Thursday, October 11, 2012

What if?

"What" and "If" are two words as non-threatening as words can be. But put them together side-by-side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life: What if? What if? What if? - Letters to Juliet

I sat thinking about this scene in the movie today. The speech during the wedding scene held many emotions. The character spoke of finding love, but I want you to take a minute and reflect on how these two words can make a shift in every area of your life. I've listed some of my own "What if's" , we all have them. I find that the key to no regrets in life is acting on the "What if's". Every day, an ordinary, seemingly innocent one can startle you.

"Hey, Kathleen, the sun is shining! What if you took a break and went for a 20 minute walk? 
Would you feel better? 
Would the world stop because it caught you taking a break?  

What if?

What if money was no object? Would you be doing what you're doing right this minute? Do you connect your passion for life to your career?

What if?

What if you made those airplane reservations and planned that trip you've dreamed about for years?

What if? 

What if you tossed away the fears and rode the wave of "I did it before, I can do it again? Put the pain behind and launch a new path, using what you've learned and then some.

What if?

What if you succeed? What if that wonderful idea really is the key to your success? What if you don't try it?

It's easy to let the "What if's? loom large over your life. Perhaps the best first step to a "What if?" is to take a leap of faith. Write it out, look at it from a new perspective. I like to add a third small word to that phrase.  

What if it?  For me, that third word takes what if and grounds the dream. It launches me into action. 
So I have one question for you?
What if it........

I hope that you'll grab a pen & paper and write down the "What if" that has appeared in your life today! Please feel free to comment below and share it with us!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Brown Bag Lunch or Tea Party Time!

The art of Afternoon Tea can transport you to a wonderful world of bliss and tranquility. Let's bring a bit of that to the office! Celebrating an occasion such as a birthday, engagement or baby shower with co workers at the office can be challenging. A tea party at lunch time is just the right touch.
Instead of brown bagging it; Tea Bag it!      

  • Grab your stash of pretty cards (you know the ones, you've been saving them!) and invite your co workers to Afternoon tea during Lunch Time.
  • Ask them to bring their favorite teacup or pretty mug.
  •  Ask each guest to bring: one sandwich(crusts cut off) and cut into quarters-try egg salad, turkey and                cranberries, ham and pineapple -each guest will enjoy four different finger sandwiches! (1/4 of each sandwich)bring 4 of their favorite tea sachets(or bags)/to share their favorite blend   (one for each guest) 
  •  bring 4 sweet treats-bite size brownies, shortbread cookies, lemon bars etc.-what a great way to indulge without overdoing! (one for each guest)

As Hostess you will want to bring four (or more depending on your quest list) pretty paper plates and napkins.  Also make sure you have boiling water for your tea, preferably not micro-waved
. And who can resist a small bouquet of flowers- a small pots of mums can also be used as favors- one for each guest to bring back to their desk!
How can you adapt this for your office/work setting? We'd love to hear how your coworkers enjoyed it! Please do post your comments below, we look forward to reading and responding to them!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Creating a Tea Experience that Sells! Part 4

As we wind up this series on successful selling experiences for your tea business, themes for your presentations is the perfect topic!
You know it, and your customers know it! GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN!
Incorporating themed ideas into your presentation will ramp up that wow factor to help you get the "booking" and help with great attendance. Women are busy, that's a given and if you give them a reason to squeeze your event into their busy schedule then you have them. So let's give a reason for them to have fun! Yes, they  like you and your products, but they may need a bit more to convince them, so what kind of themes can you use to create this fun atmosphere without hiring an event planner? So grab a pen and paper and copy some of these ideas to get your own ideas flowing!

  • Seasonal Holidays-these occur almost monthly and already have the recognition you're looking for!
  • Local Happenings-is there a strawberry festival you can hitch your ideas to? 
  • Local Experiences- Is your area known for their Renaissance Fair or Victorian Holiday-use this theme to expand on what they already do and are known for
  • Mystery! Everyone loves a good mystery and it is easily adaptable into the tea party experience
  • Charitable Events- chose a charity and their color scheme and logo to add to your tea party, infact, many charities now have an association with a certain month that you can use to promote your event
  • Use your hobbies and abilities to add to the wow factor! Do you love to garden, this is a great draw to your guests! Use your garden for the location, menu and decor. They will love the atmosphere this brings to the party.
  • Movies and books-Who doesn't love a good movie? You see "Downton Abbey" tea parties all over the world, get in on it while you can or choose and oldie but goodie of your own. And speaking of Jane Austen, okay, speaking of books, you can find quite alot of great party ideas, decor and more on facebook and the blog world to help you! You can even celebrate the authors birthdate with a party! Jane's is in Dec.
  • Victorian Dress up- The addition of "Hats and Gloves are to be enjoyed" on your invite will create an amazing sense fun and friendship to your party
These are just a few ideas to get your head around the theme approach! There are so many that can help you add that wow factor that your hosts and customers are looking for. 
Once you've chosen your theme, incorporate it into your tea party. Bring the theme to your invites, table settings, product display, music and food prepared by your host. This will help your customers feel the excitement and become part of the theme experience. Remember to set a budget, and partner with your Hostess to bring the themed party together. Her involvement is key! You may even find that you have a new following of customers who will attend your themes if you hold them on a monthly schedule! Remember, fun is what will create an amazing tea experience that sells.

Have you held a themed tea party before? What is your favorite idea? We'd love to hear about your own ideas and experiences! Please post your comments below, our readers and dying to see what you've tried or are thinking!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Creating a Tea Experience that sells! Part 2

In my previous post, the necessity for a great product line was discussed. Now let's take that product line on  the road!
When most people think of a tea business, there mind automatically goes to opening a tea room.  A tea room is a small restaurant style establishment that serves tea, pastries and often times lunch to people from a brick and mortar location. There is quite alot in running a tea room, much more than most owners prepare themselves for. Don't get me wrong, for quite a while, it was a dream of mine too!

Let's do a tea party and make a profit with all the fun of a tearoom but with out all the staff and their payroll, dirty dishes and overhead of the location.

With a home based tea business, you are the tea expert. You take your 3 bins on the road to a hostess' home. Once there, you share your tea expertise with the host and her guests, creating a wonderful tea party atmosphere that the guests will want to recreate when they get home! That's the basic format, the "Home Party". But because this is your business, you can create other styles of selling! Yes, the Home Party is often the best way to get a group of buyers together, but it's not the only way to market yourself and your wares.
And then there is that ever present question, the one that is always asked. What do you do when no one wants to hold a party? We'll talk about offering themed tea parties as a way to keep everyone excited, including yourself in Part 4, for now, let's look at the different selling options.

Let's take a look at our 4 main selling styles:

  • Home Parties- selling to a group of guests in one focused presentation
  • One on One's-selling to one/two at the most-teaching about tea and finding just the right personal touch
  • Catalog Parties- We create a unique experience with this style, calling it a Tea Party in a Bag
  • Online Parties- Events held on Facebook or thru email
There are also selling venues such as a craft show or event that we will get to on another post!
When you keep your calendar full of appointments using all four of these selling styles, you will be very pleased with the results. Not only will you be presenting your product line to a lot of customers, but you will be using time to it's best advantage. No one wants to be out, doing parties every night of the week. Especially if you have a family life to balance. Conducting several of each of the different types of selling styles each month will keep you busy, balanced and growing a strong business with a profit! That's the trick of it really, using your talents and these 4 selling styles to make the sale!

How do you feel about these selling styles? Do you find success with one more than the other? I'd love to hear about your experiences or if your brand new, what are you looking forward to? Please post your comments below, and I'll be posting replies shortly.

Creating a Tea Experience that Sells! Part 3

As cooler mornings welcome us, Americans are reaching for their mugs of steaming tea! Cooler weather makes for HOT profits! In part 3 of our series, Creating Tea Experiences that Sell, we will be looking at the hot topic, Facebook Parties so grab your pen and paper to get these ideas working for you immediately.

A Facebook Party has much in common with a catalog party. It's easy to put together, you can do several at a time and the Hostesses love getting the rewards for "just passing the catalog around" But you and I both know that there is more to it than that. In fact, if you don't use several guidelines before hand, you may as well just toss those catalogs out! And it's the same for a Facebook Party! Remember, your time is the most valuable resource you have, so plan ahead to get the most profits by using your time wisely.

First, let's set a few guidelines for your Facebook Party:
 (these would be valuable for your Catalog Shows as well)

  • Get a guest list from your Host  
  • Set  Starting and Closing Dates for the Party
  • Get your Host involved in the commenting, reviewing, and testimonials (She is after all your partner)
  • Get a sample and invite out in the mail too! 
In any 'Selling Style" when a group of people are involved, a guest list is a must. It's your best path to follow up with people, as the party progresses. And we all know that the fortune is in the follow up! Even if all the Hostess has is email addresses for her guests, get a list! This is your business, these are your future customers, you can get the other contact info from them at a later point, but you need a guest list in order to do this.  Having your Host just click on people she feels like inviting from her "friend" list is a "Spray & Pray" method that will leave you wondering and praying for sales.

A date for your Party is expected, but take it one step further and set a closing date. This will honor those that order early, by getting their products to them in a timely fashion, and it will create a sense of urgency for those who procrastinate. Stick to those dates, don't extend the party in hopes of more sales! (Only a few dollars will trickle in and now you've sent the wrong message to those wonderful customers that did order) You can offer a small incentive for early birds if you'd like, but don't give away the farm, your company already offers some great specials, use those!

Getting your Host involved is key in the success of this Selling Style! She is your relationship builder! She is your partner and your gateway to the guests. They will be watching for her activity, her suggestions and her pointers! Use her, in fact, discuss this with her ahead of time. Ask her those same "Hostess Coaching" questions as if you were attending her home. What kind of tea would she like to serve, those are the teas to discuss online and perhaps send a sample of to the guests. What kind of scones, post a comment about her favorite flavor and why she loves it! Create some activity and get the guests involved in the discussion about how easy the scones are to make, etc. 

Get a tea sample, an Afternoon Tea Postcard or another favorite visual out in the mail with a Thank you card to each guest. Here's an inexpensive way to deepen the relationship with a guest that you may not ever meet in person!

Now, let's get to the FUN! Remember, EVERYONE is on Facebook for FUN!  How do you create fun?
Set up the Party as an event in your business page (You MUST have a business page or FB will shut you down) Get as many of the senses involved as you can! Use music, product videos, and display photos to create that fun atmosphere that your company is known for. What videos has your company made, what quick clips can you make?  These will make your Event stand out!  Give some thought to these and you may find that you can use the same ones over and over. Create Facebook Events that will bring in profits for your business!

Did you pick up a few tips in this post? We'd love to hear your ideas on how you will be using Facebook to create your own selling style. Please post your comments below. Thanks and have a tea-rific day!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Creating a Tea Experience that sells! Part 1

Tea is a wonderful drink. And when shared with a friend, it becomes something more. Now add some delicious food and pretty tea ware and it becomes an experience!

How do you take this tea experience and share it with others to build a business and make a profit? Let's look at the "givens", the items you'll need for the business and then we'll delve into the different approaches to share the tea and how to make your profit.

To run a successful tea business, you'll need what we refer to as the "Givens"

  • Tea, great quality and several types (Black, Oolong, Green, White)
  • Tea pot, tea strainer, tea cups, tea scoop
  • Fresh cold water
  • Kettle (electric is great and fast)
Then add to that your "Pretties", the tea ware that makes "taking tea" a memorable experience
  • Tea Cozy
  • Scones
  • Curd, Jam & Cream
  • Pretty China
  • Dainty silver teaspoons
And the list could go on with those "Pretties" but we'll stop there.  So as you can see, besides the tea leaves, you'll need some practical items to make the tea, in order to make the sale. In other words, you need a strong  product line that can offer your customers a way to re-create the experience you provide them. 

One of the best reasons to join a direct selling company is a signature product line backed up by a catalog so that you don't have to carry inventory or deal with suppliers. Think about the money sitting on the floor of your local Target or Walmart! Now think about the money involved in filling the shelves of your local dress shop or florist! Thousands of dollars are required every month to keep those shelves filled. When you launch a direct selling tea business you can control where your money goes. Some months, when gift giving is a big draw like Christmas and Mother's Day, you may want to have some stock on hand for cash and carry sales. 
However, many sales can be made with your display and demonstration products and your catalog can back you up.

If tea is your passion, you'll want to make sure that you can carry those items that you love, at a price you and your customers can afford, that will show off your favorite styles and special talents in your business. 

In our next post, we'll discuss taking these products on the road, and several selling styles to present tea to your customers in order to make the sale.

Are there specific items you can think of that you'll need to demonstrate with your customer to make a great cup of tea? I'd love to hear your suggestions, so please feel free to comment below!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The 3 C's of Building your Customer List

Let's face it! Anyone in sales knows that it's a contact sport. You need to get out there on the game field and meet people every day. A great goal is to add at least one new contact to your customer list every day, but then comes the play where most in direct sales stumble and drop the ball.

Let's take a minute to discuss the 3 C's . I guarantee that you'll make a touch down and have scores of customers cheering you on.

  • Capture- Capture someone everyday! No don't tackle them and drag them home. Capture their contact info so that you can follow up, build a relationship and turn them into a customer. I suggest you keep several tea samples in your purse for meeting people in person. These should be in a clear marketing envelope with your business card. Trade this sample for their contact info. Pull out a pretty little notebook with a pen and offer this first to them. Direct them to write down the easiest way to reach them, and ask to to also include their mailing address.Mention that you would like to send another sample in the mail.  
  • Connect-  Okay, huddle up, TEAm. This is the big play! Take that contact info and add it to your Referral Database! Write a them a notecard, send an Item of Value, call & pop-by- CONNECT with them to strengthen the relationship.  So many consultants in the direct selling industry are one hit wonders, and the customers know this. They expect you to drop the ball and never contact them again. (Sad, but true. ) 
  • Convert- This is the touchdown, the winning point! The more you connect with your referral base, (Hosts and Clients are a part of this too!) the more they know, like and trust you! When this happens you convert a contact into a life long client who purchases from you and refers you to family and friends. Listen, Conversion takes time. It is not a micro wave process. This is putting together a winning strategy for a season of great sales!
Are you ready for a season of Wins? Take a moment to write down which of the 3 C's you are already doing, and then which one you need to practice. I'd love to hear about your new fall season playbook and how the 3 C's will help you . You can leave your comments and questions below, and we'll happily respond to them.