Customers and new reps often ask me "How did you get into this business? Why?"
First let me dispel a few assumptions.
- I don't have a background in sales. In fact the only job I previously had that involved "cold selling" was a disaster - I was selling advertising space in magazines and I failed spectacularly. People just didn't want the product.
- I don't have a background in beauty or cosmetics products. In fact I rarely wore them and hadn't a clue about the best way to apply them
- I'm not "naturally" social. Put me in a room of people and I shake like a jelly. I lacked confidence and would never talk in front of a group.
- I didn't have a huge network of friends and contacts to sell to. 85% of my first customers were unknown to me, although many have now become friends.
So as you can see, I came to this business pretty unprepared!
So what made me pick Avon?
It's simple. I answered a facebook advertisement. But why?
I had been working on and off from home as a freelance author and editor for several years, since my children had started at school. I found home working to be far easier with the various commitments I had around school, medical appointments, after school activities etc. I was a frequent parent helper in class.
My husband commutes to his work and often works long hours so I was always on standby to collect a sick child or be "Mum's taxi". Its an experience many parents have. My social life, such as it was, centred around the school run and play dates. Outside of that, I knew very few people and I have no local family.
It could be pretty lonely TBH. Having struggled for years with anxiety and depression, I wasn't the most outgoing person and actively avoided group activities.
Now my youngest was starting high school. Suddenly no more school run. No parent helpers required in high school. No play dates requiring Mum to be there.
I found myself falling more and more into a pattern of not leaving the house. Depression came back. I needed something to get me out, something that gave me more than a virtual social life of contacts through facebook.
Odd then, that my new life came as a result of a facebook ad!
I wasn't consciously looking for a new career, or even a part-time job. I'd seen and scrolled past many such ads before. To this day I don't know what made me pick this particular one to ask for more information.
But I'm so glad I did.
So I clicked "interested" and within hours had an appointment for a lady to come visit me and tell me all about joining Avon. I was still sceptical. Was this really me? She assured me that I could just give it a try and see how I got on, no long-term commitment and no huge upfront cost. Just hand out a few books to the few friends I had, and deliver some to my neighbours and a couple of streets beyond. It was fine to just post them through doors, no need to confront people on their doorsteps (I was very glad of that).
I seriously did not expect it to work. But still. I had these 20 books sitting there. It was worth a try.
At first, friends weren't interested. Some of them already knew someone who sold Avon. Others weren't interested in beauty products or had no spare money to spend. It seemed doomed to failure. One even actively tried to discourage me saying it was all a scam. So I decided I had to get rid of these books somehow, I'd try door-to-door instead.
I typed up a little note to go with each book explaining I was a new rep and would collect the book in 2 days. I took a deep breath and ventured down my own road. One book through each door then back to the safety of home. Shaking. Feeling this was pointless. (I had a very negative mindset back then.)
Imagine my surprise
Within a couple of hours, I'd had three books posted back through my door, all with orders in. One lady (who lived a few doors away but whom I'd never met) had even written a note of her own saying how pleased she was that someone was now doing Avon as she had missed it for years.
Two days later I went back and picked up the rest of my books. Some people had ordered nothing. A couple had written "No more books thank you". Several had ordered one or maybe two small items. Two had filled the page!
From 20 books, I had orders of over £180. Instantly earning myself 25% of that for around an hour's work.
In the next few days I repeated this, putting new forms in with the books and taking them to more houses. Picking them up and moving on to the next 20. Less than an hour each time. Within 10 days it was time to submit my first order - a total of £578.
My upline was astounded. She gave me so much praise I felt like I'd won the lottery. This taught me something important.
Recognition is so valuable, particularly when you are starting out.
It's something I would carry forward with me when I later decided to build my own team.
So this seemed to be working.
I delivered my orders and met those who had ordered. Lots of lovely new people who were friendly and welcoming. This was great!
My upline invited me to a meeting. Now this was new territory. A group of people I'd never met? Most of whom had been doing Avon for ages? Scary.
But I forced myself to go. It was all very low-key and relaxed. I met people there who have become great friends and colleagues. And I got given my first award, for such a great start. I was quietly quite proud.
A little side note here. Its not often mentioned by team leaders but one of the great things about Avon is the NETWORK. We all work together and help each other out. As well as the local meetups, there are lots of facebook groups run by reps and team leaders which provide a whole online forum for reps to interact. It becomes like a huge supportive family (But one without all the laundry and no expectations of calling round once a week). We laugh together, we build each other up. We moan together when there are delivery issues. We giggle over each others funny stories and love each others pet photos. I've met people in person just this week who I've been talking to in these groups for years. Long live facebook!
Anyway, back to my story.
Fast forward a few months.
I'd kept to my roads, adding a few new customers each time. When someone said no, I don't wear makeup, I'd show them all the other wonderful products we stock, and often get a sale. I'd started mentioning Avon on facebook. Leaving books in local shops, launderettes, hair salons etc and picking up new orders as a result. I was gaining in confidence. Even though I was only working a few hours of the week, within a few months I'd earned enough to take my family on a surprise short break to Italy. Within five months I'd achieved a level of sales that took me into Avon's prestigious Presidents' Club and opened a whole world of perks.
Later that year, Avon launched its brand new online store for representatives. Another whole world of selling opportunities. Now I could reach out to people across the country, family who lived at a distance, people I didn't even know. All could buy from me and increase my earnings without them even realising. Targeting specific groups with particular products meant that my online sales business grew and grew. Even though I am not the most au fait with the internet and online selling, I made a fair whack. Other reps who are far more internet-savvy than me and utilise all the benefits of social media have made an entire income out of just that. That's great, it gives all my team a great opportunity to earn. Personally I prefer the personal touch and the customers I can chat to on the doorstep, but that's just me. I'm not in this business for the money alone. But for those who are, in terms of expenseless revenue, internet is definitely the way ahead and Avon make that so easy with content you can share, professional videos, beauty blogger recommendations etc.
So now fast forward 3 years.
Despite my continuing lack of internet-savviness, it's been up and up:
- My personal sales have increased to the point that I have now achieved the Gold level of President's Club. I get invited to gala events, fabulous experiences (VIP tickets to Cirque du Soleil, anyone? Afternoon tea at 5* hotels?) and unlocked a whole new level of discounts and perks.
- I now have a team who all benefit from the extra income and social opportunities that Avon provides. I mentor them all personally, but Avon now provides such a great level of support to help a new rep build a business I find most of them just get on with it! Some just do it for fun - a couple of hours a week. Others make it their main business. Some even just shop for themselves and family but still benefit from our great rep-only offers.
- I leave the house every day. I deliver in person to around 300 customers every 3 weeks. I get daily requests for products from new people.
- I sell online. In addition to the 340 online customers that I have from my free Avon Store, I also run an ebay shop and turn over around an additional £8k a year just from that.
- I earn enough to pay tax (ok maybe that's not a plus!). Last year I earned enough to take my family not just on a short break but on a two week holiday at Christmas to Barbados, with all the extras.
But all that aside, to me this is the most important improvement Avon has made to my life:
I have increased in confidence and self-belief
So much so that:
- I can now stop someone in the street and ask if they are interested in buying or selling Avon with my team.
- I can hold my head high at events and not cower in a corner with sweaty palms
- I can talk confidently about the products because of the great training and product support Avon provides
- I can talk publically about the Avon opportunity and how it has helped me.
And my customers love me!
- I'm known locally as "The Avon Lady"
- Everytime someone asks about Avon on a facebook group locally, I immediately get tagged by a whole load of customers
- Customers recommend me to their friends
- Some customers have even been inspired to join my team as reps!
I hope my story has shown you how Avon really can enhance your life. It's so much more than selling lipstick.
How could becoming a rep help you? If you'd like a chat about the possibilities, please just click the Apply button above and we'll talk. Don't worry, this doesn't commit you to anything, just a friendly chat. If you prefer, you can just email me by clicking the link at the top right hand corner of the page instead.
Love and light