Has the industry of direct selling changed much in the last decade or so? Given the massive transformation that the world at large has gone through, even those with limited knowledge of the business could probably answer that: Yes. Absolutely, yes.
Direct selling has always relied on the importance of the social network to bring customers and vendors together. Nowadays, we are connected more than ever, and direct selling companies can take huge advantage of social media to spread their message and their products. On the other hand, there is always a dark side to these sorts of developments because such public exposure leaves companies very open to public harassment and criticism—even when it is undeserved. You can also find yourself over exposed with inconsistent branding and messaging.
In this new global frontier, direct selling companies have to change their approach. The old strategies simply won’t work as they used to and new techniques to bring in a new generation of recruits needs to be employed. Most importantly, there are three things that direct selling companies need to understand if they are to survive in this landscape:
1) Millennials value face-to-face time like gold.
When it comes to both building up an army of sales associates and attracting end-user customers, companies need to understand that the old brute force methods no longer work. A company would be wise to recruit members of this blossoming generation of young people, but they need to understand that employing a slow method of reeling leads in with electronic communication, text messages, or social media contact works much better than overwhelming people with phone calls or face-to-face meetings.
Members of sales teams need to be trained in these new techniques, and they need to learn to leverage technology, such as specialized apps, to manage the contacts in their network and carefully avoid spamming them with too many offers.
2) People need to be able to shop online.
Members of the sales teams need to be able to have their own hosted websites with shopping carts, and their customers need to be able to shop online. Online shopping is such a ubiquitous feature in modern-day life that to not have this option makes a direct selling business appear like it’s from the stone age.
Furthermore, your distributer’s social media presence needs to link to a clean shopping experience, or even better, make shopping available within the actual social media platform.
3) A company’s website reflects its character.
Perhaps this isn’t always the case, but it’s certainly what any new recruits or customers are going to think when they visit a site. Gone are the days when one could get away with having a poor website. Websites are no long accessories to ones business—they are the main face of it, so it is worth it to hire good designers and developers to get it right. When people are curious for information, the first thing they do is search online. Having a clunky or unusable website could directly result in a huge loss of sales. Make the investment to ensure the site reflects your company’s mission and makes a great first impression.
Change is hard sometimes, especially when we find that things, which used to work in the past no longer do. However, change is inevitable, and being able to consistently innovate is what separates the companies who will continue to be successful decade after decade.