I’ve been independently contracted since I was 14 years old. People do not understand how much work it takes when you are your own boss. But I do know, I’ve seen it all. Customers screaming at reps on Christmas Eve because they are out of something. Reps I’ve hired only working 5 hours instead of 6 and stealing from the stores, thinking I wouldn’t notice. The list unfortunately goes on and on. So, I know quite a bit about putting events together at department stores, as well as holiday marts, ect. But this last event I put together was the last straw because I am still having to ask vendors where customers orders are.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but… Direct sales and small business owners have a negative stigma because many owners/reps do not act professional. Coming from a person who hosts quite a bit… word gets around fast and you will sink, because no one will want to work with you again. There is a rep here in town that I get calls about on a regular basis, people asking if they can work with me instead. Most of the time, reps who are honestly trying to make a living are much better to work with rather than the reps who are doing it as a hobby. They are committed. If you want to host a show, make sure the representative is really working the and not just stock up on products for themselves. IE: I sell Wildtree for the commission and the free groceries, and Pampered Chef for the commission free tools . Because I am literally feeding my family with this business. I’m definitely committed!
I am noticing more and more things that vendors are doing wrong, and shooting themselves in the foot. These are the ones that are flakey, sloppy at events, with sloppy customer service, and have a sloppy online presence. Then they actually show up to an event with their children and let them run everywhere. Looks terrible for the event, and it’s happened to me. And going forward when someone I know is looking for reps, they contact people they’ve seen me work with in the past. Then of course they act unprofessional at their event, and it comes back on me. So I feel that maybe this post will help.
It’s been so difficult to find people I want to be associated with, so at my last event I made sure that someone had worked with the vendors in the past, and had a good review of that vendor. But I was still snowed by the fact that vendors did not invite their customers, brought their families, bad customer service, unprofessional attire, and I have people who have still not received their orders (it’s been 6 weeks!). So as you can see, I’m a little frustrated.
In order for someone to want to work with you, you should check the following:
4 ways to be sure that people will respect your business.
The first thing I do when I am invited to participate in a vendor fair or to a home party, is check them out online. Read posts and make sure they are positive, and check their reviews. Then, I know it sounds crazy, but make sure they don’t have a record or maybe even on house arrest? Yup, happened to me. So, when people are looking at you, make sure your posts are relevant, that you are positive, and you have good reviews. I am more than happy to help you with reviews and posts, make an appointment anytime.
Another thing you should steer clear of is Facebook Groups. I do not know anyone who wants to be added to some Jamberry party without my permission. Maybe some people do not want to be associated with chemicals, maybe they already know a rep, ect. Facebook Groups are great for garage sales, fundraisers, teams, and families. Those people want to be in those groups. But the last thing you want to do is add someone to a group they didn’t ask to be invited to, it looks completely desperate.
Also, when you are posting your information somewhere online, don’t pounce on every single event page and group page, be sure you have permission! I don’t know how many times I’ve had events ambushed on Facebook or Google +, with random people posting about their businesses. It’s extremely rude and can even get you reported. Just think about what you are doing before you get all excited to post about your biz.
Your presence at the event or the online event is critical. You are already front and center, and whether you like it or not, you will be the target in one slip. So take your time, don’t be so fast to post on the online events. Be professional. Dress professional at events, and treat your business as such. Because if you don’t, how can you expect anyone else to? If you need to bring your children, I understand things happen, mostly just get a sitter if you volunteered to work the event. Don’t have your entire family sitting with you at the event, I can’t even believe I have to say that, but again, it happened to me! I will never let anyone I know work with people who act like this, and neither would you.
INVITE! INVITE! INVITE!!
Why is it that vendors refuse to invite their contact list? Because they want the host to do all the work. It blows my mind that a business owner wouldn’t want to invite their contacts because it’s just another encounter that you can build on and they have bought from you before, it’s a sure thing tootz! Plus, you are shooting yourself in the foot by paying for a space that you didn’t invite anyone to?? Is that a smart business move? It blows my mind that I have to explain this.
The most direct way to invite is by text or email. Social media is easier to ignore, so don’t give them the opportunity. I personally like to make a video explaining the event to get more excitement!
At the event, remember you are representing the person who is in charge of the event, as well as your own reputation and business. Think about the fact that if you have bad customer service, it falls back on that person. In my case, it falls back on the patient which is infuriating on so many levels.
Know your products! I once had a lady with a very well-known make-up line who was offering gift sets for the fundraiser. But when customers asked how much would go to the fund, she didn’t know. She didn’t know how much things were, or about ingredients. She also didn’t have any sales. The audacity, right? Why do these people even have a business??
After the event, be prompt about deliveries. Do not make people wait in a parking lot for 30 minutes. If a credit card declines, call the customer and tell them asap! Don’t wait until the customer is asking the event host who that person was, and asking for their order. It’s really embarrassing to the hostess, and it’s rude to the customer. Also, thank the person who hosted the event with a public post and maybe compliment all their hard work. I worked for 3 days straight, no sleep at all, doing social media advertising and making contacts, while all the vendors got plenty of rest. I can tell you I won’t let anyone I know work with those people again, so if you ever want to be asked back, be professional. Again, the stuff I’ve been dealing with since this last fundraiser is absolutely atrocious. I understand that things happen but wow.
I hope this helps!! Happy Business Owners + Happy Customers = Successful Business
P.S. I did go to some ecards and make that pic 😉