Brace yourself, I’m going to talk about the holidays. I know it’s early. I am not one of those people who have a Christmas tree up in October (or even November), and I scowl when I see holiday decorations out in August and September. BUT if you want to have a strong holiday season with your direct selling / network marketing business, you have to start thinking about it now.

When I entered into the Direct Selling arena 10 years ago I was excited, and with the holidays approaching I was almost giddy. I loved the products I was selling, I loved the company and I definitely loved Christmas. Looked like a perfect combination for success to me! With all of this love, what could go wrong? As it turned out, a lot.

Let me share four big mistakes I made in my first holiday season in the direct sales / network marketing world.

I didn’t have a holiday selling strategy or plan. I was just going to DO Christmas. I taped candy canes to bottles of moisturizer; renamed every product on Facebook “Santa’s Little eye cream” and “Rudolph’s t-zone exfoliator”? In my mind, I was going to bring in sales topping $50,000. People were going to be wildly gifting my products to one another — friend to friend, wives to mother-in-laws, strangers in the grocery store. I would be skipping into January with my loads of cash. Not so much. Turns out when you just vomit Christmas all over everything, it doesn’t make for a strong selling and building strategy.  

Making a holiday selling, marketing and recruiting plan is critical as you enter into the season. You have to know your goals and how to put the activity together to make those happen. I didn’t have a plan for where my sales would come from and just assumed that because it was Christmas and I was being Christmasy, they would all come to me. Turns out there were other retailers out there that also knew it was Christmas. They had really incredible plans, which made my hot mess holiday look a lot less appealing.

I went ridiculously overboard. I spent about $456,987 on holiday packaging, decorations and products because I was sure I would have people in my house shopping daily and I would need to wrap thousands of packages. I didn’t and to this day I have boxes in my garage from Dawn’s Hot Mess Holiday season.  

I learned to pick one main color to focus on, which for me was always red. Clear cellophane with a little confetti at the bottom and a red bow. Bada-bing-bada-boom, done. Best part, you can use this packaging again for Valentine Day, Mother’s Day and 4th of July.

I hosted parties for customers I didn’t have. I held big holiday open houses for my customers to do their holiday shopping but I forgot one thing: I didn’t have any customers to come. I was only 6 months in and my customer list was small and mostly out of town.

What I should have done — and did do in the following years — was have a Christmas party for all of my girlfriends. Before they came, I pulled together several gift ideas and packaged them as pretty and festive little gift sets. I set up a little table displaying the gift sets, along with samples of the individual products so my friends could easily examine what was inside the bundles. My friends gave me wish lists to pass on to their husbands, and some bought my Christmas bundles right there to gift to other women.  This was a huge success.

I purchased all the wrong products for the holidays. I knew that having items on hand during the holidays was critical but what I didn’t know was what items sold during the holidays. I thought people would purchase the more expensive items, because, you know, CHRISTMAS!  So, I loaded up on our higher end items and when January came, they were still stacked up neatly against my bedroom wall.

The reality is people will purchase lots of items from $15 to $25 and few at a higher price point. I learned to have an abundance of “stocking stuffers” on hand and ready to go.  I put them in a cute tote bag and took them with me everywhere I went.

So I don’t make these mistakes anymore.

The difference between those who make lots of money during the holidays versus those who become frustrated is simple: it’s a plan.  

Once I planned out who I was going to sell to — which for me was my customer base, along with men and 3-5 business accounts — everything was so much easier. I was a solution for these people, making their lives easier with excellent customer service and pretty packaging.

I came to know the types of products I needed and how I was going to market them. Instead of trying to appeal to the entire world, I identified a very targeted group and it worked. My holiday sales went from about $2000 the first year to over $13,000 the next.  

Selling during the holidays can be the easiest time of year to sell and it should also be the most fun. Offer something most people don’t: exceptional service and solutions to holiday-buying needs. Once you show your customers how easy and enjoyable it can be, they will shop with you over and over again.

I hope you will join me for a FREE Holiday Hustle Challenge on October 8th and 9th where I teach you how to strategically plan for the holidays to set yourself up for success! CLICK HERE TO JOIN