Long Distance Leadership
As your direct sales business continues to grow, at some point, you’ll consider growing your team beyond your local geographic boundaries. Perhaps a vacation destination or other frequently visited location will get your mind considering the possibilities of expanding the reach of your direct sales organization. Maybe you’ve got your eye on building a national team using the internet. However you plan to make it happen, here are a few tips to make it happen with less effort.
Know your Perfect-Fit Recruit (PFR). When you are intentional about building a team, the success rate of long-distance recruits improves. Instead of signing up “anyone with a pulse”, get clear about the kind of recruits you would work best with in a long-distance business relationship. Build what I call a Perfect-Fit Recruit Profile that includes the personality traits and skills you’d most like to see in your long-distance recruits. Then, as you’re interviewing those candidates, you can assess how well they’ll fit in your organization. You don’t need to turn anyone away, but if you sense someone is not going to be a good fit for your team, you’ll be ready to make an informed decision.
Have a vision for your organization. It’s far easier to run an organization from a distance when everyone’s on the same page. By creating a vision for the development of your direct sales organization, you are setting yourself up for future success whether or not you choose to grow beyond your local boundaries. Just as if you were building your own corporation, it becomes easier to establish systems and lines of communications through a well-built organization, than through a collective of people thrown together willy nilly. Decide early on how you’ll handle training, coaching, and follow-up for your entire team – regardless of their location. Then, cascade that vision to your front line organization, and encourage them to build their own vision for establishing their teams.
Watch your budget. You do have one, don’t you? One for training, recognition and marketing your business? Despite growing a team, you still need to be profitable. Excessive travel costs can eat you alive financially. Just like grouping your errands in your daily travels around town, look for ways to leverage your visits to distant team trainings. Do a show locally, train new recruits. Make sure there’s a return on the investment you’re making. If your team isn’t big enough to support your travel expenses yet, technology will be your best friend. Just make sure that your technology costs are in line with your training budget.
Leverage technology. Make use of great tools like video conferencing, teleclasses and other distance learning tools to help your teams stay connected and up-to-date on the latest team news and business trends. Automate some of your recruiting and training with email auto responders, newsletters, websites and opt-in forms.
What would you suggest?
If you’re growing a long-distance team, I’d love to hear your tips for making it happen effectively and efficiently. Share your own thoughts in the comments below.
I’ve had Consultants myself and have been on Sales Teams where the Members were spread across the country. I’ve also been sponsored by Sales Leaders I’ve never even met but have built great relationships with over the years. It’s assumed that local Sponsors and Teams are “better” for business but that is NOT the case. Some spread out Sponsors make themselves more available than local ones do.
You’re right about that. It’s not so much WHERE you are, but how you handle yourself that makes the most difference. The intention of this article is to help would-be national team leaders get themselves ready, and have a few organizational tools in place before they jump into the unknown.
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