Party with Your Kids Week

I love this concept from the DSWA . . . "Party with Your Kids Week"!

I thought it would be fun to suggest some activities to my team for that week that they can do with their families/kids. Any ideas of some fun activities for that week?


Halloween Treats

I always like to do a treat for my party guests to take home. For October, I decided to put together some little baggies of candy corns. As I was putting the bags together, I had the idea to add a tag printed on orange cardstock. I printed it in a format that would fit inside the little 2x3 ziplock style craft bags. Here's what it says:

Its no “trick”, just a “treat”!

Choose your treat . . .

--FREE products (home or catalog party)

--Additional Income (when you become a demonstrator)

--Fundraising for your organization!


Candle Party Concepts -- CLOSING!

For those of you that have used my Candle Party Concepts website in the past, I wanted to let you know that I will be shutting the site down in the next month or so. Over time, I will be adding those ideas to this site, so please make sure you start using this site instead and if there's something specific you want off the other site, copy it down now!

So, thanks to those who have supported that site in the past. I'm just moving things over to this FREE blog to save some money on the website costs. Also, the blog is so much easier to update than the website was so with my limited time (now that I have a toddler running around and another baby on the way), I'll be able to update the blog more often than I could update the website.


Phone Calls AFTER the Order

What a great service it would be if you purchased something (especially if you spent a lot of money) and someone actually called to make sure you were happy with the product and to see if you had any questions.

I've started doing this and because I get mostly voice mail messages, it really only takes 5 to 10 minutes to get through a whole list of people who purchased at a party. I just leave a quick message to tell them I wanted to make sure they were happy with what they ordered & that if they have any questions or if there's anything else I can do for them, to just let me know.

When I do get to talk with someone, I almost always get a VERY positive response & they usually thank me for calling. I also usually get very positive reviews on the products they ordered, which makes me finish the calls feeling even better about the great products I sell. And on the occasional call where someone has a problem with a product, it allows me to fix it quickly for them so they don't get a bad taste in their mouth for our company because a lot of times they might never have contacted me & instead just felt like the product didn't live up to their expectations.

Try some phone calls this week. Call those who have received their product in the last week & see what results you get. Remember to have their receipt handy so you know exactly what they ordered when you are talking with them!


Keep in touch with customers using Postcards

I have an e-newsletter that goes out to my customers each month & send out additional e-mails from time to time. I also keep in touch with customers by phone for those who have ordered recently, but I noticed a while back that I had so many customers in my database that didn't have an e-mail address listed (or the e-mail address was no longer a good one). I could've called each one, but I can tell you that I wouldn't have known who most of them were, if they had ever purchased from me (or just expressed interest), & would, therefore, not have a clue as to what to say to them!

I decided to reach out by mail, using postcards! I designed a postcard on www.vistaprint.com. For me, I shared a recipe that was the same as one of our candle fragrances -- so it went WITH my business, but was also something that I was giving for free & not just using to advertise. With a recipe card, I was hoping they'd also add it to their recipe files (instead of just throwing it away) & ALWAYS have my contact information handy.

I purchase 1 pack of FREE postcards from vista print each month (paying just for shipping) & send those out. It does take time to hand-address them and it costs to pay for postage, but I have heard from at least one customer with each mailing. I have received leads for vendor events & even gotten straight out orders from people who I hadn't had contact with in quite a while.

With my huge list of customers, it will take me several months to send a postcard to each person (doing 100 a month). And when I get through the whole list, I'll design a new recipe postcard & start at the beginning again. Customers will hear from me by mail at least once a year this way & I'll be able to reach out to those who don't hear from me through e-mail.


Summer Ideas for your Team

A traveling theme can be a fun thing to do for your team in the summer months.

A couple of years ago, we did a contest of sorts. I put together a list of the states, alphabetically from A to Z and then challenged my team to make a sale to someone in every state in the country. When they sold to someone in a new state, I'd add their name next to the state name. Each person could get one drawing ticket for each state they sold in & then we did a drawing at the end.

This year, we're doing a Summer Road Trip theme for our team meetings. Since my team members travel up to an hour & a half to get to our regular meeting location, I thought we'd spread out a little & have each meeting in a different location, hopefully getting to places that are closer to where some of the team members live. They will be held at some of my leaders' homes, which will also hopefully encourage their team members who don't regularly attend to be there. To further entice people to come out, at each meeting, we will start it out as a home party with a demonstrator on the team doing their full party demonstration. The demonstrators on my team are always looking for ideas for their parties & wanting to see how other demonstrators do their parties, so I'm hoping this will encourage them to come out to the meetings.


Extra Catalogs

We're coming up on a catalog transition time . . . out with one & in with a new one. I have a bunch of extra catalogs laying around & have wrapped up all my parties for the month since I am getting ready to head out of town. Thursday's weather looks like it will be great here, no rain & mild temperatures, so I'm going to take my extra catalogs & put them in Gold Canyon plastic bags, add a coupon for 15% off an order placed by the end of the month and a tealight sample, then I'm going to take a walk around the neighborhood & leave them at my neighbors' doors. Normally, I wouldn't spend money on this kind of advertising since it doesn't tend to give big results, but since the catalogs would just be going in the trash, I figured, "why not?". It will only cost me a little extra since I'm adding the tealight sample and won't take extra time from my day since I'll do it while I'm out for a walk that I would be going on anyway.


Mother's Day - Men's Event!

Here's a fun idea for Mother's Day sales:

My husband decided he wanted to do an open house for his friends this year for them to be able to purchase Mother's Day gifts from me for their wives. We figured there had to be something that would entice them to come, so my brilliant husband came up with a great idea!

He's going to do a Home Run Derby using the Wii. When they come to the open house, they'll each get a chance at the Home Run contest on the Wii. The person who gets the most home runs will get a $10 gift certificate to Quiznos.

I'll also have out some refreshments & will have some "packages" put together for them to choose from for their gift purchases to make it simple, quick & easy for them to do their shopping. Of course, free gift wrap is a must as well to make it as easy as possible for the guys.

I won't even have to be there. My husband will take care of everything since I'll be watching the kids upstairs!


Advertise your blog

If you have a blog for your business, how do you advertise it?

A couple of ideas I've used . . .

1. Post a vague comment on your facebook or twitter account & then include your blog link for more information. Example: I might post something like, "Don't just throw your empty candle jars away; re-use them http://gottahavecandles.blogspot.com/2009/03/re-use-your-empty-candle-jars.html". Rather than doing a blatant advertisement, you're creating curiosity so they'll want to look at the link & not feel like you're trying to sell them something.

2. Order postcards from www.vistaprint.com to advertise your blog; send them out to your customer contacts. I send out 100 postcards each month to advertise my blog -- that way its not too overwhelming for me and everyone on my list receives a postcard a couple of times a year. The first ones I sent out just introduced my blog. When those had been sent out to everyone on my list, I did a new postcard, this time including a recipe for Sugar Cookies, telling them they could find more great recipes & candle tips on my blog, since I post a few recipes every month.

3. On all customer correspondence that goes out in the mail, I add a label to the back of the envelope that has my blog address and a little blurb about why they should check it out.

4. My blog address is listed on all of my marketing materials, including business card magnets, catalogs, business cards, and any other promotional materials.

5. Include it as part of your e-mail signature.

Reach out to customers with a blog

I have a new favorite way of reaching out to customers & its called "blogging". If you're reading this right now, you're probably familiar with the concept!

The idea of using a blog for my home party business is that there is so much information that I want to share with my customers about our products . . . directions & instructions as well as special deals and extra ways that the products can enhance their lives that they might not have thought about. If I sent out an e-mail every time I wanted to share some of this with my customers, I would likely have some customers who felt I was spamming them and even more customers that would look at me as an annoyance for constantly filling up their e-mail box.

So, I use a blog to spread that information to my customers. Those that really want it, know where to look for it and those that don't want it, don't have to be bothered with it. And I get a creative outlet and a way to share everything I want to share. On top of all those benefits, it is an additional way to advertise my business because there will be people who stumble across my blog posts while doing an internet search & those who follow my blog may pass on the site to someone they know would enjoy the content.

So, try your hand at a blog today. While I don't even begin to consider myself an expert in marketing with blogs, you are welcome to take a look at my site for some ideas: http://gottahavecandles.blogspot.com


Candy Bar Booking Package

Just a fun idea I came up with to get in touch with some past hosts that I've had a good relationship with but haven't been in touch with in a while or those who had expressed interest in hosting, but then nothing ever came of it. I took out 5 packets, booked 1 party and another one called with a party-size order from herself and a few friends.

What I did was wrap up our current catalog in wrapping paper. I then wrapped up a giant sized candy bar in wrapping paper as well. I attached the 2 together with a bow on top, like a present, and added a card that told them that I wanted to share the new catalog with them & that I would love to do a party for them. I told them that if they called to book a party with me within 24 hours that I had a very special bonus gift for them.

Its important to note that I didn't spend a whole lot of money here since I got those giant candy bars on sale for about $1 each. Both people that I heard back from talked about the candy bars so obviously that was what got their attention, even though their children were the ones to eat them.

Anyway, if you're looking for a fun new idea & want to try this out, I'd love to hear how it works for you. To get even better results, you could follow up with each of the people you drop off to to make sure they got the package, but never make anyone feel guilty for not booking a party after you've given them the gift package.

I'm planning to do this for a handful of customers with each catalog release. In addition to getting me some bookings, my hope is that it will bring a smile to their day!


$100,000 Pyramid-Style Sponsoring Game

I wanted to share with you the new Sponsoring Game that I put together & have started using at my parties. Its been a big hit at the parties & has been a lot of fun & an easy way for me to make sure I talk about sponsoring.

On 10 3x5 cards, write words that refer to benefits of your business. (things like: travel, mom, flexible, candles, $100, jewelry, fun, boss, friends)

Get 2 volunteers (offer small prizes to both of them just for participating). The two volunteers should stand facing each other. One holds up the cards in front of her so that she can't see what the words on the cards are while the other one can see the words & gives clues to try to get her to guess what the words are. Once she guesses what one word is, she throws that card aside and goes to the next one. I give them 60 to 90 seconds to do the guessing because I want them to get through as many as possible of the cards.

After they've played the game, I thank them, give them their prize & then ask the whole group if they know what those words were referring to. Everyone guesses that its about my job. I then say something like this . . .

"Now, this business isn't right for everyone, but it might be just what you or someone you know are looking for. So, I want to tell you a little bit about what each of these words represents to me. That way, you'll get to know just a little bit about the business & we can talk later about any specific questions you may have."

"Travel is because every year I get to go to Arizona on a business trip for our national convention which is so much fun & also because one year I earned a trip to Cancun that was the best vacation my husband & I have ever been on."

"Mom is because I started my business to be a stay at home mom. And the great thing is that now that I have a son & can stay at home with him during the day, I can also get some time away by going & doing parties."

"Flexible is because I can work my business on the schedule that fits into my busy life."

"Candles is because I get to sell a great product that I love having in my home; and I get first view of all the new stuff when it comes out."

"$100 is the average amount of money I make from doing a party."

"Jewelry is because we have some great incentives to earn jewelry . . . I'm going to pass around a ring that I won . . . its monetary value is higher than what my wedding ring cost!"

"Fun is because almost everything about my job is fun, like doing these parties!"

"Boss is because I get to be my own boss! I would have such a hard time working for anyone else after being my own boss for so long!"

"Friends is because my circle of friends has grown so much through my business. When I moved to Maryland I didn't know anyone & now I have so many friends not only here, but all over the country as well."


Offer "Fun" Specials

A special offer is always great, but its even better when you add a little fun to it to really get people involved. One of the blogs I follow (of a professional organizer) did a contest in January. The person who got rid of the most "bags" of stuff from their house would win a free book. It generated lots of buzz on the blog and I'm sure it got the blog more readers as people talked about what they were doing.

Other ideas?
  • Have a "snow day special" on a day when its snowing and everyone is stuck inside - especially good if things are closed down enough that everyone is at home & can take your phone call letting them know about your special!
  • Offer special party themes or host gifts that are only available at this time of the year, but remember to make them fun! You might tell your prospects that you have 5 mystery gifts available for the first 5 people who book a party. If they book a party, they get to pick a bag number & that's the bonus gift they'll receive.
Get creative & keep it light & fun. You'll get more interaction & excitement from your customers this way!


Referral Programs

Are you looking for new customers? The best way to add them, in my opinion, is through the customers who already know & love your products . . . that's called a referral. But your current customers don't always think to pass along names to you or to give your contact information to someone who they rave about your product to.

My solution . . . come up with a referral program where you offer a benefit to both your current customer & the person they refer to you. I used vistaprint.com to print up business card coupons. You can either use a percentage off their first order or a flat dollar discount off their first order. Give these coupons to your current customers to pass out to their friends & family. And be sure to let the current customer know that when someone uses a coupon that they gave out, that you'll award them with a discount or dollar amount off of their next purchase.

By giving something to both parties (the original customer & their friend that they refer), the original customer is more likely to actually take some action. They will be happy to give a discount coupon to someone -- who doesn't like to share discounts with their friends? And they'll love the benefit of receiving a discount for themselves from you as a "thank you" for their referral.

So, start with your best customers who RAVE about your products . . . let them know about your new referral program & how they and their friends can benefit, give out your coupons (complete with your contact information, of course) and see what happens!


Celebrate "Business in Your Bathrobe" Day!

I love it! Check out this website to learn how you can celebrate "Business in Your Bathrobe" day!


Are you stuck?

The economy, job loss, its January . . . are these reasons piling up & leaving you "stuck" for getting business. People ARE STILL BUYING! Lots of people are still employed in steady jobs, lots of people are still in the same financial position they were before only now with lower gas prices. But many of us may feel "stuck". The key just might be to re-energize & refocus your efforts in your business.

If you sell a consumable product at a great price point that shows for a good value, you're in an especially great position!

So, start brainstorming & coming up with new ideas, new things to do with your business . . .

  • start a referral program
  • offer fun specials
  • do parties where no one is allowed to buy (to generate bookings & customer goodwill)
  • offer something of value at no cost to your customers
  • get involved with social media (facebook, myspace, twitter, etc.)
  • dust off product that has been sitting on your shelves & give it away with an auction or bingo party
  • be creative, have fun, & let your personality show through with your marketing

For now, start brainstorming on these & see what you can come up with. In a few days, I'll post some more specific ideas. But you might be amazed what you can come up with yourself if your really think about it.


Information Junkie - Spend with Care!

Are you an "information junkie" like me? My favorite part of my home party business is getting new ideas as I read books & listen to teleconference calls! I have pages & pages of notes of things I want to do & I invest lots of money in new books & audio programs. If you're like me, then I hope my plan of action will help you as well:
  1. "Unsubscribe" to most of the e-newsletters that I currently subscribe to; keep only those that are most useful & then create an e-mail folder for "newsletters" that I can sort them into. Instead of having to read through them as I'm going through my e-mail on a daily basis, I can go back to them when I have a few minutes to work on continuing my "education".
  2. Before buying, listening to or reading any more materials, go through the ideas I already have written down & start implementing them. File additional ideas that I don't want to implement right now into folders or notebooks according to topic (sponsoring, bookings, parties, etc.).
  3. Use FREE resources first! Our local public library has lots of different books on subjects that relate to my home business. Try a search for things like: customer service, management, success in business, employee motivation (for leaders), home business. And look for authors like: Mary Kay Ash, Stephen Lundin, and Ken Blanchard. You can also find a lot of free teleconference recordings online.
  4. When you do buy, be wise in your spending. Only buy those things you will actually use and select items that will be the most helpful for areas that you currently need help with.
My current favorite resource to buy is one I'm reading now & I love it! It would be great for any new consultant or one who is looking to take their business to new levels & will help me in guiding my team members to do the same:

Makeup Optional by Lyn Conway


Free Taxes Conference Call

I am having Vicky Collins, a tax professional who deals strictly with
home based businesses, do a conference call for my team at the end of
the month. I wanted to open it up to everyone who reads this site who wants
to attend as well. It will be held on Thursday Jan 29th at 9pm,
eastern. Here's the call-in information & if you'd like to be on the
call, please e-mail me to let me know at kim.milius @goldcanyon.us

Phone number: 712-451-6000
Access code: 643231#