Thursday, January 29, 2009

I am...

I am a child of God
...a wife
...a mother
...a daughter
...a sister
...a friend aunt
...a cousin
...a shoulder to cry on ear that hears
...a hug that brings comfort
...a gift entrepreneur
...truly blessed
...respected to get back up when life tries to knock me down

... a goddess...

My bio always includes "Domestic Goddess turned Mompreneur". While I'm no domestic equivalent to the likes of Martha Stewart or the Brady Bunch's Alice, I've been able to hold my own when it comes to making our house a home. The above list goes on, but I wanted to share a few things that manifested when I took the time to relax and focus on what makes me "me". :) Today's post is about remembering to do something for yourself. One can never give from an empty cup. If the most you can do for yourself today is reflect on who you are, you'll be able to center on SO much more and in peace.

My friend Kristy Nichols, aka Average Goddess, made this incredible video; I just HAD to share!

2009 is YOUR time to shine! Make it happen, baby!
Blessings to you!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dear Ferfie,

This week I thought it would be fitting to address a question that was brought up in a regional training event at which I was a speaker recently. It caused quite a commotion in the room, I'm sure you can imagine all the murmuring and whispering. "Gasp! I'd never do that..." "Oh, that's happened to me before, now I want nothing to do with that company..." blah blah blah. The question was:

"As a vendor (for a craft fair or even online) do we really have to send the door prize we offered or can we just collect the leads and pretend there was no winner?"

This was a very sincere question and trust me, plenty of consultants had their fair share of 2 cents to add. I'd like to think that this question should never have a need to be asked, but let's face it - it's a dern good question considering one technically could just collect the leads and nobody would ever know, right? Well... there's a great deal of ethics to consider. Okay, first things first. If you're offering a raffle/door prize, you are making the commitment to give this item away. Done. If your intention is to hoard names for your list by using the bait & switch method, then I seriously question your integrity. That puts a huge damper on you AND your business. If you're not going to give the prize, don't offer the prize.

"But Ferf, I want to add to my list and don't have a whole lot of money to shell out for prizes." No problem. People will sign up for your mailing list if they're made aware of the VALUE you can share. They're not going to sign up if they assume their inbox is going to be inundated with "here's my special... shop with me 24/7... I'd like you to host... can you help a girl out by placing an order... by the way did you know I'm in business?" And I'm going to tell you something right now, because so many reps have been doing this with their mailing lists, the passers-by at these vending events assume you are no different. Make sure that they know they will be getting articles of interest, tips, ideas, special VIP savings only available to people on your list... be creative with it. They need to know that you do not want to send them anything they do not want, and they can opt out at any time. If this is not made clear, they won't share their information. Respect their privacy.

Another great way to get people's information at these events is to have them fill out a slip (essentially like a door prize form) stating that they've received one of your catalogs. As long as they're willing to fill out this form, they can take a catalog home with them that day. If not, then sorry no catalog. Why waste the expense of investing in and passing out 50 catalogs that are going to end up who knows where?? If you're hoping that those catalogs will end up at an office somewhere, that's really sweet but think about all the catalogs & brochures you've received from events like this. Where are they right now? Trash? Under a pile of other catalogs, papers & brochures somewhere? Thought so. On the slip you're having them fill out, they have the opportunity to be alerted if items go on special. This is when you can send them your newsletter/info about specials because you DO have their permission. This is called operating your business with authenticity and most importantly INTEGRITY.

Let's just say, for the sake of example, that you end up offering a prize but don't actually send it and someone finds out somehow. Ouch! That's integrity? Not so sure that person will be doing business with you anytime soon, and I'm certain that person won't be sending referrals your way either. "People more attention pay to what you do than what you say." If you're operating on integrity, you wouldn't even consider making empty promises. Sure, life happens and there might be a delay in getting the prize out the door. Understandable, we're only human. :)

Conclusion? Operate on integrity, give value - and for Pete's sake, send the prize you offered, it's only right.


© 2008 Jennifer Stoll The Stand Up Coach All Rights Reserved

Please do, as long as the following blurb is included in its entirety: Entrepreneur Jennifer Stoll, The Stand Up Coach, is Founder and Editor of “Info Buffet” a free ezine for professionals in the Direct Sales/Party Plan industry. An author, speaker, and success coach, Jennifer provides principle based resources in a fun & humorous way. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, make more money and have more fun in your business then visit Jennifer at

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What Direct Sales Consultants Can Learn from Deadliest Catch

Have you ever seen the show, Deadliest Catch? (Or at least seen the commercials for it?) We haven't seen every episode ourselves, but we have tuned in a few times to see what the hub-bub was all about. Even if you haven't seen the show - or the commercial for that matter - you'll still get the basic idea of this post. ;) Essentially, viewers follow eight crab-fishing vessels as they go about their "normal" work day. But this is far from your typical rod & reel retreat; virtually every moment at sea is captured as the captains & crew endure struggles and weather conditions that make their jobs one of the deadliest - thus the name of the show. So what can Direct Sales/Party Plan consultants learn from Deadliest Catch?

Let's dive in (pun intended, so sorry) to the concept here. The crew uses gigantic 800-pound cages called crab pots to bait & capture their ideal Alaskan crabs. There's a strategy to placing these crab pots as well as making sure the floating markers don't catch on anything - or anyone - as they're being cast over the edge of the vessel. It's a great deal of work (by the looks of it anyhow, never tried it myself, but I digress) especially considering their ship is being tossed about by waves that literally envelope the deck. It's even more difficult in the midst of a storm, but the job needs to be done (and, quite frankly, the show must go on). So I'm sure by now you're thinking "yes, Ferf, we should be 'casting our nets' out there to find our host & recruit prospects, we already know that". Novel idea, yes, but that's not where I was going with this. ;) As these massive crab pots are cast into the sea, they don't stand around and wait. They move on to yet another area and "bah-loop", into the sea another pot goes. They're not hanging all their hopes on one pot. They also realize the task is far from over. Is it conceivable that one or more of those pots could come up empty, or with very few crabs? Absolutely. Harsh truth for a crew who just plummeted an 800-pound crab hotel into the sea. Do you think the crew pouts when this happens? Well, perhaps a few newbies, but the learned members of the crew know as well as the captain that there's more "business to be had", they just need to move on to another area. Do you think a captain would be a captain for long of he continuously griped "We can't seem to get anywhere with this business"? (Hello, leadership tip! Leaders understand there is great diversity in business and where business can be found! They also understand the term "speed of the leader, speed of the pack" - leaders with the "I can't" or "We can't" mindset will have a team who "can't".) So again, the crew would move on to another area if the pot came up empty. The next place may turn up with the same results. What really intrigued me about the few episodes I saw was this: the experienced captains KNEW the best areas, they could easily spy/seek/find/recognize the ultimate nesting ground, head the vessel in that direction and BOOM - loads of crab! (So glad there wasn't a typo on that... just sayin'.)

I noticed that as the crew hoisted these massive crab pots onto the ship, they wouldn't just hoard every crab for the taking and say "alright, good enough" nor were they satisfied with the great number of crabs they caught. We tend to do that in our direct sales business, don't we? Take every customer, hostess & recruit we can cuz there are prizes to be won, there's money to be made and there are records to break - we're just SO happy to have them no matter who they are or what they can really do for the business. Do you really want just anybody and everybody? Let's go back to the Deadliest Catch analogy; The crew has to sort through and keep only the crabs that regulation allows, or the ones that will - let's face it - return the most profit. They handle each one in a manner 1) not to get pinched and 2) not to damage the crabs - they make sure the crabs are in the environment they're most comfortable/used to - water. What happens later on is a completely different story, what I wanted to drive home is how they handle them NOW while they have the crabs. In your direct sales/party plan business, what are your regulations? I'm not talking about regulations that your company has in place, I mean what regulations to you have in place as a real catch (pun intended again) for customers, hostesses & recruits? Have you compiled a list of what your ideal customer, hostess and recruit is? If they don't meet your "regulation", do you think they'll really bring you the business you need or simply cause headaches, grief and cost you money? If they're not a perfect fit, then you're basically trying to jam a square peg into a circular hole. If you haven't made a list of your ideal prospects, your "pot" has been coming up empty or with very few I'm sure. Like the experienced captain, scope out the area - where do the best ones nest? Where are your ideal prospects going to be? Go there. How will you handle them? Give them great service, be on time, etc so you won't "get pinched". (An angry customer, hostess or recruit can have really nasty pinchers!) For hostesses, are you invading their environment by barging in with your product hoping there are people and sales? Or are you partnering up with your hostess and doing what you can to make HER guests feel as welcome and comfortable as possible? Remember, even though it's your product, and your business, it's HER house and HER friends that she's been gracious enough to introduce you to. Be thankful for that. Her guests are not there for you and your product - they're there because the hostess invited them to see you and your product in her home.

It's time for you to perform, make something happen in your business. Don't just sit around hoping that the bait you cast out on one rod & reel trip is going to generate the exponential business growth you desire/deserve. Yes, cast the net, but cast several different nets to suit the different areas and people you're seeking. The Deadliest Catch crew doesn't use just any bait for their Alaskan crabs, they use what they know will work for exactly what they are seeking. You can too.

(photo courtesy )

© 2008 Jennifer Stoll The Stand Up Coach All Rights Reserved

Please do, as long as the following blurb is included in its entirety: Entrepreneur Jennifer Stoll, The Stand Up Coach, is Founder and Editor of “Info Buffet” a free ezine for professionals in the Direct Sales/Party Plan industry. An author, speaker, and success coach, Jennifer provides principle based resources in a fun & humorous way. If you’re ready to take your business to the next level, make more money and have more fun in your business then visit Jennifer at

*If planning to use photo as well, please give credit where credit is due.*