This week, our featured Shop Consultant is successful UnFranchise® Owner Paula Hochman! Last Thursday we asked our Facebook audience what questions they would like to ask her about building a successful business. Interested in seeing if she answered your question? Read on!
Immediately do the SHOP.COM Home Advisor and make your list. By simply changing the brands of products in your household each month from someone else’s business to brands that you sell, you will experience significant savings! In addition to the savings, you will definitely be a true “product of the product” and be able to speak as an experienced user about the products that you sell through your UnFranchise® business.
What is YOUR favorite SHOP.COM feature you always share with your customers?
I love ShopBuddy and talk about it regularly. I love that ShopBuddy keeps visitors on my site, that they don’t have to search for coupons elsewhere and then maybe forget that they started on my site. Site “stickiness” is key, and ShopBuddy is just one way we provide that. ShopBuddy is so simple to use that even a novice internet shopper can easily do so by just scrolling through the possible coupons and doing a very quick copy and paste.
Can you share some tips for retailing products and promoting your SHOP.COM portal during the holidays?
From the first holiday season I had my UnFranchise®, I sent holiday thank you cards to my customers. I always send those cards early – the goal is that they arrive before Black Friday, since I want the customers to spend their money on my site rather than spending all in the stores. I enclose a handwritten note along with a certificate good for 10% off their next order of Market America branded products. I put an expiration date on the certificate for the end of the year even though I do honor it if someone calls me to ask about an extension. That simple extension makes the customer feel special, and I find that most do use the certificate before it expires.
Some of my customers have been receiving this same certificate since the ‘90s, and they look forward to it. They don’t wait to place orders, none of them want to run out of our products, but they do immediately use the certificate. Of course, my goal is that it prompts them to place even bigger orders, and that is what typically happens.
How do you use social media to promote your business during the holidays?
My social media strategy is basically the same year-round; I just make adjustments based on the seasons. This time of year there are many more parties being planned, so I start sharing more party looks for Motives®, I focus on Isotonix® products that help you stay well, help you deal with stress, or give you energy to keep going or to get up and go the day after the party.
In December, I always manage to get in conversations about New Year’s Resolutions which leads to money discussions and discussions about or weight loss.
When a “hot” gift item is advertised anywhere, I search my site for the best deal and then send a message through social media with a link to my site. I let them know about the special deal, that ShopBuddy may have coupons for the site and that in addition to the best deal which beats the advertised sale elsewhere, they will be saving time, money and earning Cashback.
Can you give us a few of your best recruiting tips?
The first is to listen. When I ask someone how they are or how it is going, it is key to listen to their answers. This doesn’t mean listen while thinking about clever response or how you will bring up the business, but truly listen. You can tailor your conversation, the volley, by listening. I looked at Market America as a business opportunity. I had no interest in hearing about products; I just wanted to hear about the business potential. If the person who introduced me had talked products, I would have probably tuned them out. But they listened.
The second is follow up in a timely manner. I schedule the follow-ups, and those follow-ups can be a phone call, an email with the requested information, a meeting for coffee. I call when I say I will, I treat each follow-up as an appointment. I actually had someone partner with me right after our initial meeting, because she was impressed that I called her when I said I would.
The third is, don’t be weird. You are having a conversation with another person. We all know how to have a conversation, and we don’t typically work up a sweat thinking about it. Enjoy the process and be natural.
Can you share a “social media success story” with us?
On Instagram, I connected with a makeup artist who was asking advice about eye shadow and what people thought would be the best two neutral shades to buy if she could only buy two. I immediately replied privately that I always carry Vanilla and Cappuccino and thought everyone should do the same. I gave her the link to my Motives® site, and we scheduled a phone call.
I emailed an answer to her question at 6 am, she immediately replied (it was 3 am on her coast), and before I headed out to my first appointment of the day, we had scheduled a time to talk.
We clicked immediately (relationship building is key!), because I had commented about my surprise to see her answer my email at 3 am. I learned what her fiancé does, what her goals are as a makeup artist, that she had already visited my site and purchased more than what she had originally intended. We are now moving her into the Motives® Pro Artist program. Less than a week after we connected, she placed another order and had one of her looks featured on the Motives® Instagram page.
What is one thing that the majority of UnFranchise® Owners don’t do every day, but should?
Everyone should be adding names to their names list on a daily basis, but I don’t see this happening regularly with people who wonder why they aren’t growing. If you don’t have a names list, you aren’t in business. Each day should have a date and then enter those names. Also, make sure to enter anything you know about them. You could just have a name and where you met when you first put them on the list, you could have occupation or family info, a phone number and/or email. Whatever information you have should get entered on that list. Make sure to follow up in a timely manner.
Never get rid of the list, just continually add to it. I just contacted a few people who I initially prospected 6 years ago. One told me she needed to get back on our Isotonix® OPC-3, one told me she is just starting a massage therapy business, and one gave me the name of the head surgeon where he now works and told me to drop by. So you never know when the timing is right.
And even though it is only a few hundred dollars to open your UnFranchise® business, you absolutely have to treat it the same as you would any business that would cost you $50,000 or more. I show up for my UnFranchise® Business every day just as I did when I opened my brick-and-mortar boutique. The cost of failure for not showing up was very high with my boutique, and I treat Market America the exact same way. Treat it as a real business and it will pay you as one.
What is the biggest mistake that UnFranchise® Owners make when using social media to build their business, and how can they avoid it?
Each social media platform is unique. You have to use each in the correct way. For example, Facebook is more social and a great platform to use to reconnect and rebuild relationships while also staying in touch and forging new relationships. I reconnected with someone who told me that in high school, she considered me to be her mentor, which is something I never knew. This person is now an international trainer, and we are scheduling a phone call and building a new relationship that can be bigger and better.
Instagram is all about sharing, liking, commenting on photos – another great social and business tool, all tied into one. LinkedIn is professional. You definitely don’t use a profile photo that includes cars, boats, children, party hats. It is more professional but absolutely a great platform for building key business connections and relationships.
The biggest mistake UnFranchise® owners make when using any of the platforms is being inconsistent. They’ll open an account and then never revisit, they post infrequently or the only posts they ever share come across as a hard sell rather than a sharing or a natural conversation online.
We would like to thank Paula Hochman for taking the time to speak with us and revealing some of her best business-building tips! To submit a question, keep a close eye on the Market America Facebook page. This Thursday at 12 PM EST we’ll give you an opportunity to submit questions for next week’s Shop Consultant. Then, read the ma® Blog on Wednesday to see if your question has been answered!
Now it’s your turn: which one of Paula’s tips do you think will be the most helpful to your UnFranchise® Business and why? Comment your answer below!