When you start a direct sales business, you’re generally required to sign up with a sponsor. This person will be your first resource for training and support. You could participate in a team or companywide forum where you will also get additional ideas on ways to help build your business. These veterans can be a wonderful resource. If you have any questions, by all means ask.
Marketing your direct sales business is always a hot topic. Should you pay for advertising? If so where and how much should you invest? Is there a difference between marketing and advertising? How do you separate good ideas from bad ones? These are all valid questions and your sponsor and fellow consultants can be a good source to pose these questions to.
One word of caution: not all marketing suggestions are worthwhile – even those that come from your sponsor. Some ideas may have worked in 1986 but definitely aren’t effective today. Other suggested marketing techniques may work well in one geographic area but would produce little to no favorable results where you live. Some ideas may sound good when you first hear it, but if you look at all aspects you’ll see that it could put your personal safety at risk.
Marketing Suggestion #1: Some sponsors suggest that you stick a suction cup shower caddie or magnetic locker pocket filled with your business cards or catalogs to the outside of your car while you are parked in public locations. Their thinking is that while you’re shopping or at an appointment, people will walk past your vehicle, take a catalog or business card and then potentially be your next customer or recruit.
Good or Bad Idea? Bad. And here’s why: Do you really want complete strangers knowing exactly what make of vehicle you drive or that your minivan at that very moment could contain the jewelry, home décor or cookware that you’re selling? What a perfect roadmap for an unscrupulous person to linger, and then follow you home. The thought here would be that it’s highly likely you have some inventory at home and maybe even some money from a recent party or to make change for customers. Your caddy may read: “Take One” or “Free” but you might as well reword it to read “Follow me home if you want to burglarize me; I have a stash there!” or “Expensive Inventory on Board” because that’s the message you’re sending.
In addition to risking your personal safely, putting business cards and catalogs on your car for anyone to take is a waste of your marketing material. It’s not targeted marketing. Adolescents or some competitors would be all too happy to take your catalogs and business cards and relocate them to the trash or scattered all over the parking lot. Then perhaps the facility manager can give you a personal phone call to inform you about their no solicitation policy and fine for littering.
Marketing Suggestion #2 Approach at least three people a day about your products or business opportunity.
Good or Bad Idea? Bad. Do people really do that? I sure don’t want strangers coming up to me during my daily walk or while I’m trying to do my shopping, do you? Get away from me, you weirdo. I don’t approach strangers and I don’t want them approaching me. To be clear, I’m not talking about handing a sample to a cashier or waiter requesting “if you know anyone who likes [to cook] could you please pass this along?” Asking for referrals is a good suggestion.
In this case, I’m referring to being much more aggressive. Such as the time when I was in a clothing store and the lady following me on the other side of the rack wasn’t really just a fellow shopper. No, she was not-so-secretly a recruit stalker who approached me with this tired approach: “Can I ask you a question? You seem like you really have it together. If I can show you a way to have financial freedom…” or “Are you satisfied with your current income…” Yikes, are there really sponsors who are teaching this tactic? Please let me shop in peace.
These gimmicks produce little to no results. The next time your sponsor or fellow consultant gives you a marketing suggestion, it’s certainly worth considering. But instead of blindly implementing the suggestion, carefully think it through before you actually try it. Not all marketing suggestions, even from veteran direct sales consultants, are good ideas.