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Sales & Friendships: Supporting Your Friends without Breaking the Bank

3 women with shopping bags

We’ve all be there. You get a notice that a friend you haven’t talked to for a while is reaching out. Or, the new girl at your table at mom’s group has sent you a message. Maybe it’s your dearest friend in the whole world reaching out. Regardless of who it is, part of you is excited and part of you feels a sense of dread. What could they possibly want? Or, more accurately, what could they possibly be selling this time?

That’s right. They’re reaching out with the latest and greatest…whatever. A bag. A weight-loss program. A new wardrobe. A new piece of cutlery. They’ve joined a Multi-Level Marketing Team, and they want to tell you all about it. How do you navigate maintaining friendships without breaking the bank? How do support your friend when you get dozens of requests a month? Here are some strategies that might help!

Know Your Financial Limits

Before you head out to a party or event, make sure you have an idea what (if anything) you’re able to spend. If possible, look through a catalog online or get one ahead of time to browse. If you can only spend $20, then look through the catalog and find what you like in your price range, but don’t forget about taxes and shipping. When possible, make your choices ahead of time and fill out the sales invoice as soon as you get there. Then, just sit back and enjoy the time with new and old friends.

The sales pitch is usually pretty good so you may find yourself wanting to buy more than you planned. Make sure you can afford any impulse purchases. If you’re like me, and maybe not always great with keeping to a budget, leave your credit/debit cards and checkbook at home. Only bring the cash you need to make your purchase. 

Can’t Buy Anything? Support Your Friend Anyway

Sometimes the money is just tight or you honestly don’t need anything a friend is selling. You may not really like the product, or you may not have space for one more kitchen gadget in your house. That’s okay. There are still other ways you can support your friend.

  • Host a Party: Hosts often get free and discounted product, which is a great incentive for you. For your friend, hosting parties is a great way for them to gain confidence and make new connections with people.
  • Offer to Babysit: If your friend is a parent, finding childcare during parties can be hard. Offer to babysit your friend’s kids, or even babysit the kids of party attendees. They will appreciate the time to just sit back and enjoy their adult-time.
  • Make a Party Snack: If your friend is holding an open house at their home, they will probably want to provide snacks for the people that show up. Offer to bake some cookies or make some punch for their open house. It’s one less thing they have to do.
  • Connect Your Friends: Even if you can’t help, there might be someone in your circle that would love a certain product. Connect your friends to each other; just make sure you have their permission first.

Remember Their Why 

No matter what, your friend has joined a company they believe in. They have experienced something good with the products, and they want to share that with you. Plus, a little extra income never hurts. I sold bag and home products for four or five years because I thought they were pretty and functional. I loved the products and I wanted to share my love with my friends. And, I was trying to pay off the last of my college loans, so the extra money was a great incentive. Everything I made that first couple years went to debt reduction or house expenses. I earned a gift card my first year and used it to buy a new fridge for our house. 

Your friend is the same. Whether they’re a stay-at-home mom needing extra income, a single parent managing multiple jobs, or a working parent that is using this business as a way to spend time with friends, they aren’t selling things just to sell them. The product is an excuse to connect with friends, practice their sales skills, and then make some money in the end. For me, the parties were fun even when the sales were dim: I got to hang out with friends and meet new people.

Honesty is Always the Best Policy

No matter what, be honest with your friends. Don’t promise them that you’ll buy a ton of their product if you can’t afford it (or simply don’t want it). Don’t add your friends to Facebook groups without their permission just to get them more potential sales. Support your friends in the best way that you can, whether that’s by financially supporting their business or just being there as they launch this new thing.

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One Response to Sales & Friendships: Supporting Your Friends without Breaking the Bank

  1. Beth
    Beth July 17, 2018 at 9:12 pm #

    These are such great thoughts, Emily!! This is a tricky experience to navigate. Thanks for addressing it!!

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