Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tales from Direct Sales

Kat was pontificating, earlier this week, about the misery of being a direct sales hostess without attendees. Boy, have I been there. I've also been on the side of a consultant who shows up for no attendees, and that's no fun either.

Let me begin by saying that I have sold for 6 different direct sales companies over the last 11 years. I know, I'm nuts. I've been mildly successful in some endeavors and REALLY successful in one venture, but boy have I got some stories from each one. The good, the bad and the REALLY ugly.

Today's story will be about my venture into the world of cooking with Pampered Chef. PC was the 3rd company that I signed with. My reason for joining? I love Disney World. My upline told me about the fabulous vacation to Disney World that PC paid for, so like the sucker that I am whenever Disney is mentioned, I asked "where do I sign?" Forget the fact that I already owned pretty much EVERYTHING in the catalog. I didn't have the cookware and I didn't want to pay full price for it. Problem solved, right?

I suckered a good friend into hosting my very first show for me. We talked about which 2 recipes she wanted me to demonstrate and we decided on Skillet Chocolate Cake and Shrimp Wonton Cups. So, I gave her the shopping list and arrived at her house for the show a week later. She had all the ingredients laid out for me, which I set on my card table. Yes, I was wielding kitchen tools on a card table. I like to live dangerously.

Her guests sat down and I dazzled them with my witty kitchen banter. I explained what we would be cooking tonight and set out to make the Shrimp Wonton Cups first. And then I set out to work my culinary magic. That is until I realized that my hostess hadn't bothered to purchase the wonton wrappers I needed for the Shrimp WONTON cups. Completely mortified and panicking, I asked my hostess about this minor little detail. She turned beet red and confessed that she had forgotten and was going to get them right now. And she left. Yes, here I was standing in the middle of her living room with a bunch of people I didn't know, while she ran to the grocery store (for 40 minutes) to purchase wonton wrappers. In that time, I whipped up the chocolate cake, baked it and was serving it, when she returned.

The show took way longer that a normal show should, but the guests were thankfully sympathetic to the blathering idiot that I became once our hostess left. Sales were decent, but (not surprisingly) no one booked a show. After that performance, I wouldn't have invited me to my home either.

Upon telling my upline about my show woes, she told me a story that made me feel so much better. She once had a hostess who wanted to make a chicken dish of some sort. Instead of providing chicken breasts or tenders (or even canned chicken) for her consultant, she purchased a whole chicken. So, my upline had to completely dismember, debone, and boil a chicken while the guests watched. After that, she insisted on providing the ingredients herself. I can't blame her.

Join me next time for Tales from Direct Sales - The Candle Company edition.

13 comments:

Angela said...

And {whooooosh} you've just heard the sound of why I will never sign up to do this. That would end up being me for sure. It's my luck. I'd be the one who ended up dismembering the chicken. And I'm absolutely petrified of speaking in front of crowds. Even small ones, unless I know everyone well. I wouldn't make it!

Candid Carrie said...

Oh my gosh! I dealt Tupperware for a few WEEKS about a hundred years ago and that lugging and dragging and smiling was not my idea of a good time! You deserve every penny of commission ;)

Shannon said...

Oh, I can't wait to see what you have to say about the "candle company"!!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Kat said...

OH, I am so glad you blogged about this...and I cannot wait to hear your other stories!

I had a really positive experience with Creative Memories. I did it for 9 years...and then just let it die off. What I loved about CM was that there were so many resales. I could do $1000 in a month with no work at all. Just people needing supplies.

At the other end of that...I had to carry inventory. I didn't want to be a store. But, I had to be...and here I am with tons of product still.

I only had once where I had a class with no guests. I preferred them to be small. After a class with 12 people and only $200 in sales. I actually had one with 6 people and almost $2k in sales. Good times :-)

Kelly said...

I've had friends who have done PC with the same thing happen at parties - missing critical ingredient! Once I was at a party and the hostess actually didn't want to make what she'd intended and brought the ingredients for another recipe. It was strange, LOL.

Heather said...

Did you do any other shows after that? Because I was thinking about signing up to do PC but I really cant decide. I dont know anyone that does it but I went to a show a few months ago and the demonstrator asked if anyone would be interested in joining so of course I was the sucker and got all of the info. and she has been calling me but I still didnt give her an answer. Would you suggest doing it or not really?

Jenn said...

Can't wait to hear the candle one. I sold candles too!

Kelly said...

This has the makings of a good series...

Michelle said...

Interesting times. I'm not up for the direct sales thing. But I have a good friend who does Tastefully Simple (yum! I love going to her shows and I think she loves when I go, too) and another who does Usborne Books. I love those , too. In fact, I have a giant box of books from them that I ordered at the show I hosted recently that will be presents to the majority of the *8* birthday parties (not including my own family) that I'm going to in the next four weeks. And just a *couple* for us.

So who else did you sell for? And are you doing any now?

Jane said...

Oh you know I can't wait to hear the rest of the stories!!
WooHoo!!!!!!!!!!!!

CrystalChick said...

OH that is a funny story! The daughter of a friend of mine does PC, or she used to anyway. I have got to ask her if she has any neat stories like that!

Lula! said...

I cannot wait to hear about the Candle Company. You are hilarious!

Jules said...

Oh my gosh, that would be my ultimate nightmare....
Wating with baited breath for the next installment.

 

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