Sales Secrets From The Founder of Avon Beauty

3 Sales lessons from Avon Beauty's original founder, David McDonnell.

Good Morning. Today marks the first day of February, and not just any February, but one that comes with a gift. The gift of an extra day. This year we get 29 days in February (instead of 28) because it’s a leap year. An extra 24 hours to make more calls, send more emails, and beg more prospects to buy my product. Let'ss get after it. 😄 

In today’s Follow Up:

  • The sales tactics used by Avon’s founder 🤔 

  • How AI is shaking up sales 🤖 

  • Sales pitch writing ✍️ 

  • Sales around the internet 📰 

  • Sales jobs, LinkedIn & a sales meme 😂 

Sales Secrets From The Founder of Avon Beauty.

Some of the best salespeople got their start in door-to-door sales, and David McDonnell is no different…

David started his career selling books door-to-door and was constantly testing out new ways to pitch his products.

He had an idea to offer his prospects a ‘free gift’ in exchange for allowing him to pitch them on his books. At the time (late 1880s) most of his prospects who answered the door were housewives, so he decided to give away perfume samples as the ‘free gift’.

To his surprise, the women were more interested in the perfume that the books he was selling, so he made a pivot. In 1886, David founded the California Perfume Company, which later became Avon Beauty Products.

David is thought of as one of the best salesmen of his generation and is most known for his strategy of hiring an all-women sales team, at a time when only 20% of women worked outside of the home.

Fast forward to today, Avon has grown into a colossal brand with an annual revenue of $2.77 billion and hundreds of thousands of sales reps. Although their MLM-style business may be controversial (we’re not here to debate that), there’s a lot of sales lessons we can learn from David McDonnell.

So without further ado, let’s dive in. 👇️ 

1. Offering a Freebie to Open the Conversation 🆓 

David used the power of a ‘freebie' to get in front of his prospects.

By offering value first, you can grab someone’s attention and build goodwill.

David famously used his homemade perfume as a freebie, but here are a few ideas you can offer today:

  • A free industry report: pricing benchmarks, salary report, etc.

  • Company swag & gift cards: company tumbler, coffee gift card, etc.

  • Sample work: a trial of video editing, 10 sample pieces of data, etc. 

No matter the era, people love free stuff.

2. Relatability to Customers 👋 

The magic behind Avon's early success was customer relatability.

McDonnell's first hire was a 50-year-old woman named Mrs. Albee, and she used her reliability as a woman to connect (and sell) to their customers. A revolutionary strategy for the time.

Although you may not share the same background (or gender) as your prospect, techniques like mirroring and finding commonalities are great ways to bridge the gap.

The more relatable = the better.

3. Meet Your Prospects Where They’re At 🗺️ 

At the time, most housewives didn’t have the time to go shopping for perfume at a store, so David brought it to their doorstep.

David understood convenience, and making it easy for his customers to buy. Similar to how 2-day shipping and 1-click checkouts revolutionized the way we shop today.

For sales reps, this means meeting your prospects where they’re at (LinkedIn, social media, conferences, etc.) and making it easy for them to say yes. If they’re ready to meet, make it easy for them to set up the meeting.

And if they’re ready to buy, cut out the non-essential discovery meetings, and let them buy.

What is your favorite strategy from

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How AI is shaking up the sales industry

It feels like we just met ChatGPT… but in the last 12 months, AI-powered apps have popped up aggressively to improve any industry with a pulse. 

Sales is no exception. Of the 900+ professionals we surveyed, 60% said that AI tools are already important to their overall strategy  so imagine what’s next. 

Or just peep the new AI sales research report, and pretend that you did.  

Key insights for sales reps:

  • The latest stats on AI sales tactics

  • A look at top AI tools by category

  • A framework for selecting software

  • Predictions about our AI-powered future

It’s always time to try new tactics. But right now, especially.

Sales Tip of The Day 💡 

When writing your sales script or pitch, replace ‘I’ and ‘we’ with words like ‘us,’ ‘we,’ and ‘our’.

According to a study by Chorus, successful sales reps are 10 times more likely to use collaborative words vs individual words.

Sales in the News 🗞️ 

Cool Jobs at Cool Companies  

Checking in on LinkedIn 👀 

Do you think this really happened? 🤔 

Sales Meme of the Day

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