When I started in Direct Sales in 2003, the consultants in my company didn’t have to carry inventory. Customers ordered at parties, and everything was shipped to the Hostess. As time went on, we were able to have orders shipped directly to the customer’s house, and that meant I never had to keep inventory on hand. But I did.
Early on, I figured out I needed to collect orders every month and act as my own Hostess. That way I could take advantage of the Hostess Specials and the free/half-off shopping, AND get paid!! I was religious about getting my own party “in” each month, and my inventory grew FAST thanks to the host credit I was earning and redeeming.
Not wanting to be stuck with a garage full of product, I started having a big sale at the end of each catalog (about 3 times a year). Customers would come to my house and shop from my “old” inventory, and then I would take the cash and purchase items from the NEW line. I referred to it as “flipping inventory”. I always had high sales numbers, I was never out-of-pocket any cash for new products, and customers knew they could always count on me for last minute gifts.
All these years later I still flip inventory, though the methods have changed a little over time due to one thing or another.
If you have shelves full of inventory, here are 4 ideas to help sell it all:
1. Stop & Shop
Set up your garage or front room as a “store” with all your inventory on display. Have prices on the products, and offer perks for bringing a “shopping friend”. I like giving them a $5 shopping credit for EACH shopping friend they bring. Tell them to fill their car – make it an outing! Discount the products to entice your customers to come. You can discount your inventory by the amount of commission you make (for example, 25% off). Or, if you also consider the host credit you’re earning, you can increase the discount without it breaking the bank. Here’s the formula I usually use for my sales: the percent commission plus the percent you get in free hostess shopping equals the discount (25% commission + 15% host credit = 40% off).
2. Online Auction
You can do this for a specific holiday. So have a Valentine’s Auction or Summertime Auction. I have found the sweet spot on this is 20-25 items/lots. Try to have a range of prices (have a few inexpensive items, and a few expensive ones). On Facebook, create an Event and invite all your VIP customers to shop. In the event, post an Album with all the Lots listed WITH PRICING (show retail price, and then a discount for the event only) and how many sets you have available. Ask customers to Claim the items they want by commenting “MINE” on the photos. This should be a one to two day auction. Don’t let it go on forever. This will create a sense of urgency. I offer porch pick up at my house, or they can pay to have it shipped. I offer to ship anywhere in the US, but they have to cover the shipping costs.
3. Facebook Live “SHOP THE CLOSET”/”SHOP THE PANTRY”
For this, you can go live in your Facebook VIP group and sell products at/near their retail value. I like to do fun drawings and giveaways during the live sale. I’ve done “get a ticket for every item you buy”, and pulled a ticket every 15 minutes (giving away a small gift = $5-10 value), or you can do “get a gift with every 5 items you purchase”. Again – porch pick up or they pay for shipping.
4. Facebook Live “Donuts and Deals”
Pick a time every week that you go live and sell. I have found it best to give each week a THEME, and only sell items that match the theme. It helps you decide what items to sell and keeps it interesting for your customers who watch regularly. Here are some themes you can use:
- Summer Fragrances // Summer Colors // Ready for Summer?
- Outdoor Entertaining // Backyard Makeover // Get out the BBQ.
- Skin Care for the New Year // Pampering your FEET // Feel Younger NOW.
I have found success with all 4 methods. Sometimes the first event doesn’t go well but that’s not necessarily a reflection of the events to come. You’ll need to build consistency so your customers know what to expect. Make sure you:
- Promote the event in your VIP Group or on your Facebook Business Page.
- Send out text, email, and FB Messages to let your customers know what you’re up to.
- Create ‘hype’ around the event by offering a special if they RSVP or invite friends.
- FOLLOW UP!!! Customers forget – so anyone that was interested or RSVPs YES, should get a reminder via email 24 hours before and a 30 minute reminder (via text or FB Messenger).
(Hint: Did you know you can send email from your YouCanFollow.Me account?)
All of this will eventually lead to the question: HOW DOES THE CUSTOMER PAY YOU?
You should offer them several methods. I have found the most commonly used apps are Venmo and Paypal. But I have offered Facebook Pay, Zelle, and occasionally credit cards (if you have a way to use their card as a partial payment on an order that comes to you). You’ll have to find out what method your customer wants to use, and then send them your payment info for that app.
OR you can use youcanfollow.me to manage your direct sales biz, where you can have links available to ALL your preferred methods. So you can avoid the entire conversation by just saying “Go to my youcanfollow.me page and scroll to the bottom to choose your preferred payment method”.
If you found this article helpful please share with your tribe. And if you have any feedback, questions or other ideas, comment below.