Direct Sales IS a REAL Business

2-for-1 today: Personal Branding tip and Direct Sales wisdom:

I got a call at my home today from an owner of a direct sales company.

It’s not every day I get calls like this, and it’s even RARER that they call me at home.

But I had to share this.

This guy was very polite and expressed that he had been following some of my blog posts and was excited to see someone who understands that direct sales is a real business.

FINALLY! Someone that gets it.

I nearly jumped out of my skin with delight – because his company does so many things RIGHT for their consultants and customers. And here he was talking to me about helping his consultants achieve more and be better prepared for doing the business of direct sales.

If only the rest of the world would take notes…

So many of us in direct sales join a business opportunity not because we’re going to mke a million dollars – although some do – but because we’re looking for “something more”.

Maybe it’s a little more money.
Maybe it’s a litle more time freedom.
Maybe it’s a little more “me time” or time out of the house.

There are probably as many reasons as there are consultants in the world. But somewhere along the way, a good portion of us find ourselves in the position of growing a real business – with an organization that looks to us for support, training, expertise – and we’re sitting there scratching our heads trying to figure out how we got there.

How many times have you heard a new leader say “I don’t know what I did, I just got lucky, I guess.”?

Baloney. There may bave been some luck – good timing, or great connections – involved, but in reality, that leader started to LEAD in some way. They set an example for their team to follow. If they don’t they don’t stay leaders for long.

And I’ve talked about that phenomenon before. There are people that promote by default. They just happen to have enough people on their team, and hit the goals to achieve leadership and there they are. But they rarely last.

Real leaders develop systems, stay in contact, and connect with their clients and team. They build real businesses with income forecasts, budgets and other “unglamorous” things that are required to be successful in business. Some of them even have assistants.

In fact, my new STAR Power program isn’t about the “three r’s of direct sales” – Booking, Selling, and Recruiting.
(I know they don’t all start with ‘R’, work with me here!) It’s a leadership program designed for established leaders (or very determined aspiring leaders) that want to grow their business like a real business. We’re covering advanced business topics – like advertising, social media, and outsourcing/automation. We’re also talking about the more mundane, but necessary topics like target marketing, business plans, and cash flow projections.

These are the core compenents of running a REAL business. You have to have the basics mastered before you can become competent in the advanced strategies. There are hundreds of coaches that train on the 3R’s – and they do it very well.

But I haven’t seen anyone yet that’s willing to take these leaders by the hand and train them on the power (and responsibility) of running a business.

I hear more consultants than I care to count complain that their home office isn’t responsive to their needs to help them grow their business. But how many of them are taking the time to realize that, like it or not, Direct Sales is a REAL Business – and owners are not running a non-profit organiation. They are here to turn a profit.

If we treated our personal direct sales business like a real business, perhaps we’d be taken more seriously at the home office.

Harsh words, I know. But I calls ’em as I sees ’em.

It means that instead of recruiting 75 new people this year, and having 50 of them drop out, perhaps you should focus on giving your best to 25 strong candidates – and only lose 5. Focus on quality AND quantity, instead of one or the other.

That also means some of the onus falls back to the home office to provide real business training for leaders. It means they have to stop dumbing down everything so that “anyone can do this”. We all know that direct sales is simple, but it ain’t easy. Raise the bar and expect more from your business builders. Reward consistency, not just high achievers. I’ve seen too many instances where today’s high achievers are tomorrow’s burnouts – or worse, they leave the company altogether. Create incentives that recognize month-to-month performance, because that’s how REAL businesses are built.

And this owner that called me – he totally gets it. He also knows, as I do, that transitions like that take time, may requie a culture shift, and don’t always come easy.

But with an aging population of direct sellers, we need to be demonstrating to these younger recruits that we’re serious about growing real businesses with lasting income. They’re savvy – and embrace technology. With all the information at our fingertips, it’s easier than ever to know what’s genuine and what’s a ‘snow job’ whe we’re touting the glories of our companies.

And remember this key: people join YOU, not your opportunity. They have to know you, like you and trust you well enough to believe you’re not going to steer them wrong. Otherwise, they could easily sign up with another rep or another company altogether. We need to be promoting ourselves as much as (if not more than) we promote our company, products, or opportunity. With the flood of information, and transparency – it’s also harder to know who to trust. When you establish yourself as an expert, people are more easily drawn to trust you.

It worked with this company owner. It will work for you.