BRANCHING OUT

 

Keyword:  Branch Meetings
 
I'm not a B.A., but I can give you some ideas of things that seemed to work really well at branch meetings I've attended.
 
Introductions - Everyone likes to talk about themselves at least a little. :)  It's nice to go around the room and have everyone introduce themselves and mention how their business has been going lately.  This gives attendees a chance to mention any good news or problems they've recently encountered, and gives potential recruits who are guests at the meeting a chance to start getting to know branch members.
 
Latest News Segment - where the B.A. informs her branch of important upcoming information and answers questions branch members might have about things they've heard about (or read on-line).  This is also a good opportunity for other branch members to share information they've learned too.
 
Displays of Products from Upcoming Campaigns - Being able to see upcoming products may help your members decide which samples to order, and will also help them describe products they don't have samples of to customers who have questions.  And it's very exciting to be able to show off the latest products to your branch after JAM, or after the Bee to branch members who couldn't go.
 
Home Show Demo - Each meeting, a different branch member presents a quick demo of a home show idea.  (By talking about what they do / running through it quickly, it only takes about 10 minutes or so.)  This gives branch members ideas of things to do in their own shows, and also encourages other members to suggest ideas of their own.
 
A Game That Teaches Business Ideas  - When the Notebooks come out with all the new regular-line products as well as feature products (March and September), try a trivia game in which everyone answers questions about information in the Notebook until they give an incorrect answer and are "out" (last one left wins the prize).   This encourages branch members to really read their Notebooks and be up on as much info as possible for their customers.  Another idea is reading through a list and awarding points to members who have with them (yes, at the meeting) specific sales and recruiting items (to encourage members to always carry certain items with them, since they never know when they might meet a potential customer or recruit) - the member with the most points wins.  Or separate branch members into teams and play a "Family Feud"-style game, where they must name all of the new hostess items, or all of the feature items offered for the next campaign, or something like that.  Prizes can be small items helpful in a consultant's business (post-it notes, pack of LB pens, thank-you notes, etc.).
 
Craft Demos - Perhaps branch members who know how to make neat crafts could teach the branch how to make an inexpensive hostess gift, invitations or other things that can be used in a consultant's LB business.  Branch members could also teach each other craft projects that could be presented to guests of craft-themed home shows.
 
Team Projects - Separate your branch members into several teams, and give each team a large piece of paper, an assigment (Booking Ideas, Home Show Ideas, Uses for a Particular Product, etc.) and 10 minutes to brainstorm.  Then have everyone share their ideas.
 
LB Videos - Whenever a new LB Video comes out, it's nice for consultants to be able to see it, so they can decide whether it will help their business or not before they buy it on a supply order.  The videos usually aren't that long (10 or 20 minutes?), so they don't take up a lot of meeting time.
 
Decorated Basket Contest - Every once in a while, determine a theme and announce that there will be a decorated basket contest at the next meeting.  Winner is determined by branch members' votes.
 
Awards - Branch meetings are THE place to acknowledge branch activities and give out monthly sales awards, earned incentives, etc. 
 
Refreshments - I'm sure branch members would appreciate the opportunity to enjoy some snacks during the meeting (nothing fancy - maybe just chips/dip and a dessert).  Members could take turns volunteering to provide refreshments for each meeting, with the B.A. providing a few 2-litres of sodas.
 
Branch Attitude - This is only my very humble opinion, but I think that one of the most important keys to branch success is to foster a "team atmosphere" within your branch.  Hopefully, your members will be happy to celebrate the accomplishments of each other, while also sharing and learning ways to improve their own businesses.  I think good-natured competition among "teammates" seems to yield better branch results than an "every consultant for herself/himself" atmosphere.  And the BA really does set the tone for the business attitude of the branch members.
 
Hope you find some of this information helpful.  Good luck with your new branch!

 

 

DEALING WITH BOOKING RELUCTANCE

The following are examples of interactions between prospective Hostesses and Consultants.  Which is most effective?

 

FIRST EXAMPLE

CONSULTANT:  Thank you very much for your order.  Have you ever hosted a Longaberger show?

GUEST:  No

CONSULTANT:  Have you ever hosted any other type of home show?

GUEST:  No

CONSULTANT:  Are you interested in doing a Longaberger show?

GUEST:  No, I'm really not interested.  How much should I write the check for?

 

SECOND EXAMPLE

CONSULTANT:  Mary, you've bought some very versatile baskets this evening.  I know you will enjoy them...HOW DO YOU FEEL about being a hostess for your own Longaberger show?  (ask probing, open-ended question)

GUEST:  Oh, I don't think I could!

CONSULTANT:  WHY DO YOU FEEL THAT WAY?  (another probe?)

GUEST:  I don't think I could get enough people to come.  (Objection A)

CONSULTANT:  Well, Mary, that is a common concern.  Actually you'll be surprised how easy it is.  In fact, your list will have more names than can be invited to one show.  It usually takes 20-25 invitaitons to have a successful show with 7-10 guests.  Plus, you're very likely to have some peopel who can't come to the show ask for a catalog and place an order with you.  Will you be willing to meet with me so I can help you make up a list of friends, neighbors, work associates, and relatives you could invite?  (Trial close)

GUEST:  Marcella, that would be helpful, but I'm really busy now and I don't know when I would be able to host a show.  (Objection B)

CONSULTANT:  This seems to be abusy time for a lot of people iwth the holidays approaching, work, and the children's busy school schedules.  When do you think would be a better time for you?

GUEST:  I don't know.

CONSULTANT:  Let me make a suggestion.  The specials for "Easter" will be introduced beginning January 1st.  At that time there is a "Hostess Special" where a hostess will be able to purchas an item at 1/2 price for every $100 in orders up to a maximum of 3 items (or whatever the current specials are!!).  That will give us a lot of time to put your list together and the benefits to you as a hostess are excellent.  How does that sound to you?  (Trial close)

GUEST:  You mean if I host a show .... (reiterates the specials back)

CONSULTANT:  Yes!  That's right.  Can I schedule you for a show in {month}?  (close)

GUEST:  Let's go ahead and schedule a show for the last Thursday of the month.

CONSULTANT:  Great!  We'll do it on (date).  Will 7 p.m. be a good time to start the show?

GUEST:  7 will be fine.  I'm excited ... I think this will be fun!

 

Asking open-ended, probing questions can result in more bookings with enthusiastic hostessses!!

by Marcella Armstrong
 

*****IDEAS TO FIND NEW CUSTOMERS  (thanks Sue Clemens and Debbie Cook)
1. Don't count anyone out. Keep an ongoing list of potential customers.
2. Be prepared no matter where you are by carrying a basket and fliers.
3. Provide great customer service.
4. Ask for referrals from hostesses
5. Identify all the groups of people you come in contact with. Have you
approached anyone from this group?
6. Challenge yourself to find a new customer each month. That may not seem like a lot, but it is a potential of at least 12 new shows for the year which are sure to provide more bookings
7. Every customer you have has the potential lead you to another new customer.
8. Give baskets as gifts when you have the opportunity.
9. "No" is not never and definitely not forever.
10. Offer yourself as a speaker to civic groups.
11. Talk about your business every time you have the opportunity.  Too many people shy away from talking about their business.
12. Never hand our flyers or your business card without getting the other person's name so that you have an opportunity to follow up with them.
13. Try a craft show. This is a great way to meet new customers.
14. Everyone out there is a potential customer, but they aren't going to come looking for you. It's your job to find them