A direct selling company closed its doors recently. This has been an incredibly tough economy to run a business in, and direct selling companies were not immune to it. Whenever this happens it hurts my heart on a couple of levels. I know the heartache that consultants who have invested in a company feel when they lose their company. It’s like losing a person we’ve cared deeply about. We’ve invested in that relationship, and it hurts to lose it. And I’ve also been on the other end, as a company owner who had to make the excrutiating decision to close a company, because the sales and recruiting simply could not sustain the operations of that company. I personally called many people in our field to let them know, and it was truly the hardest day of my professional career.
So for those of you out there who are dealing with that today, no matter which side of the house you’re on, please know that my heart is with you. But today I also want to talk to those consultants who are now looking for a new opportunity. Social media can help you with this search, and I want you to be sure that you use the tools available to you, so that you find the very best place to land that you can. This is such an amazing industry, and once your heart heals I do hope you’ll stay here, and find another opportunity that you can give your all to.
Usually when a company closes, the vultures come out. These are the ones who will try to snatch you up immediately, more interested in building their own team than in what you need. Be wise, so the place you land positions you well.
Now of course I’m sure that you already know that you should think about the type of product line that you can fall in love with and wholeheartedly promote. You need to think about the universal need for the product line, the strength of the opportunity and compensation plan, how well funded the company is, how established you want the company to be, etc. That’s not what this is about. Instead, this is about how to find out what your options are, so you place yourself in the best possible position.
So here are some ways you can use social media to find a direct selling position that you love:
- After identifying specific companies you may be interested in (the Direct Selling Association website is a great place to start looking for ethical companies), do a Google search for the company name. See what comes up for individual consultants. This will give you a good idea of the kinds of advertising you’ll be allowed to do if you become a consultant for that company. The tone of those advertisements will also tell you the way consultants within that company promote their businesses, and how comfortable you would be in that environment.
- Take a look at the websites of the companies you’re considering. How progressive are those sites? Are they simply text-based sites, with or without a shopping cart built in? Or do they provide engaging applications that will draw in visitors, and provide you with leads? Is there video and other sales aids? Do consultants have personal websites? Can web visitors sign up for the opportunity immediately, or is there a barrier to entry (such as having to go through a consultant first)? Are a company’s social media presences listed on the home page of the site? All of these things will tell you how social media friendly a particular company is. (But if it’s a small company, keep in mind they may not have the budget for a huge amount of bells and whistles.) Decide what’s important to you, particularly if you hope to build a business using online tools as part of your marketing efforts.
- Search the bios of people on Twitter who are consultants with the companies you’re checking out by searching the company names on Twellow. Take a look at the kinds of tweets you see from these folks…are they broadcasting or engaging? This will give you a good idea of the type of training that the companies you’re considering are providing. Engage with some of these folks on Twitter, and get a feel for the kind of people they are. Would you be comfortable building a business with them? Are they only there for the sale/recruit, or are they willing to build a relationship with you first?
- Go onto Facebook and search the company names you’re considering. Check out the company Facebook page (if they have one). Once you’re on the company page, take a look at who’s posting, and what they’re saying. Are consultants and other fans generally enthusiastic about the company? Is the company providing resources you can use to build your business? Also take a look at Pages and Groups put up by individual consultants. How well do these represent the company? What’s allowed?
- Once you’re considering specific consultants that you may want to sign up under, head over to LinkedIn and check out their profiles. Do those profiles contain recommendations from people on their teams? What do others say about how well the person you’re considering supports others? The more positive comments you can find about a person, the more likely it is that you’ll also be successful under that person.
What other ideas do you have?
And folks, I’m going to IMPLORE you to go easy on these folks who have just lost their companies. It’s a difficult time, and the last thing they need is for you to pounce on them. Instead, reach out and lend support, along with a listening ear. Be a friend first. It would be awesome if these talented folks decide to join your team. But they have just been through a loss, and need to get through that first. Be a friend. It will make all the difference.
What advice would you give for folks looking for a new opportunity? What words of wisdom and comfort can you provide? Been there, done that? Share your experience! Can’t wait to read your comments below (but PLEASE don’t pitch your opportunity. Generic advice only, please! No company names. Thanks.)