Okay, friends. Let’s have a chat. The direct sales spam needs to stop.
Today I logged into Facebook to find I had been added to yet another group and “invited” to Like a page for a company I had never shopped by a person I didn’t know. For me, these actions are a quick route to the “unfriend” button and I don’t think I’m alone.
Direct sales has a bad reputation for a good reason.
When you join a direct sales company, a lot of them offer advice on how to grow your business. They encourage you to add all of your friends to a group, cold message people you haven’t spoken to in years with a copy and paste, and blow up your profile wall with posts about your product.
This is spam.
How many sales are you making off those tactics? How long can you stay in business when you annoy everyone on your friends list? It is not a sustainable business model, which is why the average lifespan of a direct sales career is about a year. Long enough to burn through your warm market and annoy everyone, which leads to sales drying up.
It does not have to be this way.
I want to offer a few suggestions for building a long term business without getting unfriended left and right.
1. Do not use your personal profile to sell.
Using your profile is actually against Facebook’s Terms of Service. So that’s the biggest reason not to do it! The other reason is that you will get unfollowed or unfriended. According to research, people don’t come to Facebook to shop–they come to socialize, to share pictures, and to watch videos that have entertaining content. You can certainly shop on the platform, but if you are the seller, it is in your best interest to find a way to make shopping entertaining. Create a Facebook group or a Business Page for your business and post there. Then, once in awhile (and I am talking like once a month tops) you can post products on your personal profile if you have something of value to share.
2. Do not add people to groups without permission.
Let me say it again. DO NOT ADD PEOPLE. I left a group last year because I was on a spending freeze and didn’t want to be tempted. I got added back. I left AGAIN. I got added back. At this point, I was so frustrated that the chances of me ever shopping that group again are slim to none. If you market effectively and utilize your funnels (channels that make your group look super fun and valuable, which lead back to your shop) you will grow without annoying friends.
Also: do not incentivize adding friends to your group without permission. If your group offers a good community and valuable content, people will naturally refer their friends. Or you can incentivize people sharing what they like about your group with their friends and then the friend can make the decision themselves.
3. Do not cold message people.
“Hey Taryn! How’s your summer going? Your boys have gotten so big! I just wanted to see if you’ve heard about my amazing new skincare brand.” Guys. Don’t be this person. No one likes this person. I don’t believe I have ever even answered a message like this because the sender doesn’t actually care about me. They’re looking for a way to make some money and I don’t enjoy feeling like a paycheck.
4. Do not be a pushy recruiter.
A lot of direct sales companies are MLMs (multi level marketing), which means they have a compensation plan that is based on having a team under you. This is pretty good incentive to recruit a downline, but there are ways to do so without being pushy. The reasons I join a company: it looks like fun, or it is good value for a product I already wanted. I have never been tempted to join a company by someone messaging me and promising I can make a full time paycheck for part time work. Lead with value. Fun fact: A&D is not an MLM currently (no comp plan) but I do have team members who came to me because they liked how I ran my business. Lead with value and show how much you enjoy what you do–your people will find you.
So what should you do?
Practice attraction based marketing. Lead with value. Learn to use funnels that lead back to your shop. In other words, RUN YOUR BUSINESS LIKE A BUSINESS. It has taken me a year (and counting) to learn how to market on social media and I am far from an expert. This is not an overnight success industry.
Need to learn more about attraction marketing? I highly recommend both The Socialite Suite and the Business Strategy groups on Facebook. Run by former and current direct sales leaders who are successful by practicing what they preach, they offer amazing trainings.
Want to talk to me about how switching your business strategy? I’d love to hear from you!
Want to see my approach in action? Join my group!