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How Sample Programs Help you Build Your Business

Many years ago I had a thriving Global Direct Sales Business on 3 Continents! The company came out with several products and encouraged people to buy lots of product and sample it out (for free). They did NOT, however, offer any TRAINING on just HOW to do that (effectively).

The results? Hundreds of people spent THOUSANDS of dollars purchasing product(s) to "give or hand out" with no results.
There was no training on


1- how to qualify a person BEFORE giving then the sample

2- how to follow up with the person

3- what to SAY and what questions to ask the recipient

4- how to then enroll them in either the business or customer program

On the other hand, my people from Europe and United Kingdom were spending lots of money purchasing product and then shipping it to me in The United States so that I could then forward samples to THEIR prospects here in America.
BEFORE I agreed to do that, my team was put through a one week training on how to facilitate the above four (4) questions to insure that their dollars would be well spent.

In those days we did not work on or have Social Media or use The Internet. Our prospects or potential customers were gathered from networking leads lists or from "warm market" or referrals. THESE Days, one can certainly use The Internet AND Social Media to attract and gather customers and prospects. The aforementioned items above (1-4) still stand and are the same whether or not you are working ON or OFF line and work the same for both :-)

My company is introducing, for example, a new Smart Coffee with health benefits from Organic Peruvian Maca Root (transmutes the negative effects of caffeine in the body) and Reishi, the Master Medicinal Mushroom along with luscious, robust and rich Arabica coffee farmed on a small farm in Malaysia. That being said, to qualify a person BEFORE giving then the sample, I will ask a potential customer prospect (on or offline) the same question. Ready? Somewhere in our conversation I will ask,

"Mary, who do you know that enjoys at least one cup of coffee a day?" Mary's response will be that SHE enjoys at least one cup of coffee a day and even state that many of her friends do too. My NEXT question for Mary is:
"Mary, how do you drink your coffee? Black, or with cream/sugar?" DEPENDING ON Mary's response, I now know which of my 2 coffees available, my Latte or Black to offer Mary, according to HER tastes!

If I am charging for the sample I might say, "Mary, I would like to send you a sample of our (Black or Latte) coffee for you to try and evaluate; my cost is .............. for a 4 day supply of samples. If I charge $10 I state that and tell Mary that if she will send me $10 to my Zelle (or Cash App etc) I will be happy to PICK UP THE POSTAGE. Then I ASK, "Is that Fair Mary"?

Mary will say yes because you are showing her that you value her and are willing to invest in the shipping even as you are asking her to pay for the samples.

Always let your sample recipient know, even if you are gifting the samples and not charging for them, that there is a requisite response required from them that will be in the form of a follow up CALL. My preference, and a terrific success tool is to actually CALL the person instead of texting or private messaging them simply because you can hear lots of things in the tenor of the voice on the phone that you cannot determine via text or private message. You might also be able to interject further questions that value add to the conversation that might not be able to do via text etc. The MAIN reason that I CALL people is that it is more PERSONAL and sends the message that you value both their time and your time :-) Try it and see how this tool (calling) is STILL the most effective tool in your toolbox!

Set a time and date for your requisite follow up call that is convenient for your prospect. I must note that when your prospect is paying for the sample they WILL keep the appointment and when you Gift samples your percentage of responses goes way down. It is human nature that when you give away samples the psychological message is that "there is no value" to the sample and it may not even be used. Fat chance on getting a response even if you are seasoned marketer!

What to ask during your requisite follow up call?

"What did you like best about the Latte (or Black) coffee the most, Mary?"
"How did the coffee make you feel, Mary?"

Once Mary expounds on the virtues of the coffee, tells you that she did not get dizzy from caffeine like she usually does, felt more focused, only NEEDED and ENJOYED one (1) cup a day because she didn't crash and feel the need for several cups to keep her FOCUSED, you have the cues (and valued benefits) to ask Mary for the Sale.

Frame your request in the form of feeding back to Mary all the positive things she said about the coffee and offer her SEVERAL ways and/or packages that she can get. If you give discounts (my subscription program gives a handsome discount), Mary will select one.

One of my success tips is to always ask the prospect, "Would you like me to practice good customer service, Mary, and place your order for you or would you like me to walk you through it yourself?" You will get wonderful surprised responses like, "Oh, could you do that for me" etc because you have instantly made this prospect feel VALUABLE because you have offered to DO SOMETHING for them :-)

During the ordering process, no matter whether Mary or I am placing the order, I ask if Mary would like to "get paid for the coffee she drinks daily" or would she prefer BEING a Valued Customer. MY Global E-Commerce Company rewards people (BOTH Customers and Promoter/Distributors alike) with hefty discounts on all our products when the take a monthly subscription (like on Amazon). BE SURE to explain the discounts that YOUR Company will afford the customer or the business partner and explain in detail the requirements of each so there is no question in their mind (to help your RETENTION).

I always send a welcome email to both my customers and distributors. I also send a thank you note IN THE (snail) MAIL. This is an old trick that is long forgotten but will buy you loyalty and respect :-)

The above information will serve you well with online and offline customer/prospects IF you learn to ask the right questions and STICK TO YOUR REQUIREMENTS. If you are charging for samples and are speaking with an old networking buddy that you know for years, you may opt to let them know that you usually charge X$ but will be happy to send them samples if they are wiling to speak with you afterwards, and since you know, like and trust them, and they you, make your decision.

I've signed up two networking buddies from 22 years ago that I trained (who were  not in my team back then) who became valued customers, then REPEAT customers and wanted to become Promoter/Distsributors. Together we are happpily building both a lucrative income AND a team, together. I did NOT charge either of them for the samples I sent them, however I DID stick to the formula above.

Remember, this is your business and you get to decide how to use your money and samples. Just be sure to make educated decisions as to whom you "give away" samples to having developed the above mentioned skills to to that correctly. There is always a right and wrong way to do things..... choose the right way!

*** My company is indeed introducing a new coffee to the marketplace, both a lovely, Rich and Robust Black and a Creamy, yummy Latte available December 1st.

I hope you find yourself sampling yourself to the top of your payplan, my friends. If you are not able to DO that, or your comp plan does not afford you the opportunity to DO that, let's talk, anytime. I wish you Joyful Tastebuds and enjoy YOUR daily cuppa :-)

RS Mallory
512.472.2604 no text

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Top Commentor

RS Mallory has 30 years of Full Time marketing Experience after a 25 year career as a teacher, spending years as an Advocate for Distributors, training, traveling and building teams.

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  • Top Commentor

    Great tutorial, RS.  On the use of samples and how to implement the perfect strategies to make them work to grow your business.  I also agree about using the phone, you do have a chance to better feel for the prospect, their needs and the best way to market to them.  There are a lot of good tips in here I know I will be using. 

    • Top Commentor

      Thank you, Robin! Great minds think alilke :-) It is so inmportant not to forget that business, ANY business, relies on "relationship" and the very best way to DO that is to get to know your client. I am grateful that you find my article valuable, my friend.


    • Top Commentor

      Thank you.  I found a lot of value in your article and I will be using some of the strategies you wrote about.


  • Top Commentor

    A mini course in commission selling RS and laid out step by step. Samples are a proven way of generating interest ... BUT ... are of value only when backed up by the 'proper sales procedures' as you so succinctly describe. Well written. 

    • Top Commentor

      Ahhh, thank you Tom, I am grateful and humbled by your kind words, my friend :-)

  • Top Video Contributor

    The phone or in-person seems to be so effective, I rarely give samples except for a few products that solve problems, so I appreciate your info, thank you, RS.  

    • Top Commentor

      George, I am grateful my insights are valuable to you. Samples are most effective when indeed, they are for products that ARE effective and deliver a RESULT when taken, otherwise, they are a waste of (your) money AND if the giver develops the skills I mentioned above to follow through and follow up with the well qualified recipient.


  • Top Member

    Wow and I agree sampling is a great way to get customers and potential business partners. Your advice is on point, and doing it right is the only way. Thank you for sharing your post here in the SE community. I'm sure many people will be contacting you RS for coffee samples. Sorry I don't drink coffee, never did. However I will share this information with my friends who do drink coffee.  

    • Top Commentor

      Thank you Terri for your kind words.  I appreciate being able to offer assistance to anyone who is learning or involved in Direct Sales :-) By the way, you bring up a good point, and that IS, you may not be a consumer of ALL your products, but in this instance remember that coffee is a trillion dollar industry and coffee is the #2 consumed product, daily, WorldWide right behihnd..... wait for it................ Water! The lesson: not wanting to market coffee because "you" don't drink it cripples a business. Always be open minded and understand that we are servants of the populace and if you are lucky and fortunate like me, are involved with a company who has 4 trillion dollar categories to serve others. I might not be a "user" of all the products but I certainly DO market them to those who DO want them!


    • Top Member

      Yes I do understand that. Not so long ago, I didn't drink energy drinks until my company offered in our products line and I tried it and liked it. So I can relate to what you're saying. I believe I'm open minded and I trust your integrity and sincerity to tell others about it. If you believe in it, that's all I need to know. 

      Yes coffee is a huge industry that's been around a long time and the competition is fierce. You have to be able to compete with them all. So giving samples away is a great way to generate interest and potential customers. 

      Your sampling training is beneficial information.

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