From Jennifer: Today’s guest column is from Melissa Laverty, a director level consultant with Close to My Heart. Melissa and I have been connected on social media for a while now, and she’s a great example of how to use social media the right way. You can check out her blog here: http://fancymelissa.blogspot.com/ Melissa sent me an email recently about an epiphany she had about social media and its impact on retention (she’ll tell you more in her post) and I thought it was something that could benefit many of you. So I asked her if she would write this post (she kindly agreed.) Enjoy!
Social Media Helps with Direct Sales Retention
by Melissa Laverty
I’ve just returned from my company’s annual Convention and I was struck by the number of consultants who commented that it was the best event ever. Now, don’t get me wrong. Close to My Heart did an amazing job – motivating general sessions, fantastic giveaways, energizing entertainment and heartfelt recognition. And the setting, the Gaylord National Hotel in Washington, DC, was spectacular. But, I’ve been to several other CTMH events, and they have done all of those things before.
While I was driving home (I know, I’m a brat, I got to drive), I spent some time thinking about what made this Convention so special. I recalled all of the wonderful things that the CTMH staff did that I listed above. But I kept coming back to warm hugs and heartfelt greetings I received from so many of the consultants at the conference. These women weren’t just fellow colleagues or unknown to me. They have truly become my friends. These were women whom I’ve been talking to, chatting with, commenting on and giving advice to for the past 18 months. Many of these women were blog and bulletin board buddies, Twitter and Facebook friends. Much of my social media network was there at that convention. And I know I wasn’t alone in that feeling.
Then it occurred to me. The social media return on investment for Direct Sales Businesses can be measured in many different ways – blog hits, online sales, number of recruits, etc. Several of the business builders I know question whether Facebook, Twitter or blogging is worth their time. And while time management and those measureable metrics are significant, there is a subjective benefit that should not be ignored. When a consultant feels like she is part of something greater, when she has formed true and meaningful friendships with other consultants, when she communicates with her Upline more than the quarterly check-in to make sure she’s meeting her minimums, she is much more likely to want to find a way to continue to be a part of that company. And isn’t that what the Consultant, the leader of the team she is a member of and the Company she represents are committed to?
When this epiphany came full circle for me, I just had to email Jennifer. She, of course, had already made the connection; which figures, because she’s so good like that. I owe so much of what I’ve learned about how to navigate this terrain the right way from Jennifer. By embracing Social Media, I’ve created a personal brand for my direct sales business. So much so, that, at the convention, most of my peers (and even the president of Close to My Heart) called me by my blog name, “fancyMelissa.” I am so grateful for this opportunity to guest post on your blog. Thank you!
Whether you are a consultant just starting out, a seasoned Team Leader who is working to maintain a team or a Direct Sales Company wondering what is the right Social Media strategy for you, I say “Just Do It”. Create those relationships not only with your customers, but with fellow consultants, as well. Because the connections they make are real and lasting and worth every minute of it!
Melissa Laverty, work-at-home mom to Lawson (8) & Cate (5), has been teaching her customers how to celebrate relationships and preserve memories through the art of card making & scrapbooking for almost four years. As a Director with Close to My Heart Scrapbooking and Stamping, she leads a team of over 40 consultants from Viriginia to Japan. In Spring 2009, she embraced Social Media for her Direct Sales Business with the creation of her fancyMelissa blog and immediately saw results. This summer she was asked to teach at CTMH’s annual convention, and beginning in September 2010, she will serve, alongside 4 other Consultants, on her company’s Advisory Board.