This week, the Modern Direct Seller Podcast is packed with industry tips for everyone! Terrence Dempsey with Pampered Chef joined us to share all of the knowledge he’s gained as a field success manager to help you stay relevant and find longevity in this ever-changing business. Whether you’re a consultant who’s just getting started, or a seasoned seller seeking your next successful pivot, listen in to learn more about finding your enthusiasm, capitalizing on your company’s systems, and even selling well during the busy holiday season.
Time based notes:
- 1:34 Terrence Dempsey introduction
- 4:48 Staying relevant in direct sales
- 8:40 Starting strong in direct sales
- 15:03 Reinventing for a changing industry
- 19:48 Capitalizing on the holiday season
- 23:39 Terrence’s favorite products and supplies
Start Strong and Stay Relevant in Sales with Terrence Dempsey
Recently on the Modern Direct Seller Podcast, we were joined by Terrence Dempsey with Pampered Chef, and he shared all of the knowledge he’s gained as a field success manager to help direct sellers stay relevant and find longevity in this ever-changing business. Whether you’re brand-new to the biz or a seasoned consultant read on for advice about finding your enthusiasm and capitalizing on your company’s systems.
Terrence, tell us a little bit of your story! Tell us what you do, who you serve, and what your background is in direct sales.
I remember being exposed to direct sales very clearly. I was probably around five years old, and there was a Miracle Maid cookware guy that came to our house and prepared a full meal in this electric skillet for my family. And, I remember being in awe when he hard-boiled an egg just by cooking it in this skillet. And, that was my very first exposure to someone coming to our home and selling something directly to us. And, that has never left my mind. It really helped develop my entrepreneurial spirit, and throughout my whole career, I’ve really geared towards that entrepreneurial side of things.
And so, I became a member of the Pampered Chef field almost 25 years ago when I was living in the U.S. I now live in Canada, supporting the corporate side of Pampered Chef, but have really just been an integral part of anything related to the direct selling side that I can get my hands on. I purchase from direct sales companies. I’ve created and started my own business from the ground up outside of Pampered Chef when I was living in the U.S. So, direct selling, entrepreneurship, it’s always been there been a part of who I am.
I moved over to the corporate side back in 2006, when I moved from Wisconsin to Illinois, and really started focusing on the international side of things with Pampered Chef, such to the point that I was then invited to come north of the border and help support different markets outside of the U.S.—Canada, Mexico, the UK, Germany. And so, today, I’m still up here doing that. And, I am servicing and working with consultants on both sides of the border, just really focused on the new consultant experience, as well as what they get when they sign up. So, their new consultant kits, the paperwork that comes in there, as well as that first six months of success, and we work to really help those new consultants be as successful as they can be from the get-go so that they have a great experience and want to keep duplicating that for themselves.
Oh my gosh, I love your story. I love that your first memory of direct sales was when you were five. And, I love that you get to work with new consultants, too. I mean, you’ve seen a lot, right? Like, over the years, from the guy showing up at your door and boiling an egg to now we’re livestreaming, and we have platforms, and we have social media. And, there’s still this element of relationship-building and in-person, but in some ways, it’s become a whole lot more complex. So, I’d love to hear how you’ve seen things evolve, and how we continue to stay relevant as an industry as a whole.
You’re not wrong; it’s very different than what it was long time ago. But, you’re also right in that it remains very much a relationship business. It’s how we build those relationships and how we continue to foster those which has kind of changed. But, it truly is making that direct connection and getting to understand the needs of your hosts, your guests, your customers, whatever that situation may be, and then using your products to create solutions.
And so, it was always, always door-to-door. In the past, I remember going to my aunt’s house and a Rainbow vacuum cleaner salesperson came in. You had the Tupperware lady coming and selling. So, it was almost always these in-person parties. And now, we are very much in a hybrid, right? Because, there is still a need and desire to get together with friends in person, but there’s always this virtual element and this social element of it that we’ve only really seen come to fruition in the past five years. And, once the pandemic hit, it just really took hold. And, if we had not been prepared for that, we may not have seen the success that we did when we were during the pandemic. So, it’s a matter of, truly, just we need to watch for what’s happening in the world around us, and then we need to be able to adapt to that to continue to be successful.
So yeah, the amount of change is fantastic, right? I love it, because change for me is always something I look forward to. I don’t ever want to be stagnant and just sit here and always do the same thing that I’ve always done in the past, and I’m only doing it because it’s what I know to do. I want to learn something new, get something new, and if we want to be able to bring new people on board, you have to meet them where they’re at. Today’s younger generations are very much social-, digital-, technology-oriented, and not going to them is not going to grow our businesses.
I couldn’t agree more. And, for some, that change might feel a little scary or a little overwhelming or a little daunting to navigate, but I think you’re absolutely right, that change is also exciting. And, it keeps us relevant. Like, we want to stay fresh and exciting and be forward-thinking, and it’s hard sometimes to let go of things of the past, but also look forward to all of those good things to come.
So, especially since you are working with new consultants, I’d love to hear what those things are that really are working right now. When you have somebody new stepping in, like this younger generation that’s more tech savvy, how are you really infusing the route of relationship-building and social media, knowing that not everyone has the same path when they’re getting started with Pampered Chef, or any direct sales business, these days?
I think the best tip I can give brand-new consultants is follow the system that is laid out for you, right? Like, ours at Pampered Chef is called “Recipe for Success.” So, follow the recipe, because it’s tried and true, and we’ve really worked to perfect it, versus coming in and thinking you have to do your own thing. You should always add your own influence to it and make it yours, but the base of the journey is there for a reason, because we’ve seen other consultants who have had success with it, and then we’ve worked to perfect that.
So, I would say the first thing you can do is follow exactly what’s laid out for you—at least in that first 90-day to 6-month timeframe—so that you can start to get the feel for what the business is going to be for you. And then, start actually putting your own flair, your own touch, your own changes, your influence into it. Always be looking for those ways that you can add your expertise into it, because that’s what’s going to build the rapport between your customers and you as you work to develop that business.
You know, as a new consultant, we always say, “You’re in business for yourself, but never by yourself.” Because, you’ve got your team, you’ve got your uplines, and you also have the home office who have put a lot of time and energy and resources into developing that system for you so that you don’t have to do that. You should be able to come on board right away. If you follow that system, do what’s laid out, then you should be able to see success right away, and then just start duplicating that.
I love that, because you’re right. There’s layers and layers of support that you have in a direct sales company that you don’t really get when you’re out on your own as an entrepreneur. You’ve been there; I’m in it, right? I feel like sometimes it’s a lot easier to step into direct sales, where somebody’s taking care of product development, and somebody’s giving you marketing materials, and somebody’s laying out a really clear success path of what you need to do. And then, you’re right, you’re gonna put your own spin on it. You’re gonna figure out your own niche, and what works for you, and go your own direction. But, I think that’s wonderful advice. In the very beginning, just plug into the system, follow it, find your groove, and have that immediate success. Don’t feel like you have to reinvent the wheel or come up with everything on your own.
The other thing I would also suggest to them is to take advantage of any trainings or any meeting team meetings—even regional meetings or national meetings that may happen—if you’re able to do that. Go to those, because this is a relationship business. And, it’s not just that relationship that you’re developing with your customers, your hosts, your guests, but it is about those relationships with the other peers that you have inside the organization you’re selling for. So, your team, your upline, but even on a national basis. And, in our case, we have a combined U.S. and Canada conference that truly allows you to do all that networking and understand that there’s so much more to it. You can develop lifelong friendships from these people inside the organization, and I see that all the time. And, if you’re not doing that, it’s going to be harder for you as a new consultant to build those relationships. So, take advantage of that as much as you can, as often as you can, to continue to build that. It’ll just help drive your success, your inspiration, and your motivation in your business as well.
So, Janelle and I have been doing a little bit of research, where we’ve been interviewing some of the top leaders at different companies that we’re working with, and almost every single one of them cited that they got that motivation, that excitement, that “I’m going to do this, and I’m going to be on that stage, and just watch me” from going to a company conference—and going in-person. I love all of our virtual attendees, but it’s just not the same when you’re having to do laundry and make your own food. It’s way more fun when you’re there in person. And, that’s also the community part and the fun factor. We all say that we joined for the products, but really, we stay for the people.
Okay, let’s talk about those that have been in direct sales for a while now. What are your best tips for those that may be in the season of reinventing themselves, or trying to find themselves again, or getting back on that horse and getting motivated? We know that we had a lot of growth during COVID. And, across the industry, things have leveled out a little bit. For some, that’s a little bit harder pill to swallow, and we gotta dig deep to really figure out what things look like here and forward. So, I’d love to hear any tips that you have around, what do you do if you are finding yourself in that spot that you really need to reinvent yourself?
You know, Pampered Chef Canada started in 1996. And, we still have consultants today who joined at that very first party. So, they definitely are in it for the long haul. And, it can be challenging at times to try to do that reinvention, because you’ve got the old ways of doing things, you know what worked for you in the past, and you may be a little bit less open sometimes to wanting to try the new thing.
So, my first tip is to actually go and shadow your new consultants through the journey that they’re taking. Because, you won’t necessarily get to experience that journey again, because you’re not the new consultant, but when you are helping them, and you’re shadowing them, and you’re supporting them through their journey, their success and their level of enthusiasm towards the business will really start to wear off and come back to you, and you can actually take that for yourself. And then, you just get that reinvigoration that you may have not had for a while. Watching those new consultants have their success and earn those new products—or whatever’s going on in your company for those new consultants—is truly is a way for you to reset your way of thinking about the business, because you’ve seen it now through that new consultant’s eyes.
The other thing that I would suggest is always go into things with an open mind. Yes, we know you have set techniques that work. You’ve got your own systems that will work for you. But, always be ready and open and willing to say, “I’m gonna give it a try.” I’m not saying you have to adopt it. If you tried it, and it doesn’t work for you, that’s fine; keep looking for something else. But, if you at least approach it with the “I will at least give this a try” attitude, you’ll be very surprised, more often than not, how much it will actually work for you. And, at least you can say that you tried. You have a better way of approaching your business versus being just a hard “no” or a hard close. So, those are the first two tips that came to mind when thinking about this question.
I love that on so many levels. And, speaking of trying, we’re rolling into holiday season, and I know it might feel a little early to be talking about gift giving and holidays and all of that good stuff, but any ideas here for direct sellers to really capitalize on seasonal products and gift giving?
It’s definitely not too early. And, one thing to think about is if your company has any sort of a charitable partner that you work with. I know we have a couple inside of Pampered Chef. So, for example, right now in October, it is Thanksgiving in Canada. And so, we always push our Round Up from the Heart campaign to try to make sure that everyone has food on their table for Thanksgiving. Definitely make sure you’re taking advantage of those types of campaigns, because at the holidays, people plan to be charitable versus at other times of the year.
When it comes to seasonal products, most people want exclusive-type items or things that are limited time, and many of our companies do offer those, especially at this time of the year. Maybe they’re a theme product. Maybe it’s only offered right now, for the month of October through December. That’s what you really want to take full advantage of and create this excitement around. Like, “Be the first to get it. It’s going to be while supplies last. It’s a limited time offering,” because that’s what people want. And, if you can really work and focus on that messaging, then you will probably be able to get your customers motivated around that.
And then, when we think about gift giving, remember that in direct sales, the biggest asset that your customers have is you as their consultant. And so, what you want to make sure you’re doing when you’re building the relationships and building rapport is asking the right questions to be able to understand what it is they’re looking for, who they’re gifting for, and then from there be able to offer them the options based on what their budget is, what they’re looking to spend, who they’re looking to purchase for. Make sure that you’re asking all of those questions to be able to then provide the right responses for the product line that you’re offering to them.
And then, after all of that, make sure that you’re offering little upsell opportunities. Think about gift toppers and little tiny things that you can actually add on. Maybe it’s this spatula, or this whisk, or a Chapstick—whatever it is that you sell in your line. People love those ideas. Because again, it’s something unique, something different, and they may be tired of doing the same thing that they do year after year. So, when you offer them even the little things, they’ll remember you as the person who gave them that idea, and they’ll come back to you next time as well.
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