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Selling in a competitive world

J

Judybabe

Guest
I would like to offer another point of view on selling in today's market.
Warning! it's an article!

Until about six months ago, I owned a Bridal shop that I'd had for a long time. The vendors or designers that I got my wedding gowns, bridesmaids, prom etc. had 'strict' rules about selling online or 'transshipping'. You could have a website, but couldn't list prices, you couldn't order a dress for a shop that didn't carry the line.

However, it was done all the time. yeah people complained, but the bottom line is, nobody is going to refuse a sale. Where's the value in that? I'm not sure why they have those rules when they don't enforce them. Except it looks good on paper.

now that my store is closed and I have dozens of dresses to sell that are still current styles, I've been selling them on ebay. mostly for $150 each when they retail in stores for over $800. Are stores complaining about me? You betcha! the reps call me all the time and ask if I still have dresses to sell, because stores are complaining. Unless the vendor buys them back from me, I will continue to sell merchandise anyway I chose.

Am I the only one doing it, No. check out ebay and see how many wedding gowns are listed and you'll see most come from Bridal shops. heck, Target sells wedding gowns nowadays. Girls buy their bridesmaids dresses off the rack for $50.00 at J. Crew how can a traditional shop compete? I'm still friends with many shop owners across the nation and we all hear about stores closing left and right in this economy.

My point is, nobody is going to refuse a sale. Would you refuse to sell a cookie stone to someone who told you there were going to use it in the oven to dry out dog parts. for later consumption. Albeit you might be grossed out, but what they do with it after the sale is their business. (true story)

People don't like to see others break the rules because they feel cheated. Were they cheated on directly? depends. did they lose the sale? did they even remotely have a chance at that sale? Most likely not.

Like I said before, rules look good on paper. Why would Pampered Chef care if you had a page on Facebook that advertised tastefully their products. Oh my gosh you might sell something!

It's been said that the Home Office doesn't have enough staff to monitor the internet. In my opinion, if it was an important issue, they would find the staff.

What do you do with the customer who points out that you can buy the batter bowl and bamboo spoons at Wal-mart? for half the cost compared to Pampered Chef? Do you think that Anchor Hocking who makes the batter bowl for PC isn't going to sell them to another customer? *(Doris Christopher herself said they came from Anchor Hocking in her book). she doesn't mention the bamboo spoons so I can't comment on that.

Wal-mart also sells Ring bearer pillows, candles, invitations, cake toppers, favors, veils, tiaras, gloves etc. I was careful not to chose vendors who sold to Wal-mart so I had different stock, and not compete on price.

Am I going to focus on the batter bowl and bamboo spoons in my cooking shows. No way. Will I offer it one on one with a customer as a potential add on sale who is buying baking stones or other baking items? You betcha! Most likely they never saw it at Walmart. They saw it with me.

Consultants have websites to sell their wares. Consultants have Facebook to sell their wares. Tell me what the difference is? One costs money to maintain, the other does not.

On Ebay, there is alot of pampered chef products. Many consultants are there selling their wares. heck the snowmen aprons are fetching over $35.00 right now. I paid $35.00 for my Help Whip Cancer tote on ebay. I absolutely love it and use it as a purse.

I joined Pampered Chef with the idea I would meet people. Thankfully, my husband has a good job and my investments are sound I don't need to work. I recently got remarried and moved 300 miles from family and friends to a tiny secular town that is hard to adjust to. When I joined PC I was enthusiastic about cooking shows, meeting and making new friends. that has died away. totally not PC's fault. I have bought more stuff for myself and own almost everything humanly possible to own. paperwork wise, that should I get the chance to host a show with 1000 people, I got the invitations, paperwork and products to show them it all! I'm just having a hard time adjusting to the people here. I'm doing it in a subtle way with my HWC tote and my logo wear.

So maybe having a Facebook page is for me. I could connect with my friends back home and my family too.

However there is always a consequence to breaking rules. Take Carols' compilation of DCB recipes. It was her intention to offer it to consultants and their customers. It was never her intention for it to be offered as a sales tool to sell the DCB. unfortunately, that's what has happened and her feelings are hurt. It's on ebay. Buy this DCB and get a FREE file of recipes via email. It's on Facebook. Buy the DCB, this and that spice, etc. and get a FREE cookbook via email! both sites, the very file that Carol put together. Misspellings and all! :p I'm the one who brought it to her attention and suggested she pull it from general availability. It's still totally available, she's just gonna screen people now. It's a good thing, I plan on talking to the Home Office about using the recipes she compiled, making a cookbook and giving her credit along with the rest of us for creating the recipes.

If you are truly upset with rule breakers, start right here on this website. It's not limited to consultants. How many people read here and never post. You have no idea who's reading your words. Look at how many guests read here daily. Question: how many of these guests can download a free file?

Pampered Chef is a great company. It's headed up by some really inspirational people like Doris and Jay Christopher, Nancy Jo Ryan and Warren Buffet. I've owned shares in Berkshire Hathaway for years, so I guess I own parts of Pampered Chef too. Do I have a problem with consultants offering their wares on Facebook? No. I don't. someone would have to explain it to me why it's not a good thing. To me, it's the same as putting a window cling on a Ford Taurus or a Dodge 300. A matter of opinion and personal choice.

Do I have a problem with people selling items on Ebay? Again, No. Personally choice. Are they selling? Yes. Are they getting rid of unwanted items in their inventory due to personal taste and discontinuation? Yes. Are there people willing to buy their items? Yes.

Ebay isn't free. You have listing fees, picture fees, advanced selling tool fees, final value fees, paypal fees and the ever present shipping fees. it's a miracle we make any money at all. Paypal is centered in Omaha, the same town where Warren Buffet and Berkshire Hathaway are. But I chose not to purchase stock in their business. Maybe in the future...

My intent with this 'article' is to try to help people see both sides. I've owned my own businesses. Now I own my own Pampered Chef business. Albeit, I'm not successful right now. but who can tell in a year from now:chef:

Again, Moran Thang! (Many thanks)
 

rennea

Legacy Member
Gold Member
Jul 23, 2005
3,733
0
I'm not agreeing or disagreeing with you but read over the manual policies on this and if you really feel strongly about it contact HO, let your feeling be known. HO does take this kind of advertising seriously. A lot of people feel that HO is "behind the times", but for now that these are there rules!


Side-note: I personally wouldn't do business with a psycho who was going to use our stoneware to dry out dog parts!!
 
J

Judybabe

Guest
LOL! I also agree with the psycho comment! but the lady is from another country where eating dog is common. just gotta chalk it up to different tastes... her english is poor, but her buying from a friend of mine is great. She's been a regular customer for a couple of years!

You know, I have looked over everything that was sent in my kit, and I can't find anything. Am I looking wrong? Is it on their website?

thanks,
Judy
 

rennea

Legacy Member
Gold Member
Jul 23, 2005
3,733
0
LOL! I also agree with the psycho comment! but the lady is from another country where eating dog is common. just gotta chalk it up to different tastes... her english is poor, but her buying from a friend of mine is great. She's been a regular customer for a couple of years!

You know, I have looked over everything that was sent in my kit, and I can't find anything. Am I looking wrong? Is it on their website?

thanks,
Judy


It is under Policies and Procedures: Advertising and Publicity: Internet/Web

from the policies...

"You may not list, advertise or publicize your Pampered Chef person Web site on any web site other than The Pampered Chef's corporate site."

"You may not mention, advertise or promote your Pampered Chef business on any chat room other than those created for communicating with other consultants."


"You are not allowed to list the company name when filling out personal profiles on the Internet."

"You are not allowed to sell any Pampered Chef products current or discontinued through online auction houses (like ebay.com) or on any web site other than your Pampered Chef Web site"
 
J

Judybabe

Guest
and you found that on the website? ok, thanks. I do plan on talking to the Home Office. At this point I don't agree with it so I want it explained more. I'm not breaking any rules right now, so I'm safe.

I really appreciate you finding this for me. thanks for taking the time!
Judy
 

babywings76

Legend Member
Gold Member
Jun 19, 2008
7,306
59
One problem w/ items being sold on E-bay and such is that then it becomes very well known that people can get X, Y, and Z there for "cheap" and people won't want or need to attend our parties or purchase. People already are looking for ways to find bargains and save and that's okay, but competition is fierce in an on-line world. And since people from all over can find that one little ol' consultant (or hundreds once it's made allowed) online w/ amazing bargains...

I do think we should be able to openly declare on our blogs or FB or whatever that we are a consultant, and say what we might be up to. I can see not putting on our website address. Especially if we have our settings set to "private" and only our friends can see it.

I'm sure others will chime in. When ever this topic comes up, and it comes up at least once a month I think ;), it tends to get long w/ all sorts of sides of the issue.

One thing I thought I'd share that might be new was some communication I had with HO. Here's the e-mail exchange I had w/ them recently:

My e-mail:
I was wondering if there will be a clarification or update to the advertising on the internet rules. I'm wondering what technically is okay or not okay to do.

For example, on Facebook, I know I shouldn't list Pampered Chef as my employer or that I'm a Pampered Chef Consultant. I know that it is against policy to include my PWS address. But in my wall posts, am I allowed to tell my friends "Hi, there's a great special next month if anyone's interested in booking a party" or something like that. Is that okay as long as we aren't stating Pampered Chef by name? Are these types of comments allowed? There are also privacy settings so that only our friends can view our wall posts--so they wouldn't be searchable in an online database.

Right now, many consultant friends of mine are all confused on what the line is. We don't want to cross a line, but right now aren't sure how to interpret the guidelines

It would be nice to be able to have conversations on our private blogs or whatever and be free to mention our business. Not as a replacement to traditional methods of networking and communicating, but just in addition to it. There is this big group of people who like to communicate through these other means, and it's getting more and more common.

Thanks so much for any clarification you can offer. I appreciate your help.


Here was the response:
Thank you for contacting The Pampered Chef. There are only two specific situations that are outlined in the Policy Guide in which we would allow Internet advertising. Unfortunately being able to post specials and messages in relation to your Pampered Chef business on Facebook is not one of them.

Consultant's are permitted to use blogs and chat room to discuss the business. This is only acceptable if the group is strictly Pampered Chef Consultant's and is not available to anyone else who may visit the site.


I wasn't very thrilled w/ this response. :(
 

Jules711

Veteran Member
Silver Member
Jan 21, 2007
1,942
3
This is a topic that comes up very often. I understand that they want to control "the brand" and there are very questional things (in my opinion) on some personal websites and I'm sure facebook and such. After all, it is NOT typically a professional site so they are seeing all sides of you there. However, I think the very same thing when I come across a rude and let's just say unprofessional consultant. We can put signs on our cars and be an agressive rude driver (OR just have one using our car). We can wear the clothes and well, not look professional IN them. We can carry a bag to the store while screaming at our kids. (I'm not describing myself by the way!)

I would say MOST of my true customers love the internet. They may or may not want to purchase from it, but they'd prefer emailing over calling b/c they can do it when convenient and it takes less time. I have a host that I have never, and probably never will meet. I know him better than some of my hosts that have seen me in their home! I think it's crazy to think that we can't have the relationship that way. It depends.

I think I've heard that it's an "unfair advantage" for those technologically inclined. However, I think it's unfair that some consultants are more outgoing and funny! They need to stop that!! People who have 40 hours/week to spend on it...that doesn't seem fair! Of course, I don't really believe that. Use what you have. I would love to use the internet. I don't like the selling on ebay b/c it seems like it's taking advantage! SO many times they pay MORE. But I would love to advertise. I have people all over the country that I KNOW (as in family and friends that have moved away), but I'm sure a lot of you have friends that you've never met and yet feel the same closeness.

Ahhh...sorry...feel better...heartrate coming down....ahhh....back to the beautiful Spring day in August.
 

lauriedip

Member
Apr 2, 2009
343
0
i have seen our products on sale at ebay and other places. very frustrating to me because then they don't have to come to us, the very reason we are consultants. why are they( HO) not contacting these people then and telling them not to do it. if they don't, then it's not fair to those of us out here working hard and doing parties and following the rules. i don't mind not being able to do it, if they enforce these rules for everyone.
 
J

Judybabe

Guest
why are they( HO) not contacting these people then and telling them not to do it. if they don't, then it's not fair to those of us out here working hard and doing parties and following the rules.

That's ebay. How many are selling that are consultants? How many are selling that aren't consultants? there are over 2000 items listed on ebay if you type in "Pampered Chef" with over 100 sellers plus.

Advantages: they sell products they don't want anymore, sell consultant supplies they don't want anymore, or are selling off inventory to buy new.

They have buyers also. Many consultants are buying on ebay. Invitations, postcards, recipes, totes, logowear, aprons, they are getting a better deal on ebay than going thru the home office.

Is there anything in the PC rules that says you can't purchase your paperwork, display items, totes, logowear or snowmen aprons on ebay?

It's kind of like pornography, you'll never stop it unless the market goes away.
 

kdangel518

Advanced Member
Gold Member
Mar 5, 2009
933
1
Point of the matter is this- the policies are there, and you agreed to them when you became a consultant and said you'd abide by them. No, not all consultants do this. Again, this does not make it ok for everyone not to do it.

Just like saying, for example, my neighbor doesn't pay his or her taxes, so it's ok for me not to as well. No, it may not be illegal for you to post your PWS link or advertise on FB, but you agreed to that policy when you became a consultant.

If one wishes to be a person of their word in their business, they will abide by the policies they agreed to when they became a consultant. In the meantime, fight the fight with home office until the policy changes.

As far as FB goes, I am a sorority advisor and we are THIS CLOSE to prohibiting our collegiate women from posting sorority related ANYTHING on their FB and myspace pages, because the reality is that 1) not everyone represents themselves in a manner consistent with the organization on these social sites (which I'm sure is a concern of PC's) and 2) you have limited control as to what others post on their pages that are linked to yours or on your page until you get to it to delete whatever inappropriateness/unprofessionalness they have posted. I can totally understand why PC doesn't want people posting stuff on FB.

Do others have an unfair advantage? Maybe. But let's rest at night knowing that we can still get biz the honest way by not having to sneak around and break the rules, potentially getting caught by the HO, being embarrassed by an email from them that goes to our director as well, potentially loosing the privilege to even have a PWS, and even having our consultant agreement terminated.

It is each of our individual biz's and each of our ways to decide how to run it, and to run it according to or not according to PC's guidelines. But you knew the terms and conditions and potential repercussions when you signed up.
 
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