I do my best to support other direct sales. In the past few months, I have twice approached a seller with the words, “I need to buy…” and recieved the following response:
Go ahead and order it from my website.
I’m going to let Captain Picard sum up my feelings when direct sellers do this.
Don’t get me wrong, the internet is great. Having a web presence is great. Being able to tell people where to go to look at your products when you don’t have a printed catalog on you is great. Getting sales from those few people who would otherwise not order from you is great.
That being said, sending potential customers to your website TO ORDER is really, really bad habit I have seen in some direct sellers and if you are guilty of this, I suggest you stop right now.
Here’s why you should stop:
First, your goal should be to close the sale.
Sending someone to your website to complete their own order is the opposite of closing the sale. They have money in hand to give you for product and you are sending them away assuming that the order will happen with no further work from you. Newsflash: by not completing the sale then and there, you’ve probably lost it. The moment has passed. They’ll change their mind. They’ll forget. The urgency to own the item will wane. The sale just won’t happen and when, at one point, the person was standing there WITH MONEY, losing that sale is completely avoidable.
Secondly, by leaving it up to the customer to place the order, you are missing out on an obvious opportunity to upsell and cross-sell your products.
The website is not going to talk her through the pros and cons of each product nor encourage her to buy the necessary accessories. In guiding her through her order, you will be able to make suggestions that will result in her spending more than she was originally intending. To put it simply,when you move the closing of a sale out of your hands, you will almost certainly make less money than if you were an active participant in the purchasing process — assuming it happens at all.
Finally, direct sales is built on relationships.
By declining to handle the processing of her order personally, you are telling the customer that doing so is too inconvenient for you. The time and attention involved in direct sales order is supposed to make a customer feel important and cared for. It gives you the chance to get to know them and build a rapport that will have them coming back to reorder and recommend them to their friends. By sending them (and their money!) away, you are sending the message that a relationship and customer service are not a priority to you. If I was going to be treated like an anonymous stranger, I would just as soon go down to WalMart and get my items, wouldn’t you?
But, but, but….
I can hear you now: “My company charges me SO much money in shipping. I can’t afford to place an order for just a few items that my customer wants. I’ll lose all my profit in shipping.”
Good news: You can use your own website to process small orders.
What? Yeah. Got a tiny order? Finish that sale with you customer directly, upsell, cross-sell, give her that personal touch and make her feel important. Then go place the order on your website for her. You’ll pay less in shipping, still collect your commission and you can have it dropped ship to her or sent to you to deliver by hand.
The other week, I ran out of cleanser, so I messaged my Mary Kay lady. She came by the next day with the cleanser and we chatted a while. I love that woman. She has me as a customer for life.
The other two people I wanted to place order with? Still haven’t done it. I was ready to spend money but they weren’t ready to take it. Without that, there’s no business.