We direct sellers are a funny bunch. We really like immediate gratification. We show you a product, you buy it. We tell you about our opportunity, you give us a yes or a no, and we move on. (OK so maybe I’m oversimplifying things a little bit here, but you know what I mean.) We want some kind of a reaction for every action that we take. An outcome. So we know where we stand.
Is it any wonder, then, that we’re having such a hard time figuring out social media? Because social media is NOT about immediate gratification. In fact, statistics show that the average online lead must be contacted 7-15 times before we ever make a sale. We could be pouring content into a blog and our social networks, and still have to wait a month or three before we see any kind of traction. And if we’re stuck in immediate gratification mode, we’re going to move on WAY before that.
The thing is, our business as a whole would probably do better if we approached it the same way we need to approach folks in social media. You see, it’s all about relationships. I know you’ve heard that before. But it’s true. The foundation of direct selling is relationship building. When people go into a big box store there’s no relationship…they pick out a product, hope it meets their needs, take it home, end of story. If they see that product cheaper somewhere else next time, they feel no need to go to the first big box store again. But with us, they hear our story. They tell us what they need, and we suggest products or the elements of the opportunity that meet those needs. We get to know them, develop a relationship with them, and THEN make the sale. Now in person, this can sometimes happen more quickly. But if we want access to the much wider audience that social media provides, then we have to realize that people’s attention is all over the place when they’re online. You don’t have that solid hour to simply build a relationship. Instead, it takes place over weeks or months, with interactions that build onto each other.
Those direct sellers and network marketers who are barging into social media, blasting their products and opportunity, are really missing the point. And to be honest, I hope they give up sooner rather than later. Then, those of us who are committed to building relationships in the way it’s done effectively online will have the floor, and can reap the benefits that come from a targeted, thoughtful approach. No, it’s not going to happen NOW. But when it does happen, we’ll have a much more effective relationship that will lead to long term results. And isn’t that what it’s all about?