Is a Negative Impression Clouding the Facts About Your Business?

Yesterday, I expressed frustration on my Facebook profile about expensive hotels nickel and dime-ing you by charging extra for services like Internet.  After all, lower-priced hotels typically offer this service for free (and some even throw in breakfast!)  I find it hard to understand why the more expensive hotels don’t include the internet charge in my hotel room fee.

Well apparently I hit a nerve.  Many of my Facebook friends feel similar frustration, although another friend works for a premium hotel and was trying to explain the charges.

And it got me to thinking about perception, and its role in our ability to deliver our products and services.  MANY of the comments on my post used words like “rip-off.”  Why?  Because you can pay less and get more for the price in less-expensive hotels.  Now it’s true the more expensive hotels have higher overhead, but it still doesn’t feel right when you’re paying more, to get less.  Maybe there’s more to the story, but people don’t understand, and so there’s a big feeling of frustration.

We in the direct selling industry have a negative perception that we have to battle everyday, too.  Unfortunately, many less-than-ethical direct sales and network marketing companies have created a negative impression about our industry.  We know the facts, but just like with the charge for internet, some people avoid us based on feelings, rather than facts.  It’s up to us to make sure those facts are out there, and clearly communicated in ways that help people create positive feelings about our industry.

How can we do this?

  1. Make sure your company is a DSA member, and clearly displays the DSA code of ethics on its website.  This helps to assure web visitors that your company is being held to a higher standard.
  2. Share the DSA’s excellent Direct Selling 411 website with people who have misconceptions about our industry.
  3. Avoid crazy claims.  We all know that product and income claims are bad news. But they also create a feeling of mistrust among the people that hear them.
  4. Clearly identify yourself.  If your company has an independent consultant logo, use it.  Don’t try to hide the fact that you’re a distributor with your company.  When people realize that the only reason you’ve connected is because you want to sell them on something, they’ll feel betrayed, and their whole perception of the industry suffers.  It’s up to you to be up-front and honest.
  5. Do good.  Let’s face it…we’re battling impressions and feelings more than anything.  And a great way to create a positive impression is through doing good for others.  So find a charity you can support with your business.  Your company may have one already.  Or find a local organization to support.  Let people see that your business is about helping others, and you’ll find people have a more positive impression of your business.

Clearly the hospitality industry needs to find better balance when it comes to extra charges.  But every industry has those things that frustrate customers and create negative impressions.  It’s up to each one of us in the direct sales and network marketing industry to be a living example of the ethics that are the foundation of our reputable companies.

How will you do your part?

Image Credit: meddygarnet

2 Responses to Is a Negative Impression Clouding the Facts About Your Business?
  1. Ryan Biddulph
    September 14, 2010 | 10:30 am

    As you noted Jen transparency is a big factor in developing trust.

    Be honest about what you do. It is the best policy and saves you headaches down the road.

    Thanks for sharing your insight.

    Ryan Biddulph

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