Is Your Communications Strategy In Need of a Refresh?

Things have changed dramatically for the direct sales industry in the last few years. Our business relies heavily on person to person communication. This used to be done primarily through face to face and telephone. However, with the advent of social media, we have watched the phone fall out of favor with younger generations, and texting, social networks and chat become prevalent. In an industry that has always gone “back to basics” when things get tough, we’re finding that the “basics” aren’t working as well as they used to, and it’s the companies that have embraced newer communication strategies that are finding higher profits.

And this is hard. It’s hard for companies, because we have people internally who are very good at communicating in traditional ways, and they have to learn new skill sets. But it’s also hard because there are a lot of very experienced leaders in the field who like things the old way. The problem is, while the “old way” may work with the existing team you’ve built (at least to maintain the status quo), if you want to attract new leaders and have a business for the long term, you need to recognize the fact that the world is changing and you must keep up with the times in order to grow. Otherwise you will find your business slowly start to fade away.

It’s a hard reality to accept. But unless companies and top level leaders are willing to accept this and make the changes necessary, they are going to hold their companies back from progress. And no one wants to do this.

I’ve recently been working with a client company on a full communications inventory. We are looking at every piece of communication that goes out from corporate and asking what the goal for each piece is, is it being used, and how effective it is. But here’s the interesting part: we’re asking these questions internally, but then we’re also asking the sales force.  The answers are going to tell us a lot about the best way to send out communications, both to long term folks as well as the new folks who have recently been attracted to the business. Like it or not, the new people may give us more insight on the direction that we need to go. Communication in the direct sales industry MUST be relevant to the way people communicate today. Otherwise we’re going to completely fail at reaching people with our message.

It’s my feeling that every direct selling company in the industry needs to take a good, hard look at the way communications are being sent, and re-evaluate each one. (My company can help you with this if you need an objective perspective.) Because going back to basics isn’t going to cut it for a thriving business in the future. We have to adapt in order to thrive. And it’s essential that those leaders that have been in the business for a long time understand that change is necessary in order for everyone’s business to succeed for the long term. Fighting change isn’t good for anyone in the face of today’s reality.

How effective are the communications your company sends? What could they improve? Have you noticed changes lately? Would love to read your thoughts on the topic below.

4 Responses to Is Your Communications Strategy In Need of a Refresh?
  1. Alan bell
    November 26, 2012 | 5:52 pm

    Hi Jennifer, I like your blog and being a person of advanced years (relatively) I can appreciate what your are saying about the need to understand the new ways to communicate.
    My wife and I are launching a small business, Thai street food. Our challenge is to promote a business style which is fashionable in London and some larger cities, predominantly in the south, but has little exposure in our Northern city of Carlisle. We have a clean slate and recognise the need to use social media. But we also have a meagre budget. How would you get the best out of social media with no customer base to begin with and no ‘business history’?
    I am personally fast tracking with social media, getting some good contacts and training with the chamber of commerce and some pro active business people on twitter and Facebook but I am very naive and new to this. I do need to get on board.

  2. David Anderson Wealth
    November 20, 2012 | 5:38 pm

    I agree with your excellent post. So many existing businesses and even start ups completely ignore any form of communications strategy. With so many new ways to communicate it is absolutely vital to keep on top of it and regularly re-evaluate. I teach my own customers this and many look surprised when I mention it but communication is a vital part of every business success.

  3. Sherry DuShaw
    November 20, 2012 | 8:32 am

    Wow! This is very insightful. I liked what you said about evaluating every single piece of communication and ask, “What is the purpose?” and “How effective is this?”

  4. Mary
    November 19, 2012 | 5:27 pm

    The direct sales company I used to sell for should seriously consider using your services. Over the past year, they went “back to basics” and rolled back their communication strategy to elite leaders and had them notify the sales force. Instead of keeping everyone informed, it kept information compartmentalized. Sadly, I walked away from the company. Too frustrating…

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