If you’ve been in direct sales, then you probably already know about the “List of 100.” It’s a common practice in the industry to encourage new consultants to make a list of 100 people they know. You’re supposed to sit down and list all your friends and relatives, and then start listing your hair stylist, dentist, people at church, parents from your child’s school, the mail lady and anyone else you may know until you get to 100 people.
Some people still use this technique, and I imagine there are still some who have success with it. Though more and more direct sellers will confide in each other that they don’t love that list; they don’t even like it. And they don’t use it. It is the exact opposite of target marketing and finding a niche. And we wonder why the direct sales industry sometimes has the reputation of being spammy with friends and associates.
This antiquated practice claims that if you make a list of 100 people to pursue, it’ll be your first networking contact list that will theoretically help jump start your new direct sales business. The other side of the coin is that no matter what product line you offer, marketing 101 tells us that we’d have better results if you promoted the features and benefits of your new product offerings specifically to the potential customer base that could enjoy or make use of your goods?
Think about this whole notion of making a list of 100 people you know. This concept is unreasonable. What if your nail technician started a business selling plastic do-dads that would aid in maintaining septic systems. If this person made a list of 100 people she knows and included you in that list to push her plastic thingamagigs on, you would undoubtedly think she had totally lost her mind to even bother you with such a product. You may even switch to a different nail salon for fear every time you see her she would again bring up her plastic whatchmacallits.
Yet as direct sellers, some companies and sponsors are still telling us in 2011 that we’re supposed to do just that – hit up people we know regardless of the appropriateness of doing so. If you are hitting up everyone you know, regardless of whether or not they might be in your target market you risk ostracizing yourself from them. You may find they’re suddenly not as available on Facebook chat, nor do they return texts or emails or they are surprisingly always just leaving to get to an appointment.
On the upside you might get lucky with a few pity purchases from those who have a hard time saying no because they don’t want you to feel discouraged.
Lastly, if you just enrolled with a company that has as extraordinary product line, you should be able to find others who enjoy and benefit from it as much as you do. No need to approach your auntie who has a severe skin condition to buy your fragrant lotion or your sweet bald UPS man about your organic shampoo. Just because you may know 100 people, does not mean they would be good customers.