It’s about time for the Spring and Summer direct sales catalogs to be released. What do you do with your old Fall and Winter books if you have leftover catalogs? The easiest solution is to simply not have any leftovers. Work your business so that you are talking to people daily or at the very least, do a direct mailing to introduce new customers to your product offering.

Although, assuming you didn’t do that and you find yourself with leftover catalogs, now what?

Still use them.

Leave them places such as public restrooms, grocery carts, on the bleacher when you get up from a sporting event, or lobby of a waiting room. I would not recommend personally handing someone an old catalog, that’s just makes you unprofessional. Yet leaving them places would be acceptable, and here’s why:

Leaving catalogs anonymously does not generate many calls or sales. It’s better than throwing them in the trash yourself; but let’s face it, odds are high it may still end up in the trash if you leave it somewhere. Nonetheless, there is a chance it could lead to something and it doesn’t cost you anything, there is no risk involved, especially if it is an obsolete catalog.

If someone is interested, she will contact you. The prospect or customer will likely visit your website first and if there are new products now being offered, she will also see that on the website. If she should call, and want to order a product that is no longer available, you simply say, “Oh, you must have an older catalog; let me get you a current one.”

Some direct sales gurus will suggest that you put a cutesy poem on the front of the catalog or at a minimum, a sticker stating it is an old book. I do not agree with this suggestion, and here’s why:

Cost, time, return and image.

It will cost you money out of your profits to purchase and use labels and ink. It will also cost you valuable time printing and affixing the labels on the old catalogs – time that you should have invested last month working your business to get rid of them while they were still timely.

As mentioned above, there is very little return on scattering catalogs about town. To be effective, you really need the added element of personal interaction. Don’t throw good money after bad. They’re already old catalogs; you’re merely hoping on the slim chance that you may pick up a new customer if you leave them in public vs. leave them in your trash can.

You may think you’re being a helpful consultant placing a ‘this is an old catalog’ poem or notice on the book, but consider this: Rather than looking like you have your act together, it sends a message of “I haven’t been working my business as I should have during the fall and winter – the busiest gift giving season for my business, even I couldn’t sell during that time, so now I have all these left over books and even though I either ordered way too many or I just didn’t talk to anyone about the fabulous product offerings I have, I’m hoping you’ll see this cutsie poem, yes I know it makes me look cheap by telling you I have old books, but won’t you please do me a favor and please, pretty please buy something from me because I’m not such a great sales consultant, or I wouldn’t have to push my old catalogs on you.”

Perhaps you’ve never really looked at it that way before. Direct sales is a great industry, but to be successful it requires juggling many tasks and working your business constantly, not sporadically. It requires to you work smarter, not harder. So forget placing little stickers on your old catalogs.

Just get leave them in places where someone may pick one up, and hope for the best. You now have six months of the current catalog to manage your inventory of books to ensure you’re not left with extras in the fall.

About the Author: Laurie Ayers is a WAHM from Michigan and a Superstar Director with Scentsy Flameless Candles. She enjoys helping others start and maintain a candle business in the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, Deutschland and the UK. You can find Laurie at