Direct Selling 101: It’s not really about the sale… at all…
I’ve said it before and I will say it again… I am anti-direct sales… and, I’m also an Advanced Director with Pampered Chef (a direct sales company). Doesn’t really make sense, does it?
I would argue that it makes perfect sense. I am anti-direct sales by the traditional sense, in fact, I find most direct sellers to be a complete turn-off. Especially now with the way Facebook has changed how direct sellers interact with their customers and prospects… Facebook has really become spam central. I get invited to probably 25+ virtual parties every week, I get added to peoples VIP groups, and I probably get 10-20 cold contacts a week from people I’ve never met and have no relationship with… So yes, in that sense I am anti-direct sales.
I’ll admit I got caught up in some of that in my early stages with Pampered Chef, but I have really learned some valuable lessons based on how I’ve been treated by other direct sellers, and what they do that I don’t like… So I am working to NOT do those things… And there are many… But that’s not what this post is about, that’s for another day.
If I am anti-direct sales, why Pampered Chef? Because it changes lives! Because I am a brand advocate. Because I don’t want to sell the products, I want to share the products. Because I teach people how to cook, and how to remove processed foods from their diet, and how to fall in love with food all over again, and how to make memories in the kitchen… (And yes, that’s a run-on sentence.) I do those things because I believe in the value of a family sit down meal… not because I want to push a product.
So if I’m not actually direct selling (and doing it quite successfully), then what am I really doing?
I’m building relationships. Period.
I build relationships with my customers, my hosts, my party guests, and my team members. And I teach my team to do the same. There is nothing more annoying than the desperate sales rep who only posts on their Facebook wall… “buy my stuff,” “join my team,” “book a show.” When you do that there is nothing in that about relationships or about offering solutions.
Yes, I do ask people if they’d like to host shows with me, but those conversations happen organically out of relationships, or over time. I get to know my hosts and customers. I get to know their families and what is important to them. I learn about their cooking styles, their schedules, their lifestyles. I come to know if they prefer chocolate and peanut butter (like me), or would rather have chocolate with coconut…
Why does that matter? Because when new things happen with Pampered Chef like they create a new recipe… I can share the recipe without wanting anything in return. Or I can provide a new way to use a product that a customer has already purchased from me in the past!
I’ll use the Ceramic Egg Cooker as an example… It’s only a $15+ product, but it’s hugely popular. S0 I have a collection of recipes I will share… Even with people who did not buy it from me… Because it’s not about the sale… It’s about the relationship.
People shy away from direct sales because they don’t want to be pushy… That’s the number one reason I get when someone says they don’t want to be a Pampered Chef consultant. So to help my team with this, I put together a weekly marketing plan that honestly has NOTHING to do with sales and EVERYTHING to do with building relationships. The idea is not my own, but the format was adapted from something someone shared with me, and custom tailored to my belief system.
I train my team to be relevant and engaging. I train my team to stop trying to sell so hard, and join the conversation. I train my team to stop general broadcast postings about their business and tell stories. We become our own worst enemy in direct selling when we try way too hard to sell. You will never convince me otherwise.
I will tell you from experience when I have tried to hard to sell, I have sold LESS, then when I just have fun with my business, and simply love and share the products I am obsessed with. The products are the reason I joined in the first place.
I didn’t join to get rich… but the trips, the gifts, and the income have been quite a pleasant bonus…
So I ask you… are you trying to hard to sell? Or are you focusing on building relationships?
I’d love to have a conversation with you about Pampered Chef… I don’t want you to “join my team.” I want you to find your passion, and fall in love with your kitchen and with food.