On your quest for part time work, you may find that there is a lot of competition. By staying in little to known fields, you can increase your chances of landing that much needed extra income. The articles that I write are geared towards these little known fields. By visiting my profile page at http://www.associatedcontent.com/blueabe You’ll find various jobs that you may or may not heard about. Over time, I add articles to increase the knowledge of these little known positions.
One position that may have seen, but don’t quite understand, is passing out samples. This is otherwise known as Demonstrators or “Demo” for short. In it’s simplest form, a demo rep is responsible for passing out samples of a particular product. Hours may vary, and usually between 4-6 hour shifts each day. Commonly, the shifts are between Thursday-Sunday, when many people complete their shopping. Each demo company has their own shift schedule, but you can usually find shifts that are between the hours of 11-5 people, or sometimes sooner. Many stay at home moms do this type of position during the day while the kids are at school, so they can be home when their children get out of school.
So what kind of demos would you be doing? Anything! You could be doing a demo on a cell phone, tv service, food products, cleaning products, dog food, and more. A demo is nothing more than a small sales presentation. When preparing to do your demo for the day, you need to learn your product. By reading the labels and speaking with customers, you can speak about the product confidently.
For example, one of the very first demos I did was in 2002 on a newer cell phone service called “Nextel”. At the time, I had a tracfone, which was the only prepaid cell phone service at the time. Nextel was considered a business style cell phone, and was priced slightly higher than the other services such as Centurytel, Alltel, and other companies that were eventually bought out by the bigger companies. By reading the brochures, and speaking with customers that had Nextel while doing the demo, I was able to learn the product and effectively promote the product to those that did not know anything about the product.
When describing the product, try not to put the product down in any way. If a customer asks, you want to be honest, though. For the cell phone example, you can state that it has great service in town, but in areas such as Nevada, there isn’t much coverage. Try to make the bad sound as good as possible.
If you are doing a demo on food, make sure you practice good hygiene! Think about when you are shopping, and you see someone passing out samples. How is the product presented? What does the person offering the sample look like? Are they clean? Hair brushed? There is nothing worse than smelling a tempting sample from across the store, arrive at the booth, only to discover a filthy demonstrator passing the samples out. This not only gives you a bad impression of the product, but quite possibly the store that you are shopping in!
Make sure you only put a few samples out at once. If a child comes up to your booth wanting a sample, you should always ask permission of their parents first. It may seem silly, but this is for liability purposes. Children love samples, and may not always realize all their allergens. If a child runs up, and you give them a sample that they are actually allergic to, you could ultimately be held liable for it. By getting the parents’ permission, you are releasing yourself from the liability. Another reason for only putting out a few at a time is because there are some individuals that feel they are entitled to the free food and attempt to take all your samples then walk away. This is not your purpose. Your purpose is to promote the product, thus resulting in more sales. One sample per person.
You should always use your judgment when putting out samples. Another example, I once did a demo on Cheese-it Crackers at Wal-mart. My instructions were to put three or 4 on a napkin for customers to take. The rest of the box I emptied into a bowl that sat on the table. I prepared several napkins for customers. Customers for the most part, can be courteous. You’re always going to have that one customer that you just want to slap. One customer walked by, ignored the napkin, and dipped his hand into the bowl of cheese-it crackers, taking an entire handful. Not knowing where his hands had been, I had to dispose of the entire bowl as he had contaminated the entire bowl of samples! This did not happen once, but four times during the same 5 hour shift! After the 4th time, I covered the bowl with a napkin, then placed the box on the napkin. You could still see the contents of the bowl, but it would have required more effort to grab a handful rather than “dip and run”.
As you describe the product, many people will nod and walk away. This is to be expected. If they don’t care to hear about the product, don’t annoy the customer. Just mention the benefits of the product and how it compares to its competition. Make sure you are not sampling your product yourself, either. While it may be tempting while standing there, not only is this unprofessional, depending on the product, you may just be killing your diet!
Occasionally, you’ll get an assignment where you have to demo several products at once on your table. Make sure you practice good hygiene and keep the products separate. You may also have a taste test demo, meaning, you are comparing one brand against another brand. This can sometimes be fun, not telling the customer which is which, then ask them which they liked. Many times, they will pick the product that you are pushing. Sometimes, not. If you find you don’t personally care for either products, don’t let it show, always push the product you are suppose to. Example: I once did a taste test sample of two different salsas. I’m a fan of one particular type of salsa. I was doing a taste test with a store brand salsa and Chi-Chi salsa. When I tasted them, I realized I didn’t care for either. If asked by a customer, I simply stated I did not like salsa.
At the end of your shift, follow the instructions from the company that you are hired from. Some companies may allow you to take the product home. Almost all companies require you to take inventory of the samples you passed out. If you were required to purchase the product, make sure you get a receipt for the product. Ensure all your paperwork is filled out and signed by the proper store management. Always be polite to customers and store employees.
If you’re doing a demo in a small store, you may be asked to take inventory of what is on the shelf before and after your shift. Depending on store management, the store may offer it’s own incentive if you’re able to push out a certain number of the product. You can also cross sell product if it will help promote your product. Example: I had to do a demo on garlic bread once. I was in a local store, where the owner worked in it as well! He offered me a $50 bonus if I sold a certain amount of cases of the garlic bread. To better promote the product, we also brought spaghetti and sauce to put by my booth for cross selling. He offered me a second bonus, 4 boxes of ice cream of my choice, if I sold a certain amount of spaghetti and sauce to go with the garlic bread. Being an ice cream fanatic, I pushed that garlic bread to the best of my abilities. At the end of the day, I enjoyed a nice big bowl of ice cream at home.
If you’ve gotten this far, you may be wondering, what companies hire demonstrators? Sometimes they advertise in the paper. Most demonstrators are hired by outside companies, they don’t work for the store themselves. Even the demonstrators you find at Sams Club & Walmart are from outside companies. These companies typically are associated with the work at home or work from home field. Such companies such as Crossmark, National In-Store, and others hire. A better list of companies that hire demonstrators can be found by visiting the Volition forums at http://www.volition.com/merchandise.html. This is a forum that is dedicated to some of the work that I write about. I can be found on these forums by looking up my screen name, Blueabe. This is a valuable resource to help you get started doing demos.
In case you’re wondering, demonstrators earn between $8-16/hr depending on the company, how long you have been with them, what you are demonstrating, among other factors. Most will allow you to work for other companies, just make sure you don’t get them mixed up! Till next time, peace out and good luck!