It can be difficult to keep people loyal in direct sales since in this industry, people tend to always be looking for the “next big thing.” However there is a lot that can be done to keep a direct sales force not only loyal, but also motivated and consistently hungry to succeed. Following are the four points I have learned are most important.
1. Provide clear direction.
Perhaps the most important part of keeping a sales force motivated is providing a clear direction. If you aren’t able to provide a clear vision of the path the company is heading down, then you can’t provide your sales force with deliverables to prove the company and its team members are actually heading down that path. Without the vision and steps to get there, you won’t be able to keep your sales force motivated. On the contrary, the best leaders have a clear vision of where they want to take their organization, and are therefore able to mobilize troops to accomplish seemingly impossible goals.
2. Be likable.
Positioning yourself as a “likeable” and respected CEO is imperative to maintaining a loyal and motivated direct sales force. With employees, you can force people to follow you even if you’re not respected. In direct selling, your sales force is a “volunteer army,” so they get to decide who they work for, how long they work and where they work. If people don’t like and respect you, they won’t stay with you.
3. Be transparent and communicate.
Communication is key in any relationship, including that of a direct sales team. Keeping the company in the news and then sharing the good news with your sales force creates a sense of pride for the brand they work for. Also, keeping your sales force updated on what the company is doing allows them to be part of the bigger conversation, and shows they are valued. The sales force is not always located near a company’s headquarters, but oftentimes dispersed across a wide territory. Video updates from the CEO are a great way to keep team members that may be located far away feeling closely connected and can help break up the distance.
Another part of communication with your direct sales force is ensuring the messages being communicated are the same across the board. Something that speaks to this is the phrase “one voice, one vision.” When messages become mixed and diluted, trust between the sales force and company leadership become strained. Monthly video updates allow company leaders to implement the “one voice, one vision” strategy, assuring the sales foce by communicating the same message over and over that the company is staying on the path they were told it is going down. Transparency and communication go hand in hand. A monthly video is one way to provide this.
4. It’s all about the product and the opportunity.
Just as important as the points above, you need to provide your sales force with the best opportunity possible and a product they are proud of. It’s crucial the field believes in the product they are selling, since in today’s market there are so many copycats out there. Essentially, if you don’t have a real value proposition, you won’t be successful.
MARK “BOUNCER” SCHIRO
President & CEO of Stream Energy