23 May 2016

Look Around

by Paul Adams

Look around the direct selling space today and what do you see?

As always, it depends on where YOU are standing. Some companies are doing great and it would be easy to assume they see direct selling as booming. Others may be in a flat or declining mode and they don’t see things quite as optimistically.

We are in a unique position. We get to study and observe them all.

Recently, we hosted our annual SUCCESS Partners University (SPU). It’s a learning / observing opportunity on steroids, where a group of executives (600+) get together and share and learn from each other for 2 days.

Of course, from stage, the presentations focused on best practices of the companies that are growing dramatically. They candidly share the ideas, concepts and strategies that have propelled them into amazing growth.

But offstage, during the networking, executives of companies who haven’t quite reached that level of success are also sharing ideas and observations. They are there to learn from the companies that have “figured it out,” and they are the ones who create the buzz around some of the best insights shared from stage.

In case you missed this event, here are a few of the most-discussed themes from SPU, from onstage and off.

Prioritizing getting CUSTOMERS is really big deal. (YAY!!! This strengthens our industry and its reputation.)

Effectively ONBOARDING new distributors is something that many struggle with. But it’s top of mind for companies that are growing.

FOCUS is absolutely crucial to reach momentum—and many companies are discovering that they lack it. As Warren Buffett once said, “The difference between successful companies and really successful companies is that really successful companies say NO to almost everything.”

EMPOWERING Representatives includes more than just giving them access to great business systems. It also includes helping them break through the mental barriers that keep them from taking action and succeeding. Two of the best examples of that were keynote speaker Mel Robbins’ 5-Second Rule and the SUCCESS System white paper.

Strategically applying the CORE PRINCIPLES—either focusing on two or three, or creating an extreme makeover the way LifeVantage’s Darren Jensen discussed.

Probably one of the most significant topics discussed was Technology, so I’ll close by highlighting some of the most salient points:

TECHNOLOGY is a conundrum. It can help propel growth or it can be a giant source of pain. Too many are struggling with the painful part of it while searching for the “silver bullet.” Keynote speaker Gary Vaynerchuck is a rock star who knows how to use digital technology to create sit-up-and-listen results. When he speaks and, figuratively, kicks us all in the shins for how we utilize technology, we have to listen. In his “humble” [yeah, right :)] opinion, the direct selling channel has a long way to go when compared to other industries.

We need to change our thinking. We are no longer stuck in the “old way” of doing things. Just look at Le-Vel, Jamberry, Team Beachbody and Younique. They are all KILLING IT and are doing things quite differently than what we may have considered “normal” a few years ago.

Case in point: If you owned a direct selling company, would you ever consider NOT having a home office, preferring, instead, to have a cloud-based virtual company? Yet that is exactly what Le-Vel has done and they are growing at than astonishing/amazing/crazy-fast pace: 3 million customers and $600 million in four years. I’m not suggesting that utilizing a virtual office is the answer for every company; what I am saying is that technology now allows us to do business in new and exciting ways—so be willing to consider challenging the status quo.

Technology is changing how people live their lives. It has people rethinking stressful commutes. It has employers thinking about cutting the costs of traditional employment. It has more and more people looking at options for creating income.

In short, technology has created a world some didn’t foresee, or at least, didn’t imagine would happen in their lifetimes. But if we will begin to consider the possibilities, as well as the ways people want to interact with direct selling companies, we can not only create great apps and better customer experiences, we can begin to create exciting and unique impact.

SPU is my absolute favorite event, and hearing what executives like you are thinking and talking about is a great way to better understand the potential of the industry. So go ahead, leave a comment or shoot me an email. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the most important topics in the industry.