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I have just moved back home and am continuing my psychology degree with the Open University. Now I have a lot of time to spare and a friend recommended to me to start up as an Avon representative whilst at the same time looking for other work (which I did not the Jobsite website). I was a little bit apprehensive to start this because Avon selling is not an hourly wage, I have to put a lot of effort in, in order to reap the rewards. But I guess that is the same with a lot of jobs.
So what does Avon sell?
Avon sells a huge collection of items in a brochure. These items include: skincare, make-up, jewellery, men’s items, bath and body items, clothes, fragrances, lingerie and present ideas.
So how did I contact Avon?
I saw an advert on the Jobsite website with an Avon sales leader in my area advertising work in my area. It had her telephone number in the job advert so I gave her a ring. She talked me through the ins and outs of Avon and I decided that it was the sort of thing that I could see myself doing. We met two days later, she arrived at my house with my starter pack. The starter pack included two packs of order forms, 40 brochures, 20 for my first and 20 for my second campaign. I was also given an Hello Tomorrow magazine (which I will explain later on in the review) as well as copies of the brochures for myself and a few starter leaflets to explain bits and pieces about Avon to me and a calling book. The calling book simply allows me to keep track of house names and numbers and the customers that I have posted brochures to. The lady also explained to me that I would be having a small fee taken out of my first and second campaign order for the starter kit and for setting me up as a rep. This fee was £7.50 per the two campaigns making £15.00 in total. I did not mind this really because I could understand what a pain it would be if they signed up numerous people who ended up not working for Avon or even putting in a first order.
Firstly the area manager that each Avon representative is allocated in their area allocates their given territory (an area you are allowed to sell in). You do not have to have a territory if you simply want to sell to friends and relatives but you might as well ask for one. So I was given in total around 200 houses within a walking distance
Pictures of Avon representative
Avon representative - parts of the starter kit
from my home. I went around these houses to find that unfortunately a lot of them were actually flats or bed and breakfasts (I live in the south west by the coast so as anybody can imagine who has been there, it caters for a lot of tourists). So I rang my area manager to ask for her to remove the roads with flats on and to allocate me another area which she did with no problems.
Who is there to help you?
The area managers and your team leader that you are given (or who for example I actually seeked through the job advert) are there to help you if you have any problems. They can be contacted either through email, telephone and your team leader can meet up with you if you really need to.
How I started selling
I have worked in the beauty industry for some time now with two different companies so I am very aware of the type of products out there from all the different brands. So my previous work has given me a lot of confidence in approaching customers and advising them as well as listening to the customer’s needs and what they are looking for. So I tried to use this confidence and rather than push brochures through everybody’s letter boxes I knocked on people’s doors and introduced myself and asked them whether they would like a brochure. I thought it was key to explain to people how much Avon had changed over the years and how they are up with many of the premium cosmetic brands with the technology they use. My mum did Avon representing and was a team leader with my AVON reps who she guided (but this was about 30 odd years ago) so she gave me some guidance too.
What were people’s responses when I knocked on their doors?
Well it was a mixed response really, everybody was very polite. I would say 1 in 10 people accepted my offer of a brochure which makes it quite hard work being turned down by 9 people each time (theoretically). But I kept my morale up as I approached each door. I had a few lovely ladies who were thoroughly excited to see an Avon brochure who had not seen one for years. These ladies are perfect for picking up more business because they talk about their products to friends.
I put printed stickers on the brochures to say the date and time I would be picking the brochure up and for them to either leave the brochure outside their door or I could knock on their door if they wanted any advice on anything.
From my experience so far with Avon I have learnt that you do not need to purchase many brochures (yes Avon charges the sales representative for the brochures). I purchase about 20 or 25 per campaign because I rotate them. Once I receive the books back from the first lot of customers I seek new customers.
The first campaign an Avon representative does is the trickiest. I certainly found it slightly tricky because you have to learn how the online system works for ordering the products (or you can order on the telephone but this is very difficult). Secondly you are learning about all the products to tell your customers about. Thirdly you are finding your customers. So the next campaign is not so difficult. When I delivered the first campaigns products to the customers I also gave them the next campaigns brochures. Majority of customers purchase (even if it is a small amount) every campaign. There are 18 campaigns a year.
How to increase sales
On the order forms given to customers with the brochures I printed sticky labels with print saying ‘spend over £20.00 to receive 2 free samples.’ Unfortunately the sales representatives have to also pay for samples which are from 20p to £1.25 (so they are not cheap). This is why I need to have a minimum order to give out samples. In the next campaign I am going to put ‘refer a friend to receive a free gift.’
Am I making money through Avon?
I knew from the beginning that I would not make a lot of money with my first couple of campaigns simply because of the start up fees, customers not spending loads (probably to check I am genuine) and through having the smallest number of customers and through buying stationary, bags to deliver products in, brochures and samples. However, as the weeks go on more people know in my area that I work for Avon so people ordering from me are asking me to pop brochures through their friend’s doors, which is increasing my sales.
What is Hello Tomorrow?
As I mentioned previously in my starter kit I received an Hello Tomorrow magazine. This is a brochure for sales representatives with demo products in at a cheaper price. These demo products are for in 2 brochures time so you can show customers prior to the brochure which contains them. However, it is crucial not to get too carried away buying products for yourself or else you will end up spending what you earn per campaign. Hello Tomorrow also contains sections to purchase samples and stationary as well as a clearance section you can buy from.
So how much do I actually earn?
Each sales representative has to place a minimum order of £72.00 which is easily done. If you place an order between £72.00 and £135.00 you make £1.00 per every £5.00 so 20% and if you place an order over £135.00 you make £1.00 per every £4.00 so 25%. My first campaign was £400 so I got £100. And each campaign is increasing luckily. Certain items I do not make 25% due to there being a fixed percent on them (for example if they are a new brand or a limited time brand appearing in the Avon brochure for example, Hello Kitty, Roxy, Country Rose etc.
Would I recommend Avon?
I would certainly recommend Avon to somebody who is passionate and motivated to do well. To somebody who is confident to knock on people’s doors and to somebody who has another income. Avon will not give you enough income to live on unfortunately unless you happen to have 100s and 100s of customers who spend huge amounts. Unfortunately in my area that is never going to be the case I don’t think. But I enjoy it, I love chatting to people and advising them. Some people really enjoy it when you turn up to take their orders for example, retired ladies who are at home all of the time. It is an added highlight to their day. I also love that Avon will refund items even if they have been tried. I do not think that any other brand does that for simply the reason of you not liking it. I have been really impressed by Avon and they are always looking for more representatives. If you are new to an area it is also a great way to get to know people. You can also host parties to sell more and I am not sure I am confident enough to do that but I would love to do one in aid of Breast Cancer Research which Avon raises a lot of money for as well as another charity. For example, if people buy cakes and the money goes to the charity and then hopefully I will get some orders from it as well.
4 Stars from me – anybody can work for Avon, you do not have to have an interview process you simply need to be enthusiastic! There are also lots of other earning opportunities and ways of getting on the ladder to make more money higher up with Avon. I am a part time student so although I now have another job alongside Avon it gives me some extra money through something I thoroughly enjoy.
I personally think that Ding Dong Avon Calling is a thing of the past... Avon is more up market with a fantastic range of products and once more people see that Avon is simply great products at great, reasonable prices more people will turn to Avon.
Interesting enough, but I think there is a major gap here which would show how much your earnings break down to per hour's work.
It feels to me like you're getting way less than minimum wage, but I'd love to hear it from you.
jonathanb 21.04.2011 15:27
An excellent review and I'm glad business is picking up for you.