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. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Keep them coming back for more! 3 simple things to do.

Want to know what 3 simple and cost effective things you can do to keep them coming back for more? Things that are so unexpected in this business atmosphere that your clients will enjoy hearing from you, even look forward to it!

You know as a business owner that it is easier to keep a client than it is to find a new one. How do you build a relationship when your customers are holding back, timid about this relationship because every business wants a piece of them?

Reassure them- Write a notecard without a sales or product pitch of any kind involved. Just say hello, it was a pleasure to meet you, thank you-whatever is appropriate. Do this on a consistent basis, say once a month if they are a good client.
Keep a few cards, all stamped and ready to go in your purse, and a basket of cards and envelopes with stamps in your kitchen or on your bedside table. Make it easy to do and you'll do it!

Shake their Hand- Stop in, Pop-by to say hello! As you are out and about doing your errands, plan your trip to include a 5 minute pop-by. You can give them a quick call as you leave your house, to give them a heads up that you're going to be in the neighborhood and want to dash by and say hello. With this hello, bring a small gift. This gift should be a small token or gesture, a subtle way of saying that they matter to you. Think of items that coordinate with the season, or your product line. Wrap it like it cost a million bucks and smile when you present it to them! Talk for 2 minutes and then say, Thank you for all you do and dash off. That's it!

Offer them Valuable information that will help them, teach them and inspire them. It doesn't need to be a newsletter. Tips on your service or products, the industry that you are involved in offer a great way to connect. Include a cover letter that lets them know who you are, how valuable this info is and give them permission to share it, then in closing ask them to take the next step, whether it's to join you on facebook or that you are never too busy for their referrals. Send this out once a month, preferably at the same time each month.  They will come to expect your mailing and look forward to this quick read!

A system for these 3 simple and cost effective tools will help you create an engaged client base. A network of people who will support you and refer you! Our TEAm of Consultants use our system to build their home-based businesses.

Try these three things, for one month with 12 of your clients and let me know what you think. I'd love to hear how your clients react, and how you accomplished it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Gratitude is the best foundation for a business!

Gratitude is more than teaching your children to say thank you and it's just as important in your business as it is in your family life.
Showing your customers that you care about them is important. Your customers are so distracted and overwhelmed by their phones, computers and daily life that it will take your gratitude to scale the wall and make an impression on them.
How do you show your gratitude? How do you create a door in that wall and build a relationship on the other side?
It really doesn't take much. In fact, to stand out in the crowd it just takes a little bit! A little bit more listening, A little bit more effort. A little bit more time to show them they mean a lot to you; they are important and they are valued.
We have a system. We teach our Consultants to reach out and connect with their client base every day, every week and every month. By writing 2 note cards a day, popping by to say hello with a small gift and sending a piece of mail that makes them smile and offers value- they will continually build relationships. This system creates a dynamic connection with your customers.
Showing them how grateful you are to have them as customers, hosts and friends will help you grow your business and keep you servant oriented. Serving from your heart, with gratitude shining through, is the best foundation for any business.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Principles don't change, Tactics do!

If you are anything like me, and my TEAm of consultants, then you are probably connected to social media.
If you're connected to social media to grow your business then your head is constantly buzzing! Buzzing so much and so loud that you alone are keeping Tylenol in business!

 How do you know which guru to listen to, which coach to spend your money with? How on earth do you keep up!
Honestly, I don't think you can. Not any more. Technology moves, breathes and changes so quickly that only a few can keep up. The rest of us can stay connected and jog alongside them even a few steps behind them. That's okay, it's how they get their rush and how we stay sane.
Keep in mind though, that social media is a tactic. They like to use the word "platform". It's the latest and greatest way to reach your Market, your clients, your "soon to be-boy, I could use some more clients". There is no doubt about it, the easiest way to reach people right now, is to be online with them. Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, just to name a few are boasting millions of followers. If you've got a service and a product then you have to have a presence, a page, a board, a tweet. This is how your customers are going to find you. But how do they get to know YOU?

How do you create a real relationship with your customers? Because, that's the one thing that hasn't changed. The principle of doing business has not changed. People need to know, like and trust you before they buy, rent, click or "Like" you.
This principle of business is what you need to build on. Day by Day, stone by stone you need to lay a foundation for your business. It's not hard. In fact, it's rewarding, gratifying and comes from your heart.
This is where service comes in too, but that's for another post.
Be yourself, connect with real people, by reaching them in an old fashioned way-a smile, a handshake, a birthday greeting. Those tactics never go out of style. Creating relationships is always the best way of doing business, it's the principle that will always keep you in business.

You can get our Free Report on 5 Keys to Running a Successful Tea Business for Profit here at our website.We look forward to hearing from you in a few days, to discuss the principles of your business.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tea Party Divas don't like to do dishes!

Many of you have asked, so I thought I'd share. I hate doing the laundry and I don't like to wash silverware! That's why a traveling tea party business is the one for me. Don't get me wrong, I love tearooms. I love being a guest at a tearoom. I sit there and sip my tea and am glad that I can pay my check after a lovely tea time with my friend or daughter and leave the dishes to someone else!
So, what do I mean by a traveling tea party business? My business is based from home. I work from my laptop, smartphone and printer. I have a large rubbermaid bin with my product display, a cute black and white tote bag for my catalogs, order forms and samples and a good size basket for my prizes. (That's one thing I love to do, give away prizes like I'm Monty Hall). I travel with these things from home to home and I teach women about tea. How to make it, how to enjoy it and laugh alot doing it.
In serving tea, I do more than serve. God's given me a way to reach people, and it's through tea. After 5 years, it still amazes me.
A traveling tea business is easy on the overhead. You work from home. It's easy on the family, you put them into your schedule first and then figure out how much you want to work and travel to tea parties. It's easy on your hands because you're not the one cleaning up after the party. You pack away your lovely things into your bins and baskets and the hostess is thanking you for everything you did while she cleans the kitchen and does the dishes! And get this, my hostesses have become some of my best friends and some of my best business buddies.
So I'll continue to enjoy collecting the vintage tea cups and dishes, serve tea to wonderful women and let them clean up.

P.S  I love this idea from Country Living Magazine, serving soup from your teacup. Perfect for a bridal shower :)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Just a little note

One of the easiest ways to stay in touch with someone is a notecard. So simple, yet fast becoming a forgotten art. It's so fun to write a card, choosing a pretty one, purchasing pretty stamps and using a favorite pen. Why then, don't we do it more often?
Take a few minutes, and put together a small basket with a pack of 10-12 notecards and envelopes, stamps with a pen.
Keep it within reach where you are most likely to use it! I have a little basket in my car and one at my nightstand.
Now make a pledge to yourself to write 2 a day! Reach out to family, friends and as a business owner-your Customers! Yes, imagine how you would feel if your dentist dropped a card to you (even if his receptionist wrote it) just to say hello. It would make you feel better about his services and you would be more likely to refer him because you would have been reminded of him and what he has to offer.
This is what your customers need! A non-salesy way of being reminded of you, your services and that they really do enjoy hearing from you.
A simple 2 line friendly greeting is all that is needed. It's enough to make someone smile, and hey who doesn't need that these days?
Yes, email is easy, but are you sure that they are reading your emails? When the inbox is swamped and time to read them is less and less everyday the delete button gets alot of action. A pretty notecard, with a pretty stamp and a handwritten address gets opened immediately. Read, re-read and may even end up on the fridge!
It's so much fun to get a card in the mail, so make someone's day and keep in touch with your customers! What a great way to build customer service into your business toolbox too!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Do you have a plan to meet People?

Your business relies on building relationships. You need to meet PEOPLE in order to establish these relationships.
This should be the main focus of your Marketing Plan. Take a few minutes today and list the groups, organizations, and networks you belong to. Think of the different aspects of your life, the different branches of your family and who you meet through them. Getting out several times a month to connect with people is the objective, and belonging to these groups will enable you to do that.

Face to Face is the next step in strengthening your relationships. There's a great book out called, Never Eat Alone, which is just the point; spend time with others and be curious about their lives. Ask questions and then, Listen! Growing a relationship takes time, and you must consider this time an investment in your business. Each person you meet is a deposit in your "People Bank", your income account!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Do you love to share your fav's?

I believe the best way to get referrals for your business is to GIVE them!

As women, we love to find out where the best hairdresser in town is. When we see a gal with a great pair of shoes or handbag we give the compliment and quickly find out where she got them!  It can be the same for your business! One tool I love to use is a "Wealth Tracker". This is a list of all the service and professional people I personally use. These are the people I trust, so why not throw business their way and refer them to others. The fortune though is in the follow up. Give a call, or shoot an email out to that friendly dry cleaner you just told a new neighbor about so that they know you are a referrer and they can expect some new business.
Let them know that this is how you do business too, and ask them to keep you in mind the next time the opportunity arises!