry. People that wouldn't even buy a Longaberger basket will buy an NFL version because people shop from their hearts when it comes to their sports teams and they do a lot of impulse buying when it comes to buying sports teams related items. Let someone buy the NFL items that you have on hand when you go to a home show and replace it on the hostesses show.

This month I am doing well with the Batter Bowl and the Muffin pan. Now - yeah - I did get some to have for my Open House at the end of the month but I am doing well with those two items at Home Shows as well. Everyone that bought the mixing bowl should get the batter bowl. you measure using the measuring cup and then mix in the batter bowl and then bake in the muffin pan or 9 x 13. Create baking sets with our products. You have to sell them the batter bowl and muffin pan this month anyway because both are available through the current Wish List only so get them now while on sale. I will tell you - when I was showing just the Ivory version of the muffin pan (that's the one we got free as VIP's) I wasn't selling very many. When my Tomato version came - now we are rocking!!!!

The Tree Trimming is selling well for me. I have customers that get it every year regardless but this year's they seem to really like. The lid just makes it more colorful and makes it really pop. I haven't done that great with the coaster but they ARE selling.

MAKE people add on the Holiday Sweets Basket. DUH - it's just $15. I have also let some people get more than 1 even if they only bought 1 basket. If you are at a show and someone buys a basket but doesn't add on the Holiday Sweets Basket - let someone else add it on. I had a customer only buy one basket and added on the Sweets Basket and bought the muffin pan and batter bowl and I don't know what else but her order was over $250. Another person at that show bought the "TEA" basket but didn't want to add on the Sweets Basket. The customer that had the order over $250 wanted a 2nd Sweets Basket so I let her get another one since the person who ordered the Tea Basket didn't want one. It's 1 Sweets Basket for EVERY basket ordered so if someone doesn't have their wits about them and doesn't understand an awesome deal when it's right there in front of them - let someone else take advantage of it. Now if someone doesn't buy a thing - I wouldn't let them take advantage of that offer. I hope I worded all that correctly.

I am also doing pretty good with the Soap and Lotion dispensers and wrought iron Utensil Caddy. Although the dispensers aren't considered food safe and I think it has something to do with the actual pumps I do think that you could use them for short periods of time. So if you are having an event and wanted to use ketchup in the tomato one for your party I think you could. I haven't tried it yet and maybe the pumps aren't food safe and that means it won't pump the ketchup out. I don't know - someone try it and let us know. Anyway - use the soap and lotion dispensers and the utensil caddy for soap in one, lotion in another and hand sanitizer in a 3rd one and put them in the Utensil Caddy and put where the entire family can use. Buy 3 separate colors for the dispensers to keep track of which one has what in it.

The weekly On Line Specials are working for me as well. I didn't take orders for the Pizza Pans and Plates though because of the limited quantities I couldn't guarantee that I could get them for everyone. So I bought some and will have them at my Open House. They were at a GREAT price and I don't get why EVERY Consultant wouldn't have ordered at least one set. Again - yesterday would have been one of those days where there is no way I could have been an NSL - looking at the groups sale through out the day watching so many people NOT taking advantage of such a great offer. Some of those people will probably be at Target standing in line for hours close to Christmas time trying to get something at the last minute for Aunt Millie. Too bad because Aunt Millie could use that Pie Pan as a cake plate when she's not serving up her homemade barbecued bison pizza!

So don't rely on just one or two products this selling season. Look at all the items that we have to offer. We have many New Products for those that don't buy the Holiday. We have monthly bonus buys for them to take advantage off. Take advantage of the On Line Specials. Get the NFL baskets in customers hands. Take advantage of the VARIETY that we have. Also there are some past Holiday Products in the factory store. Get some of those items and show how they work with current line items.

Good luck to everyone we still have a lot of time left this selling season. I hope you make the most of it. Now is also the time to find Holiday Bizarres to set up as a vendor. Those may or may not work great for selling BUT it's a great way to make contacts. Post a comment on here if there is something that is working for you that I have missed. Is there an item that you are showing a certain way that is helping it sell? Tell us about it!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hostess/Booking Program

I recently have changed what I do for Hostesses when they book a Home Show with me and what I give them the night of the Home Show. In the past when someone would book a show with me I would give them their choice of one of the small tote bags that we so popular at the Homestead. I gave them that filled with everything they need for their show. If I Hostess would cancel I normally wouldn't get the tote back. Therefor - out of money.

When I go to a Home Show I like to walk in with a small token as a thank you. That usually has been some sort of jar candle that I have picked up at one of the local Craft Stores on sale. Every time I see jar candles on clearance I would grab a handful of them so I would always have some thank yous the night of the show.

I wanted to change what I have been doing though because I was losing money on totes I wouldn't get back and I was spending money on a Hostess and I wasn't spending it on anything that I would get Hostess Benefits from. So I got to thinking. We have so many items in the Factory Store under $10. Why not pick up those items and just give the Hostess a thank you the night of the party.

So when I am booking the show I show them a basket with the items in it and tell them that they get to pick one of those out on the night of her show as a thank you for booking a show with me. They don't take a tote bag in advance so if they don't end up dong the show I'm not out any money. Because I am only giving one gift I am spending less money but still giving them something nicer in the long run too.

In the basket for example I have several of the jewelry pieces that are under $10 in the factory store. I also have some of the nicer so Rachel candles that were available. I also have the bud vases and I also have the picture frames and I am adding the small loaf dishes. All these items are under $10 and I get guest sales buy purchasing them AND I get My Dream Points. My Hostesses are getting a nicer thank you and I am getting guest sales and I'm not giving out tote bags to Hostesses that don't end up doing a Home Show!

I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Cash and Carry Update!

Have you seen the new update to the actual Longaberger Cash and Carry Program? What a great program for those that want to offer cash and carry items but don't have the money to use to create some sort of inventory for cash and carry. This is also a great program is you need some products for an event rather quickly. There is no risk with this program. Refer to the company guidelines though for full details of the program for full accuracy of the program.

How can you make this program work for you? Determine what type of event you are having and start from there. About how many people do you think will attend? Should you pick at least 5 of the same item to have at your event or mix it up a bit? Since you can return the items that you don't sell it's a perfect way to mix things up a bit, step out of the box and try something new.

If I was going to be at a Holiday Bizarre at a school I would maybe get some of the Snowflake Jumbo Mugs and Cookie Platters. If I needed product for an Open House I would choose all different products to see what sells and what doesn't. The Cash and Carry program is also a great way to try a few products that you haven't sampled to see what sells and what doesn't. Since there is no risk you can send back what doesn't sell. Of course just because something doesn't sell at one event doesn't mean it won't sell - it just means it didn't sell that day.

So as we enter into our busiest selling season try to get some events on your calendar where you can sell cash and carry and use the new Cash and Carry program to make these a success. There is no risk involved and what a great way to step out of the box for your business and hopefully you will not only find out what will work to help grow your business but you will also get some new customers out of the process as well.

Even though there is no risk it's still a good idea to start slow as I have said in the past and work at your own pace. Ok - pick up the pace a little and challenge yourself to make things a success for your self but don't go crazy. I'll do that for you!

Good Luck!

The new guidelines are on under publications!