11 Myths About Being an Avon Rep
If you're thinking of signing up and mentioned the idea to people, they might have tried to put you off. They could be going off their own bad experience, the experience of someone else they know, or Chinese Whispers.
I'm going to list the common objections to becoming an Avon Rep and explain why they're not true, or over-reactions. Most of these common objections are real comments from people.
If you're already a Rep you might find this useful as well if you're dealing with the following issues:
"They overcharge Reps"
You'll only be "overcharged" if you've made a mistake when ordering the items. In 4 years of being an Avon Rep I've never been charged more than I was expecting, apart from a few occasions where it was my fault.
What You Can Do Do each of the following steps:
1 Check that customers have written down the correct price, so you charge them the correct price.
2 Check the pricing of your order before sending it off.
3 Once you have your paper invoice, check the pricing on there as well.
If you're not prepared to do these kinds of checks, mistakes will creep in and cost you money, but that isn't Avon's fault.
"They don't refund Reps"
Only clearance items from the Rep-only brochure can't be returned. Avon have an easy-to-use online credits system that refunds you for returned/unsold items. We have 48 days from invoice to claim refunds. Outside of that, if an item is faulty your customer (and yourself) have the right to a refund but you'll need to ring up to claim it. Avon's guarantee is generous and allows used items to be returned.
What You Can Do
- Always keep track of when items need to be returned by so you're not stuck with them.
- Have a spot in the house where items for return are kept.
- Put "returns" on your schedule for each campaign so you're reminded to check to see if anything needs to go back that time.
- Take note of the reference number after you've done the online credit request. I've never had to use it, though, because they always go through without a problem.
- Do them online, don't ring up. Avon have specifically asked Reps to do things online if at all possible. It's also much better for yourself to do it online. You'll know it's been done right, it's quicker and it doesn't cost you anything.
"You have to pay for your brochures"
Well this one is true! Only, when people say this to discourage you they mean: "You have to pay for your brochures and that's not fair and they're far too expensive."
The fact is you're running a business and are self-employed so it's up to you to decide how many brochures you need.
If Avon supplied them for free, Reps would over-order and that would lead to waste. They would also re-coup their costs elsewhere by increasing prices, reducing discount, increasing the sign-up fee etc... so you would end up paying anyway.
What You Can Do
- Make sure you get the free copies you're entitled to when you sign up. You're entitled to 20 copies of the current brochure for your first campaign, and 20 copies of the current one for your second campaign.
- Ask your upline if they have any "backorder" brochures going spare. This can help you get around a new territory more quickly.
- Follow my guide How to Start Your Avon Business with Almost No Money. This guide is designed to help you build sales so you can cover your brochure costs and still have some profit left over.
"The Hassle of Returning Stock"
I've been told by a customer: "Could I have a foundation delivered in a few days' time? I know Reps keep stock of everything at home." ::insert shocked face:: There's no need for Reps to keep hold of stock unless it is 100% relevant to their round. If you choose to buy in stock for a table-top sale or just because it's a good price, be prepared for it not to sell and having to process all the returns later. The online credits system is quick and easy to use.
What You Can Do Read my Guide to Keeping Stock to see if keeping a (very small) selection is suitable for you and learn how to do it so you stay organised.
"Lack of orders"
This is a fair enough worry, but the person telling you this might be biased because of their own experience. They could have had problems beyond their control, such as lack of area to canvas and an upline who refused to help. However, their lack of sales could also be down to them just not trying or not canvassing effectively.
What You Can Do
- When you meet with an upline who's going to sign you up, make it clear that you'll need a territory to work. If there's no territory available, think seriously about whether the orders from your friends/family/workplace will be enough.
- Once you've signed up, canvas thoroughly by giving out brochures (not flyers or business cards) and give people plenty of chances to order. Then re-canvas regularly to keep on top of your area. The only essential thing to do on top of that is be polite and reliable.
"It's a scam"
I sympathise with people who've been mislead into thinking there's the potential for lots of customers in their area (when there isn't), given no streets to canvas because they're all taken (but they needed streets), and told there's no need to declare their income (there definitely is). Those people are completely justified in having a bad impression of being a Rep. However, the concept of being a direct sales Rep isn't a scam as long as you join a reputable company.
What You Can Do
- Look out for ones registered with the Direct Selling Association (which Avon is).
- Try your best to find a good upline. The guide I wrote isn't foolproof because some people can be "all fur coat" but hopefully it'll mean you don't sign up with someone who seems completely useless from the outset.
"You end up paying for undelivered customer orders"
Again, nonsense. If you've tried your best to deliver an order but the customer isn't responding or they say they don't want it/can't afford it, you're absolutely not stuck paying for the cost of that order. Just put a credit request in and return them.
"You have to buy samples, demos, packs and special offers"
It's up to you whether to buy sales tools like these. Don't be pressured into it and just say no if you can't afford it or don't think it'll increase your sales. If someone is trying to sell you a pack or get you to buy multiple copies of an item on special offer, just remember that it's their job to get you to buy so they're going to say things like, "It'll be massively popular."
"Items are missing from the delivery but charged for"
Avon provides an online replacement system that lets you say which items have been charged for but are not in the box. You're not charged again for these items and they should be with you in a week.
"You're charged for out of stock items"
In 4 years I've known this to happen once, to one item in particular. The out of stock item was charged for on the invoice but a separate note was included saying it was actually out of stock. I got a refund automatically. Otherwise, your invoice should clearly show that out of stock items are not being charged for at this time.
"Reps don't last long, I lost my whole team and it just cost me money"
This comment is about being a Sales Leader (who recruits and trains a team of Reps). However, you should bear in mind that some people's bad experience of Avon is partly made up of their bad experience of being a Sales Leader. That's separate to being a Rep and you don't have to do it if you don't want to. It's not inevitable that you'll end up becoming a Sales Leader and dealing with the problems your friend/relative/colleague/complete stranger mentions.
- Make sure you're trained in how to do credits, replacements, pay off your balance so you're not paying for undelivered items. In general, make sure your upline comes over to do all training appointments they're supposed to and supplies you with whatever you're entitled to.
- Be organised and concentrate when you need to. Taking the time to concentrate on checking orders and pricing means mistakes will very very rarely slip through.
- Read through the booklets you're given at sign-up.
- Don't go crazy spending money on unnecessary expenses. Keep things lean at first and then invest in things that actually help you run your business.
- Don't do it half-arsed. You can only say becoming a Rep was a genuine mistake if you've given it your best attempt. This means allowing at least several months to work a territory, being reliable and being professional (clear communication with customers).