I’m all for a good challenge, but to cover what seems to be the lifeblood of success in our channel in a mere 20 minutes, when probably 20 days still wouldn’t quite do it justice, seemed a tad daunting. In fairness, the point of the program was to provide quick input on the basics of all areas of direct selling to these new companies, and the end product was actually helpful (so kudos to the organizers). But still… 20 minutes?!? 😉
So rather than go deep in any one tactic or strategy, I decided to cover what I consider to be a key thought-starter for any direct selling company, whether young, old, big, small or somewhere in the middle of it all. And in this article, I offer the same to you.
No single principle is intended to cover everything. My hope is that these to-the-point principles serve as thought-starters and checkpoints for your own internal discussions. With that said, here we go!
1. Trust and Communication must become foundational components of everything you do.
I’ve written about this in detail here before, so you can read that article when you have time. In a nutshell, from the corporate standpoint, trust is your most valuable asset when it comes to field relations.
Nothing nurtures trust like clear, compelling and timely communication. And it can’t just be about the good things; trust really gets built when you communicate the bad things well. On the flip side, the more someone trusts you, the more open they are to communication from you. The less they trust you, the less open they are to your communication. So in everything you do, remember that every bit of communication has the ability to strengthen or weaken trust in you.
2. The fundamental unit of success in direct selling is a conversation.
Nothing can happen that involves selling a product, enrolling a new customer, signing up a new Distributor, promoting a new leader, or just sharing a feel-food story until first a conversation occurs. If your salesforce isn’t having a conversation about your products and company, then nothing else can happen. The conversation must come first! It can be an in-person conversation, or a digital one. There are so many different “types” of conversations these days, but one of your primary roles at corporate is to help instigate as many conversations as possible.
3. Go overboard with your onboarding.
As an industry that prides itself on how well we teach and train our people, I’m constantly shocked at how sub-par most onboarding programs are. By onboarding, I’m talking about the sequence of messages and interactions that occur (typically, in an automated fashion) after someone signs up as a Distributor. This is the most critical time in the life of any Distributor. Go overboard in breaking it down into simple steps and doing everything possible to help this new seedling take root and grow.
Brett Duncan, Co-Founder and Managing Principal of Strategic Choice Partners, explains the other 13 principles for developing your independent salesforce in his guest article on The World of Direct Selling News titled, “15 Principles for Developing Your Independent Salesforce.” Be sure to read the full article.
Start Developing Your Salesforce … Today!
Whether your company is just starting out or you’ve been in the game a long time, a fresh look at how you develop your salesforce is paramount. They are your advocates, your most important customers, your team. If you feel your systems and tools could use revamping or you are just starting a direct sales company and looking for ways to gain a top-notch salesforce, we’re working alongside many direct selling companies helping them do just this. We’d love to help you, too.
Contact us now, and let’s schedule some time to discuss your company and its best next steps.
About Brett Duncan
Brett is a founding partner with Strategic Choice Partners, and an experienced executive specializing in marketing, communications and digital strategic consulting.
He worked for his first direct sales company two days a week while still in college packing shipments in their warehouse from 5 until midnight. He began at the entry level of the marketing department at AdvoCare, International in 2002, rising to the position of marketing manager before he left in 2007. In 2009, he joined Mannatech as Sr. Director of Global Online Solutions. He was then promoted to Vice President of Global Marketing in 2011.