I have been a representative with Alison’s Pantry for about 5 1/2 years. Previous to that, I was a very enthusiastic customer. I was always sharing my catalog and telling people about the products. People were usually surprised when they found out I didn’t actually work for the company, I was just a very happy customer.
One of the things I love about Alison’s Pantry, and one of the things I tell potential new customers, is that no matter how you choose to eat in your family, we have food for you. We have convenience foods, we have spices and meats if you choose to cook from scratch, we have baking mixes, we have fruits and vegetables, and much much more. Interestingly, my own eating habits have changed multiple times over the course of the last five years and with every new thing I try, Alison’s pantry has got me covered.
My best advice is to be reliable and organized. My customers come to a pick up day at my home. They know I always have a flyer box stocked with the current catalog attached to the side of my garage. Make sure to send out reminders, whether they’re emails, texts, or phone calls. Be friendly and approachable, and you’ll find that you have gained not just customers but new friends.
One of the biggest reasons people purchase AP products is because they like you, the sales rep, and the service they receive from you. Making connections and building relationships with your customers and potential customers is the underlying secret to your success. Here are some fascinating tips on how to connect better with people and have a meaningful relationship with them. And when you do, you will see your sales skyrocket!
“The golden rule of friendship states that if you want people to like you, make them feel good about themselves. This is the key to all successful relationships. If you help someone feel good about themselves, they will credit you with helping them obtain that good feeling. People will be eager to fulfill your wants and needs if they like you.” Jack Shaffer Ph.D
Here are 3 techniques to help people to feel good about themselves:
Emphatic Statements. Emphatic statements mirror what someone says or the reflect their emotional status, and are designed to indicate interest and attention in the person. Here are a few examples of the basic formula:
“So, you like the way things are going today”.
“So you are having a good day today”.
Allow others to compliment themselves. Use an emphatic statement to give them an opportunity to pat themselves on the back. If someone says they just spent long hours finishing a project at work, you could say, “Wow, it takes a lot of dedication and perseverance to complete a project like that.” Not only will they think that what you said is true, they will also say something to that effect, making them feel good about themselves. Here is another one, “How do you manage to stay in shape with your busy schedule?”
Ask a favor. Try something simple like when you are at a party, calling someone by name and then asking them to watch your drink while you go to the bathroom. People who do favors for others feel good about themselves.
There are many ways to help people to feel good about themselves. The most important key is to listen carefully to what the other person is saying, and focus on them rather than thinking about what you will say next. All of these ideas came from the book, “The Like Switch,” by Jack Schaffer. He has so many other fantastic ideas in his book! You can find it here: The Like Switch
Several years ago Victoria was at one of her children’s games when one of her friends gave her an Alison’s Pantry Catalog. Just to be nice and supportive she placed an order and also gave a catalog to her brother, Nephi. Needless to say, Victoria and Nephi became faithful customers.
Victoria’s children would get excited when she brought a catalog home and they would take turns looking through it and circling and initialing the items they wanted. Victoria then would have to limit them to one or two items each because sometimes it seemed everything was circled! Some of her family favorites are the Bosco Pizza Sticks, Popcorn chicken, Turkey Burgers and the wonderful seasonings Alison’s Pantry has to offer.
Nephi placed orders for his family and loved to try new things. He enjoys fixing himself hash brown patties and sausage patties in the morning. His children love the maple, sausage tornados.
One day Victoria received a call from Nephi saying that the Alison’s Pantry rep was no longer going to do it. He was thinking about doing it so that he could continue to get Alison’s Pantry and give the children an opportunity to work. Victoria didn’t want to be left out so they decided to do it together. Nephi and Victoria’s spouses have been very supportive. Their teenage high school daughters are very involved in the business. They pass out catalogs, place orders and call or text customers every month to remind them when orders are due. Their middle school sons are always available to help unload the semi-truck, deliver orders that are nearby and help with the inventory. All of the earnings go to the four teenagers for them to put away for college and missions. This has been a wonderful family business!
Hands down the very best way to gain new customers is to ask your current customers for referrals. People trust their friends. In fact, did you know that 92% of consumers believe recommendations from their friends and family over all forms of advertising? done by Nielsen
Referrals are not automatic. Some “just happen,” but most occur because you do something to trigger it. You have to learn to ask.
Think about your customers. Choose regularly ordering customers who love our products. Also, seek referrals from your most influential customers. These might not actually be your best customers, but they are the people whose opinions would carry the most weight with others.
Make it easy to get referrals by offering your customers an extra catalog with a spice sample a Be Nourished flyer and a business card or your information on the front of the catalog.
A great way to ask for referrals is to give your customer a current catalog and ask them to share it with a friend or family member. Be specific. Try this: “Will you share your catalog with your friends at work? I will give you free shipping on your order when you give me a new customer who places an order.” Easy peasy. Then FOLLOW UP. Follow up is key. Later in the month when you contact that customer say, “Did you get a chance to share the catalog at work? Was there anyone who wanted to place an order?”
A great time to ask for referrals is when your customer is really happy about a product and they compliment you or exclaim that what you did for them was awesome. Jump on that opportunity.
Incentives are key. There are lots of things you can use for incentives to get your customers to give you referrals.
% off their order
A free gift
Advertise your referral program regularly. Use all methods possible to advertise; email, Facebook, texting and phone calls. Make sure your customers know that they get something special when they refer a friend.
It’s worth the extra effort it takes to ask for those new customers because you will really see your sales grow!
I’ve worked for Alison’s Pantry since 2009 in different capacities. I started by reviewing products and writing content for the catalog for Alison. Then I supported Regional Sales Managers, and eventually Alison trained and mentored me to handle the catalog planning and marketing.
I love people, so I enjoy getting to interact with a wide variety of people—from AP owners and staff, to brokers and suppliers. I’m also a big foodie, so it’s always fun to be thinking about ways to use our products.
My job is busy and has a lot of deadlines so, like most working women, juggling family, work, and church is probably the biggest challenge.
My husband and I knew we would marry when we first met, and that’s always been a great decision. He and I both work from home much of the month, so we’re together nearly all day every day—and we like it, which a lot of people think is pretty funny. He is truly my other half. We have 5 daughters, ages 8 to 19, and our household is constantly filled with funny conversations that include TV show and movie quotes and internet memes. We laugh a lot around here!
Reading is my favorite indulgence, and I like a wide variety of book genres. I like to bake, and love to host a gathering at home (we do this a lot during college football season!). I also love our Southern Utah weather in the spring and fall, and love to get outside and hike.
I’m a big fan of Janey Lou’s products, and on a busy night Beehive Rolls and Blount Soups are my go-to meal.
I love to keep Farmland Pork Tenderloins in our freezer for lots of meals, but my family’s favorite is copycat Café Rio Pork Salads. I mix 1 cup each of salsa, brown sugar, and Sprite and pour it over the tenderloin in a crock pot. Then I cook it on low all day and shred for stacked salads with black beans, rice, cheese, guacamole, etc. It’s one of our favorite meals, and so easy!
A fantastic way to grow your sales is to increase the amount each customer orders each month. There are several ways to do this.
1.Offer a drawing for a free gift for everyone who purchases $75, or another incentive for those customers who place larger orders.
2. Take advantage of the special offers on the front cover of the catalog. They are designed to increase customer sales, so tell your customers about them. Ask if they would like to bump their order up to reach the offer amount.
3. Point out specials, hot deals, and new products available in the catalog. There is so much to see and you want your customers to know about what’s great in the catalog this month.
4. Offer everyone who orders $100 or more a small gift with their order.
5. Get customers hooked with a free sample. Sampling lets people try our yummy foods and when they taste them they can’t wait to purchase something new.
These are samples that Mindy Raymond and Jacy Stolem have offered to their customers.
6. Use our beautifully premade coupons to entice customers to order more. Find them here: Coupons
7. Understand your customers’ needs. Don’t try to sell someone with dentures a steak. jk, if your customer is a busy working mom with several children, tell her about the variety of ready made options we offer, such as chicken nuggets or Soup Supreme and Beehive Rolls. Listen to your customers. They will tell you what their needs are and then you can suggest products to meet those needs.
8. Up selling and cross selling are not hard and you don’t need to be pushy. Think of products that go together, and when your customers order one, offer the other. If the customer orders bulk spices remind them about our spice containers. If they order the bacon wrapped pork fillets every month, let them know that if they purchase them by the case the will save almost $15!
9. Educate your customers on our products; how they work, what products pair well, and different ways to use them. For example, the Rizzuto Pizza Dough Balls can be used for pizza, calzones, and scones. Along with educating your customers, teach them some of the great things you have learned in the webinars.
10. Share your favorite recipes with AP products and what you like to buy and eat at your house. Share the recipes from the blog.
Just a few small additions or changes to your conversations with your customers and what you do, can mean a big increase in your sales. Choose an idea or two to try this month and see how it expands your bottom line!
My name is Jacy Stolem from Malta Montana. I have been married to my wonderful husband for 15 years, together for 19 years. We have 3 beautiful children Chayana 16, Hunter 11, Trace 5 (no I didn’t plan the age gap haha). We have 7 animals and yes live in city limits (4 cats, no mice, 3 dogs). As if we are not busy enough, we decided that we needed another home business. haha.
I have been selling Avon for almost 15 years, and when I heard that my Alison’s Pantry rep was going to hang it up, I contacted her and let her know that I was interested. After a lot of measuring and arguing the rest is history. I have been with the company for a year now and I can say it is one of the easiest companies to work for. I love having a completely different product at my finger tips; plus we love food. I love the fact I don’t have to go grocery shopping as much and the convenience of the products. We love the pickle chips, the chicken stuffed products, and all the snacks like gummies, nuts and candy.
My biggest tip for being successful is COMMUNICATION; calls, text, email and Facebook. I remind people of orders on multiple levels and also use the notes feature in my phone. If I am at the post office and someone says, “Oh I have an order,” I quickly type name and order AP, (because of multiple business I do need to specify haha). Another big thing is customer service. No, that person ordering might not be your favorite, but it’s an order and your business. So when people ask me how I do everything I am involved in, I tell them my family backs me and helps every step of the way. So you have an idea of my involvement in business and community, here are my duties: I sell Avon, Sass N Frass, and Alison’s Pantry. My daughter sells Paparazzi and Lipsense. My husband works for the local ready mix, and I am the president of our local Merchants committee that is in charge of all store fronts and special promotions, including the Christmas calendar of events. I am the secretary of Cattlewomen’s and still manage a clean home and children schedules. I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Thanks all and Merry Christmas, Happy New Year
Read Your Email. We try not to send out too many emails but the ones we send have important updates and other necessary items you need to know to be successful in your Alison’s Pantry business. Are you wondering why that item won’t go into portals? The explanation is in an email. Are you looking for the 2017 delivery schedule? It’s in your email.
For those of you who have a Gmail account, Gmail automatically sorts your emails into folders. You need to check all of your folders to find your Alison’s Pantry emails. AP emails sometimes go to your Promotions folder (see picture below). Keeping up with your AP emails consistently will help you be confident in the information you have to offer your customers.
2. Contact your customers and follow up every month. You will hear it over and over from the reps who are most successful; they contact their customers on a regular basis. People love AP products but usually won’t place an order until you remind them to do so. They are grateful for the reminder; it’s good customer service.
3. Reach out to new customers. Customers’ budgets change. Customers die. Or move away. There are lots of reasons to regularly build your customer base and lots of ways to do that. Getting new customers each month is a great way to have consistently high sales.
4. Ask for referrals. Hands down the very best way to get new customers is to ask your current customers for referrals. People trust their friends. So don’t be afraid to ask for help getting new customers! Try this: “Will you share your catalog with your friends at work? I will give you free shipping on your order when you give me a new customer who places an order.” Easy peasy. Then FOLLOW UP. Follow up is key. Later in the month when you contact that customer say, “Did you get a chance to share the catalog at work? Was there anyone who wanted to place an order?”
5. Attend Webinars. The webinars are fun and informative. We train on Alison’s Pantry products, how to use them, and how to sell more of them. We also give great tips on how to build your Alison’s Pantry business. Consistently attending webinars builds your confidence, your knowledge, and your ability to be a great Alison’s Pantry representative.
Consistency works. The more consistently you do the important things the more consistent your sales will be!
Meet Lori Miskin. She is an amazing rep who is always going the extra mile with her customers.
We have a “Yours, Mine and Ours” kind of family with a total of six kids ranging from age 19 (playing basketball in college in Colorado) down to a little 4 year old (who recently severely broke his arm). With high school boys, a junior high teenage daughter and elementary kids, you can imagine we are super busy!! Volleyball, choir concerts, football, church responsibilities, basketball, school plays, cross country, room mother duties, track, band concerts, and the list goes on and on!! I really wanted something to do to earn some money for our family but dreaded daycare for my littles and couldn’t imagine having any time to work.
Alison’s Pantry was a PERFECT fit for me! I was able to take over for the previous rep 2 1/2 years ago and continue to (slowly) build the business in our very small rural town and a bigger neighboring town, too. I love being home and still earning a little extra income. Even though sales fluctuate from month to month, I feel that I continue to improve. I make special effort to remember things my customers talk to me about and ask them later how that went for them. I also check with them when their favorite items are on sale to improve my sales. They trust my opinion and I’m always honest with them. I always do reminder calls, emails and texts. I think that makes a HUGE difference.
I take advantage of the tools AP offers to us as reps, like the webinars, Julie’s fabulous expertise, the fair kit, the beautiful images for facebook and I can’t wait to squeeze in a tasting party or two.
I especially love our cooking products like the parchment paper, the cookie sheets and the cast iron cookware. We offer things you can’t find in the stores. Alison’s Pantry is a unique opportunity for customers and reps alike. I’m so glad they found me!!
The holidays are a great time to build your business. Everyone is excited to purchase gifts for family and friends and create memories with nourishing holiday meals. Creative holiday promotions can really impact this year’s profits. Here are some great ideas. You will need to start early!
Make a display of a few gift ideas and tags from the webinar. There were so many fun ideas for holiday gifts in our webinar a couple of weeks ago. Make up a few of these, including the gift tags to have on display when customers pick up their #11 orders. They will be excited to see such great ideas and will want to add AP items for gifts for Christmas. Don’t forget to have our beautiful gift tags on display also to let them know all the work is already done; all they have to do is print the tags and wrap the gifts.
2. Have a Treasure Hunt contest for #12. How it works is you choose an item in the catalog to give away. Since it’s a holiday catalog; promote one of our great gifts on pages 44-45. Give customers the item number and have them search the catalog and tell you what the item is. Everyone who names the correct product is entered in a drawing to win that item. It gets your customers searching through the catalog; and of course they will see lots of things they want to buy.
3. Offer Alison’s Pantry Gift Certificates. Everyone has those difficult people on their gift lists. Why not offer an AP gift certificate for those hard to buy folks? Everyone loves food and we have such a great selection! You could even get new customers out of the deal.
*Bonus Idea- Have a holiday Facebook photo contest. Have your customers post pictures of their favorite AP holiday foods, or their Thanksgiving celebrations, or even their ugly Christmas sweaters! Offer an AP product as a prize for the winner.