COVID-19 has changed the way that we do business. For many direct sellers who rely on in-person contact to sell their products, the pandemic has increased the need for their Independent Sales Consultants (ISCs) to take their businesses online via social media and to think creatively.
We asked Lindsay Tompkins, Social Media Trainer and Speaker, for some tips on how direct sellers can support their ISCs both during this difficult period and beyond, and these were her top 3 recommendations:
- Continue to Keep it Personal.
Going online doesn’t mean replacing personal content with branded promotional material. For ISCs who are new to social media and those who may be asking you for more branded content or graphics to share on their networks, provide them with material that can they can personalize to their audience and suggest that they continue to customize the information they are sharing.
Remind them that many social media platforms can block personal accounts if they think someone is “spamming” contacts—and no one wants to end up in “Facebook Jail”. After all, it’s not a flyer, cover photo or the product itself that will attract new customers online, but the personal connection that is the true key to direct selling success.
- Don’t Change the Strategy, Change the Medium.
Social isolation has changed the way that we communicate with people, but it hasn’t changed the fundamentals of selling a product or service, or a company’s direct selling strategies.
Suggest that your ISCs think about replicating what they used to do in-person and what it would look like if they took it online. For example, use a social media platform like Facebook Live to reproduce a trade show experience and utilize Albums within Facebook as booths. Another great example is if they normally have in-home parties, suggest they utilize Zoom and breakout rooms to recreate that in-person party experience.
Don’t forget to provide them with post-pandemic supportive materials to help them get back in-person with their customers during the reopening stages.
- It’s All About the Training.
Toolkits are great, but without the proper training and social media insights to provide tangible support, your ISCs may struggle with turning what they have learnt into actionable steps and eventually new sales.
Concentrate on providing them with training that meets their current needs and not just giving them new skills. If they’re struggling with a certain social media platform, provide them with training and step-by-step guides that will help them do their job more effectively. Social media is and will continue to be the future of direct selling, so make sure you incorporate social media into your core marketing, sales and recruiting and communications strategy training.
Don’t forget to keep them up-to-date on social media’s changing trends and practices so that they can utilize them to the best of their ability. For example, for many ISCs Instagram has become the platform where they secure new leads, but the sales happen in Facebook.