There’s something that’s becoming quite evident in direct selling right now: Yesterday’s compensation plan design best practices don’t pack the punch that they used to. And no wonder: It’s a completely different world now. And yet, so many direct selling companies are choosing to “tweak” their plans, adding some flashy trends on top of an otherwise outdated foundation. I get the hesitancy. Changing compensation plans is not for the faint of heart (or the weak of mind). It’s scary to move into … [Read more...]
Are You Doing the Math for Your Distributors?
Today’s direct seller has more access to data and numbers than any generation of direct seller ever had before. Backoffices are packed with beautiful reports, dashboards are dotted with wonderful widgets and notifications, and promotions and programs are launched every day to accelerate sales and income. And yet, my experience tells me that Distributors don’t always appreciate all this stuff like I think they should. Some of the obvious perks of a new promotion often get overlooked. The … [Read more...]
Our Story Is Better Than Their Story. Are You Telling It?
From company announcements to proclamations from the investing world to regulatory agency decisions to even a TV series, there is no shortage of hot opinions and big news in the world of direct selling. As the old saying goes, “any news is good news.” But is that really true here? It seems the only news we’re getting falls in the “bad news” category. Further, the only opinions those of us in the industry are giving are just opinions and pontifications on that bad news. Maybe the reason it … [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...]
7 Clear Signals That Today’s Direct Sales Company Must Embrace
Since 2015, three prominent direct sales companies have publicly faced regulatory scrutiny in the United States. While there were similarities in the issues addressed—such as multi-level compensation systems—each company faced a different journey and a different outcome. Yet, there is a commonality that we are wise to acknowledge and embrace now: Change is here; it’s our challenge and our opportunity to understand it, respond to it and embrace it. So, what do we do? What merits attention … [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...]
What about the “Why” for your events?
Direct sellers love to talk about their “whys,” basically, the reason(s) they chose direct selling in general and their individual companies in particular. Recruiting and promoting are almost always framed in the context of understanding one’s “why.” And it’s a valid consideration. Basically, the “why” answers the question, “What’s my motivation for doing this?” Do your events deserve a "Why"? But what about your events? Don’t they deserve a “why” as well? The answer is, “Why yes, … [Read more...]
2019: The Year Direct Selling As We Know It Changed Forever
I know. It has quite an ominous sound. And then, it also seems a tad presumptuous and oddly grandiose. Of course, it could also just be another click-baity, news-jacky headline whipped up by a consultant trying to drum up business ;-). I guess all of the above is possible. But none of it can dismiss the point that 2019 may indeed be the year we look back and realize it all changed. Direct selling as we’ve known it will never be the same. And I think I’m OK with that. There’s a quote … [Read more...]
Common Pitfalls that Prevent Profitability in Direct Selling Start Ups
I would like to share a number of common pitfalls that prevent profitability in direct selling start ups. This comes from years of experience working with companies that have contacted me many times after making mistakes like these and then asking me to help them correct these issues. 1. Lack of Direct Selling Expertise Many founders have started their ventures with only cursory experience in the industry. They have seen or heard of successes in this industry of companies … [Read more...]
Rethink Resolutions: 9 Resolutions for Direct Selling Companies in 2019
How has the beginning of 2019 been for you? As we enter the halfway point of 2019, it’s only natural to reflect on what we’ve accomplished so far, where we’ve fallen short of expectations, and what happened that we never saw coming. Every year is filled with its share of blessings and surprises. At the same time, in many ways, the first part of your year can look just like the last part of your year if we aren’t careful. Which gets me thinking about resolutions. Do you only make … [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...]
Most Technology Problems Are Not Actually Technology Problems
Having started my career in the direct selling industry in 2002, you can imagine the swift changes I’ve experienced in a relatively short period of time in how direct selling works. I’m sure many of you can say the same. As the model evolves and adapts, we found ourselves today rethinking components of direct selling that seemed like bedrocks of our business. Technology = Opportunity & Confusion At the forefront of these changes, you’ll find technology as an equal-opportunity … [Read more...]
The 7 Most Common Recommendations for Today’s Direct Selling Company
Every direct selling company thinks of itself as extremely unique. You probably feel that way about your company, too. Your product is one-of-a-kind. Your compensation plan has unique perks. Your founder offers both special privileges and special challenges. Your culture is special and unprecedented and unlike anything you’ve ever seen. And I bet that’s all true. I just bet it’s not as true as you think it is. My experience has shown me that direct selling companies have a lot more in common … [Read more...]