Ready to start holding team meetings online? Good for you! Here's my thoughts on 11 crucial topics regarding fun and effective online gatherings, compiled from a multi-part Facebook series I did this spring on the Song of My Heart Demonstrators page. Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments below!
Yesterday in North America we got the new website makeover roll-out and it looks awesome! I love how streamlined and clean it is. It's also mostly a cosmetic change, so it's not too bad finding your way around as things are still pretty much where you would expect them to be.
However, any time technology interfaces change, it causes stress for a high percentage of users--even when the changes are good, or minor!
Uplines can be a crucial part of whether or not techie changes are viewed as a huge blockade or a small bump in an otherwise delightful road.
I've made a quickie PDF handout with screen shots of the new tabs and what's behind them and some short explanations on each. You're welcome to use this for team training and share in demonstrator-only groups. This is NOT for customers : ) It does have my name at the top of some of the screen shots but everything else is generic and sales info has been cropped out so it won't distract anyone.
If you have the capabilities, a quick little video of your screen, walking through the website, would probably be very comforting to your team. Anything an upline can do to reassure them they will still be successful at ordering, seeing announcements, and checking their minimums will be very helpful.
A good rule of thumb is to concentrate first on what the hobbyists need to know to function, and then add in additional layers of info for your more involved business-builders. Put yourself in their shoes. What are they going to need to use first?
Here's a great social media engagement game for your team Facebook page, shared with us by Stella McKay. This would be a wonderful chat to start any time you have a recent influx of newbies, such as Sale-A-Bration!
Post the following:
"Some of the Stampin' Up terms we "veterans" sling around are very confusing to those who haven't been around a while! Everyone post one SU acronym to help newbies understand our lingo. I'll draw a winner from everyone who contributes a new one! For example, DS = Demo Support... what other acronyms or nicknames do we use?"
Then don't forget to follow through and draw a name and mail a prize to the winner.
My team came up with not only the basics but some other great ones I never would have thought of! Can you think of more?
Now do something for me. Read back through this list, but substitute the word "downline" for "customer." Your team is speaking loud and clear. Are you hearing it? Are you speaking their languages back to them in ways they can appreciate?
When you know about the Love Language concept, it becomes really obvious that people do have wildly different ways of showing love. It makes sense that relationships would flourish if the people in them would make the effort to express themselves in a way that allows their affection to be clearly seen. Before your next event, take a little time to consider how you could add an action or phrase that would connect with all of the different kinds of speakers.
I've finally compiled a checklist with absolutely everything I have learned about going to convention this past eight years. It is an exhaustive list, complete with clothing tricks, money tips and a few product recommendations from this world traveler.
Please feel free to print out and use with your own teams, or use as a starting-off point to create your own checklist.
31 “Out-of-the-Box” Free Shipping Ideas for Demos: maximize the savings!
PSST….Remember to set up a hostess code for online customers to use, so YOU get the hostess benefits! And feel free to share this handout with your teams to boost last-minute sales. Download 31 Out of the Box Ideas for Free Shipping Week
Sadly, there are a lot of unethical people out there in cyberspace who prey on direct sales consultants through a variety of online scams and fraudulent practices. Be a saavy business person and learn to identify a scam before you find out the hard way!
There are two main ways a direct sales rep can get scammed online. The first is via email. Robots search the internet without ceasing and harvest email addresses anywhere they can find them, sending thousands upon thousands of spam “feelers” out there in the hopes that one or two gullible souls will fall for it. It always amazes me that anyone does, but apparently enough do that it is worth it.
Fortunately, many email scams come from other countries and have dead giveaways in grammar! Here’s some signs the email can be deleted without another thought:
DO NOT respond to obvious scams. Then they know your email address is a live one and will continue to hit you up with spam and "feelers." Many a demonstrator has been taken in--be alert for escalation of scam-like behaviors throughout subsequent correspondence! If your initial reaction to the way something is worded is suspicion, it is probably accurate.
Unfortunately, a common way for scammers to contact you now is through your company-sponsored business website, so sometimes the scammers will initially appear as "leads." Once you respond, they will send you the more typical scam email with many of the characteristics in the list above.
You can just delete scam emails when they come in, or you can forward them to your company’s web violations department. Sometimes if there is a particularly prevalent scam, the home office will release an announcement to warn your fellow consultants. And if you’re unsure and want another pair of eyes, forward it to your upline. They have probably seen that particular one before. Sadly, if those unethical email spammers put half as much time and thought into a legitimate business as they do into perpetrating their scams, they would probably be quite successful!
The second way direct sales business owner can be scammed is by being convinced into buying a program, book, service or coaching from a person who claims to be an expert. Even well-intentioned, ordinarily business-saavy people sometimes fall for scams like these in their honest desire to build their businesses. Some red flags that should spring up when you are contemplating a coach or service:
A great rule of thumb for demonstrators is “if it sounds too good to be true—it probably isn’t.” Beware of people who promise to teach you their fabulous secret that somehow no one else in the history of direct sales has ever managed to find out! There are no magic bullets in this industry or any other. Enthusiasm, determination, and an unwillingness to give up are ALL you need to succeed in direct sales.
It is sad that unethical people are out to take your precious, hard-earned profit using a little real business advice and pairing it with lots of fluff and slick marketing. Fortunately, fore-warned is fore-armed when it comes to scammers. Stick with your own intuition and business advice from reputable sources, and your efforts will pay off as your business grows in a healthy and sustainable way.
Dream BIG (and be safe!), friend!
You are welcome to use this information in your team meetings. Click here to download a PDF file with my two-page handout created for downline education: Download Guide to Avoiding Common Scams
In Part One and Part Two of this series of articles on the Convention Club concept, I outlined the program, shared the "why" behind the idea, and listed many sample business-boosting activities that could be used to implement your own rewards system. In Part Three, I will be sharing my FAQ document as a sample to be used when explaining the system to your downline, should you choose to implement a Convention Club program. As with any special, sale, or promotion, the "fine print" is really important. This document will cover your backside for any one of a number of common situations that might arise.
Because this is my personal system, developed and highly specialized for my own group, I ask that you do not just copy and paste this document. Rather, please feel free to use it as a starting point for developing your own "fine print." After you have finished figuring out your own policies, ask a discreet demo friend to go over it and make sure it is clear and concise, as well as exciting-sounding, before you release it to your team.
NEW! Announcing the 2013 Convention Club
Do you suffer from Convention Envy? Really want to go but can’t swing it? Started saving but lost your motivation? Need a way to make sure it happens next year?
I have a program for anyone in my downline who is serious about going to the 2013 Stampin’ Up Convention in Salt Lake City and needs help getting there. Convention is WORTH EVERY PENNY and costs more much more than Stampin’ Up actually charges us, but it can pose a financial obstacle to the average demonstrator who hasn’t been planning carefully and saving up during the previous year.
As much as I’d love to, I can’t pay for your plane ticket or your hotel. But I CAN help you with your registration fee, lowering your costs by a significant amount. Let me help you MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Q. When is Convention 2013?
A. Date: July 18-20, 2013
Q. Who can participate in Convention Club?
A. Any member of my Stampin’ Up downline in levels one through five can participate in this program for the SU year 2012-13. The program is evaluated on a year by year basis and may not be offered again.
Q. How do I earn points towards Convention Club?
A. Completing specific challenges such as sales goals, recruits, promoting, and other business-building, consistency-promoting, leadership-building behaviors.
Q. What about the prizes we currently receive at our group meetings?
A. Instead of receiving an item from my prize basket as an award during a given month, you could choose to receive points towards Convention Club. You can pick Convention Club points or a prize from the basket on a per-case basis.
Q. How many points can I earn in Convention Club?
A. The entire amount of your Convention registration. Once you have earned that amount (usually about $275) you will not be able to earn any new points until the next calendar year.
Q. About how much more than the registration fee will I need to save up on my own to go to Convention?
A. We generally try to stay cheap and eat cheap. Many of us save up miles on our credit cards to help with tickets. Last year we paid $130 per night for the hotel and $260 for our flights. Depending on the hotel, the number of people sharing a room, and the airline, you will need $500-600 additionally. You will also want some money to spend in Memento Mall and for food.
NOTE: It is imperative that you save up money or make a plan for funds on your own in addition to the Convention Club fund. The registration money will not help you if you can’t pay for your plane ticket.
Q. Who keeps track of the Convention Club?
A. You will be given a booklet similar to a check register, in which we will record your growing balance each month after the monthly meeting. I will initial the individual entries as they are approved. You are responsible to keep track of the booklet and bring it along to be updated.
Q. How are the Convention Club funds transferred to me?
A. I will issue you a personal check for the full amount you earned after you send me the confirmation number from Stampin’ Up at the completion of the Convention registration process.
Q. What happens to the Convention Club fund if I can’t make it to Convention after all?
A. If something unavoidable comes up and you can’t go to Convention after all, you can choose to redeem it for catalog merchandise for half the dollar value of the fund (during the month of June).
Q. Why only half the value?
A. The whole point of Convention Club is to try to encourage my downlines to go to convention, and not just to provide a program for you to save up money and spend it later. It is not my intention to penalize you for not going to Convention, just really encourage you to go!
Unforeseen Circumstances Disclaimer
I seriously hope you will consider making Convention a priority. You can’t imagine how fun it is, and what a shot in the arm it would be to your business. I consider Convention a game-changing event in your business life. Once you go, you will never want to miss it again.
Please let me know by the August meeting if you would like to take advantage of this program and earn your registration to Convention 2013 for free, and I will give you a booklet so you can begin saving up points. You may join Convention Club later in the year, but you might as well start saving and planning right away to make sure you earn the full amount possible, right?
Dream BIG, my friend! The sky truly is the limit with Stampin’ Up, and your biggest cheerleader is right here rootin’ for you. Convention is a possible dream, and together we can make it happen! ~Lyssa
This completes my three-part series on the Convention Club concept. I hope you have gotten some food for thought about a motivational rewards program of your own, or maybe just helped you become personally super excited to get yourself to convention next year. It is my dearest wish to benefit Stampin' Up in any small way for the amazing blessing they have been to me, so please let me know if you have been touched or encouraged by this or any other article or series on my demonstrator blog.
Dream BIG, friend!
In a previous post, I shared with you the impetus behind and the success of my Convention Club program. You can click here to read that article: Convention Club part one
Today I'll be outlining the types of business-related activities that you may want to consider when implementing a Convention Club of your own. Many demonstrators run "Business Bucks" or "I-Did-It! Dollars" programs where their downlines are rewarded with money to spend in the catalog either monthly or yearly. These would all be great activities for that sort of reward program, too. And if you're an orphaned or abandoned demo with no support system, consider making up your own reward program, by writing down SU products or fun things that you can "earn" next to the business-boosting activities.
I'll also be sharing some things I learned throughout the inaugural year of this program, which was experimental and top-secret until I'd been through a round of it. I try very hard to only allow advice on this blog that is both tried and true, so even though I was dying to tell you about Convention Club, I hope you'll understand and appreciate my reasons for holding off.
You'll notice I have not assigned point/dollar values to the activites listed below. You should develop your own values based on how important the activity is to you. I strongly suggest that you make sure your team knows you are experimenting with the program and will be making changes as needed so that the system works for everyone, including yourself. Some are one-time tasks; others may be applicable multiple times or every month. Be sure you crunch those numbers and put limits on the number of times a certain activity will count for points. For instance, I didn't want the same person bringing the business topic at every team meeting, so I limited the points they could earn for that task to once per quarter.
If you have more questions about Convention Club after reading all three articles, please feel free to leave a comment (I will not be able to respond via email due to the volume of interest on this topic). I will be adding a FAQ post as Part Three on this topic. But remember, while I aim to be helpful, ultimately you will need to develop a Convention Club that is tailored to the growth areas you want to motivate in your own team, which will be different from mine. So as I stated before, I will not be sharing my actual chart and booklets.
Here are some activities you may want to use when you put together your reward program. I have roughly broken them down by area of growth. Remember that these are just suggestions and you will not want to use all of them. I suggest that for the best chance at creating balanced businesses in your downline, you select activities from all three areas.
Business Growth Activities: These are tangible behaviors and events for celebration that I give out rewards for at my monthly meetings. If the person is not in Convention Club, they just pick from my prize basket while we cheer for them; if they are in club, they write it down in their booklet and I initial my approval of the points earned at the end of the meeting.
Personal Growth Activities: These less-tangible business-boosting tasks are designed to help my team grow as leaders, strengthen professionalism and integrity, and gain personal confidence. Leadership skills can be taught if they are not innate. Professionalism will help them carry on through awkward situations that may arise. Integrity, something I require of all my demonstrators, needs to be fostered. Confidence is attractive to others. Stampin' Up demonstrators are leaders, and I want my team to be equipped to deal with the success that will come from their hard work.
Group Growth Activities: I believe that the stronger and more involved a group is, the less likely recruits are to drop out. In addition to improving retention rates, a healthy, happy team with lots of relationship ties will help everyone be successful at whatever level they choose to work their businesses. I feel strongly that our meetings be fun, informative, timely and full to the brim with solid business and stamping tips. As I mentioned in Part One, I chose to add in some tasks that you might not need to reward your team for because they are already doing it without additional motivation from you.
I welcome suggestions for other tasks in these areas of growth. Please leave a comment below and share it with all of us if you have ideas or if something has been working for your team. Check out Part Three of this series, which will hopefully answer any remaining questions you might have about the Convention Club program.