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America at Home: 30 Days In and Direct Selling Companies are STILL Growing Strong

America at Home: 30 Days In and Direct Selling Companies are STILL Growing Strong
America at Home: 30 Days In and Direct Selling Companies are STILL Growing Strong

By Stuart Johnson, Founder & CEO, SUCCESS Partners | April 17, 2020

Over the past month we conducted two informal surveys with 50+ leading direct selling companies for a snapshot overview of how the industry is faring in the current climate. You can see the encouraging results of the surveys here.

In my continued conversations with these executives, there are 10 top-performing companies on track to set all-time records in the month of April.

I’m extremely encouraged by the results these companies have shared. As a nation, we are 30 days into an unprecedented stay-at-home doctrine and adjusting to all the changes and challenges it has brought to our personal and professional lives.

The economy as a whole is reeling, but direct selling continues to show undeniable signs of growth.

Of course, every success story is unique, but what these top performers continue to show us is that there are several key strategies they all share that you can also quickly implement.

At SUCCESS Partners, our goal is to help not just our clients, but the industry as a whole—so I’d like to share the trends, strategies and approaches that are producing the best results as we all continue to build and grow our channel during these unique times.

WHAT’S WORKING: The Common Denominators

How are these companies excelling through the massive changes and shifting dynamics? They aren’t necessarily using a different selling system or model, but they are flexible enough to pivot to growing their customer and distributor base remotely.

These are unprecedented times. Over 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment in recent weeks—many of them natural salespeople displaced by the external forces decimating the retail and service sectors.

They want and need alternative income sources, and direct selling companies are uniquely positioned to offer them a way to supplement or replace their lost wages. They are online and ready for a new opportunity that allows them to put their skills to good use—from the safety of home.

Who better to rise to the occasion and provide that opportunity than the direct selling channel? We’ve been perfecting the process for over 100 years!

Impactful Products that Bring Value

When it comes to products, our channel’s reputation hasn’t always been stellar. Conventional wisdom holds that when it comes to products in direct selling: the cost is high, and the quality is low or not necessarily unique.

Another common misconception is that no one actually buys the products. We’ve all heard the phrase “garage qualified,” meaning distributors hoard boxes of products no one wants or needs to maintain their rank with no interest in building a customer base.

These are both antiquated notions—and they don’t reflect the current successful model of direct selling. As an industry, we have worked hard to change these perceptions by creating “hero” products.

The companies that are currently growing offer products that clearly reflect their brand’s mission and purpose—products that really work, feature proprietary ingredients, offer tangible benefits and fill a distinct niche in the marketplace.

Perhaps even more importantly, the most successful direct selling companies offer true value to the consumer. Hero products are more than discretionary one-time purchases to help a friend with their side hustle. They are must-have items that consumers purchase time and again because they work and are priced fairly.

Hero products build loyalty and strengthen brand association. Distributors—both new and seasoned—want to passionately advocate for the brands they represent. In turn, customers have a better experience, genuinely love the products and, in turn, the company. Delivering products and services that stand out is the shortest, clearest path to that goal.

This consumer-centric approach to high-value products reflects the strong trend toward emphasizing customer acquisition and retention over opportunity and building a downline. It’s important to note that companies focusing on high-quality products, customer acquisition and retention are outperforming those that are more opportunity focused.

Promotions are also on an upswing. Value propositions encourage purchases—just make sure whatever incentives you offer can be supported in this new, value-focused financial model.

Meaningful Marketing with a Purpose

The importance of clear, concise, value-based marketing is not a new concept. But what is relatively new is the emergence of caused-based marketing and social responsibility programs. Companies that lead with the values and causes that define them are finding higher levels of engagement and excitement—both with their distributors and their customers.

In a world filled with uncertainty and chaos, people want to connect with a company that reflects their values and is committed to doing good work. By identifying, supporting and sharing the causes that resonate with your company, you will inevitably attract the distributors and customers that share your passion and purpose.

Digital Deployment

It’s clear that the companies that already had cutting-edge social, digital and mobile tools in place prior to March 2020 are doing better than those that didn’t.

Growing companies are embracing the power and potential of the digital world. Social media platforms, videos, digital communications, productivity tools and remote software all continue to gain traction, and virtual meetings have taken on a whole new level of importance during social isolation.

But the single most important weapon in these companies’ digital arsenal is their mobile app.

The importance of a robust, multifunctional app that facilitates sharing, sampling, communications and an enhanced, seamless shopping experience cannot be undervalued. This is especially important as growing numbers of young adults join the industry.

Their lives are documented, curated and executed on their favorite social platforms and via text. They require an app that allows them to do business the same way they “do” life—directly from their smartphone. Now is the time for companies to upgrade or expand their app. It is—in its simplest terms—the future of direct selling. The right app with the right functionality and features is the key component to communicate, connect and convert with customers and distributors alike.

I invite you to watch a replay of our recent webinar, The Power of NOW. The webinar highlights the game-changing new features and advanced e-commerce tech capabilities of our state-of-the art app, NOW. SUCCESS Partners can help you expand your digital capabilities with surprising speed and scale.

Creating Community and Connection

Social distancing keeps all of us safe, but it does create a sense of isolation and loneliness—this is especially true for the extroverts that so often thrive in this channel. The companies that are leading the current growth trend excel at providing community and social interaction to millions of women (and a few good men) during a time when many are seeking more opportunities to contribute and connect.

As many people face unemployment or a chaotic, unfamiliar and demanding work-from-home environment, recognition is a powerful draw for a stressed, unappreciated, undervalued workforce. Recognition is something direct selling does better than virtually any other industry.

For so many, these are troubling times—compelling, uplifting stories that instill feelings of hope, belief and gratitude can help mitigate the overwhelming climate of fear, negativity and uncertainty.

We’re all being bombarded with an endless cycle of anxiety and fear. Through strong leadership, laser focus and a viable opportunity, the direct selling companies that are growing aren’t just peddling a side hustle—they are offering hope. And there’s nothing more powerful (and actionable) than that.

Virtual Events to Remember

Even before the current crisis, event attendance in the industry has been trending down. Virtual meetings, however, are reversing this trend. Companies that are “winning” the moment are embracing aggressive meeting rhythms via Zoom, Teams, Facebook Live and other digital meeting platforms.

The good news is that companies are reporting MUCH HIGHER attendance and engagement at these virtual meetings. Going forward, the success of online meetings will challenge and change the conventional approach to corporate events. Growth-oriented direct selling companies will continue to embrace this new normal even as restrictions on public gatherings ease and end.

More Content, More Communication

To help the field stay connected and engaged during social distancing, it’s important for corporate to facilitate increased communications—make sure your field knows you are there and are actively working to help them succeed.

Companies that are growing have been creating a steady stream of compelling content their field can easily access and share. Product stories and testimonials are powerful tools to strengthen your ties to existing distributors and customers and to attract new ones.

Make sure the content you create fills a void or simplifies a process for your field. Ensure that your messaging reflects your core values and mission. Keep it easy to deploy and share across multiple platforms and devices.

SUMMARY: Your Next Steps Toward Success

  • Leverage the industry’s new-found credibility as a legitimate home-based business option

  • Reflect your company’s values and mission

  • Embrace digital and social technologies

  • Convert customers to distributors

  • Lead with hero products, customer acquisition and retention

  • Create an environment of community and connection

  • Increase and expand virtual meeting rhythms

  • Deploy a steady stream of new, shareable content

We’re Here to Help

SUCCESS Partners has been committed to helping direct selling companies grow and achieve results for more than 30 years. We believe our channel is well positioned for this challenging, uncertain time, and we are here to help you leverage this immediate opportunity for growth with solutions that can be tailored to your company and deployed quickly and seamlessly.

From mobile technology to custom publishing, branding development, sampling and more, we’d love to partner with you as we navigate these uncharted waters together.

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