So . . . you’ve decided to start a direct selling company. Or at least you’re seriously considering it. You’re contemplating entering into that great world of MLM or party plan marketing – or some cross between the two. I still remember when I entered direct selling. It was over a decade ago. I was acting as an advisor to executive teams and I was leveraging specific areas of expertise that I had developed outside of network marketing. I had started, operated, and sold a half-dozen businesses of my own. As I began my career as a consultant to direct selling companies, a colleague who was experienced in the industry gave me some sage advice. He said: “Dave, about 70% of what you know about traditional business will apply with just a bit of adaptation. But the other 30% is REALLY different.” I remember thinking at the time – how different can it really be? Well, it’s very different.
Here’s what you’re getting into. Your products or services will be sold through a network of independent representatives – let’s just call them distributors. Each of those distributors will decide to “join” your company because someone they know and trust (another one of your distributors) recommends it to them, and because they like the products or services you’ll be offering. Most of them have probably already had some kind of personal experience with network marketing – and most of the time it probably wasn’t all that positive. If they haven’t been directly involved in MLM before, they most likely have some negative stereotypical ideas about it. But they’re taking a leap of faith. They hope your products and services actually provide the benefits that have been touted. And they hope they can make some extra money, like their friend has told them. They hope you’re a great company with a great leadership team, as has been promised. But they don’t yet believe. And they don’t even know you, your company, or your executive team yet – let alone trust you!
This is the very person, times thousands, who will make or break your business. And every day they will decide whether or not they are going to continue using your products or services and whether or not they are going to recruit others. They will do that based a great deal on how they “feel” and how much trust and belief they have in you and your company. And how you handle every single interaction with them, from the time they sign up, to when they open their first shipment, to every call they have with your customer service team, to the training you provide them, to the compensation system you offer, and on and on – will determine whether they move forward and do anything, or do nothing. A few even slightly negative experiences because you haven’t got the right systems in place – and you’ve lost them! And without them, you have nothing!
So, attending the Direct Selling Symposium is an acknowledgement that you are stepping into a unique, and very powerful, and potentially very lucrative business model – and that you must learn the best practices from industry experts who are most qualified to teach them to you. It is an investment in your future, and dramatically increases the probability of your success. Welcome to the wacky world of direct selling! I look forward to meeting you, and serving you!