How Can Social Media Benefit a Direct Sales Business?

dsa-meeting-jen_talk_show_small

Jennifer speaking at the 2008 DSA Annual Meeting

In 2008, I spoke on the main stage of the Direct Selling Association’s (DSA) Annual Meeting in front of 1,000 or so direct sales executives, and stated that I believe that social media is the future of direct sales.  There are so many parallels between what we do as direct sellers, and how social media operates.  What are some of the activities of a successful direct seller?  Networking, Providing valuable information, Developing relationships which lead to people buying our products and joining our teams.  And these are all activities that lead to successful social media marketing as well.

On a call I did yesterday with the beautiful Sarah Robinson of Direct Selling Leaders, I shared that most people don’t walk around with a sign around their necks that says “I’m looking for an opportunity.”  They also don’t walk around with a sign that says they are looking for products like ours to solve their problems.  However, in social media forums, people DO talk about their problems and needs, and when we do targeted searches and build relationships with people, this makes it very easy for us as direct sellers to specifically reach out to those people that ARE interested.  And that greatly improves our success rate.

So here are some specific things that I believe social media can do for a direct sales business:

  • FIND PROSPECTS who are looking for your products and opportunity right now
  • Provide BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE than you ever thought possible
  • Position yourself as an EXPERT that people go to for product recommendations
  • BUILD COMMUNITIES of people that want what you have to offer, and who will refer their friends to you
  • SUPPORT YOUR GROWING TEAM members, and help them learn from one another
  • Grow professionally as you LEARN from the best of the best

All of this will result in additional income for your business.

Now it’s important to note, this does not REPLACE your core business activities: booking parties, selling products, recruiting new distributors.  Rather, it enhances these, because social media gives you access to MORE PEOPLE.  It also enables you to specifically target your niche market through keyword searches, so your efforts are more efficient and productive.

So what do you think?  Are you using social media marketing for your direct sales business?  What results have you seen?  I would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!  And if you’d like to receive more articles about how social media marketing can help your business, why not sign up for my newsletter?

Cheers!
Jennifer

12 Responses to How Can Social Media Benefit a Direct Sales Business?
  1. Nina Anderson
    July 13, 2009 | 8:52 am

    Thanks again Jennifer for a great article. I am a wine consultant for WineShop at Home and social media plays a huge part in my business. In fact more than I ever dreamed it would. While the in-home wine tasting parties allows me to showcase my products in a “try before you purchase” setting, FB gives me the opportunity to stay connected to my hosts and guests, before and after my parties. And whether it’s a host or a guest that attended a party, their casual comments have actually become referrals or testimonials for my business, thus generating additional interest from other friends in my social media network.

    As always, thank you so much for all the great information you share with us.

    Nina

  2. Ken Kroll
    July 10, 2009 | 3:40 pm

    Great points regarding products and prospecting. Another area to consider for social media is in team development. We use a model we have trademarked called the Virtually IT’s Possible Team Building Model. It has revolutionized how we communicate, motivate, and train our team all across the country and soon the world.

    A visual of the model is available at:

    http://www.teammagnifiscent.com

    Keep up the good work!

    All the best,

    Ken

  3. Sondra
    July 9, 2009 | 9:12 pm

    Well done Jennifer. I can’t say enough about the value of internet marketing to the success of our businesses. I would be remiss not to applaud the Trump Network (formerly Ideal Health) for actually implementing an Internet Advisory Board. Donald Trump is one smart cookie and as a marketer with the Trump Network I am actually learning the systems, tools and programs that will make us savvy internet marketers. The training will no doubt lead the Trump Network and it’s marketers to domination in the network marketing industry.

    To your success!
    Sondra Wright
    http://www.trumpnetwork.com/swright

  4. Mark Norman
    July 9, 2009 | 5:59 pm

    Jennifer…I write about the wine industry which is in the middle of significant transformation. The leading lender to the wineries (Silicon Valley Bank) issued a 2009-2010 State of the Wine Industry report in late April specifically warning the many small wineries in American (approx 6000) that they NEED to develop their direct sales channel. Too much has been written or spoken that has created confusion for a group that tends not to be to technical. It would be great for many of them to see what you have written to bridge the gap from a concept / idea to the reality of it being successful used by business!

    Look forward to reading more of your work!

  5. Rebecca Olkowski
    July 9, 2009 | 12:28 pm

    Social networking not only helps you filter prospects who are truly interested in what you have to offer, but it connects you with top thought leaders in the field. Direct sales is changing in that it is not so much about competition, but about forming mastermind communities to help each other toward success. As a community, it allows us to stimulate our own economy. Great to connect with advanced thinkers in this field.

  6. gale
    July 9, 2009 | 10:58 am

    Jennifer, This is such a helpful article for direct sellers.
    Your two key points on staying professional and the fact that it doesn’t replace your core business activities of book, sell, recruit is essential for direct sellers to realize it is part of networking and building relationships. Thank you!

  7. Lisa Robbin Young
    July 9, 2009 | 10:49 am

    I’m a poster child for this post. My online marketing accounts for more than 70% of my personal monthly sales. But I haven’t given up on parties and events because the local connection makes a difference, too. Why look outside your own bckyard when you could have an “acre of diamonds” lurking right aound the corner? You need to do both.

    Thanks Jen!
    -Lisa

  8. Julie Anne Jones
    July 9, 2009 | 10:46 am

    You know I’m a “convert” Jen, and I agree with Eryn. Twitter, Facebook and my blog have completely changed my business over the past 4 months. You have an important message and I’m confident that the corporate world is beginning to listen. That’s exciting!

  9. Eryn Cadoff
    July 9, 2009 | 10:31 am

    Right on again Jennifer! I would go so far as to say Facebook has revolutionized my business. Of course there are times when a phone call or written note are more appropriate for business than SM is, (as you point out above) but what I like the best about SM is that it is such a great way to communicate with hosts, guests, members of my team, and other consultants I’ve met at our annual convention/leadership trainings from all parts of the country.

    Especially if I am able to connect with hosts on FB before their event, when I walk into their house I’m not just “Eryn the wine lady”, but more of an old friend. That’s huge.

    Cheers,
    Eryn Cadoff
    The Traveling Vineyard
    Gainesville, VA

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