Hi, my name is Danielle Sayler. I have been an Alison’s Pantry rep for just over 3 years now. I live in Steele ND which is a small town approximately 40 miles from the nearest major shopping. My husband Travis and I have 2 amazing kiddos, Riley-7 and Gavin-5, that I am fortunate enough to be able to stay home with. In addition to Alison’s Panty my husband and I both run several other businesses. My husband’s business is a gravel and excavation business. I help in the day to day operations by moving and operating equipment, the book and secretary work, or any other hat that I need to wear that day. I also have an auto detailing business and work a very part time position as a zoo registrar for the Dakota Zoo in Bismarck ND.
I began my Alison’s Panty business kind of by chance. I already had a lot on my plate but our local rep was quitting. I threw the idea around for a couple of months before I made the jump, and am so glad that I did. The previous rep had a good foundation and an existing customer base which made starting out a little bit easier. Since then Alison’s pantry has grown for me enough to where I can cut back a bit on the other jobs that I am doing and over the next year or so hope to grow my business enough that I can eliminate and replace those other jobs with Alison’s Pantry alone.
I always have a running goal to beat at least the previous months sales and ultimately top my best sales ever. However in reality that is not always possible, so each month as sales come in, I look at my total sales as the deadline approaches and push myself to hit a threshold, whether it be just one more sale, or to reach out to one more customer to put me to the next commission level. This year I also looked at my overall position in the company and decided that I wanted to be at a certain level next year and that is my major goal at this point. I one day hope to be in the company top ten, and look to those reps who are currently at that position and try to model my business after things that they do to become as successful as they are.
One thing that has helped my business tremendously is expanding the area in which I serve. There are several other communities that are anywhere from 20-60 miles from where I am located. I simply reached out to customers from those areas and offered to provide AP to them. It is difficult to deliver if you only have a small order to those areas and not lose money, so I did go in with the stipulation that I needed to have a minimum order for the area. I have had an overwhelmingly positive response to this offer. So for example if I am going to deliver 40 miles away I need to have a minimum of $300 combined from all orders to make it worth my time and expense to travel there, and nearly every time I have at least double the minimum if not more in orders. If someone decides to order and we don’t meet the order minimum I either hold on to the order till the next time or make other arrangements to get them their products.
The AP staples in our house are the Trident ultimate fish sticks and the Mediterranean chicken. But honestly I think every meal we make has AP incorporated into it in one way or another, whether it be the main course, the side, the spices to bring it all together, or even the pans we use to make the meal. My husband jokes regularly about feeling like he knows Alison personally since she is such a big part of all of our meals. LOL!
I also try to provide samples each month. The ones that are individually packaged already like the fruit snacks are the simplest. But I seem to have the greatest success with ones that are bigger quantity items. That way the customer gets to try them before investing into a bulk box of something without knowing if they like it or not. One month I made protein balls and gave each customer a protein ball with the recipe (that listed numbers for each of the AP ingredients) and ended up having several customers order all of the ingredients from the recipe!
Personal experience and service with products is by far, hands down, the bestselling tip that I have. After I try things I try to let customers know what I think of them. My customers have become very reliant on my opinion of products. I will be 100% honest about a product, not only on quality and taste but also on price. We live far enough that the big box stores aren’t always convenient but close enough that my customers aren’t going to pay a significant amount more just to get it locally. My customers know that I always have their best interest in mind even if it means my bottom dollar might be a little less. That trust encourages them to tell other people about products and my services which more than makes up for a product that they may not order. Instead of discouraging them from ordering what I will do is point them to the unique products that we offer and honestly those are the products that sell better for me anyways. Hot Deals are a HUGE portion of my monthly sales especially when the Mediterranean chicken was/is available. I have a feeling I have a reputation as the crazy chicken lady but know that once people try it they are going to be in love with it too. If it has been several months since it has been available I have no problem selling upwards of 35+ cases of that single item. I keep a running list of customers and what they like to order regularly and let them know when those particular items are available or on sale or if there is another similar item that they might be interested in.
Finally I make a point to be honest and sincere with all my customers. I truly have some of the most amazing customers out there and am so grateful for that. I reward them with referral bonuses, various drawings, and early bird bonuses. When I see them I don’t expect to talk about AP, if they bring it up we discuss it but if not we talk about the other things going on in their lives or my own. I see quite a few of my customers on a regular basis. I have always jokingly said to them, “ I don’t ever want to be the person you see walking down the street and you have to dodge behind the nearest light post and hide because her comes that crazy Alison’s pantry lady.” Of course I want my business to thrive but I have to remember that these people are my friends and neighbors first and foremost, and that my business is successful because of them so I need to be sure that my customers are my number one priority and the sales will then fallow.
I am a huge fan of the changes that have happened with AP over the past year, there are have been rough patches but that is all part of change. I really like to try and embrace it, roll with the punches so to speak. We are given a multitude of resources to help us succeed, and I try to take full advantage of them, whether it be marketing kits, finding information on the blog or reaching out to rep support for help with questions and issues. This business allows you to make it what you want it to be. The more you put in the more you get out.