Ep #75: In this episode of the Budget Divas podcast, you will hear my journey into the world of mystery shopping and provide three essential tips for those wanting to embark on this exciting adventure. These tips can be applied before you even register for your first mystery shop.
1. **Practice Writing Reviews:** Start by honing your storytelling skills by reviewing places on platforms like Yelp and Google. This practice will help you create detailed and compelling reports in the future.
2. **Talk Less, Listen More:** When mystery shopping, it's crucial to ask the right questions and then actively listen to the employees. They should lead the conversation, helping you evaluate their customer service skills effectively.
3. **Start with Inquiry Shops:** To build confidence without risking your money, begin with inquiry shops. These shops don't require purchases but serve as an excellent foundation for your mystery shopping journey.
Remember that while the initial challenges may seem overwhelming, commitment and practice will lead to proficiency in mystery shopping. This journey can transform your life, helping you pay off debts, dine in top restaurants, and enjoy experiences while getting paid.
For those who want to delve deeper into the world of mystery shopping and budgeting, I invite you to attend my live training sessions, where you can learn how to reach your financial goals faster and enjoy the process.
So, get ready to embark on this exciting journey and make it work for you.
You're Invited to a free LIVE training: How To Get Out of Debt Faster With Mystery Shopping. Register here: https://www.budgetdivas.com/faster
Mystery shopping? What's that got to do with my finances? Mystery shopping isn't just about scoring free meals or testing out luxury cars; it's a powerful tool that can turbocharge your journey to financial independence! Imagine paying off your student loans, credit card debt, or that pesky mortgage years ahead of schedule! Head over to www.budgetdivas.com/faster and secure your spot. Seats are limited, and you won't want to miss out on this life-changing event. It's time to take control of your financial future and unlock the potential within you.
You are listening to the Budget Divas podcast with your host Jen Trinidad. In this podcast, we discuss real life money strategies that you can implement without sacrificing your social life or living on a beans and rice budget. It is possible to live happily while on a debt free journey and enjoy the shiny objects in life.
Welcome to another episode of the Budget Divas Podcast where my goal is to help you get out of debt faster with mystery shopping. In today's episode, we'll explore three key tips for becoming a successful mystery shopper. So, I get this question all the time, Jen, I really want to start mystery shopping, but I just don't know where to start, or it's overwhelming, the information that I find on YouTube, the information that I find online with getting scammed, and not knowing where to start can be overwhelming.
So before you jump in and start mystery shopping, I want to give you three tips that you can start doing today. To help you prepare to becoming a successful mystery shopper, but let's kind of back it up a bit. If you've never heard me talk about mystery shopping before, it's kind of like if you were to watch the Superbowl and these companies are paying millions and millions of dollars for.
The commercials, these 10 second, 30 second, one minute commercials, they're paying millions of dollars for your eyeballs to be watching that commercial. And so it's the same thing with mission shopping. They want you to go to the establishment, get a good sense of what exactly is going on there. Evaluate the customer service, evaluate the environment, evaluate the product and service.
And then report back to the client your findings. So, if you really think about it, why wouldn't they pay normal people like you and me to go into restaurants and retail stores and all of the places that we normally go to, to, better our everyday lives and report back to them and tell them exactly how we felt about it, what service we got, and if we would or wouldn't return to that establishment.
Now, when I first started mystery shopping, I was overwhelmed as well. I remember my friend, Jamie, she told me one day, she said, Jen, did you know that you can get paid to shop? And it really intrigued me because I love shopping, even if I don't come home with an expensive bag or something that will fill up my closet.
Just the thought of going to the store, interacting with people and having that great customer service really sparked joy into my life. And I just love looking at all the pretty things. So I remember when I was interested in mystery shopping and my friend Jamie told me that I could actually get paid to shop, I would go down the rabbit hole every single night, look up on YouTube.
How exactly do I mystery shop and how exactly do I avoid the scams? And it was really overwhelming in the beginning. Until I found a video by His and Her Money, Talit and Ty McNeely of His and Her Money. I've been following them for a long time, and they made 400 in one month mystery shopping. At that moment, I was like, hold up what you can actually make 400 mystery shopping.
And here I was trying to do swag, book surveys, and all of these little surveys online, spending two hours to make a couple dollars to add into my bank account. So at that point, when I found out that they could actually make 400 as a mystery shopper, I was hooked. And from then on, I decided that I was going to research the companies that they had recommended, look up the reviews, and go into the forums and see exactly what people were saying about mystery shopping.
But it wasn't as easy as I thought it was going to be. It wasn't like I took a shop and automatically I would be able to do four shops in a month and get paid 400. I had to put the work in, in order to build up my resume, my skills and experience to get those higher paying shops. And it was really frustrating to me.
But because I made that decision that I was going to commit to mastering the art of mystery shopping because I had decided that mystery shopping was going to lead to me becoming debt free and reaching my financial goals, I knew that I needed to just keep on doing it and keep on doing it and As long as I had a clear path moving forward, I would be successful.
So now that you kind of know the backstory about mystery shopping, let me tell you exactly how you can start now without even registering for mystery shops, just to kind of prepare the foundations to get you into the good habit of becoming a mystery shopper and then deciding for yourself. Is this a good side gig for me?
And possibly if you want to do it full time as well, I have many members in my group who do this on a part time basis, either to bring in extra income or as like an outlet, like for me, I love shopping. And so it was a good outlet for them. To relieve stress and get paid for it at the same time. And then also there are some people who do this full time.
They even travel to different States to mystery shop. In times they can find hotel shops or airline shops that pretty much pay for their entire trip. But before we get to that point of those high coveted shops, we always need to start at the bottom. So taking those 10 shops or those quick 5 shops, it may not seem like it's enough money at the beginning, but it really adds up to your resume.
So I want you to Keep that in mind before you start as a mystery shopper, right? So let's get into the first tip. So the first tip to becoming a great mystery shopper is to practice writing reviews. Now, when I first started out as a mystery shopper, I did not write any reviews on Google. I did not write Yelp.
And so when I would submit my reports, it would come back to me as incomplete. We need more information. And... paint the picture of the story of what happened from beginning to end. And so I decided, well, people are writing on Yelp and Google all the time. So I would practice with places that I've been to that weren't mystery shops, because as a mystery shopper, you can't be posting your findings on Yelp and Google reviews.
But the other places that I would go to on a regular basis, if my husband and I went out to eat, or I had to go to the DMV, if I had to go to the post office, places like that, if I just visited on my own time, I would write a review. And I would paint the picture from beginning to end of exactly what happened from the time I stepped into the establishment to the time that I left the establishment.
For example, when you go to a restaurant, you're immediately greeted by someone or in theory, right? So you go to the restaurant and you see a host at the whole stand. Well, what did they say? Did they welcome you? Was it a warm and genuine welcome? Did they make eye contact and make you feel like a valued customer from there?
They will. walk you to the table. Well, while walking you to the table, did they try to make some friendly conversation with you? What brings you to the restaurant tonight? Especially if you're dining into a fine dining restaurant. When you go to an expensive four, five star, even a Three star restaurant, most of the time they will be walking at a comfortable pace, not walking ahead of you, but walking alongside of you so that they can make friendly conversation with you.
Are you coming in for a special occasion? What brings you to the restaurant tonight, et cetera. And then from there, when you're seated, did they give you the menus and tell you that your server would be with you shortly? Did they highlight any specials on the menu? Did they ask if you wanted to start off with any drinks?
Did they tell you have a great meal before they left your table? So all of these things are really, really important when it comes to mystery shopping. Especially when you're doing the high end restaurant or hotel type of shops, they want to know exactly why you decided to dine in today and exactly how it made you feel.
So if you're not used to writing reviews on Yelp or Google, look them up. And that's exactly what I did in the beginning. I read reviews of My favorite restaurants or places that I frequently go to, and I would see exactly how they wrote it. For example, I remember there was one of my favorite buffet restaurants.
And so when I looked up on Yelp. I was really impressed. I said, yes, this is my favorite restaurant and I really agree with what they have wrote about this restaurant and it could be the positive and some of the negative. So start there first. Think back to the last five places that you have been and look those places up on Yelp.
We do that anyway. If we're admitting to ourselves before we decide to spend our hard earned money on anywhere, we're looking up the reviews, right? We're seeing, do they have? Three star, four star, five star reviews. The majority of the people there, do they like the establishment or would they not recommend it?
And it's really going to make a difference if we decide to spend our hard earned money at the establishment. So this is why mystery shopping is so important to the customer service industry, because they want to know as a regular customer, how did. you feel when you entered the establishment? How did the employees make you feel?
How did the food make you feel? Did it make you feel happier? Did it make you feel like they just threw the food on your plate and didn't even think twice about the taste? So, That is my first tip to you right now, write down a list of five places that you've been to in the past, and then start writing reviews, either on Google or Yelp.
And as a bonus, it will help that local business as well, because the more reviews you post, the better chance for them to either gain business or fix something that's broken so that more customers will want to visit their establishment. In addition, this will improve your writing skills. So as you start to practice how to paint the picture from beginning to end, then you'll remember the little details in your head so that you can write better reports with better grammar and really make them feel.
Like they were there in your shoes, so I kind of picture it as this pretend the client is a fly on the wall and they are reading your review, they want to be able to put themselves in your shoes and know exactly what happened as if they were that fly on the wall watching everything happen in real time.
Okay, so that's the first step. The second tip is to talk less and listen more on shops. This is a big mistake that I see many, many novice shoppers make, is they think they need to control the situation. But really when you're out and about, and you're trying to learn more about a product, you're not really asking too many questions.
You're asking the main questions. How does the product work? What are your specials today? What type of brand of car would be better for me based on my needs? And then letting them drive the conversation. So as a mystery shopper, it's your. Objective to make sure that you're asking the questions that the mystery shop client wants you to ask and then letting the employee lead in the conversation.
So they want to know exactly how the employee is handling that conversation based on your responses. For example, if you're shopping for a new car, you might be Telling the employee I'm looking for an SUV and I want this many seats and I want to have enough space for all of my gear to take my Children to their sporting events, etcetera, etcetera, or I have a big family and I need more space because right now I have a really small car.
Or it could be you're in the market for a luxury car. Yeah. Maybe you got a nice promotion at work and you want to reward yourself with that luxury car of your choice. And so while you're telling the employee this type of information, they're the ones who will have to make that decision on which cars to show you in order to close the deal.
So it's the same thing with mystery shopping. When you're out on a mystery shop, you will be asking simple questions. And then letting them lead the conversation, letting them ask you more open ended questions. And in turn, you can respond so that they can make an informed decision of exactly what you need and make great recommendations to you.
You know, I remember when I first started mystery shopping. This was one of the things that I really struggled with, because you might get that employee who doesn't give you any information, who is not forthcoming at all. And so if they're not forthcoming, you'll have to report that on the report. You'll have to say, I asked this question.
They gave me a yes or no answer or a very short answer that didn't invite them to ask more questions to learn about the customer's needs. Another thing that I want to point out is you don't want to lead them to asking you that question. So sometimes mystery shoppers think that I'm going to help them along so that they ask me the question.
Well, if it is on the report that you're supposed to do that, then yes. by all means, you will do that because it's a requirement. But other than that, if they are not forthcoming with the information, the client wants to know that so that when they report back, they can tell the employee, Hey, this customer came in and you didn't do x, y, z, or you didn't ask them more information.
So in turn, that might mean that the client needs to give that employee more training so that the next time a real customer comes in, they'll be able to give them all the information, ask more open ended questions, and more than likely close the deal with that customer. Another reason why you want to talk less and listen more on shops is because.
It will help to improve your observation and listening skills during mystery shops. If you're the one that's always talking during the mystery shop, you might forget the information that the person, the employee is telling you because you're more focused on what you're saying. So by Actively listening during mystery shops and being observant of how the employee is acting, what is going around while you're interacting with the employee, how the establishment looks.
You'll be able to answer those questions on the report with a clear mind and also with Accurate data in mystery shopping, effective communication and active listening is so essential to gather accurate data. So another tip that I want to tell you is that even if you're not doing a mystery shot, remember, we're just talking about your going out to, so here's your homework before you decide.
If you want to become a mystery shopper and if mystery shopping is for you, go into the establishment, a high end boutique. If you're shopping for a new car or looking for a gift for someone, evaluate their customer service. Ask them questions. Open ended questions that will lead them to asking you more questions.
So you want your questions to be pretty general, unless you're looking for something specific. So for example, if you're going to a jewelry store, you could say, I want to buy a gift for my mom whose birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks. And so, when you leave it at that, That gives the employee the opportunity to ask you more questions.
What type of jewelry does mom like? Does she like necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets? What type of jewelry does she wear? Does she wear diamonds? Does she like something that's a little bit more simple or something that's more extravagant? Do you have a budget that you want to Spend on mom and so forth.
So when you leave it general like that, then it gives the opportunity for the employee to ask you more detailed questions so that they can make sound recommendations to you. So. Go ahead and practice this. You know, it's October right now, and you might have plans for anniversaries or even Christmas coming up.
And so whatever the occasion is, go into any store of your choice and evaluate their customer service. Also, evaluate the establishment when you walked into the jewelry store. Did it look like a pawn shop? Did it look like a really elegant, beautiful place that was clean, pristine, and somewhere you would be proud to shop and tell mom, I got this jewelry, this beautiful necklace from X Y Z company because this is all important to the client.
So that's your next step. Your next step is to pick a store and go in the store and just evaluate their customer service and be observant of what's around you and what's going on while you're interacting with the employee. And the third tip is once you have decided that you actually do want to become a ministry shopper, You can start by doing inquiry shops.
So inquiry shops are shops where you don't have to purchase anything. So if you're afraid to do mystery shops because you might be losing money, if you do something wrong, inquiry shops are great to start off with. If you make a mistake and your report doesn't get approved by the mystery shop company, Well, you are out the time, but at least you're not out the money.
So inquiry shops could be as simple as going into an electronic store and saying, I want a new phone right now. There are so many new phones that just launched. And so it could be, they want to know, how do you feel about X, Y, Z phone? And would you change from. The current phone that you have to a different type of phone, where it could be a whole new system that you have to learn, or do they recommend that you stay with the current system?
Because you're already established and you already know how the processing system works. These inquiry shops have really made a difference in my members lives, like my customers who go through my program. They say that the inquiry shops have boosted their confidence because one, they know that they're not losing any money out of pocket.
And two, it helps them to practice becoming a mystery shopper. And To know that every step they're taking into doing these inquiry shops is one step closer to getting those high paying shops, those coveted shops that everybody wants. So if you are interested in these inquiry shops, one place that you can check is presto shopper.com.
It's P R E SS t o shopper.com. Totally free to sign up. It will be like your Indeed. com, your job board, which will give you a whole list of shops. And then you can see from there, I would definitely recommend you start with the 10 to 12 dollar type of shops. The ones that Don't pay that much, but because they don't pay as much as the higher inquiry shops, it's more than likely that these shops will not take a lot of time.
And you can also look on the report too, and it will tell you exactly how much time to expect to do the mystery shop. So I hope you enjoyed these three tips today. The first tip is to start off just by writing reviews, go on Yelp, go on Google and review the last five places that you have visited and kind of get.
Two and get in the habit of writing really great reviews, painting the picture from start to finish. The next one is to. Listen more. Actively listening when you're on a shop will give you the best time for a mystery shop. So you could just go into a store and say you're looking for a birthday present, anniversary present, maybe even a Christmas present.
It's only October, but You could be shopping for Christmas and say that you're looking for a present for mom or dad or whoever, and then evaluate their customer service, asking them those generalized questions and keeping it open ended so that they're able to ask you more open ended questions. And then the third step is to start doing inquiry shops.
So when you do inquiry shops, you don't lose Money out of pocket. You're just going there to gather information, not making a purchase, and then it will get you into the habit of really becoming a mystery shopper and knowing what to expect from mystery shopping. I want to leave you this one tip. When you're on your mystery shopping journey, you will have challenges.
There are so many times when I have messed up on shops and I've been doing this for five years when I maybe I've missed the name or I've missed what. Their description is, I forgot what they look like, even though it's only been a day, or forgot to do something. But the main thing is that you are consistent, that you keep doing it, and then the more you do it, the more you will have exponential growth, and you will get those high paying shops.
So like I told you in the beginning, I really wanted to quit because it was too hard and I would go down the rabbit hole for hours and hours at a time trying to figure it out. But as I kept doing the smaller shops, I kept leveling up to the bigger shops. And then once I got to the bigger shops, I found a way.
To not only pay down debt so much faster, but go to restaurants and go to other places and get paid for it. For example, in the last couple of months, my husband and I have been on a date night every single week going to restaurants and experiencing these new restaurants that we haven't gone to before.
which in turn is great for them because we had a really good experience. So we would definitely recommend to our friends and family that they go to those different restaurants. But it was totally 100 percent paid for by the mystery shopping company. And we had a great time as well. After a long week of Working and just all the things.
It's nice to go on a nice date night. Just the two of us have a nice drink, have a nice dinner and get paid for it. I love it so much. And there will be a time too when you will experience this victory. You will be so successful with your mystery shopping. Know exactly how to spend your time and know that you can pay down debt.
with mystery shopping I hope you enjoyed this episode today on three tips on how you can become a successful mystery shopper And if you want to learn more about mystery shopping and how you can get out of debt faster with mystery shopping Would love for you to attend one of my training you can go to budgetdivas.com/faster and get the most updated dates and times of when I'm going to be teaching This training live. We're not only going to talk about mystery shopping But we're going to talk about how to make budgeting fun and how to make it not seem like a chore And you will get to your goal So much faster All right So I hope you enjoyed this episode today and i would love for you to Join that mystery shopping training again.
Until next time, have a great day and keep moving forward one step at a time.