And I usually answer with this question: If someone doesn’t have a computer, but only a mobile device, can they do the business?
If the answer is no, you have a problem, because you’re eliminating a growing segment of the population from your “recruitable” pool.
Consider this research from Pew:
Young adults and non-whites are especially likely to use their cell phones for the majority of their online activity:
- Nearly half of all 18-29 year olds (45%) who use the internet on their cell phones do most of their online browsing on their mobile device.
- Half (51%) of African-American cell internet users do most of their online browsing on their phone, double the proportion for whites (24%). Two in five Latino cell internet users (42%) also fall into the “cell-mostly” category.
Additionally, those with an annual household income of less than $50,000 per year and those who have not graduated college are more likely than those with higher levels of income and education to use their phones for most of their online browsing.
What this means for direct selling companies is that your current and, even more importantly, your future pool of recruits and customers will expect to interact with your company using a mobile device. If your target markets include African-Americans and Latinos, it’s even more critical. And if it’s difficult to interact with your company via mobile, they will absolutely leave and go to one of your competitors.
So where do direct sales companies need to focus their mobile efforts right now?
- Mobile-optimized (not just visible) website – It’s not enough that your website comes up on a mobile browser. It must be super-simple to navigate using that device, and fit to the screen. Right now, in this budget planning cycle, you must be making plans for a mobile-optimized website.
- Mobile-friendly consultant tools – More and more of our backend consultant tool providers are offering mobile-friendly consultant tools. From allowing consultants to sign up, to providing the ability to enter orders, track downlines, follow up, and more, we must understand that our very mobile salesforce needs…and expects…access to these tools on the go.
- Mobile-friendly recruiting tools – Smart direct selling companies are making it easy for their salesforces to recruit on the go, and for people that come on their own to make the decision to join, by providing mobile-friendly applications, recruiting videos and more. Whether through the mobile-optimized website or via mobile applications, these tools are user-friendly and easily available.
- Social networks – Lest we forget, social networks offer mobile accessibility as well, and one of the places potential recruits and customers will look for us is on these networks. Make sure you’ve got online presences on the networks that make sense for your business, and that it’s easy to find your presences from your website (both desktop and mobile versions.)
- SMS texting – According to Pew, 79% of Americans send and receive text messages via their mobile devices. And that number is growing each year. If your company isn’t communicating via texting, and helping your salesforce to do the same, you are missing out on a primary communication method in our society. And communication is key in building a thriving direct sales business.
Mobile usage, via smartphones, tablets, and other web-enabled devices, is only going to grow. And since our salesforce is so mobile anyway, it makes a tremendous amount of sense to be among the leaders in mobile adoption. If you company has not considered its mobile strategy, now is the time. Companies that do not cater to the mobile recruit and consumer will find themselves irrelevant sooner than they expect.
Here is an article from client the Direct Selling Education Foundation on making your business more mobile-friendly: 5 Cost Effective Ways to Make Your Business Mobile-Friendly
How do you mobile devices in your business and your life? What can you and your company do better? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.