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You've just signed up to an amazing direct sales company – you are excited and ready to smash this business out of the ball park. Your friends and family are supportive and they jump on the bandwagon and hold parties for you, buy some product and give you a pat on the back for ‘having a go.' But suddenly things start to slow down, the parties become fewer and farther in between and now you are wondering what to do now that the initial novelty has worn off. Welcome to big business – the cycle is the same whether you are a traditional bricks and mortar style business or a winning solopreneur. No matter how great your product or the service you offer is – and despite the theory of it being so great it will ‘sell itself' – the reality is it won't, not without some effort and not without some good old fashioned marketing.
Marketing can be a scary prospect especially if you don't have much experience doing it. But here's the thing we ALL have marketing experience because we've all been consumers. So step back and think about your experiences as a consumer – start with thinking about how do you like to be marketed to. Do you like a hard sell? Do you like humor? Do you like facts and figures? Do you like to know who you are buying from or are you just after the best price? Do you prefer to support small businesses (I kind of hope you do because if you are in direct sales YOU are a small business) or do prefer to buy from large faceless corporations? All of these things will influence how you approach your own marketing no matter what it is you are selling.
Direct sellers are in a unique position because (hopefully) your company is providing you with a whole library of material you can use to promote your product – pictures, articles, media releases and other forms of information. That's one of the beauties of direct selling you have a good base to work from. But here's the thing – every other consultant in your company is using the same stuff and once it's been seen around the place or in the case of some companies EVERYWHERE all the time – People stop paying attention – and you are just another one of those ‘reps'. So the first thing you need to do is stop thinking you are selling your product and realize that you are in fact selling YOU!
Like, Know, Trust marketing
Think about it this way. Why do you think big companies use celebrities in their advertising and marketing? It's because people develop a ‘relationship' with celebrities. They feel like they know them from the characters they play or the movies they've been in. Because they feel like they ‘know' them, and if they happen to like them then there is a level of trust there. It's the theory of “know, like and trust.” The mindset is “oh I love George Clooney and oh look he likes that brand of coffee so it must be good” and off they trot to buy it.
Your marketing as a direct seller should work on the same premise. Your friends and family know, like and trust you – that's why they are there in the beginning supporting you (and hopefully over the long haul as well!). The key to being successful in the long term in direct sales (or any business for that matter) is to build that “know, like and trust” outside of your immediate circle (your network) and build on it. In the ‘good old days' you would have to hold home parties and opportunity meetings and physically get yourself ‘out there'. You can (and should) still do this but the beauty of being in direct sales in this time and place is we have social media which allows us to do this, and more, for little to no cost and on several different channels.
We are most definitely firmly in the time of social selling. People are most likely to buy a product based off the recommendations of someone they know or admire and the place that most people connect these days is on social media platforms. Here are just a few statistics about social selling:
82% of your total prospects can be found on social media. Source: http://www.slideshare.net/sergeygusarov165/social-selling-facts-and-stats
A warm referral increases the odds of a sales success 2x-4x. Source: https://www.slideshare.net/secret/bu1dQU4zI4VhWi
Social sellers realize a 66% better quota attainment than those who use traditional prospecting techniques. Source: http://benmartin.pro/145247-2/
The point – people buy from people they ‘know' and have a relationship with and a huge amount of those purchases start with connections made on social media.
But What Does it All Mean?
What it means is that you need to get yourself established on social media in one form or another and you need to appropriately use your warm market on social media to start to grow your following and network by building solid relationships so that your potential clients get to ‘like, know and trust' YOU and turn into customers who buy your products and spread the word through their networks.
Sounds easy right? Yes and No and there are definitely guidelines for doing it in an authentic and effective way. The last thing you want to do is to become that annoying person who does nothing but ‘vomit' their business all over everyone on social media.
So step 1 in social media marketing for the direct seller is to sit down and think about the pages and businesses you follow on social media. Go and have a good look at what they do and what keeps you engaged with their pages and keeps you ‘following' them. I'd love to hear what you discover!
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