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I am an Avon representative and before i go on, please note i'm not writing this to advertise or promote any of their products for fear of infringement of any kind! I am meerly writing this from a selling point of view to let you know of the 'pros and cons'.
I first decided to start selling avon a few months before christmas for the chance to earn a bit of extra cash for partying. I started in october 2006. I found an advert in one of my local papers. All it said was "EARN EXTRA CASH DELIVERING CATALOGUES" and their was a name and number to call for more details. i called the number and the lady explained that she was an Avon team leader and she agreed to come round one to my house one evening to go through the details to see if it was something i would be interested in doing. i was unsure at first as i thought i might get the 'hard sell' and wouldn't be able to get rid of her but i reluctently agreed for the meeting. You can choose to start like this but there are other ways such as contacting the number shown on the back of every Avon book, also you can log on to their website and join that way.
This is a good way to earn extra cash but it won't be alot unless you put a lot of time and hard work into it. As i work full time i don't have a very large patch. My main sales are from family and friends and then i was given a territory of two streets from which i now have 5 regular customers. You can broaden your territory as much as you want depending on how much spare time you have.
Your commision starts afteryou have sold £72.00 worth of stock. Once you have hit this target you will be paid 20p in the pound. Once you have sold £135.00 worth of stock you will then receive 25p in pound for commission. Avon are aware that sales go down just after christmas so what they do is shorten the time on the first 5 campaigns of the year then half your targets. First target is £48 then your second target is £72.
FEES AND CHARGES
My avon team leader informed me of the charges on her first visit. I could request as many books as i wanted for the first two campaigns and they were free but instead i had to pay an 'admin charge' of £7.50 for the first two campaigns. The books are normally charged at £2.90 for the first 5 and they get slightly cheaper the more you buy. For my first campaign they also offered me a pack of samples worth £20 for £10. I decided not to take up on this offer but at a later date i did buy the sales aids when they were offered for a discount in the hello tomorrow magazine. As i don't sell on a large scale i only order one set of books. You always get one book free with your order and i find six books is more than enough for me. When you collect the books in from one set of customers just forward them on to someone else. You usually have approximately 2-3 weeks to collect your orders in so i just let each customer have 2-3 days with the book. Delivery is free of charge but if you wish to add to an existing order after it has been submitted they there is an extra charge. I cannot tell you how much that is as i have never done it. If you decide to pay your bill at the post office there is also an admin charge of 50p. Fees do vary from time to time so make sure you read all the literature they send you.
TIME AND EFFORT
When considering how large you want your territory to be, don't do like what i did. Work out how long it will take you. I took 50 books off my team leader which meant to do 2 streets i had to deliver the books 3 times to hit all 150 house on the streets. What i didn't think about was that the majority of people didn't leave the books outside as requested so you have to keep knocking on those doors. Catching people in is another problem. I found i had to go out collecting every night to try and get them all in and then there was still about 20 books i never got back. To picture the scene this was 2 months before christmas and i was trapesing round in the pouring rain my knuckles all sore form the cold and knocking on the doors. As you can imagine i was not very happy and then to top it off after all that i only actually got 5 customers from the streets amounting to about £80. Are you feeling sorry for me yet? Can hear a big ARHHHHHH for me please! You also have to think about the time you spend placing the order, bagging the orders up when you recieve them and then catching everyone in again with the money to pay for the goods. Depending on your customers this can be alot harder than it sounds, trust me! The majority of my sales came from family and friends whcih is with alot less effort. I can say though that the canvassing does get easier. After canvassing the first two campaigns if you are happy with the amount of customers you have then you can just deliver the catalogues to them. If you still want to expand then move to another territory. The good thing about this job is you can put as much or as little effort into it as you like and you don't get hounded by Avon to sell more.
PLACING AN ORDER
Well placing an order is very simple. The first time i placed an order the team leader came round to help me to make sure i had got everything right. After that i was on my own but she was always and still is there for me if i have any problems. You can choose to either write out your order on a post order form or you can order on line. Once you have collected your orders in just copy them onto you order form. I do it online for a few reasons :-
- once entering product number you can view the discription, that way you know your customer has wrote it out correctly ( which they don't always do)
- If a product is no longer in stock there is an option to find an alternative product.
- As there is no post with the internet you get a few days extra to put your order in.
- Basically it is so much quicker than writing it all out by hand!
When i first started i found it very frustrating of how many items were either temporarily out of stock or out of stock altogether. Bearing in mind the time of year i started, alot of peoples orders were christmas presents. In october over half of my order was out of stock totally or temporarily out of stock' and i was promised it would be here in the november order in time for christmas. I assured my customers that they would be recieving the goods in the next order and although most people were fine about it they were reluctant to order again until they had received their goods which brought down my commision. Well when i recieved my November order i was not happy at all. Still loads of the goods from the october order were missing and now 'Permanantly out of stock' and also half of my November order was missing! Well you can imaging how embarrasing it was having to go round to people i didn't know as a new sales rep and explain that they were not going to get their christmas gifts after all. Some people were quite annoyed at the inconveinience and haven't ordered since. One of my friends ordered £105 worth of goods and only £15 worth came so she had to rush around last minute trying to find alternative presents.Luckily she was a friend and she knew it wasn't my fault but it still pretty embarrassing all the same. I can say since then product availablity has been much better but maybe when it comes up to christmas again i will have a repeat episode. I sincerely hope not!
Although my team leader has been most helpful, there was a time when i lost her phone number so i had to rely on customer service. In a nut shell it is pot luck with how sucsessful your call is. Some of the advisers are very helpful but i have found that more often than not they were no help at all. The customer service line is NOT free it is charged at local rate and there is always a long queue keeping you hold for at least 15 minutes! The first reason for me contacting them was because my payment wouldn't go through on the internet. First time all was well and the lady took my bank details over the phone and paid it for me. The second time however, the advisor refused to make the payment over the phone and said i had to use the fast-track service. Fast-track is a payment method on the phone but by automated services not speaking to an advisor, i had already tried this but it didn't work. She argued with me and said it does work and just advised me to put the phone down and try again. I did this and it didn't work again so i had to wait in the queue for another 20 minutes to speak to another adviser and go through the same process! Luckily since then my payments have gone through on the internet so i haven't had to speak to them since.
DELIVERIES AND RETURNS
Deliveries and returns are quite simple. When you first sign up with Avon they will ask you if there is any place safe where they can leave your order if you are not home. i.e. a shed or a neighbour house. The delivery usually comes when i am at work so i ask them to leave it in my shed. Just make sure you get your order in by the last day stated on your statement then your order will come one week after, usually on a monday. Returns are easy too, there are several ways you can claim a credit. You can either contact customer service, add a credit claim to your postal order form, or add a credit on your online order form. Once you have done that, fill out your returns form with the relevant information, seal your returns up with a returns label (supplied in your starter pack) then give the form and your returns to your delviery man to sign. If your are out when your delivery comes, just leave the returns where he will leave your goods with the returns form ready for him to sign. Once you have claimed your credit you have 28 days to send your returns back. If you go over that time you will have to claim credit again. Customers now have 60 days to return an item to you.
Making payments is also easy. Do this either by the fast-track service(automated phone service), by post or online. I do this online. As long as you have paid your bill before you put in your next order that is fine. If for any reason you cannot pay the full amount you must contact customer services and explain your situation as this may otherwise affect your order. You can pay, by cash at the post office or by cheque, postal order, credit or debit card.
avon.com is an excellent site. You can make and track your orders. Make payments, claim credits, claim for replacement products, buy internet inclusive products and read up on all the latest avon fashion gossip. It also makes selling much easier as with the website you get extra time to place your order compared to the post. Also ordering online means no administration fee.
Being a representative you will receive a magazine called Hello tomorrow. In this magazine you find new products at a demonstration price for representatives before they have come out in the customer book. Also news on whats happening at Avon , beauty tips and lots more.
TIPS & ADVICE
Here are a few tips i have picked up along the way :-
- Wear any products you buy when delivering goods - when someone comments on your new jewellery/make up/handbag you can tell them exactly where you got it from!
- When posting books in bad weather, wrap them in a sandwich bag so that when they put them outside for collection they don't get wet.
- Make every opportunity a sale. Take your books to work or your partners work. Ask your friends if they know anyone at work who buys it etc.
- Look on internet for offers. I have recently started ordering products cheap and then taking them round to my customers offering them at a discount.I have found that my customers love this as they get to see the product before they buy.
- Use the hello tomorrow book to your advantage. Demonstration products are very cheap for represtentatives.I buy them on offer and offer them to customers at a discounted price. I have found that my customers like the idea that they are getting a product before anyone else.
- Check out the Hello tomorrow book for when samples are on offer. They are regularly offered for half price or at a discount for bulk samples. Pop a few of these into your customers orders. They lurrrve the freebies!
- If at any time you do not reach your first target. (this has happened to me twice - April / May)It might be worth ordering a few things yourself to top you over the limit. This way you can still claim your commission and you get a discount on the items you have ordered for yourself!
If unlike me you want to put alot of effort into this and you are abit of a go getter, there is another target for you to aim for. You will automaticly become part of the president club if you earn £6,300 in sales in a year (that is around £350 in sales per campaign and there are 18 campaigns a year)! Once you are in the presidents club you will recieve discounts on Avon Brochures,Samples and demonstration products. Also you will have a dedicated customer service line(no queues and freephone number) and be invited to gala dinners, seminars and competitions to win exclusive holidays.
If you want to make a careeer out of this you can opt to being a sales leader where not only will you have your own customer base you will recruit and train other to do the same. By doing this you will also earn variable commission depending on your team's sales. There is a charge for this but i do not know how much as i have not looked into this.
You can also have training from Avon on how to use products and which products are suitable for who. They will show you how to hold sucsessful Avon parties to drum up business and how to recommend products and other selling tips.
OVERALL OPINION AND RATE OUT OF TEN
Whether you want to earn abit of extra cash or you want to make a full time career out of this i think it's worth it. I didn't think so for a start when i was delivering those catalogues in winter but now have been doing it for a while i have found that i don't have to put in alot of effort any more. I have my regular customers and i don't canvass anymore as i work full time. The beauty of this is that you can be flexable. I am still considering the idea of becoming a full time rep and team leader. Avon do not hassle you but if you want to look into other opportunities they are more than happy to help. RATING 8/10!!!!
Great review, loads of great info.
I am also a avon rep & the part where you said ''Delivery is free of charge but if you wish to add to an existing order after it has been submitted they there is an extra charge. I cannot tell you how much that is as i have never done it.'' Just thought I would say that you don't get charged a fee as such for an additional order but you just won't earn anything on the comission unless the additional order is over the min order value. If this makes any sense??
Anyway really great review.
alfeebee 24.07.2007 15:34
Excellent! We have a new Avon Lady who is a joy to deal with. Ray.