Direct sales is a lot of work.
If you are doing it for anything more than getting a discount on the products you buy, you need a sales plan, organization, and ways to increase your warm market (the people you know and sell to). Lucky for us, there are amazing tools, resources and social media available to help us gain customers, stay organized and expand our skills.
Here are the top tools I use for my direct sales businesses (in no particular order):
Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning , at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. You can read my full disclaimer here.
Stamps.com saves me time and money on all of my shipping. As a direct seller with inventory, this is essential to my business. For a monthly fee of $15.99 (this price may change in the future) I am able to print unlimited labels at postage prices that are discounted from regular USPS prices. This also saves me from hand-writing labels and from having to wait in line at the post office to ship. In business, time is money, and this is a great way to save some of both of those things. By the way, it’s also super handy around Christmas when I’m shipping gifts to my nephews and parents!
- storing addresses in the address book for easy access and printing
- history of printed postage and dates mailed for easy reference
- and the ability to email a tracking number to the person you are shipping to at the time of printing.
I use all of these functions on a regular basis, and they make my life much easier in the shipping department.
If you want to sign up, here is a $100 offer. Including a free digital scale and $45 in postage use the code C-DV4Z-Z24 during your registration process at Stamps.com
Along with Stamps.com, Amazon Prime saves me time and money on shipping. It also saves me time and money on just about everything else as well. With free 2-day shipping, I can get all of my business supplies to my door fast. Which is great since I can’t ever remember to order until last minute. Not only does this save me from going to the office supply store at the last minute with 2 kids in tow, it saves me money as most items I get are cheaper on Amazon anyway. Things like poly mailers, postage labels, bubble mailers, ribbon, printer paper, post it notes, clothing racks (yes, I had to purchase one last minute. I had expanded my inventory and had a vendor event where everything needed to be hung!) So, pretty much everything. Even the things you don’t expect to need last minute.
On top of the last minute things, Amazon Prime is great for getting the expensive things you need on sale! With Prime Day in the summer, (check out my article here) and weeks of special pricing around the holidays in November and December, you are bound to find what you need at a discount. Last year I got a DYMO label printer for almost half price and an all-in-one printer on a great sale as well!
Its also awesome for last minute and holiday gifts! Each prime account can have 2 profiles, which is great for my family because my husband and I buy our gifts for each other on Amazon. This keeps him from snooping at what he’s getting. (OK, me too.)
Overall, the savings and fast shipping is worth the $99 per year. If you’d like to try it out for free for 30 days see if it would be worth it to you, you can click this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial
Sassy Suite is a social media marketing haven. All of my online success in my direct sales businesses are due to this site and the founder, Brenda Ster. I know it sounds crazy, but hear me out. Brenda Ster is a social marketing genius. She gives you all the knowledge you could need, to know how to sell online without being spammy, and how to grow your customer base organically. There’s information and a course for everyone, no matter what your social media needs are. Including Facebook parties, Pinterest and Instagram courses for even the newest beginner and a branding course so you can learn how to create your own branding and make your own graphics. There are also tons of resources and insights offered on the website and in her blog, a free e-book and access to a huge online community of like-minded people. All of whom want to help each other succeed. Oh, she also has set up a free online direct sellers and services directory. (I super recommend setting up your free listing. I have had several leads stem from Sassy Direct)
If you are going to be creating your own branding and graphics, you need a program that is able to create what you envision. PicMonkey is that program. There are tons of free fonts, overlays, borders, frames, and effects to work with to make your perfect graphic. You then have the ability to save any of your designs straight to your computer as a .jpg or .png depending on what you need.
If you are looking for extra design elements and font options, you can upgrade to PicMonkey Premium (this is what I use). Here’s a run down of all the benefits of paying an annual fee of $47.88 or a monthly fee of $7.99 (you save $4.00 per month doing the annual membership):
- You can save on the PicMonkey Hub, which allows you to edit your masterpiece even after saving and allows you to access your work across device
- Templates. Lots of designer templates that you can edit to make your own, while saving yourself time.Extra touch-up features. Like erasing your thumb, or those random people behind your hilarious child’s antics.
- Premium fonts. Premium font effects. Pretty much hours of playtime, if you like fonts like I do.
And tons more….
Also, as a premium member you will be the first to know about and be able to use new features. If you’re interested in trying Premium, you can sign up for a 7-day free trial to test out the waters.
This is the first of two scheduling tools that I have for you. Tailwind schedules to Pinterest for you at times when your followers are most active. It took me about a week to figure out the ins and outs, but that’s probably because I was trying to do it without the tutorial. Now that I have it down, I won’t ever give it up. Anyone that sells anything should be capitalizing on the giant search engine that is Pinterest. Whether it is products, services or a blog, you should be on Pinterest.
The thing with Pinterest though, is that you need to be pinning regularly to be relevant and in people’s feeds. This is where Tailwind comes in. With Tailwind, you can spend a bit of time once a day or once a week, whatever is best for your schedule, pinning to your queue. Then the app does the rest by pinning to the appropriate board at the times that your pins will get the most exposure.
Along with pinning for you, Tailwind now has Tailwind Tribes. With tribes, you can share your pins with a group of people who are sharing their pins with you. Then schedule what you like to you boards. You get more exposure, because other people are pinning your original content, and they do it because you are pinning theirs. It’s an awesome win-win!
You can try it here with 100 pins FREE!
Last, but I couldn’t live without it:
This is magic from the direct sales gods. Have a Facebook party coming up? How about scheduling all of your posts so you dont have to live by your watch to make sure everything gets posted? Of scheduling all of your posts for party night ahead of time, so you can actually interact and make connections with your future customers? What about if you are going on vacation, and you don’t want engagement in your group to suffer? These are just a few ways you can utilize cinchshare to boost your business. Cinchshare makes it super easy to repeat posts too, so you don’t have to re-write your script for every event.
I honestly couldn’t run my direct sales businesses without this one. I am not very organized, and well- I have a 3 year old who always needs me right now when I am about to start a party. Cinchshare puts me at ease, knowing I won’t forget or miss any party post. Use code CSfree at Cinchshare.com to try it for 37 days free.
Without these six programs and resources I doubt that I would be making any money with my businesses, and probably would’ve thrown in the towel a year ago. As I have discovered these, I have seen my every day workload get lighter. While not every task on my to-do list can be automated or shortened, The ones that can have made a huge difference.
These are my “can’t live without” tools for my businesses. Do you have any tools you use that you just love? Have you tried any of these? Tell me your thoughts, recommendations and tips in the comments!