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MLM Woman Issue 117
October 2006


From the Desk of the Editor

Welcome to the 117th issue of the MLM Woman Newsletter! This month we feature 5 more articles from successful businesswomen who generously share their knowledge and expertise with you.

If you enjoy this month's issue, please be sure to let your friends know about it too and invite them to come and visit us.

Also, if you have comments, questions or something to share after reading this month's issue, please visit our MLMTalk Discussion Forum and join in the lively conversation!

And also be sure to check out our new MLM Marketing Blog for lots of additional tips and resources which are added throughout the month.

Enjoy!

Linda Locke, Editor MLM Woman

Making Time For Both Your Home Business and Your Family
By Audrey Okaneko

I remember when I began my first business. There were just not enough hours in the day. And this was true for each of the 7 days of the week. My daughter was only 3 months old when I started that business. I was not working outside of the home.

I was now looking at needing time to be a mom to my newborn daughter, be a daughter to my two wonderful parents, be a wife to my husband, take care of the household and now run a business.

Unfortunately, as is often the case, my business was the only entity not suffering from time neglect. I was working 80 to 100 hours per week on this business. I seldom spoke to friends. I was constantly saying no to social invitations. My husband and I were fast becoming strangers. I was also missing out on quality time with my daughter as her dad took over bath time, bed time and even weekend time.

Then I discovered day planners. I was now scheduling everything. By using a day planner I discovered I actually had time to say yes to some of those social invitations. I had time to visit with my parents at least once a week. I had time to spend with my husband and I took back some nights with my daughter, bathing her and putting her to bed at night.

This day planner worked wonderfully all through my next pregnancy and the years that followed. I was able to volunteer at school, go on field trips and still run a successful business.

I remember when my daughter was a teenager, she knew the rules. “If you want me there, you need to put it into my day planner”. I recall she and I battled one day as she felt it was silly for a teenager to have to schedule time with mom. She was right that it does sound silly, however if she wanted me at her school, if she needed me to drive carpool, if she wanted me to attend a meeting, or even if she wanted to schedule in a lunch, if she wrote it in my day planner, it was going to happen. She began really hearing her friend’s complaints of moms who worked too much, had too many meetings and had no time for their daughters. These moms did not use day planners like I did. These women were not being able to find time to give to their daughters. I was often driving their children to events as they couldn’t find the time.

I scheduled my business time too. I knew which days/hours were going to be spent marketing, talking with customers, talking with team members etc. When you keep track of your time in writing, in a day planner, it is so much easier to fit it all in. I scheduled several times per day to check email and return phone calls. It truly is easier to answer 5 calls back to back versus stopping what you’re doing to answer the phone 5 different times.

One area that was troubling to me was reading. I had a huge list of books that had been recommended to me and yet I was not finding the time to read them. One mentor said “can you find 10 minutes per day?” I laughed. “I’m the queen of day planners, or course I can find 10 minutes a day, why?” He went on to explain that 10 minutes per day reading came out to over an hour per week, over 4 hours per month. He felt quite confident that spending just 10 minutes per day would have me finishing about one book per month. This was so easy to schedule in. I left home 10 minutes early to pick my daughter up from school. I spent those 10 extra minutes either in the car reading, or I’d sit on the grass when the weather was nice and use those 10 minutes to read. I began getting through that list of books and loved what I was learning.

My kids are both older now. While they were young, having a day planner helped me have it all, a successful business and plenty of time with my family.

About the Author
Audrey Okaneko has been in business since 1983. She can be reached at audreyoka@cox.net or visited at http://www.scrapping-made-simple.com

I'm Not Interested
By Wendy Weiss

Whenever I conduct a workshop or teleclass, invariably someone asks the question: "What should I say when the prospect says, 'I'm not interested?'"

My response invariably is: "It's probably too late."

Certainly you can try to recover from that "I'm not interested" response. You can ask, "Why do you say that?" (Say this gently, as though you are confused and really, really want the answer.) You can repeat back: "Not interested?" (Again, say this gently, as though you are confused.) This sometimes gets people to start talking and explain themselves. Bottom line, however, if everyone that you speak with says, "I'm not interested," you're not saying anything interesting.

If you have a compelling script with stellar delivery, you will hardly ever hear the words, "I'm not interested." That's because you will actually be saying something interesting!

On the telephone, you have approximately 10-20 seconds to grab your prospect's attention - and if you do not do that, your call is probably over. 10-20 seconds is not a lot of time. You are not going to convey a lot of information in 10-20 seconds. Instead, what you'll convey is your energy, your confidence and your excitement. Your words must reach out and immediately grab and hook your prospect's attention.

From the moment your prospect says, "Hello," your goal is to gain your prospect's attention so that she is hungry to hear more. If you don't hook your prospects in the beginning of your conversation, they will not want to speak with you. They will say, "I'm not interested," and worse case, they may hang up on you.

In order to hook your prospect, ask yourself: Whom are you calling? Why should they be interested? You're looking for hot buttons, those issues that are so important to your prospect that when they come up, your prospect stops in her tracks to listen. The big point here is that when you are trying to hook someone, you have to have some sense of what's important to them.

Ask yourself: What is the value that I (the company/product/service) bring to customers. How do they benefit? How do I (the company/product/service) make customer's lives easy, stress-free, happy, profitable etc? You may have to do some market research and/or brainstorming here. Once you've determined that value, however, lead with it.

Here's an example:

Last year when I conducted the "Cold Calling College" teleclass, I received an e-mail from a participant. He said he was calling owners of mid-size companies and not having much success. His e-mail read:

"...I say my name and company and then say 'we specialize in business performance management solutions for budgeting, reporting and analysis.... I hear 'not interested' then they hang up before I can say anything else.

Another thing I have tried is, '...the reason I am calling is to introduce [company name]'s budgeting reporting analysis solutions and to invite you to an Excel seminar....' But after this I hear, 'not interested,' then they hang up before I can say anything else."

It's hardly surprising that these introductions didn't work. They weren't interesting. There was nothing in those first sentences to grab and hook a business owner's attention.

Later on, after going through the "Cold Calling College" system, the person who wrote this e-mail was able to pare his introduction down. His introduction ended up being something like: "We help companies keep the money they make." Short, sweet, to the point and focused on the value to business owners. Prospects stopped hanging up on him. Instead, he was able to start scheduling meetings with those business owners.

Lesson learned: Do your homework. Do what ever is necessary to truly understand your prospects. Before you ever pick up the phone, have the answer to the question: "Why should this prospect be interested?" If you have that answer, you will never again
hear: "I'm not interested."

© 2006 Wendy Weiss

About the Author
Wendy Weiss, "The Queen of Cold Calling," is a sales trainer, author and sales coach. Her recently released program, Cold Calling College, and/or her book, Cold Calling for Women, can be ordered by visiting http://www.wendyweiss.com. Contact her at wendy@wendyweiss.com. Get Wendy's free e-zine at http://www.wendyweiss.com.

A Twist on Goal Setting:
Bare Minimums

By Jennifer Louden

Recently I asked my Self-Care e-newsletter readers to share what helps them "turn toward their truth." I've also called this 'minimum self-care requirements' in other issues. As a result, this is what I wrote today to be included in my upcoming book:

Between survival and a fully humming creative life lies the middle ground of minimum requirements for centering self-care -- a fancy way of saying what you absolutely must have to stay in touch with your center.

These minimums aren't flashy. It isn't about reaching for some fabulous dream or exploring a new passion. But, without these nurturing nuggets, nothing else can be sustained.

When you reach a certain stage of commitment to yourself, you find that you are more than willing to give whatever attention and energy is needed to sustain your basics. Which does not mean you won't stubbornly test this, of course. “Do I really need that much sleep?” “Do I really require exercise?” “Do I actually have to have a conversation with my friend about hurting my feelings?"

Yet when you reach a certain level of consciousness (and age!), if you neglect your basics, you notice the fallout a lot faster and you realize you have a lot less leeway to stray from what is essential to you.

As an example, take a look at which bare minimums are important to Self-Care reader, Lynn:

Daily:
- 8 hours of sleep each night, 1 nap on one weekend afternoon
- Time to myself in the morning before anyone else is awake
- Protein for breakfast
- Be near or touch plants and dirt or rocks and water: watch a river or take a bath or walk in rain or pay attention when drinking
- Be outdoors
- Have a time each day that all "have to's" stop -- for right now it is 8:00 PM

Weekly:
- Pay bills and balance checking account
- Date with my entire family doing something fun
- My women's group
- Kitchen desk organized and kitchen medium deep cleaned

Monthly:
- An afternoon alone doing whatever I want when I want to
- A date with my husband

Yearly:
- A spiritual retreat of some kind especially in nature
- Time with my extended family, especially my sisters

You may wonder why I ask you to state minimum requirements. Wouldn't it be far better to name your ideals and strive for those? My experience has been that when I kept a list of everything I wanted to do for myself -- or thought would be good for me -- I made commitments I was incapable of keeping.

I call this "raising the bar"...never being satisfied with what we do or experience. Therefore, we rarely feel nourished or experience contentment. We live more and more in a place of "not enough" and farther and farther away from our center and natural shape of our lives. Minimum requirements are the foundation of Self-Care. Of course, like the tide, requirements ebb and flow depending on life conditions and age. So, the next time you sit down to make your list of goals, start with your basic requirements first (rather than thinking they will just fit into your schedule without your conscious intent).

About the Author
Jennifer Louden is a best-selling author of five books, including her classic, The Woman's Comfort Book, and her newest, Comfort Secrets for Busy Women. She's also a creativity and life coach, creator of the Inner Organizer, and a columnist for Body + Soul Magazine. She leads retreats on self-care and creativity around the country. Hear her live on Martha Stewart Living Radio, Sirius Channel 112 every Sunday at 8 am Pacific, 11 am Eastern. Visit her world at: http://www.comfortqueen.com and http://www.jenniferlouden.com


Marketing Strategies for
the Holiday Season

© Terri Seymour

If you have been in business long you know that the bulk of your sales will come from the months leading up to and going through the holiday season. The time to start your marketing for this season is July or even earlier!

Online sales are expected to reach 12 billion dollars this year so be sure you get a piece of that huge pie! This is a 1.5 to 2 times increase over 1999 as more people adjust to online shopping.

Here are some ideas that could help you get a slice of that holiday shopping pie:

1. You could offer a free holiday gift with every order over $25 or any set amount.

2. Offer free or discounted shipping with every order.

3. Send Christmas cards to your mailing list offering them a special discount or deal.

4. Offer a gift wrapping service for your customers. Make their shopping as easy and hassle free as possible.

5. If you do home parties, have a Christmas shopping party to split the shipping costs and/or wrapping costs. Have a holiday themed party with gift certificates and free samples.

6. Start a gift referral club with other businesses. If a customer is looking for something you do not offer, give them a place they can get it and other businesses will do the same for you.

7. Have a holiday themed contest on your site to draw in more customers.

8. Work with charity. Offer $x off for everyone who brings in a old toy for kids' charity. For online shoppers have a donation button. This will attract customers as well as provide good publicity for your company.

9. Give a free holiday tips report out with every purchase. Provide tips on saving money, holiday decorating, etc.

10. Make sure everything on your site is working and up to date. Build a special holiday section for your holiday customers.

11. Have a gift ideas section for your shoppers who have trouble picking out gifts. Be sure and have gift certificates or cards available as well.

12. Mail out gift idea cards to your customers/mailing list.

13. Send out coupons with a chance at a free gift with every coupon returned.

14. Do not forget customer service. Provide a little extra for your customers so they come back for more.

15. Become the company with the most Christmas spirit. Donate a portion of all sales to a popular children's charity.

16. Provide a quality product at a good price along with good customer service and your customers are bound to remain loyal to your company.

Take these ideas and add to them. Once you start trying new ideas you will be able to think of more and more. Don't be afraid to try new and creative ideas. Test the results and keep track of what works and what doesn't. What might not work in spring might be very effective during the holiday season.

The holiday marketing season is a chance for you to expand your business and gain more customers, but you must give them a reason to come to you and then to come back to you!

About the Author
Terri Seymour has several years online experience and has helped many people start their own business. Visit her site at http://www.seymourproducts.com for resources, $1 resell ebooks, wholesale gift business opp, free affiliate programs & a free ezine with bonus report: 77 Ways to Get Traffic! subscribe@seymourproducts.com

Marketing Your
Business Offline

By Lisa Buswell

There is so much networking and advertising on the internet, sometimes it is easy to forget that there are ways to successfully market your business offline. Although many people use the Internet regularly, chances are they are offline more often. Marketing your business offline is a wonderful way to reach people and it can be less expensive as well.

Business Cards
One of the most effective ways to get your name and product out there is through the traditional business card. It may sound simple, but business cards carry all the vital information about your business. They fit perfectly in the persons wallet or pocket, and when designed to be clear, concise and professional, may effectively pique a prospects interest.

Flyers
Another way to market your business offline is through the use of flyers. When placed in a high traffic spot, they will be viewed by more potential customers. Places like the library, grocery store and department stores often have a place for people to post flyers of all sorts. Be sure to check with each store for permission. Your contact information on the flyer should be prominent and the information enough to intrigue them but not overwhelm.

Web Decal
One of the least expensive investments for continuous advertising is a web decal. Web decals will reach countless potential customers just from you driving around doing errands! Every time you’re behind the wheel, people will see your name or business name and website. The key here is to keep the wording simple; use your name or business name, website and a few words for a description. People may not have a lot of time to read what you have on your window, so make sure it’s big, bold and easy to remember.

Newspaper and Classified Advertising
Even with all the online news and ads, people still love to have a newspaper in their hands to read. This method can be more expensive, so search publications to find a good price. Of course a great way to cut down on cost is to keep your ad short. An effective ad can be shorter in length; it just needs catchy wording and contact information. I have used ads that are just 3 to 4 lines and I have received a good response from them.

Networking
Networking groups are goldmines for making contacts with other local business owners and for increasing referrals to your business. Check with your Chamber of Commerce for a list of the meetings and events they hold. Another group to consider is Business Network International (BNI). BNI groups meet once a week to network and most chapters have a rotating schedule to allow one member to give an in-depth presentation for the business/company they represent. Joining these groups might require an annual fee, however, the benefits to you and your business should make it well worth the cost.

Word of Mouth
The best source of advertising, which also happens to be free, comes from your customers. Word of mouth advertising is still one, if not the best, way to market your business. Let everyone you know and everyone you meet what your business is. Provide your customers with excellent customer service and you will keep those customers coming back for more. Your customer base will grow when people talk about receiving good customer service. And don’t be shy about asking for referrals. When someone inquires about the business or purchases a product/service, be sure to ask them to let others know about you.

I hope that you have gathered some ideas for marketing your business offline. It’s easy to overlook these basic, one-on-one tools when access to the Internet continues to grow by the day. Try incorporating one of two of these suggestions into your current marketing techniques. The goal is to increase your sales and promote your business and implementing direct, personal communication methods will help you achieve powerful results.

© Copyright 2006. Lisa Buswell. All rights reserved.

About the Author
Lisa Buswell is a home based business owner. She is a team leader and enjoys helping and coaching others achieve their home business goals. She can be reached through her website, www.TheAlternativeCandle.com or email her at lbuswell@thealternativecandle.com.

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