Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Selling Avon in Person and Online

I had planned to go out to deliver Avon orders soon, but this rain - for which I am very thankful - makes this morning a better time for writing a new post than for making deliveries. Being able to plan your own schedule and change it as needed is just one of the many beauties of owning your own business. I tell my Cloud Climbers that "we are sometimes climbing through the beautiful puffy white clouds and sometimes we must struggle through the dark clouds, but we just keep on climbing." However, sometimes those dark clouds are not something to be struggling through but something to be thankful for! When you grow a garden and there has been little rain all summer, a thunderstorm is certainly a blessing. 

And now, to the main subject of this post: Selling Avon in Person and Online.

When I began my Avon business over 28 years ago, there was no such thing as "selling online." All sales were done in person, and all customers needed to physically hold an Avon brochure in their hands to make their selections. As we all know, times have changed a lot in the past 25 years or so. Now we have customers who actually prefer not to hold an Avon book in their hands as they would rather look at brochures online. Of course, we still have customers, particularly the older ones, who have not "gone online" and never intend to do so, and for those we must provide brochures. And I have found that most people, even if they can look at books online, still prefer to hold the paper ones in their hands and fold the pages down for the items they want to purchase. (Tip: If you are a folder of pages, try folding the corners up, rather than down, to make the items you want to refer back to easier to find and assure that you do not miss any of your folds.) Therefore, getting brochures out to my customers each campaign is still my primary focus, but I am working to build up my online business as well. The Avon Representative who wants to build a good business needs to accommodate both those who want to order online and those who want to receive brochures. I have found that most of the customers who order at my eStore are people who have received a brochure from me at some time and saw the link to my eStore on the brochure.

We must not think that we can just open up an eStore (website provided by Avon) and expect local people to find us in a search and start ordering. That would be great if it worked that way, but it doesn't. Avon will provide the content for the eStore, and it is furnished at no extra cost to the Representative, but Avon gives the Rep. the ability to change the look, change the content, add personal information and a picture, etc. As a Rep., you need to think about your eStore from your customer's point of view. If you were a customer and you were going to purchase Avon from a representative but didn't know of one, when you did a search and looked at different websites, would you choose to order from one that had been "personalized" or one that looked like all the others? I know that I would choose the personalized one! Take the time each new campaign to update your eStore yourself and add a note of welcome. You should also write a blog post on your eStore site, if not every campaign then at least once a month. 

New Reprentative, now that you have your eStore up and running and you are tweaking it to make it more personal, you will need to PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE. Many new representatives have complained that when they search for an Avon representative in their area their own eStore does not show up in the search. There is a good reason for that to be the case. You see, Avon wants all customers to be happy, therefore they send those searching for Avon Reps. to the eStores of those who have been established in business for more than a few campaigns. They don't want to send customers to the eStores of Reps. who have not "proven themselves" yet. Because beginning an Avon business is so easy, there are Representatives who will get started in business but then decide they are not willing to put forth the effort to continue the business. Customers who are pointed toward the eStores of those Reps. will soon be disappointed that they can no longer order because the eStore has gone out of business. What this means for new Avon Representatives who do intend to work to become successful is that they must promote their own eStores. There are many ways to do this, and one is by putting the eStore link on brochure labels. For each brochure that you give out, make sure that you have it clearly labeled with all methods of contacting you, including your eStore. (Tip: has excellent prices on labels.) Printing your own labels is well worth the investment, as they make it easy to put plenty of contact information on your brochures; information that looks neat and clear and that can be easily read by customers. Another suggestion is to put the eStore link in your email signature, and then start sending emails, the first of which should be to all your family, friends, and acquaintances to let them know your eStore is now open. Printed business cards are also a great tool, and these are available from Avon with beautiful logos and pictures of Avon merchandise, or can be ordered from several online stores. A few of those stores, such as Vista Print, offer some business card choices free with the customer only paying for shipping. Once you get those business cards, don't just let them sit on a shelf, give them out to your friends and associates, as well as new people you meet as you go about your daily activities. If you pay bills by mail, include your business card with your check. And be sure to use all your social media outlets to promote your business. Avon provides a Social Media Center for your use in doing this easily. As you brainstorm, I am sure you will think of other ways to promote your business both online and in person. 

Well, I believe the rain is ending and customers are waiting, so I will close and get ready to go out and about on my deliveries. If you have any questions for me, I'd love to answer them, so use the contact me link to ask. And if you have suggestions for future blog posts, I'd be happy to hear those as well.

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