Are You Making This Mistake When Recruiting for Your Direct Sales Business?

Traditional direct selling wisdom is that you focus on telling EVERYONE about the opportunity.  “Don’t pre-judge!” is the mantra drilled into us from the day we join the company.  And to an extent I get that.  Sometimes when we’re new, we’re so afraid of crossing a line that we miss our opportunity to tell people about the opportunity who would really love it, and do well.

But we have to be careful that we don’t get STUCK in that mode of thinking.  You see, in any other industry, if you talked about marketing, you would talk about your ideal target market.  Who has a need for what you have to offer?  Who has the money for it?  Who would best be served? Who would become an evangelist, so excited about telling others about it? Those are the people you would focus your efforts on.

I worry that we spend far, far too much time as an industry focusing time and energy on people that really didn’t want to join in the first place.  We constantly have to convince them to do the job.  And in my opinion, that’s a waste of everyone’s time.

When you begin to use social media for your business, you have access to a very large group of people.  When I ask direct sellers who their target market is for their social media goals, typically the answer is “everybody with a pulse” or some iteration of that.  But that’s a mistake.  Because the needs and desires of someone in their 20’s is very different from someone in their 40’s or 50’s.  We market to them differently.

At the risk of being almost sacrilegious in this industry, I challenge you to think differently about your recruiting.  You can reach ANYBODY in social media.  So create a profile of your IDEAL recruit (write it down!).  Someone who would WANT to do the business.  Someone who will be invested.  Someone who will be worth the time and effort you will put in to help them be successful.  Then you can use your social media skills to specifically find those people.  People who are looking for opportunities like yours right now.

It doesn’t take away the need to build relationships with individuals.  But it does mean that you have a better chance at building a successful team.  Will everyone stay?  Probably not.  But you will hopefully be spending less time convincing, and more time coaching to success.  That’s what direct selling should be about.

Let’s rethink the way we think about recruiting in this industry, starting today.

Your thoughts?

10 Responses to Are You Making This Mistake When Recruiting for Your Direct Sales Business?
  1. Chris Ramsbottom
    May 16, 2014 | 3:07 pm

    I absolutely agree with you. The company I sell for makes such wonderful products that if I’m honest I’d rather sell the products than sell the business. I always believed that my recruits would come from people who, like me, loved the products rather than people who wanted to start a business.

  2. Michelle
    May 26, 2010 | 3:30 pm

    Finally I have found someone that thinks like me. I have always thought this way but have hit many a brick wall with my Creative Memories Leaders trying to convince me to pitch recruiting to everyone. I am sick of tired of recruiting people who just don’t want to be there – it’s a waste of my time and takes my efforts away from running my own business. Thanks for offering me a breath of fresh air – I really need it at the moment as from where I sit, the air is very stale.

  3. Janette Stoll
    May 26, 2010 | 1:09 pm

    Right on, Jen! The problem with direct sales/MLM is that it’s a low entry barrier business so it tends to attract people who don’t have the skill sets to be entrepreneurs.

    The mentality of I only spent a couple hundred to start a business is not a big investment and they’re more like to drop it. I call this not showing up. But if direct sales had a higher entry like a franchise, you’d see a lot less turnover. Business is about leadership and smart marketing. Products don’t sell themselves- smart marketing and people do :).

    Janette Stoll

  4. Dorothy
    May 26, 2010 | 11:34 am

    Jennifer I think you are totally correct. I have talked w.others who said they just can’t get into that mindset of telling every single person about their biz w/intent of signing them up. I know I can’t/won’t! Your approach sounds much more “doable”! Thanks a bunch.

    I also appreciate and learn from the other comments, so thanks everyone!

  5. Diane Aksten
    May 26, 2010 | 11:17 am

    Jennifer: Your post, as usual, is right on target–I don’t recruit for my business; I concentrate on building relationships and through that process, I find people who truly want to build a home based business and are willing to devote the time and effort required. My experience has shown me that if you have to talk them into JOINING your business, you will also have to talk them into BUILDING the business month in and month out.

  6. Traci
    May 26, 2010 | 11:15 am

    Hi Jen,

    What a great topic! Knowing who you are looking for can make such a difference in your success. And knowing that a young mom of two has a very different day than an empty nester helps you help them figure out how to fit the business into their day – provided they are willing! I think the phrase “you can’t drag anyone over the finish line” would easily describe those who we’ve recruited that weren’t a good fit.

  7. Lori Nafie
    May 26, 2010 | 11:13 am

    I think you are spot on! In fact, it is the one thing that has made me question whether or not this industry is a fit for me. I’m definitely a Guesser (see this interesting article and being told to ASK everyone with a pulse makes me break into a cold sweat!

  8. Christine Casey
    May 26, 2010 | 9:51 am

    Thank you Jen, this is a fantastic topic to have written about, and you are so right, that not everyone you have contact with in social media is, or should be, a prospect for your business opportunity. I have found that when you don’t take the effort to figure out who your target audience/ideal recruit is, you literally are just wasting your time, and probably getting pretty frustrated too. Again, thanks for the great blog 😉 Christine

  9. Eryn Cadoff
    May 26, 2010 | 9:28 am

    This is SO VERY TRUE Jen! I think we’ve all been guilty of trying to recruit the wrong people – I like that you put it into words. I’m going to post this to my profile! Thank you!

    Eryn Cadoff
    Stella & Dot

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