May 7, 2010Work-At-Home Sales: The New Contact Sport
THE NEW CONTACT SPORT
By Cheryl Gochnauer
It's fundraising time at my 8th grader's school. Competition is fierce forbuyers of magazine subscriptions, which translate into prizes for the kids.Heaven help any adult with a checkbook! Fortunately, the yearly promotiononly lasts a couple of weeks, then it'll be safe to sit on our front porchesagain.
Just as teens are driven to achieve with their fundraising programs, parentswith in-home businesses are motivated to succeed. Without that income, manyat-home parents would have to go back to work.
It's no secret that the bulk of work-at-home opportunities involve selling.Cosmetics, children's toys, kitchen gadgets, household cleaners - theconscientious work-at-home parent has a wide variety of legitimate productsto pitch. The wrinkle is in finding prospective customers in a legitimateway.
"One of the moms from my son's preschool called to set up a play date at herhouse," says Linda. "I've been struggling to make new friends, and wasfeeling so isolated. I was looking forward to visiting and talking withher.
"In between conversation about the kids, she began telling me about thebusiness she and her husband started a couple of months ago - they offerfinancial services - it's a big company - etc., etc., etc.
"So the real reason for the visit wasn't the play date, I guess," Lindafrowned. "I don't even have any money to invest!"
Linda ended up disappointed, and I suspect the other woman was, too.
Presentation is everything, and deceit will kill the deal every time. Sowhat are some steps work-at-home salespeople can take to keep theirpotential customers happy?
Don't disguise a sales pitch as a social event.
Choose appropriate settings. For instance, most people attend church toworship, not shop.
Know your customer. Financially-challenged at-home moms should not betrying to sell expensive gadgets to other financially-challenged at-homemoms.
Make your presentation as low-key as possible, allowing people tocontact you if they're interested. No response means no. Following up isoverrated, and often resented.
Support other work-at-home parents by occasionally purchasing theirproducts or services.
Resist turning every conversation into a sales pitch. "Did Johnny leavehis backpack at your house?" "Yes, he did, right here next to my catalogs.I'll just slip one into his backpack and drop it by personally. Is 3 p.m.good for you?"
Don't spam in cyberspace or in person. Today, I've received 15 emails,2 phone calls, 6 pieces of mail and 1 knock at the door - all from people Idon't know, pitching me products I never asked for. Can you guess howlikely I am to buy their stuff?
Once a prospect agrees to hear your presentation, value their time. Forexample, Debi was too rushed to listen to a salesperson on the phone, so sheasked him to email the info. He did, then called to make sure she hadreceived the email and to explain it. Click!
Don't ask questions with an ulterior motive. Build relationships, notdatabases.
Only represent products you enjoy yourself. That way, you're sharing ablessing, not simply selling something. When you encounter customers whoenjoy the product, too, it's a win-win situation.
. Or visit her website at
where you can read a sample chapter of her book, "So YouWant to Be a Stay-at-Home Mom" (InterVarsity Press). Copyright2001 Homebodies.Org, LLC. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com.)
Posted by Staff at 1:43 AM