Expressing Creativity in Direct Selling
- [0:57] Get to know Rebecca Cole
- [2:37] How Rebecca got started with direct selling
- [3:24] Why creativity is an important topic for Rebecca
- [4:03] What does it mean to be creative in business?
- [4:27] Top three things to tap into your creativity
- [5:09] Why it’s okay to fail
- [6:01] Creative approaches to presentation
- [6:21] How to creatively close a sale
- [6:56] How do you inject creativity in training
- [9:15] Creative use of social media in business
- [11:14] How to creatively promote your products if you’re in the food and beverage category
- [11:58] Creativity vs system
- [12:25] How long should you pursue an idea?
- [14:29] Two ways to measure what’s working and what’s not
- [15:07] Top three mistakes people make when trying to be creative
- [16:10] Online tools to help you with your creative works
- [20:10] Guess what excites Rebecca about the industry
Transcription:[0:45] Jen: Today we’re so lucky to have Rebecca Cole with us. Rebecca is from a party planning company in the food and beverage category. Today we’re going to be talking about creativity. So welcome, Rebecca. [0:55] Rebecca: Thank you very much. [0:57] Jen: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? What’s your background?
[0:59] Rebecca: I’m from a large family. I grew up in country Victoria and I have three brothers and three sisters. Very interesting times. I’m 38 years old. I’m married. I met my husband through a mutual friend 19 years ago when we were at university and we got married eight years later. We’ve now got two children and I still live in country Victoria, but in a completely different part. I’m in Gippsland now, rather throughout Northeast and Central Victoria.
[1:29] Jen: So can you tell me, you’re in direct selling now, what did you study in University?
[1:33] Rebecca: I started to study primary teaching and I’ve decided I wanted to have kids of my own one day. And so I didn’t continue that. I decided it was better for someone else who really wanted to be there than me taking up their spot.
[1:45] Jen: Okay. So can you give me a little overview of your direct selling business?
[1:49] Rebecca: Yes, I can. Oh, where do you start? [Laughs] It’s a bit tricky, that was.
[1:54] Jen: So how long have you been…[crosstalk] [1:56] Rebecca: I’ve been a presenter with the direct selling company now for two years. I was the first Victorian presenter for the company, which is a bit exciting.
[2:04] Jen: Yes!
[2:06] Rebecca: In that time, I’ve done the parties, the online parties, sales demonstrations, markets, etc. I’ve seen our company grow to a national company and I myself have presented in just about every state.
[2:19] Jen: So how big is your team?
[2:20] Rebecca: I have on hand; I think about 15 recruits under me.
[2:24] Jen: Great!
[2:25] Rebecca: Not everybody is active all of those times but that’s part of the team. We don’t have to be, so it’s terrific. So if you want to take time off to have children or study, they’re perfectly happy as long as you let them know what’s going on.
[2:37] Jen: So, tell me, how and why you got involved in direct selling?
[2:43] Rebecca: I was constantly being invited to friend’s party and I …
[2:47] Jen: It’s that age.
[2:47] Rebecca: It was that age, that’s right and I was always told, “Oh, you should do this, you should do this.” So I thought about it, and thought about it a whole lot more because, you know, we all know there’s so many direct selling companies out there and if you don’t find one that suits you then there’s no point you doing it.
[3:04] Jen: Sure. So they’re looking for something that you could be passionate about.
[3:08] Rebecca: That’s it! And I wanted it to be a bit different and a bit unique. I actually tried something else prior to the one I’m doing now. I stuck at it for about 12 months. The products and the training were fantastic, but it just didn’t work in the region that I lived in.
[3:22] Jen: Okay.
[3:23] Rebecca: So, yes.
[3:24] Jen: So, look I know you’re excited to talk with us today about Creativity. Can you tell me why this topic stood out for you? What does this mean to you in relation to a direct selling business?
[3:33] Rebecca: In life and in business, everywhere, it becomes mundane and boring if you’re not creative. There’s a really famous saying that, “The most dangerous phrase in language is, we’ve always done it this way.” You always do something the same way, you’re always going to get the same results. And if it’s not working, then you have to change. Creativity is something I’ve always done. I’ve always been involved one way or another doing something arty or creative in some way.
[4:03] Jen: So when you think about creativity in relation to your business, what do you think about? What does it mean to you?
[4:08] Rebecca: In relation to my business? I use creativity every day. I use it in my ads. I use it in my demonstrations, in my market displays. If you don’t do something different to stand out from the crowd, then you’ve just become one of – you know, thousands of people doing the same thing.
[4:27] Jen: So, what do you think are the top three things that people can do to tap into their own creativity?
[4:32] Rebecca: Number one is get out and about and mix with people and in nature. Nature is creativity in itself. It’s full of things and it always help me clear my head and get the creative ideas coming.
[4:47] Jen: Sure, what about number two?
[4:49] Rebecca: Do yourself a favor. Take time out for yourself. Read a book, watch a movie, bake a cake, even do adult coloring which is the latest thing everyone seems to be into. Whatever works to help you get rid of the stresses of everything that’s hanging around, because the more you think about a problem, that’s the bigger it appears.
[5:08] Jen: And number three…
[5:09] Rebecca: Have a go. You can make mistakes. That’s okay to do. If you don’t like something, you change it. I think that if you don’t actually get out there and try something then you’ll never learn. To fail is not to lose, it’s a lesson on what doesn’t work so that you can begin again but more wisely.
[5:28] Jen: So, how have you creatively approached say, lead generation?
[5:33] Rebecca: I’ve tried a lot of different lead generations. You know, they don’t always work out and I think you have to just go with your gut and be yourself and sometimes having the leads come to you just like that they work out better, but you can have fun with it. I’ve recently help implemented a new layer to our own business and in time, hopefully that will produce new leads. It’s a little bit of a new direction for the company and I’m hoping it works out really well.
[6:01] Jen: Now, what about presentations? Tell me about your creative approach there. What are you doing differently?
[6:07] Rebecca: Well, differently, I’m not only now do the normal demonstrations, I offer to do workshops as well and I get people involved in using our products as part of the demonstration so that they can learn how to do it, not just be shown how to do it.
[6:21] Jen: Sure. Now, closing the sale, can you tell me about creative approaches there?
[6:26] Rebecca: I think that everybody gets scared when it comes to closing the sale. You have to trust that the customer’s kind of make the right choice for both you and them, that can be very scary, but I remember telling a customer once my son actually came up with a new name for one of our products and I shared that with her and it really worked because that person also had a son about the similar age who would have also seen the link between our product and one of their favorite characters, so I got the sale.
[6:56] Jen: I’m very intrigued now. [Laughs] Talk to me about training; creative approaches to training.
[7:02] Rebecca: Look, I train my team not only by sharing the tools of the company that you know, product guides and procedures, and all that sort of things, but I show them by example. I invite them along to my online parties being all spread around the country. It’s a bit harder to invite them to my actual parties but we use a social media page as well. So if any of them have questions, we put it out there and anybody can be involved and we can all say, “I learn from my team, as much as they learn from me.”
[7:30] Jen: And coaching.
[7:32] Rebecca: Well coaching’s different. I treat my team members as equals, not as though I’m superior to them. I don’t manage my team. I lead them. I show them how I do things with creativity and in turn I hope that sort of intrigue them a little bit to think for themselves and to step out of the box themselves. And I’m available pretty much 24/7 for guidance. They’ve all got my phone number and they call me at all times, day and night.
[7:58] Jen: Can you share a story of someone in your team who is creative? They’ve tried something new and it worked out.
[8:03] Rebecca: I have a fantastic member on my team who is very social media savvy and she actually created a group of likeminded individuals all within sort of direct selling and they help each other to network and make sales between themselves in the group and it’s grown from half a dozen people to hundreds being on the page and she now actually makes some of the top sales in the company every month.
[8:29] Jen: Wow.
[8:30] Rebecca: She could have just sat back and not done anything, but she put herself out there and had a go and it worked for her.
[8:36] Jen: So what about someone who didn’t get the results, what happened?
[8:39] Rebecca: Well, like everybody, I suppose, you don’t get the results you’re going to be disappointed. I have had a member of my team who tried to go along to one of her social groups and to get them involved and help host the party plan day. Unfortunately, she didn’t make great sales herself and soon after she decided to no longer be a presenter at all, [crosstalk] [9:00] Jen: Oh, that’s a shame.
[9:01] Rebecca: It is a shame, but she decided to follow a different a life’s path and now she’s happy with what she’s doing, and it’s not a life suited to everybody so it’s okay to make a decision to give up, so to speak.
[9:15] Jen: So, can you share how you have creatively used social media or technology to grow your business, do you use any of those types of things?
[9:23] Rebecca: Absolutely, I think I’ve got a large social media presence. I have a Facebook business page. I’m constantly networking with other direct sales consultants. I’ve actually setup my own networking page for Australian direct sellers just to share knowledge and products and just to be a sounding board with each other. But we do help each other reach monthly targets and goals and just direct purchasing but also passing on leads to each other as well. I’m also on Pinterest and I’m starting to learn how to use Instagram.
[9:54] Jen: So tell me, how is what you’re doing on any of these platforms different or creative to the next direct seller?
[10:03] Rebecca: I use a lot of creative programs from the internet and use them for creating adverts that are a little bit out there, a little bit different. I’ve created videos to show our products. The trick is knowing the rules to what you can and can’t do in direct selling, and using it to your advantage where some companies can’t mention their business names in adverts and things we can. And that helps. I think that if people know who you are and know how you’re different, then they’re more likely to come and follow you rather than somebody else.
[10:38] Jen: And are these – are you using social media for a recruitment tool, are you using it for product sales or a bit of both?
[10:44] Rebecca: A bit of both. Not only just the sales but letting people know who we are. We’re up there, we’ve got presenters nationwide. I don’t just advertise my own business, I advertise some of my recruits as well and let them know when they think in their areas. Social media is one of the biggest advertising displays that you can find worldwide and if you can put it out there that there’s something on, it’s a great way to get people there.
[11:14] Jen: Now we talked a little bit about earlier that you are in the food and beverage category, now I guess the food and beverage, it’s really hard to promote a product or an opportunity when you’re talking about a food product or a beverage product. How do you get creative to use your product to make people interested in what you’re doing without tasting it?
[11:35] Rebecca: That’s easy. You show them how they can use it. If you can show one person 10 different ways to use one product rather than show them one way how to use one product, they’re more likely to buy it from you.
[11:52] Jen: And so you’re using image posts, and videos to showcase what your products can do?
[11:57] Rebecca: That’s right.
[11:58] Jen: Great! So how do you balance between expressing creativity and following systems?
[12:03] Rebecca: As I said, you need to know what you can and can’t do. Our company has branding that we have to use, but I’ve also created my own branding so that people know who I am and what my business is and how they can find me. And it’s all within our guidelines so that helps me standout a little bit different to some of the other presenters even within our own company or other companies.
[12:25] Jen: When you’re creative, you try a new thing, sometimes it can take a while to see results, it might not work straight away, how long do you think someone should pursue an idea before letting it go? If they’re not getting the results they’re looking for.
[12:39] Rebecca: Look, I think it depends on the idea. You have to look at each idea with its own merits and ask the question, why didn’t that work? You can tweak things a little bit to suit. It may not be the idea that’s at fault, it could be the audience you’re trying to reach. And look, some presenters, depending on their own goals or financial situations may try to pursue an idea a little bit longer than others. I think at some point though, if it’s not working for you, you do have to make a change. And that doesn’t mean to give up, it just means that if something’s not going to work three times in a row, ask yourself why not and then the fourth time do it differently and see how that goes.
[13:16] Jen: Now, do you plan creativity? I mean, do you look at each aspect of your business and how you could change that, how you could be more creative with that or if it’s something that kind of evolves along the way or comes to you at different moments. How does it all work and unfold for you?
[13:31] Rebecca: It’s a little bit of both. [crosstalk] [13:32] Jen: Or you’re just naturally a creative person? How does that work?
[13:34] Rebecca: I am a naturally creative person. Although sometimes I doubt myself on that as well, but I think that if you are doing something and it’s not working, look at how you can change it and do it creatively.
[13:50] Jen: What I mean, like do you systematically go through every aspect of your business and think, “Could I improve on this? How can I get creative with this?” Or does it just kind of happen along the way when things are not working or…
[14:03] Rebecca: Look, I definitely do. I sit down and I look at my adverts and change them up every now and then so that they reach different audiences. Also, I look at what I’m putting into the adverts and I change that around as well. And the same thing comes through if I’m doing events, I’ll do displays differently every time, see which one works and then stick to the one that works, against someone that doesn’t.
[14:29] Jen: So how do you know what’s working? How are you measuring that?
[14:31] Rebecca: Not only through sales but through crowd reaction. You’ll often see different children even coming up to your sites and – kids are funny. They tell you the truth.
[14:43] Jen: Yes, I have two of them. [Laughs] [14:45] Rebecca: That’s it! So, it’s – some adults would just, “Oh yeah, you know, I’m not interested”. But a child will say, “Look, I didn’t like that. That’s ugly or you know… I don’t like the color.” Things like that. So you have to listen to them as well. So you listen to your target audiences and value their reaction.
[15:07] Jen: So what do you think are the top three mistakes you see when people are trying new things, applying creativity in their businesses?
[15:15] Rebecca: Lying would have to be the one thing. It’s one thing to be creative but you have to do it in a positive way because if you don’t and you just tell absolute lies to your customers then they’re going to figure it out and you’ll look the fool.
[15:30] Jen: Sure. Number two.
[15:31] Rebecca: Number two would be passing off someone else’s creativity as your own. It may not be your idea but – and that’s okay, but let others know that it wasn’t your idea but you’re going along with it so that they don’t start asking you the questions that you’re not going to know the answers to.
[15:46] Jen: Sure. And number three.
[15:49] Rebecca: Thinking that creativity is expensive. You don’t have to go hard or go home when it comes to creating something special. Sometimes it’s the small stuff that makes the difference.
[15:59] Jen: Can you give me some examples?
[16:01] Rebecca: You can add something to your display. You can – it’s a bit hard to describe it.
[16:10] Jen: What about, do you use any online tools to create content that is creative that might be free or…?
[16:16] Rebecca: I do. I use a lot of the free online programs to create my adverts. You can use the ones that you pay a little bit extra, but you don’t have to. You can still do some really great work.
[16:29] Jen: Are you going to give them away? You’re going to tell us what you’re using?
[16:32] Rebecca: I can do that. I use PicMonkey. I use PosterMyWall. I use Word, you know I use Paint.
[16:41] Jen: What’s PicMonkey?
[16:42] Rebecca: PicMonkey is a free useable advert creator. You can use it to create posters, pictures. You can use it to edit things and you can have a lot of fun with it.
[16:55] Jen: Have you ever used Canva before?
[16:57] Rebecca: I have recently looked into starting to use that. I haven’t used it to create anything yet, but I’m still learning all the new ones. And that’s the thing, you learn new different techniques every day to create something a bit special.
[17:10] Jen: I found Canva very, very helpful.
[17:12] Rebecca: I have to check it out a bit.
[17:14] Jen: Yes, check that out. You know sometimes we just have those moments in the day where we need to create something but we’re just not feeling all that creative and I think programs like that that are free just really get those juices flowing so providing examples and templates for different content that you might be creating online. I find them really helpful.
[17:33] Rebecca: And not just templates, they’ve also got just examples and training sessions on them so that they can show you how to do the best work.
[17:42] Jen: Yes. So look, you know there’s lots of books and programs and resources out there for people out there looking to grow their businesses and themselves, what do you consider a must have for direct sellers?
[17:54] Rebecca: To begin with, a good working relationship with your upline and the other team members because if you aren’t going to work well with the people around your that are there to support you, then there’s no point even looking to improve your own business if you can’t work with others. A good phone plan is nothing worth if not being able to follow up leads in a timely manner or have people not be able to contact you. A good support system. Family and friends, they are the best support.
[18:25] Jen: Now, what about books? Is there any books that you read or…
[18:30] Rebecca: In honesty, no. I don’t. I never usually have time to read…[crosstalk] [18:35] Jen: Normally, a very popular thing to direct sellers to tap into different books and training materials. I’m just wondering if there’s anything that you particularly like reading, or you may not be a reader.
[18:47] Rebecca: No, look, I haven’t been a reader with my direct selling stuff. I’d rather get a good book just for relaxing. I’ve done a lot of training programs online through previous employment and training. And quite often, I’ll go back and have a look at those if I’m struggling with things. I have worked in sales and business administration and things in the past that can be handy to follow up on how to use different programs and different techniques, but no actual sort of books that are out there.
[19:20] Jen: You’ll have to check it out it’s very popular. [Laughs] More on that, I guess self-development side of things. I can make a little list for you after this call and the things – a must have for direct sellers list. I’ll make that for you.
[19:34] Rebecca: Thank you.
[19:35] Jen: So do you have a mentor or someone that you look up to that helps you in your business?
[19:39] Rebecca: I have a very close working relationship with the owners of our company and I can ring them during the day and have a chat with them about things that I’m working on and what might work and what won’t. I also have a lot of direct selling friends so it’s more of a group thing rather than an individual mentor. I have a select group of them that I contact that we’ll talk about things and run ideas past each other and that sort of thing.
[20:10] Jen: So, can you tell me what’s one thing that has you most excited about your business or the direct selling industry right now?
[20:17] Rebeca: The growth of the industry is incredible right now. There is so many presenters out there in all different mediums, but I think the thing that’s got me most excited at the moment is our new layer that I’ve help put out in our own company, just to watch it grow from just a small idea to actually being released within the company and now put out to the other presenters as well to use. It’s a bit exciting and I look forward to seeing where it’s going.
[20:48] Jen: Well thank you so much for sharing your insights on creativity with us today. I really enjoyed learning about what it is that you’re doing and hearing about your journey. It’s been great so thank you so much for being a part of the show.
[21:02] Rebecca: Thank you for having me.
[21:03] Jen: Thanks, Rebecca.