Here's the idea behind a product share in a nutshell:
Problem: customer wants a big ticket item they can't afford.
Solution: demo offers a payment plan.
How easy is that? Whether the item the customer wants is a single piece such as the Color Caddy, the marker set, or the Big Shot, or a collection of all the ribbons, envelopes, papers or embellishments in the catalog, they can't afford to do it all at once. So, a resourceful demo steps in and finds a way to make it possible for them to have their cake AND eat it.
Customers love this option, but shares can be an amazing tool for the demonstrator, providing a large order during slow months, or at crucial times like when you are close to the next Volume Rebate level, or trying to reach a big goal and feel like your current customer base is a little tapped out.
Some product shares are run in conjunction with a club. For instance, the price each month includes three projects, focusing on the product for which the share is about. So if offering a marker share through a club, you could use the Many Marvelous Marker handout and teach several markering techniques each meeting through the four months.
Product shares require a little bit of patience on the part of the customer, and a little bit of organization on the part of the demo. Here are some tips to think about as you decide how and when to run your next product share.
First, make sure you do your math. Add in all taxes and shipping charges to your totals before you divide them up. For instance, for a Big Shot share, you wouldn't want to offer them a payment plan of $25 a month for four months just because the Big Shot costs $100, or you will lose money.
Add up the whole thing, then add a little for your trouble (or for the club projects, if offering this share through a club setting) and then round it up. People like nice round numbers! And we are already conditioned that "installment plans" cost us a little extra for the convenience.
Secondly, advertise, advertise, advertise. Not everyone will be willing or able to take advantage of your share, so you need to put the offer out there to as many people as possible. Make sure you make full use of email, phone, blog and flyers to get the news out.
Third, during poor economic times like this, emphasize the budgeting aspect of a product share when you present the idea. You're doing them a service by allowing them to pool their resources to get what they want. You're also helping them stick with a budget so they don't overindulge their crafting whims. They'll appreciate you even more for being a good friend and looking out for them.
Finally, to be fair to all participants, require a firm commitment. A short but well-worded contract explaining what is expected of both parties is a good idea and a deterrent to those who might flake out. If you will be meeting in person in a club setting, discuss the importance of loyalty for the duration and how vital it is to a product share at your first session.
Product shares are an awesome way to bump your sales totals at crucial times, getting you to that next volume rebate level, helping you hit a goal, or even just making your minimums during a rough patch. You're also offering that one-of-a-kind customer service that will build loyalty to you as their demo.
Dream BIG, friend!
This article first appeared at www.stampinaddicts.com in November 2009.