The two most commonly asked questions I get from clients these days are first: “How do we cope with the shelter-in-place situation?” and second, “How is this social isolation experience going to change direct selling going forward?” The “lockdown-shelter-in-place-social distancing” experience, regardless of what you call it, has radically altered nearly every aspect of our work, family, neighborhood, social, community and civic life and brought the economy to its knees in 6 weeks or less. … [Read more...]
AdvoCare, Neora, an Ever More Aggressive FTC! What Now?
In recent weeks, the direct selling industry has been shocked by one revelation after another involving the Federal Trade Commission’s actions against direct selling companies. The stunning transformation of AdvoCare from a marketer with an MLM compensation plan to a single level plan due to an FTC enforcement action was still being absorbed when, BANG!, along comes the FTC action against Neora (formerly “Nerium”) and Jeff Olson and the counter civil suit by Olson and Neora challenging the FTC’s … [Read more...]
5 Must-Have Traits for Today’s Successful Direct Selling Executive
Perhaps the most common question I get asked by young, ambitious direct selling company executives is this: What do I have to do to build or lead a great direct selling company?” That question may be the most difficult there is to answer, at least for me, and I do not think I have ever answered it the same way twice. The problem is that “leadership,” no matter what the environment, is very hard to define. What is Leadership? Thousands of words, hundreds of books and dozens of … [Read more...]
The Elephants in Direct Selling’s Room
No one likes having difficult conversations. But there comes a time when you can no longer ignore the proverbial “elephant in the room.” Well, guess what? That time has come for the direct selling industry. We need to face our most recent “elephant,” better known as “the gig economy.” So let’s take a moment to address this problem pachyderm. What is the Gig Economy? The gig economy is the general term that describes the ever-widening variety of non-employee income opportunities … [Read more...]
Without Trust You Can Kiss Success Goodbye!
Direct selling companies spend tens of thousands of dollars on equipment, marketing materials, product development and social media branding programs, but often squander or even neglect their most precious asset: the sales force's trust and belief. Over the years, working for, leading and advising more than 100 companies as a consultant, I came to learn that successful direct selling companies that excel for decades are very careful to maintain the field’s trust. Too often I have observed … [Read more...]
Winning Back the Trust
In times of change, companies often find themselves at odds or even in an adversarial struggle for dominance with their field sales leaders. There are many reasons why these divisions occur, including declining sales, changes of ownership (especially when the founder(s) sell out or retire), and rising competition from other gig/part-time income opportunities. These divisions lead to a lack of trust and belief on the part of the field sales leaders and will obstruct, if not outright sabotage, … [Read more...]
5 New Rules for Direct Selling Success
It used to be that choosing how you wanted to sell your products using a direct selling method was a fairly simple proposition. Direct sellers employed two basic selling approaches: one-on-one and one-to-many (usually referred to as “party plan”). The Most Recent Approach Then along came the vitamin and supplement companies who drove a new method of selling using a variation of subscription selling called “autoship.” While it seems common now, this approach was quite innovative … [Read more...]
Big Changes for Direct Selling
Anyone who is even remotely involved in direct selling knows that the changes in the space over the last few years only pale in comparison to the changes that are quickly coming upon us now. Alan Luce, Sr. Managing Principal for Strategic Choice Partners, recently shared his timely insights on some of the areas where these changes will be most apparent and have the biggest impact in a guest article on the World of Direct Selling News titled, "The Wave is Upon Us: Big Changes for Direct … [Read more...]
Wisdom in 100 Words: Looking ahead to 2016
Four key phases will dominate direct selling discussions and plans in 2016 and beyond: Multi-channel retail selling: Direct sellers must compete with the convenience and efficiency of on-line selling Retail focus: 2016 will see all forms of direct selling putting increased emphasis on selling to end user retail customers. Compensation plans and marketing programs will be revised to reflect this focus. Transparency: Regulatory focus will insist on greater transparency about income and … [Read more...]
FTC v Vemma: What now for US direct selling?
In recent weeks it has been almost impossible to have a conversation with a US direct selling executives without the subject of the FTC v. Vemma Nutrition Company coming up. No doubt there are important legal issues and compliance standards that have been raised in the Vemma case. However it may take years before a court finally rules on this case or one like it where the FTC applies the same standards. Moreover those who think that settling some of the issues and standards through a legislative … [Read more...]