When it comes to personal safety a number of people find themselves either overprotective or on the other side of the aisle, naÃ¯ve that anything bad could come their way or that they could be inadvertently putting themselves in harm’s way. This is also true for Direct Sellers. For many, becoming a direct sales consultant is their first experience in owning a business and all that comes with sharing their product and themselves with others, particularly with strangers who could end up being customers, hosts or team members.
Test your personal safety knowledge. Below are five actual scenarios. Decide if you think each one is a good idea or bad. Then check your answers at the bottom of the page.
Good idea or Bad?
- At the conclusion of a vendor event, your booth neighbor yells across to you, “Hey, how’d you do?” You respond with “Great! I sold about $1,000″ (or whatever amount of sales you had).
- You meet someone in the parking lot of McDonald’s who sees that you’re a Scentsy consultant and wants to know if you happen to have a particular product with you. You don’t have it in your car, but you do at home so you ask the customer to follow you home because you have “˜a lot of inventory’. After all, it could be a great sale that you sure could use.
- You have a website but you don’t want to put your full name or photo on it because you’re not comfortable with strangers knowing who you are or how to contact you. Instead you just use your first name or a company name and use a photo of the catalog or product as your display image.
- To increase business, advertise your open house on Craig’s List or with outdoor signage because they’re free to use.
- You want to create a friendly environment among your team members so you post consultants’ birthdays on your team forum or in your newsletter.
No peeking “¦
1. Bad idea. (Sales at vendor events) You’ve just notified all within earshot that you have a wad of cash and credit card info on you. It wouldn’t be too difficult for an unscrupulous one to follow you out in the parking lot or home.
Better: Definitely don’t shout your response back across the room. First of all you’re not obligated to answer every question that is asked of you; is it really anyone’s business how much $ you are holding? If you must respond, be noncommittal in your answer. You could say “Great”. “Not Bad”. “Made rent” (means you made enough to at least cover your booth rental fee). “Could always do better”. “They seemed to be in a buying mood”, or something along those lines. Now is not time to brag about your sales. If you truly had a good event, then your nosy neighbor likely already saw the customers making numerous transactions.
2. Bad idea. (McDonald’s customer follows you home) Not only is it a bad idea; it’s a terrible idea. If you don’t know this person, he/she is a stranger. Inviting a complete stranger into your home to see your inventory worth hundreds or thousands of dollars is asking for trouble. At that point you don’t even know if the person genuinely wants to make a purchase or just wants to size up the contents of your home to return later to burglarize it.
Better: Let the person know that you have it at home and you’d be happy to meet her back here in 30 minutes or tomorrow or whenever you can make the delivery. Then you return home alone. If you think there may be some additional items purchased, bring along a few additional products.
3. Bad idea. (No name or photo on website) As a rule people do business with those they know, trust, or are referrals. If none of those apply, they may do business with someone who appears to be a legitimate business owner. If you’re asking someone to purchase something from you or from your website, you really need to have your real name and a photo visible. With no shortage of consultants they can make a purchase from, you want to be viewed as a person, a person who can offer customer service – not simply as a website. Think about it – would you just blindly enter your credit card number on a website without so much as a point of contact – in the form of a real name? I sure wouldn’t.
Better: In this day and age, it’s not terribly difficult to look someone up on the internet and find their contact information, so why not use it to your advantage. This one really is not a personal safety issue but some erroneously think it is. Use your full name and a nice head shot of your beautiful face. If you’re not comfortable putting yourself out there to market yourself and your business, perhaps now isn’t a good time to be in business – as that is one of the basic necessities.
4. Bad idea. (Craig’s List/Signs for open house) See Number 2 above. Your home is your safe haven for you and your family. Unless you have a separate office space with a separate entrance from the rest of your home, do not invite strangers into your home. I’m not talking about hosting a party, inviting your friends and encouraging them to bring friends. At least with that method, someone you know is bringing someone they know into your home. Rather Craig’s List has been known to not always have the most saintly characters responding. You also can’t possibly know the moral character of anyone who may see your open house sign on a street corner.
Better: Don’t do it. But if you simply must engage in this practice, set it up in the garage. Keep strangers out of your sanctuary.
5. Bad idea. (Birthday shout outs) While it’s a nice thought, publicly posting someone’s birthday could be putting your team members’ identity at risk. A 2012 study reported that more than 11.6 million adults became a victim of identity fraud in the United States. The report also took the nation’s most comprehensive quantitative look at consumer behavior and fraud and found consumers’ social media and mobile behaviors may be putting them at greater risk. One key element needed for someone who wants to steal another’s identity is their birthday. Because you don’t know every person who reads your forum or newsletter well enough to trust them with team members’ personal and private information, it’s irresponsible to post others’ birthdays in a public setting.
Better: Send them a private birthday card, they’ll appreciate it more and it doesn’t put their identity at risk.
Well, how did you do? Did any of these answers surprise you? Did you learn anything? I hope so and I hope starting tomorrow you’ll be just a little more vigilant as you go about growing your business.
Here’s to success”¦ now be safe!
About the Author: Laurie Ayers is a Michigan work from home mom who started her first direct sales business in 1988. She is currently a Superstar Director with Scentsy Fragrance and President of Income Wax, Inc. She enjoys helping men and women start and maintain a home based business throughout the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, Germany, Ireland and the UK. You can learn more about her at https://www.ThrivingCandleBusiness.com