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Old 08-18-2004, 09:09 AM   #1
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Default How hard is it to start a customer base?

I keep thinking that I need to become a demo. I have chatted with my demo about this and she sounded positive but hasn't really been too enthusiastic. I don't think she has any downline and I am not sure she wants one. She mentioned something about maybe doing it at the first of the year and maybe I could take over the stamp club that I am in, but not much more than that. It is very hard to "read" her

anyway, the reason why I haven't signed up yet is because I am worried about building up a customer base. Other than my mom, I don't think anyone in my family is really interested and the ladies I work with don't seem to be interested either. The ladies at church would be interested, but they are all part of my stamp club and I wouldn't try to sell to them of course (unless at some point I took over the club as demo) So how hard is it REALLY to build up a customer base from basically nothing??

I think I would be good at it, and as I work only part time and have no kids I have plenty of time to invest in it, but I don't want to be terribly disappointed because I can't get people to come to parties!

What do you guys think???
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Old 08-18-2004, 09:37 AM   #2
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hummm... I would be wondering about her motives for encouraging you to wait so many more months...

It kinda sounds like a competition issue... and if you're part of a club, well, one can imagine the reasons...

Building a customer base is all about talking to those you know, and those you don't know, about what you do. There are so many different marketing ideas that it's a matter of finding which ones you like best and just do them.

I'm having to totally find new customers as we moved 5 hours North so doing workshops for my old customers regularly just isn't going to happen. And yet, we've been up here for 3 weeks and I've already got 2 parties booked, an open house, cards for the troops camps, and technique classes scheduled and posted with some calling to sign up already. That's simply because I took the opportunity to talk about stamping whenever the opportunity arose, even if in a round about way.

For example, I overheard a group of ladies talking about a husband who had just been sent overseas. Well I introduced myself and mentioned that I would be having card making sessions for the troops and (while holding business card) invited them all to come make a couple of cards. Never mentioned Stampin Up - didn't have to. When they come to my house - they'll see it, but still it's a "stamping for the troops" session- not a Stampin Up Workshop, so if they never pick up the catalog, that's ok... but I'll bet they do, and I'll bet they book a show...

Something else to remember, in my opinion, family and friend's interest in something you really enjoy should never be an indicator of your success level. Just because they aren't interested in buying stamps and cardstock, should in no way convince you that you can't sell the stuff... Really, the stuff sells itself to those who really enjoy working with it. And never depend on friends who are "helping you out"... you don't need folks to help you - you need folks to enjoy stamping with you... When you find them, your business will do just fine!

Anyway... I certainly hope that if you would like to become a demonstrator, that you do not allow your demo to discourage you in any way... We've got a great support network here...

Good Luck!
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Old 08-18-2004, 09:47 AM   #3
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Hi!

I am also leery about why your demo would discourage you to sign up. Maybe she doesn't want to expand her business with a downline, or is worried about competetion or something else. I would suggest maybe finding someone else who is more excited about you signing up, if you are truly interested.

As for building a customer base, I am in that exact position. I just signed up and started about 2 weeks ago. I am having my first workshop on Sunday and not having much luck getting people to come, though. I've posted flyers at work, my husband has given them to teachers he works with, and even passed them out to his football players for their moms! I have 3 other parties booked, through friends of mine, but that pretty much exhausts what I will be able to do for now. My hope is that through the parties I have booked, I can get other people hooked and they will host parties and it will become a chain reaction. I've been stamping for 4 years now, so pretty much anyone who knows me who would have been interested in it would have gotten hooked already. I feel like I am more at the mercy of who I can get introduced to through the people I know. Their co-workers, their family, their friends, etc. Does that make sense?

Bottom line, I don't think it's likely customers will fall in your lap. But, with some hard work and good incentives hopefully you can start a ball rolling that will set you up with your customer base.

Good luck!
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Old 08-18-2004, 10:02 AM   #4
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I'm new too.....don't have anything scheduled until October (last Q of the year is when I need to have a minimum)...and have interest in another after that.

What I'm going to try to do is form a club...stampers 10 or something...so that I can get my minimums without HAVING to do w/shops. It's not something I'm comfortable with, as I've not even read the manual yet!! I'm told though that these clubs are the way to achieve your minimums. It's what I'm going to try to do...to take the pressure off.

Have you considered going through a community center to see if there is some interest??

Also, make sure you read the stuff in the Demo Only forum. Lots of good ideas there.

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Old 08-18-2004, 10:53 AM   #5
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Funny I think just the opposite! Your Demo is willing to give you her customers on that list! How great is she to give up her customers to you!
I am in deseperate need to find customers I have basically been my only customer since November and honestly my husband told me if I don't start making money off this I won't be able to stay a demo!!
I totally see his point!
SO that is great she'd give you those church ladies!!!!!!!!!
It's just a shame she hasn't gotten you all excieted about joining!!

-Andrea
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Old 08-18-2004, 11:06 AM   #6
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Before I signed up I had 5 people that said they would have party for me. Although they followed through at different times, they all have followed through. And all of these people were from differnt areas of my life, so each party had different people there. When all three of my downline I signed up, I asked them about possible customer bases and avenues they could explore to get parties booked.

If you ask around and can't find anyone (or 2 or 3) to hostess for you, I might be hesitant. I am not saying that is the end all be all of how to find people, but it did give me a lot of confidence getting started. Then again, if you are spending about $100 (on average) and just think you want it as a hobby, then go for it, and it could lead to more down the road.


Please DO NOT think I am trying to dissuade you, but really you have to be realistic and think about what you want to get from being a demo. I was a great customer before I became a demo because of how much I was spending, so I really got serious at looking at the viability of becoming joining. I made a list of possible hostesses, I did a pros/cons list, adn looked at how financially sound I was so that I could invest $$ into it at the very beginning. I am sure this is not how each person starts, it was just what I did to make myself feel comfortable joining, and I have never regretted it!!

Good luck with your decision!!
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Old 08-18-2004, 11:11 AM   #7
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I have no family on this side of the state and my friends were limited to other "mommies" and that was it. I got my business rolling with one mystery hostess workshop at my church. The ladies at my church who came to that workshop were the beginning of my stamping classes. And one other lady at church who hosted a workshop helped that grow, and then I met other customers at my kids' school and at a crop that our church hosts once a month.

Your business will keep rolling if you make your workshops fun and you book at least one workshop off each one you hold, preferably two. My stamp clubs have kept me afloat some months, but most of the time I have had at least one workshop other than my stamp club workshops. Then I started recruiting and now I need to replace one of my customer lines, which I am working on, since my recruit naturally will take those customers who came to the workshops she hosted. This is a natural process and you needn't feel guilty about taking "her" customers. Some of those customers who know both of you will either pick her or you and that is how it works. She doesn't own those customers and you won't either if they choose to attend your events rather than hers.

It's possible she hasn't been too enthusiastic because she just hasn't thought about recruiting at this point in her business. You don't have to sign up with her simply because you talked to her first about it. You should feel free to talk to more than one demonstrator about joining and pick the person who would fit YOUR needs best.
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Old 08-18-2004, 11:20 AM   #8
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I signed up in July of 03, moved in Sept of 03 and then moved again to a small town in January of this year, and have basically been building my business as I go. It's not fast, but it's coming along. I started here with a group of ladies from church-literally the only people I knew. But I've got a solid 8 women who basically have a stamp club, except we don't call it that because I'm not ready to ask any of them to commit to a $ amount each month. I think they'd buy less then, not more. But NONE of them had ever heard of SU before. But slowly and surely, they are bringing more people into it whenever they hostess again. B/c even though I don't know many people here, they do!

Also, I had to decide to never be afraid to tell people what I do. I'm not a mom, and although I'm taking some at-home courses, this IS what I do. So when they ask, I tell them I'm an SU demonstrator. And I have found people are truly interested in what being an SU demo is. I carry business cards and mini-cattys with me everywhere. It's fun for me b/c most people say- "You know, I've always wanted to try something like that!" (from the woman at the bank who opened our checking acct) or "I just started scrapbooking!" (several teachers from the school system where I substitute teach), etc.

This is how I support my stamping/scrap booking habit. And how I'm learning to make friends in my oh-so-small town.
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Old 08-18-2004, 11:24 AM   #9
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Your demo might be thinking of what you get in January when you sign up to be a demo. I think you get two sell-a-bration sets with your kit when you sign up to be a demo during sell-a-bration. So she might just want you to get more for your money if you wait. Also if she is willing to give you her stamp club - that is awesome! I have to agree with what someone else said and say that customers most likely aren't going to fall into your lap. I feel like I have had to really work to get all my great customers. I have no family where I live and they aren't into this either, so they didn't help in my finding people and they have never hosted a workshop. Even if your friends aren't into stamping ask if they will host a workshop for you anyway. You never know who you will meet.
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Old 08-18-2004, 11:46 AM   #10
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Hi, when I got started, one year ago this month I was worried about a customer base too. I dont' live near family, only had church people to get me started. I knew 3 ladies at my church liked to stamp, and hoped they would help me along. I held a stamp camp to start me up. I invited EVERYONE in my church directory. My son goes to a private school and we get a directory for that as well. I invited every mother in his class. I knew only 2 of the mothers. I included neighbors as well. Well, one of the mothers (Who Ididnt' know) from my sons class called and was thrilled. I told her that I was starting a stamp club. She brought herself and 2 of her friends into my club. So my advice, is invite everyone you have an address to. I also invited conultants from parties I have held in the past. My MK consultant has held a workshop for me. You never know.
Something else....I give coupons to my customers if they give my name as a referal to someone. I had a lady from my church who met someone at the stamping section of Micheals. She gave her my name. This lady gave me a $175 order. This year she is joining my stamp club, and bringing in a friend. I rewarded the lady from church with a $5 coupon, saying thanks for helping me promote my business.
When I shop at Micheals or Joanne's I carry business cards or brochures and ask fellow shoppings in the same section if they stamp much then go from there.
I now have 8 in my stamp club. I have a list of 22 people that I can pretty much count on for a stamp camp. I dont' push for workshops, lack of time. I do a club October thru May and I hold a camp every 3 months. That keeps me happy.
Good luck
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Old 08-18-2004, 11:50 AM   #11
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I just signed up in April and I'm trying to stay motivated. I had an Open House in May, which I felt went well. There have been a few outside orders that have added up to qualify as a party. Several of the people that have looked at my catalog and have shown interest are new to stamping so they just ordered a couple of things because they haven't ever used them before. I would bet money that the stamps are not even put together - I had a Stamp Class hoping that they would come and be able to see how to use the products - One person came! I guess it's better than none.
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Old 08-18-2004, 12:07 PM   #12
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Thanks for your comments everyone! I appreciate how honest you all are, I knew I could get lots of good feedback here.

I too think that the demo I use wants to wait because of the stamp group. I think November is the end of our commitment and I had a feeling she might want to wait until then, especially if she might let me have the group if they wish to continue. She has been supportive and showed me a little bit of the demonstrator only area of the stampin up site and the support they give, but I guess I want someone who will be really excited with me and can help me get my business off to a positive start.

I really wouldn't mind waiting, as I know there are good deals for signing up at the first of the year, but I thought this would be a good time to start as I could probably get family to come over to make Christmas cards (and maybe order

Also, the one show I KNOW i have in the bag is a group of friends who are all breast cancer survivors so that would need to be in october. I thought they would be a good start because I could donate some of the profits and they are all inexperienced stampers so it would be good practice for me on demonstrating to people who have never made a card before.

If this business made money, great. But I would really be happy to make the minimums and get a little discount for myself. I am not ready to spend enough to be a completely hobby demo though

I really appreciate your comments. If anyone else has anything to share I would love to hear from you!!

Thanks,
Andrea
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Old 08-18-2004, 03:21 PM   #13
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I'm still trying to understand what makes you a "hobby demonstrator." Once I finish school I plan to go back to working full-time, but when I was working I probably ordered at least $80 worth of stuff at each of our monthly workshops at the office. I love stamping, and am the only one out of the three regulars at the workshops who actually uses my stuff once in a while! :P Could signing up be worthwhile for me?
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Old 08-18-2004, 03:52 PM   #14
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Well, I toyed with the idea of becoming a demo to support my habit for months, hubby advised against it and It kept eating away at me.

I bring my creations to work and people love what they see, I even had 3 people offer to host parties soooo I signed up! My effective date was 8/2. Now that I am official, these potential parties have fallen through and I have nothing at all booked.

I tried to do a stamp camp and advertised on a local yahoo board and what happens? I got an incident notice from SU advising I was in violation of their policies and could not advertise on the yahoo board!

I have found more people re interested in buying the hand made creations than learning how to do it themselves- and I certainly do not have time for that!

I am not active in the community, church, or any group for that matter. I have a job that really doesnt allow for socializing to promote the SU endeavor, and NO CHILDREN to solicit in the PTA circles... I am beginning to get nervous Hopefully this will change, yet what is the worst that can happen? I become inactive .... I am not gonna stress about it because I have a very stressful job and dont need the added worries.

Every time I come up with a way to solicit SU it seems to be against their rather strict compliance policies....

BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, my upline is so busy this woman doesnt sleep! she has a HUGE customer base and parties every night, not to mention I thin 13 or 14 down lines.... So You CAN BE SUCCESSFUL at this, I suppose you just have to catch a lucky break and hopefully the customer base will grow in time...
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Old 08-18-2004, 05:14 PM   #15
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Quote:

Originally Posted by row4d
I'm still trying to understand what makes you a "hobby demonstrator." .... Could signing up be worthwhile for me?
Yes, yes and yes! I was worried at first myself, but I looked at it this way, even if I bombed and went inactive, the starter kit is still a REALLY great deal and I would get at least a couple orders in at demo discount! (and now the first order after joining is 30% off!) Well so far I've had no problems making my minimums, and I really don't actively seek customers, just finding a couple of good customers was enough for me to have no problem hitting the minimum (I am still my own best customer though!)

Anyway, theres no harm in giving it a shot, you get the great deal on the starter kit, and if it doesn't work out for you, you can always sell of the extra business supplies that come in the starter kit to other demos.

Try it!!
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