Thursday, October 22, 2009

The 5 Biggest Mistakes Avon Reps Make

5. Classified Ads (Craigslist, etc)

This was once a good place to advertise your business and whatever else you have to advertise. But unless you want to be bothered day and night by scammers you really need to stay away from craigslist. The more popular the internet classified the larger the number of people trying to take advantage of you. Every time I post on craigslist I get at least 10 scam/spam emails. But it’s free, and in that way it’s almost worth it, however since I have never made a sale from craigslist—I don’t actually break even since I’m putting my time into creating interesting posts. But one sale would make it all worth it, so it’s really not bad. Plus there’s tons of other online classifieds that you can advertise on—however it’s kinda like rolling an Avon catalog into a bottle and throwing it into the ocean…

4. Car Advertisements

I had to beg my husband to put one of those car magnets on our car. Avon advantage sells 2 for $57.95 plus shipping it’s almost $70—ouch! if you really feel the need to advertise this way Vista print sells 1 for free you just pay $6.15 for shipping or 2 for $7.99 plus shipping for a total of $14.14.

I got the one free from Vista print. My problem with car magnets is that I did not have enough customers to make it worth driving with a silly magnet on the car. I live in Florida and I have to drive a lot, but I have only received 4-5 calls in almost 5 months and from that, I only received 2 orders—the orders did earn me enough to pay for the vistaprint sign, so I’m at least ahead.

I think the problem is that most of the time people are driving when they see you. So they can’t really pop out their cell phone or concentrate on my sign long enough to remember the number or write the number down. While you’re parked at the grocery store or walmart is the best time for potential customers to notice you, it just doesn’t happen enough to really praise this idea. Car magnets aren’t really the best investment, you see them yourself all the time, and you just ignore them, but since there’s no reoccurring bills—they’re not the worst way, just not the best.

3. Wearing Avon products

I think we all have tried this. Avon even tells you to do it. But spending your hard earned money on Avon products in the hope that someone will notice them and ask you where they can get them has got to be the worst possible way to invest your marketing dollars. Avon is fine to buy and wear if you find something that you like, but purchasing additional Avon products as a way of marketing yourself to strangers is an investment in failure.

In all my time as an Avon Rep, I have never, EVER been asked, where I got that beautiful dress, what make-up I was wearing or what perfume I had on. Don’t get me wrong, I think that wearing new Avon products as you deliver your orders is a good idea. It definitely can increase your regular customers interest in products they may not have ordered otherwise—however as a way of marketing your Avon business this would be my last choice.

2. Tossing

If you’re looking for an easy way to waste time & lose more money than you earn, than tossing is for you! People usually think that catalog tossing is a good idea. Avon district managers and even on the Official Avon forum they say that you can expect to get 1 customer for every 100 brochures that you toss. In my experience, this is not reality. I spent nearly $100 tossing—zero calls. Well, maybe one call… if you count the call I got from the post office ordering me to immediately stop placing brochures in mailboxes or I would be charged the postage to mail them…

So lets think about this, for $19 plus the time spent putting my name and telephone number on each brochure and the time spend putting 100 brochures on doorsteps, I can expect 1 customer. That customer would have to purchase $100 dollars of product for you to make your twenty dollars back and just break even. Spending $19 every campaign is $38 a month, there are many smarter ways to spend a bi-weekly $19 dollar charge without all the extra work involved in actually having to toss catalogs.

Ok , of course there is the chance that you’ll land an Avon lover, and they’ll sign friends up, and purchase hundreds of dollars worth of product from you—but that chance exists for any method of marketing Avon, so take it from me and toss tossing—save the trees and save yourself the time, energy and money.

1. Stocking Avon Products

This is DEFINATLEY the WORST possible way to investment your money into an Avon business. I went to an Avon meeting and they pushed us all so hard to stock Avon products. They said your customers might need the products quickly, and when that didn’t work they said, when you purchase the products at our discount, you can re-sell them for any price!

Bottom line, Avon wants you to stock items because it’s one less product they have to sell. It immediately becomes your problem. I have a collection of Items I was tricked into buying and others that I received free during Avon meetings—I have a sale basket that I bring with me every time I drop off orders, inside are products at a DEEP discount (ridiculously cheap) and they still don’t sell! If they were interested in these products they would have ordered them to begin with, you would think a discount would make them more interested—but honestly the only discount that would sell these things would be 90% off.

The basket would have to say, “EVERYTHING .99 Cents!” at that point I’m losing money, for what? I would rather use the products myself than lose money for no reason, but that’s not a solution—I purchase the specific products that I want—I don’t need excess inventory, when that money could still be in my pocket. That’s the way people expect to purchase Avon anyway and if they need it immediately, they can order it online from my shop and receive it quickly with free shipping.

Another thing that bothers me a lot is that my apartment gets really cluttered with all this extra Avon stuff. I almost need an extra office room for all my Avon stuff. And who has an extra room to spare?

I just started giving them away for free to my best costumers—at first I tried to have raffles for the basket—that didn’t work—at least I can reward my faithful clients with free products, and when I sign up reps I can give them some free product—it makes the $10 sign-up fee seem easier to swallow, and gets them excited about Avon.

I have read a lot of sad stories about representative’s getting into major debt and finally quitting and calling Avon a scam because they made the mistake of having stock. Avon’s not a scam, but you have to use business sense when running your Avon “business” and it doesn’t make sense to spend money before you make it if you don’t have to. Keep your overhead low and you’ll be much closer to actually turning a profit from Avon. Don’t spend your profits on nonsense and keep track of everything you spend on building your business—it’s the only way you can be sure that you’re actually earning money from your Avon business.

I know there are reasons that people keep Avon stock, But for me, no matter how successful I am, no matter how big my customer base is, I am not going to purchase anymore stock, It’s just not worth it.


  1. i am a new avon respresentative.. i've been selling for 3 months now! and i was thinking on the fence about wether or not i should stock up myself! and i think you're right! im gonna hold off on that! and thank you for the advice! its been very helpful!

  2. hmmm I agree with little bit of what your saying,but see lots of negativity in your approch of selling. I used to write with the window paint in big big numbers my cell phone and letters that simply say I Sell AVON. I've gotten several responses to that. even people who's actually yelled to me at a red light one time to toss them a book, hahaha! and i tossed it in their car at a red light hahahah! not only they ordered, but she became a subseller at her work. Another thing is I've been complimented many many times on color of lipstick i wear. jewlery. and at times the eyeshadow i wear, and was proud to say AVON. plus was able to sell the their own. I agree with the free classified ads. waste of time. Your better off going door to door for 30 minutes a day and asking the simple words "Would you like a free avon catalog" theni ask them to fill out this info sheet (name adress phone number and 3 short questions)i tell them this reminds me where to deliver a catalog every two weeks. As for tossing, yeah i have to agree. tossing is somewhat more money than customers. i would say courage yourself to do the 30 minutes a day.

    1. What three questions do you ask?

    2. I agree with Kathryn8kids. I spent 3 and half hours going back on brochures that I had left in a bag with a sample. I asked if they enjoyed the brochure I left. Depending on their response I am either invited to sit down, come inside to take their order and leave the next brochure. One of those three hours I sat with one lady who is now my delightful new friend and customer. The other two orders I got at the small diner I ate lunch at. I ask people that I randomly meet: Excuse me. Introduction. Do you use Avon Products or have you ever used Avon products? I offer a brochure only if they want one. I don't do hard sales tactics ever. I just visit and share. It works for me. I do not approach women who are under stress with children or the like. If I see them again under better circumstances then I approach them. So far so good. It's fun once I get out my front door-lol

  3. Stock-ups: I don't do them, simply because I prefer having CASH on hand, rather than PRODUCT on hand.

    Tossing: works pretty well in my area, and usually, I am tossing old brochures I got free from the DM. I just label them with a message saying "Sample Copy. To shop current brochure, visit my website"

    I have gotten jewelry and fragrance orders by wearing them. And of course, I only buy what I actually like and will wear; never anything else.

    Car ads: I got more results from the light-up sign on top of my truck than I ever did with the door magnets or even the lettering on the back glass. Of course, that much 'visibility' isn't for everyone, LOL. I get by with wild stuff like that, because I have no hubby, and can do as I please ;)

    CL: I have never tried it. The only 'ads' I have ever done, are recruiting ads in the local shopper. Sometimes I get a lot of calls, other times, not.

  4. I have been selling Avon for just over a year now and I wish that I would have used my common sense not to buy stock, but I didn't. I have so much stock that it will probably go bad before I can get rid of it. I am now taking a break from accumulating stock and it feels good.

    As for tossing...the first time that I did it I did not get one single customer. I am trying to go door to door now putting the books on their door knobs or paper hooks and so far have received one new customer. She told me not to give up because her neighborhood has not had an Avon Rep for a long time. She said it might take a couple of campaigns before I get more bites.

    1. I do not stock Avon stuff but I have an idea for you. Last year I went to a fair and brought my handmade jewelry and advertise my Avon too. It went well with the jewelry. I had a few persons that I could share the Avon brochure and samples but not selling. I suggest that you contact a fair and have all sell of that plus advertise. I am not sure if you will get back what you have invested already. Take care!

  5. I'm sooo very glad I stopped by this blog. I'm on my first campaign now and thought I'd buy 25 of the skin so soft body washes from the rep discount mag to sell off as I'm dropping off orders. Might wait until I see if I can become successful at Avon first before I try investing in stock here n there.

  6. Wonderful Blog! Thank you so much. Bless You, Cindy

  7. I love these tips. More people definately need to see this. Would you be able to recommend some advertising\promotional ideas that aren't spammy or harassing to the customer? I sell Mark. and I really can't find any good tips on this. Your post, though, was definately a good start though. I'm leaving my brochures in my lunchroom & with my coworkers but that hasn't really brought too many in.

  8. Thats awesome advice. good way not to be so harassing and wheel customers in on their own willingly.

  9. I can agree with you on #5 and #1 but I have to disagree with the rest...My car magnet has generated customers and new reps. I wear ONLY Avon clothes at all times. I can write off my clothes because they are DEMOS and my clothing sales are HUGE! As for tossing, I only toss expired books because A) they are already stamped B)Why throw them away if they can make me money? I have an average of 10% ratio of books to orders. And if a celebrity is on the cover it can jump to 20%. I am at McConnell level sales for 2010-2011 and aiming for Presidents Council. A huge part of my success is being positive, friendly and sharing laughter with my customers.

  10. You made some great points regarding mistakes people make selling Avon. I agree that tossing brochures, stocking products, and Craigslist are not that productive and very expensive. What works for me though is my car decals. People come to me and as for a brochure. I park it on my driveway which is by a busy road. Wearing Avon products is a fantastic way to increase sales. Remember to tell people where you bought the products and be enthusiastic.

  11. I agree with all but #4. I was lucky enough to have a friend who gave me a deep, deep discount on vinyl lettering for the back of my car. It has brought numerous customers, especially when it's parked across from where I work! I've more than made up any costs that the signage incurred, and will be able to use what I did spend towards my tax return.
    Thank you for this post - the other 4 points are very true! It's something every new Avon rep should be told.

  12. Demographics also Plays a big part I buy demos then some of the bundles I also get I do sell them or I make baskets for occasions. Having products in stock not allot is a good thing, I've had customers that needed a gift right away and called me asking what kind of perfume I had on hand & I've sold them on the spot. You had allot of Great points but it all depends on you as an individual. I have Avon shirts I made for myself from a friend. tossing I've gotten allot of customers that way. Like someone had said you have to stay positive but business is about losses & gain's So I will right off my loss. I also have been selling for only a year & I'm PC & my goal is to move up.

  13. So so SO glad I found this blog. I am doing my first campaign now and was just about to get a car magnet but was on the fence about it. That's actually how I found the blog. I googled "Avon Car Magnet" lol. Thanks for all the great advice!

  14. Thanks for the blog! I agree with most. I will try some suggestions made by posters.

  15. You hit the nail on the head with your #1. Years ago I tried selling Avon. I stocked up within the first two orders about $300 worth of stock to take advantage of the 40% discount with the first two orders. I got stuck!
    I tried door to door, flea markets, purchase incentives, yard sales, etc. When you have it on hand it seems you can't give it away. Lesson learned in a very hard way. :-(

  16. Instead of expensive magnet, I use magnet letters and numbers from Wal-Mart kids department: just for $1.25. I put numbers of my phone and letters A, V, O, and N on the rear side of my car. Plus, I put a magnet pocket ($1.00 from Dollar Tree) with a few brochures in it. The pocket has a sign "Take one".

  17. This Blog is negative. I been selling Avon since August and I am number 3 in my district for top new sales leaders. I started out ordering just 10 brochures and quckly realized I needed more people were requesting them at my job as they saw other with them. I also leave them in the two laudrymats that are in my community and Ive got customers from them as well. I just got an online customer last week and when I viewed her mailing address I said she had to have gotten a book from either the laundry mat or the Library. Getting your name and website out there on brochures is worth it. Using just one tactic by itself is not smart but a combination of tactics like leaving brochures in public places with your website and phone number on them, car magnets, business cards ect... works and you dont have to spend a whole lot of money. The most I order each campaign is 50 for now. And old brochures can still be left in places because you should be putting your website address on them.

  18. You are absolutely correct on all 5 points! I can honestly say this because I have done all 5 and got the very same results!

    Face to face introduction, and placing a book in a person's hand is the very best way to create a new customer. It is when they are familiar with you, personally that you are creating a relationship of trust, and they will begin to purchase from you.

    Save your money on car magnets and just purchase Vistaprint business cards ( They are often on sale) BUT design them as an incentive card for a campaign "giveaway" for your website - have a "drawing" each campaign for anyone who orders from your website and watch your business grow! You can reward the winner with an inexpensive item, ie... a lipstick, bubble bath etc...Be creative, I did and it really paid off 10 fold!

    Also, I got a 100% FREE web-boutique of amazing jewelry to offer my customers more options @ and added the flyers to my current Avon customers deliveries, and books and have tripled my income in just 3 months! If you're selling Avon, get one too!

    Good Luck!

  19. Sarah makes a good point. I used to sell Avon and came up with a few ideas back then to market. I stopped selling because I just didn't have the time. I'm now selling the awesome jewelry of Kitsy Lane as well and have been thinking of partnering up with an Avon rep. You just have to come up with a nitch in your area because there is likely more than one Avon rep in your neighborhood.


  20. Absolutely! The only item I stock up on is "Lip Balm" when it goes on sale in the off seasons and even then I sell it at cost or use it for giveaways to my customers. I also ONLY stock up on items that ridiculously cheap for me to buy so I can use them as an expense if I don't sell them. It's a whole lot easier (and cheaper) to stock up on a 100 lip balms than 100 bottles of bug spray!
    Like I said, what I buy a bunch of are things that I know I can put in customers bags with purchases, use as sample items, or a giveaway item with my name & number on it for when I see a potential customer I can give it to them without ANY worry about how I am going to make that money back.
    Great topic and excellent point!

  21. Thanks for this blog and the subject on Avon. I just started and I'm looking forward to going all the way. However, I'm ONLY marketing online, because of health issues. My hubby is not going to be to pleased about being my right-hand man unknowingly. LOL I'll have him wearing samples of different colognes everyday and dropping off brochures at his job, leaving one in the front of our car dash ect.. I already have several friends and family members who have asked for brochures to take to work with them. There are some doubters about Avon, but I say do your own research and consider the source when someone is talking bad about Avon. I use to be an avid Avon customer before I became unemployed. I know with the right customer and connections, Avon sells. I'd like to thank everyone for their comments and advice. MEET YOU AT THE TOP.

  22. I have been an AVON Rep for 10 years now, and I have to say all these things are variable among representatives. What works for one, doesn't work well for another. It's really hard to say. I say everyone should try things once and see what the return is. Don't judge by what others do. I have had many people comment on colognes over the years and then order, so the assertion that people won't comment and order based on your fragrance is false. To those of you stocking products - you have up to ONE YEAR to return things. Just don't go overboard (example: if you're new with 20 customers, don't order 20 bottles of fragrance, do the 6 instead) and you won't ever be penalized. For the small expense of shipping things back you don't have to be out of money and you've had a chance to sell things like an actual store. Another thing to consider: instead of sending back, use those things as carrots. Have 2 bottles of a new fragrance left? Are they 50% earnings because of the advance order? Get one customer to sell one to a friend and give her one. $10 of lost profit is well worth a new customer. Really put on the business cap, here. Everything is an investment, and can be leveraged. It's all how you do it. Be creative! If nothing else, you can sell it discounted to new customers or at a discount as a bonus 6 months after someone buys their first bottle. Use it as a raffle prize: tell people for every $10 they order, they're entered to win it if you reach your goal of $500 in sales that campaign. There's LOTS of ideas out there for leveraging your overstock in ways that will find you customers, thrill existing customers, and that you can also write-off at the end of the year on your taxes.

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  24. I've been in Avon for the past year and have not even got one sale. I had the idea to do giveaways on my blog and collected about 25 Customers with permission but I have not sell anything yet. Instead of getting the brochure which is expensive for me right now, I buy the outlet or flyers and that's what I sent every campaign inviting them to visit my Avon site. I stay positive but it's hard. I had the idea to go door to door, but as always you don't know what is at the other end. So it's king of frightening specially for woman. I was thinking on renting a list and then mail the outlet brochures. So, I am trying to get something going since I don't have a lot of friends to share this with or family that might be interested to buy. Take care!

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