Are you a direct sales consultant struggling to get your business off the ground? These tips can help.
From cookware to pet supplies, direct sales businesses are everywhere—but it seems only a select few consultants build highly successful businesses.
With the competition increasingly fierce and restrictions on what representatives can do to market themselves in line with the main brand, new consultants are often discouraged when sales don’t start pouring in.
Even consultants who don’t have a sizeable marketing budget or a solid understanding of Internet marketing can build an incredibly profitable business. Here are the things you need to do to make your direct sales efforts explode.
Establish Credibility and Expertise
What makes you different? With thousands of consultants around the country selling the same things you do, differentiation is critical. Sit down and create a list of the things about you that make you unique compared to all the other consultants out there.
Some questions to consider:
- What extra value can I add that other consultants don’t offer? Free local delivery? A newsletter with tips your customers can use?
- What makes me more qualified to sell these products? Are you a personal chef who sells kitchen products? A talented home cook willing to share recipes?
- What made me love this business as much as I do? All-natural products? The company’s great reputation?
Remember the answers to these questions as you craft your sales and marketing messages and build social engagement with your audience.
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Building Blocks via Blogging
If you haven’t already, start a blog that complements your direct sales business. Be sure to check the terms and conditions of your consultant agreement for rules about how to do this. Many companies do not allow you to use the company name in your domain. Choose a domain that relates to the product and does not violate your contract.
To be effective, the blog must become its own being, used as a supplementary marketing tool. Add value for your customers, and the sales will start coming in on their own. Your blog should include tips and tricks to enhance the customer experience.
For example, if you were a Younique® sales consultant, topics could include: “How to Create a Smoky Eye,” “The Benefits of All Natural Makeup,” or “How to Choose the Right Color Palettes for Your Face." While original content is great, you don’t have to write every post yourself. Sites like Pinterest allow you to source curated content from all over the web to interest your customers.
You must understand what your customers want and establish yourself as the solution.
Leverage the Power of Content Marketing
One of the first lessons you’ll learn as a direct sales consultant is to make use of social media platforms to promote your business. Facebook admits fan pages only reach about 16% of their audience organically—meaning if you want to capture more, you’ll have to pay to do it. For the direct sales consultant on a budget, this isn’t always practical so you’ve got to go further and do more.
Content marketing involves creating content, such as your blog, to provide customers with information without asking them to spend a dime. From there, you’ll promote that content to spread the word about your business. Make the content easy for your loyal customers to share.
To avoid sounding like a broken record and fading into the “noise” on the Internet, don’t make everything you write or share “about the sale.” Though there’s no golden rule, the Social Media Rule of Thirds is a good guideline to follow. Make ⅓ of your content about your business and promotion, ⅓ of your content focus on thought leaders in your industry, and the remaining ⅓ personal interactions.
Why is content marketing so valuable to the direct sales business owner?
A recent study shows content marketing provides three times the return on investment (ROI) compared to paid search advertising. Since some direct sales business, such as Pampered Chef®, do not allow paid search advertising - you have two reasons to make content a core part of your marketing strategy. An added bonus? Hubspot reports 82% of marketers who blog everyday see an increase in ROI on their overall marketing efforts.
Related Article: Developing a Content Marketing Strategy...That Actually Works
Content Promotion Tools Make it Easy
Scoop.It is a platform for curating content and building links. You can share your own content here—as well as find content to share with your readers. Create a free account, enter keywords related to your business and you’re ready to get started. Search for pages in your niche that have a high following. Follow those “Scoops” and connect with the “Scoopers” on social media platforms. Suggest your content, and when the page owner posts it to their page, your content is in front of the eyes of thousands of readers.
Snip.ly allows you to take a piece of content written by an influencer in your niche and use it to build traffic to your own website. Find a piece of popular content related to what you just posted about. Use Snip.ly to create a call-to-action directing people to your site and share the URL on all your social media channels. Include the source with a relevant hashtag, then reach out to the influencer to tell them you’ve shared their content for an extra boost.
Create Eye-Catching Graphics
Thanks to tools like Canva, you don’t have to be a professional graphic designer to look like one. Your direct sales company will supply approved marketing graphics for you to use, and may have some rules about creating your own, so pay close attention to your consultant agreement. Eye-catching graphics will complement your blog posts and Canva makes it easy. With a variety of free image elements and a simple web-based tool, you can make a professional quality graphic in minutes.
No one ever said running a business is easy—but with content marketing and promotion on your side, you can create an edge in your business to compete with the other consultants out there.