Once you joined a direct sales company, you probably noticed one thing right away: those of us in direct sales are always networking, prospecting, looking for leads, and trying to figure out how to generate direct sales prospects.
And not just prospects for selling our products, but also prospects for hostesses, prospects for team members, and prospects for partnerships. Learning how to generate those prospects could mean the difference between meeting our goals as business owners and throwing in the towel in a few months.
Some of us may have it a bit easier…there’s no use in pretending that we don’t. If you have a wearable product (such as jewelry, make-up, and clothes) that is visible or easily transportable while you’re out and about, it’s pretty easy to strike up a conversation about that product and just happen to “whip out a sample.”
Easy and natural, like talking to your best friend. Which, by the way, once you’ve figured out how to generate direct sales prospects, you’ll notice that it really is all about talking to your best friends.
At any rate, other products are not quite to easy to whip out or strike up a conversation on. After all, when was the last time you could whip out a pair of legging or a shirt to show a potential customer because the conversation led to her wanting to see your available styles? Or when was the last time you could whip out an essential oil to show off a particular benefit?
Consumable products also have an advantage in that once you’ve sold your product to someone, presuming that customer loves it, they could return to you for refills at regular intervals. This makes the constant hunt for new prospects much easier on you. Believe me, it is much easier to sell that Lipsense to someone who has already tried it and loved it than it is to get someone who has never tried it to buy.
Others might have an easier time selling online. After all, it’s pretty easy to show off how beautiful makeup or jewelry looks online, or to demonstrate nail wraps or even cooking products. But it’s not so easy to demonstrate how soft those leggings are or how good that food tastes or how amazing that melted wax smells.
So, when it comes to generating leads for your direct sales business, this means you have to get a bit creative.
How to Generate Direct Sales Prospects
1. Offer Free Products
First and foremost, you can always try to offer free products or samples to prospects. Start by brainstorming a list of people you come in contact with on a regular basis:
- Family members
- Current and past neighbors
- Business associates and co-workers
- Spouse’s friends and co-workers
- Church acquaintances
- Restaurant hostesses and servers
- Real Estate professionals
- Nail technicians
- Hair stylists
- Children’s friends’ parents
- Children’s teachers and coaches
- Medical professionals (Dentists, Nurses, Doctors)
- Travel agents
- Fitness trainers
- Sorority or Auxiliary members
- School alumni
It’s true, while the world is pivoting online due to social distancing, regular contact with some of these people might be a little harder to come by or might be done differently: maybe your neighbors are members of a local group on Facebook or maybe your hair stylists are hanging out on YouTube?
Or maybe you just need to get on the phone with some of them and say hi.
Whatever means you need to use to strike up a conversation, online or otherwise, go do it. This is the most direct way to generate leads: go out and ask the people you already know.
Now, I don’t mean to call someone up out of the blue and tilt your head to the side while you sing “hey girl. Wanna try my stuff?” Because no. That’s gross, that’s icky, and more than likely that will shut down the conversation so fast you won’t even notice that they just snoozed or unfollowed you.
But, if you’ve already been practicing attraction marketing and building those relationships, then striking up a conversation should be easy enough to do. And offering free product? Most people love the idea of getting something for free. Even if it does come with a string attached (give me your email address, write a review, host a party… all strings).
2. Offer Lifestyle Value
If free products are a no-go for you, you could lean in on the lifestyle value of having your own business. No — don’t start bragging about how “my company is sending me on an incentive trip” because, again, ew.
However, there is something to be said for helping someone “live their best life.” Perhaps you have time-saving tips, mindset tips, or productivity hacks that you can share that you can relate back to your product. Morning beauty routines, recipes, and product-free hair care tips are also great tips you can share. When people see you living the life they want, doing the things they want to do, they will take an interest in how you’re doing it. And that interest will open the door to further conversation and leads.
3. Offer Community Value
If giving free product away isn’t an option and you don’t have any lifestyle value to offer, then perhaps you can just rely on good-old-fashioned friendships and community value.
For community value to apply, start within something you already have in common with a lot of people, sort of a lowest-common denominator. Perhaps you’re a coffee addict, Diet Coke addict, or collect pink Sharpies? Maybe you are into crafting or knitting or crochet. Or maybe you’re into pop culture and Harry Potter.
Whatever your interests are, you’re sure to find a lot of people who share them with you. And these common interests can lead to deeper connections down the road, especially if you can somehow relate those interests back to your products or brand.
Brainstorm Other Ways to Generate Direct Sales Prospects
“Go for 100 nos to get to your yes” and “ask everyone you know” are no longer viable options when it comes to generating direct sales leads. In fact, using these tactics would probably have the opposite effect on your friends (not to mention your mindset).
Instead of blindly asking anyone and everyone you meet, know, or come into contact with, take a look at some of the value you have to offer and go about generating prospects who would actually be interested in hearing what you have to say about your products and your brand. You might be surprised by how much easier it is to grow your business when you stick with the people who are interested in supporting your business and leave everyone else alone until they’re interested too.
Owning your own business doesn’t mean you have to do it all on your own! Come hang out with me over in my free Facebook group: Social Marketing for Direct Sales, with Brenda Ster.