If I had to pick just one change to make in direct sales, it would be to change the current model of teaching people to sell to their “warm market.” That type of behavior is not scalable, and it’s just plain icky. No one wants to be sold to by their friends and family, and once they’ve exhausted that small resource the vast majority of people inevitably fail to reach their goals. Our goal is not to make a quick buck off of the warm market of our sales field. We teach scalable ways to market your business without damaging your relationships. By investing in a world-class training platform, we teach our Affiliates how to become legitimate Influencers by using technology, social media and internet marketing.
-— Laura Hunter, CEO, Tori Belle Cosmetics
Education, education education! For years, everything regarding the direct sales channel has been gray. No specific do’s or don’ts. However, based on the FTC’s activity over the last five years, we now have some very specific guidelines. In order for our field to understand how they can successfully and compliantly build a thriving business, we have to educate them. Education starts at the top, with our internal management teams understanding the importance of compliance in what they create. It’s the top leaders having a clear understanding, and then sharing their knowledge with every new distributor that joins the channel.
-— Michelle Lottner, compliance manager, BEMER Group
The rise of e-commerce, led by Amazon, has given consumers vast convenience, choice and power. The only way our industry can compete and remain relevant in the face of this disruption is to recognize that the customer is king. Constantly surprising and delighting customers is the only way to enjoy long-term success. This will require revolutionary change in our industry, starting with the development of innovative products people can’t find anywhere else. Companies must make drastic changes to distributor compensation, incentives, sales promotions, fulfillment (think Amazon Prime), and how they invite distributors and customers to participate.
-— Jason Russell, Marketing Communications Consultant
We have to change the brand and perception of our vertical. Shopify entrepreneurs in 2018 sold $41 billion worth of products, but more importantly sold a perception of a business model that people are proud to be associated with. Currently, we struggle with the perception of the government, the public and the high number of distributors who join and leave our vertical in less than 90 days. We change the perception by dramatically changing our compensation plans. Our compensation plans don’t simply drive distributor behavior but drive the perception that leads to our public and regulatory challenges.
-— Steve Jamieson, CEO, Working Social
Perhaps the biggest shift going forward will be how we pay our brand partners. Checks are out. Direct deposit is okay, but a quick pay system into a digital wallet or card is the future. Today’s gig worker wants to do the job and then get paid; they don’t want to wait a month for a paycheck! We must design simple compensation plans, so they are easily understood. We must pay immediately for customer sales and design plans that promote the right behaviors. We are becoming a virtual business model where everything we do is done in the palms of our hands.
-— Kelly Thayer, Head of Direct Sales, Hurdlr
We must educate the sales force about how to create strong communities with positive communication skills with their customers and their teams. This starts with outstanding communication from the corporation. We all want to have the field understand how to build virtual teams and sell using technology as well as face-to-face. The shift is focusing on the people over profit. The profit will follow when we focus on the relationships. When we address these things, we will attract and retain the younger people and the more seasoned people will work through retirement with passion and purpose.
-— Nicki Keohohou, CEO, DSWA.org
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