Last weekend, I had the opportunity to spend some time with the field leaders of a direct selling company (hello Vantel Pearls in the Oyster!) 🙂 Something one of the leaders said really got me to thinking. She told me that the younger consultants on her team rarely check email, and prefer to be notified of important things going on with the business via text message. Intrigued, I put the question out to direct sellers I know on Facebook, to see if they are having similar experiences. While the overwhelming majority replied they use email (and some had very strong feelings AGAINST texting), it is also important to note that the majority of those that answered were over 30.
Why is all this important? As direct sellers, we MUST be focused on reaching Generation Y (while there are many definitions, for the purpose of this conversation I’m talking about those 18-29) with our opportunity, if we want a business that will produce residual income for the long term. There is industry research that tells us that most director-level people in the sales force in many companies began the business in their 20’s. Not all, but enough to be significant. For a company to be a viable business opportunity over the long term, it must be attractive to Generation Y, in order to build the leaders of tomorrow which contribute to long term growth.
So what does that have to do with texting? More and more teens and young adults text regularly, and email is starting to be considered passe by this demographic. The socialnomics video produced by @equalman states that Boston College has stopped handing out email addresses to incoming freshman for this very reason. As direct sellers, we need to be aware that a fundamental shift is happening, and we need to prepare for it. Email isn’t going anywhere right now. But that doesn’t mean that in a year or two texting won’t be the new exclusive norm for communication with your team.
So what should we do about this? As an individual direct seller, if you don’t have an unlimited texting plan on your phone (at this point, you should really have a mobile device if you’re serious about your business because mobile is also the future…but that’s another post), you need to get one, and start learning how to use it. Stay ahead of the curve, so you’re prepared when texting becomes your new reality. Direct selling companies and companies that provide technology solutions to these companies should be preparing for bulk texting. We should be exploring how to make bulk texting an option for the company, as well as for distributors. We’re also going to have to learn how to get our messages across in 140 characters or less.
A fundamental shift is coming in the way we communicate. Will you be someone prepared for the times? Or will you be left behind?