Let me guess: one of your friends just joined an amazing direct sales company with amazing products and then told you how much fun they’re having being able to sell those products, right? And because they make it all look so easy and because you’re looking to make a little more money, you thought you’d follow in their footsteps and jump in with both feet.
The only problem is, that while your friend made it look so easy, you’re struggling to build your own team, am I right?
And now you’re staring at the backend of your replicated site, watching the deadline to receive your fast-start bonuses or team-building specials fade away and you’re wondering how your friend was able to grow a team so fast when you’re struggling so much.
What are you doing wrong?
You’re not alone struggling to build your direct sales team.
Thousands of direct sellers struggle with how to build their team. Many of them never find a way out of that struggle. But lucky for you, thousands more do thanks to the information and tools in this guide.
So, read on to find the 10 things you absolutely must do in order to build your direct sales team. You won’t believe how easy number eight can be.
- 10 Things You Must Do To Build Your Direct Sales Team
- 1: Visualize Your Direct Sales Dream Team
- 2: Define Your Value
- 3: Build Your Confidence Mindset
- 4: Build a Plan To Serve Your Value
- 5: Build a Follow Up System
- 6: Generate and Track Your Leads
- 7: Invite the Right People to Join Your Team
- 8: Remember to Ask the Right Questions
- 9: Deliver on Your Promises
- 10: Celebrate Effort and Results
- Bonus #11: Recognize Why People Are Joining Your Team
10 Things You Must Do To Build Your Direct Sales Team
1: Visualize Your Direct Sales Dream Team
Would visualizing your direct sales dream team really help??
While this might not seem like a tactical step, this is probably one of the most important steps you can do. Take some time now and think about what you want your dream team to look like. What kinds of skills do they already possess? What kind of personalities do you want them to be made of?
Before you get worried about excluding anyone, that’s not what this is about. Of course, if anyone finds you and asks you if they can join your team, you’re going to let them in. This isn’t about who you’re trying to keep out.
You just don’t want to waste your time chasing after people who are going to say no or won’t benefit from being on your team.
2: Define Your Value
The next step is to define your value. It is a lot easier to sponsor more team members when you know what it is you’re offering them outside of the cost or the price of the starter kit that you get when joining a direct sales company.
Start by defining your acumen for training. How much help can you give them to achieve their goals and succeed? How good are you at finding the resources they need to achieve their goals?
And it doesn’t have to be anything complex. It can be something as simple as being able to break down complex topics into easy to understand ideas. Or it can be as grand as teaching an entirely new way to sell. Maybe you have experience with rejuvenating old ideas, or finding opportunity where there wasn’t one, or planting the seed for long-term success versus short-period gains.
And it can be anything in between. In a world where people can join any team for any company, they are going to be looking for the team in which they can feel like they really belong. So now that you know the type of team members you’re looking for, you can start figuring out how you’re going to make them feel like they belong with you and your team!
3: Build Your Confidence Mindset
A lot of direct sellers start building their team before they even really understand why they’re building a team and before they really even feel like they’re in business for themselves yet. For many direct sellers, they are being asked to build a team before they’ve even received their starting kit, before they’ve even received any paperwork, and before they really know how to place an order for someone.
It’s hard to feel like much of a leader when you don’t really understand much about what you’re selling yet. So, before you can start building your team, you have to get yourself into the right mindset. And that means learning a little bit more about what you’re doing and about who you are as a leader.
Revisit number two, defining your values. Reread everything that you wrote about the type of leader you want to be and what those values are and what you want to offer your team. Read them over and over again until they sync into your mind, and then think about what it is you need to learn or what it is you need to have in order to embody those values.
Do you want to be the type of leader who can answer any question about the back end of your company’s website? Then start learning the back end of that website. Take notes, look at the SAQ, think about the questions that people ask in other team groups, and start putting answers together so that when your team has questions, you will be able to answer them.
Do you want to be the type of leader who comes up with innovative ideas for selling and marketing? Great! Then get into some marketing groups, watch how other companies outside of direct sales or marketing their boutiques, their make up lines, their hair salons. How could you take some of those other marketing methods and use them in your own direct sales company?
And don’t stop at just watching, actually try some of them out. Run some tests, did they work? Once you know what works, can you duplicate it? And can you teach it to the next direct seller?
But the most important thing while you are doing all of this, while you are gathering your resources, putting together your answers, testing your marketing strategies, and learning more and more about your business, about yourself, and about the team that it is you want to build, always try to stay in the present.
Remember that you are building, and no one expects you to have it done overnight. It’s OK that you don’t have the largest team, because you’re building your team. It’s OK if your team does not yet reflect your vision, because you’re building that vision.
The only way you fail here, is if you stop building. As long as you are building, then everything is going to plan. And as long as you are working to embody the values from number two, then you are a leader worth following. And people will follow you.
It’s all about being authentic and remembering that you are in process.
4: Build a Plan To Serve Your Value
So now, you have visualized your team, you have defined your values and what it is you want to provide your team, and you may have even started building a plan for reinforcing those values as you built up your confidence mindset. Now comes the really hard part: how are you going to serve up those values to your team members once they join?
How are you going to lead them to the resources that you’ve gathered, how are you going to teach them about the new selling strategies you’ve been testing? How are you going to introduce them to the people you’ve been networking with who can help them further?
A lot of direct sellers know what they want to teach, but then once they have the chance to teach it, they don’t know how to start. Should they start going live in their Facebook group? Should they have a Facebook group? Should they send it all at once in a big zip file? Should they use email at all, or should they send everything through Facebook messenger? Does anyone even use Facebook messenger anymore?
These types of systems are much better off being built now while your team is still so small. You can use your small team to your advantage by building out the systems, and asking a couple of your team members to test them out, or by testing them out on a new team member as they join. Then you can ask them what’s better, what did they like about the system, what didn’t they like about the system. Gather that feedback from your team members to help you improve the system.
The last thing you want to do is to go into a fully built team and then try to implement a system for delivering your value. If you do that, then what you’re going to be staring at are a bunch of people who have been waiting for your value, but they don’t know how to receive it. You haven’t done any training in your group, they haven’t ever read any of your emails, and they don’t like talking on the phone.
Of course, if you’ve already got a team, and you’re looking to re-organize things to make things easier on you, you can do that as well. But if this is the case, then you’re going to want to communicate with your current team about some of the changes that you’re making, and why you’re making them.
Many of them will understand, but be prepared to answer a lot of questions. People are programmed to distrust change, especially in a team environment or a training environment. So if you’re implementing changes in how you are going to deliver your training and your values, you’re going to want to help your current team members keep up with you. And who knows, they may even have some very helpful advice on how to set up your systems.
5: Build a Follow Up System
Unfortunately, this is a step that a lot of direct sellers skip over, thinking that they don’t need a formal follow up system until after they’ve already built their team. But those direct sellers learn pretty fast that following up without a system ends up being extremely time consuming and disorganized.
And even if you are the best leader in the world with the most value to offer your team, if you can’t present it in the right way to the right person at the right time, then they’re not going to join your team. 90% of the time, when someone says no, it’s not because the offer wasn’t right for them, it’s because the offer didn’t come at the right time for them.
Your follow up system changes that.
So, now you have visualized your team, defined your values, built up your confidence and you know you are a leader people will want to follow, and you know how you want to deliver your value to your new team members as they come on board, now it’s time to build a follow up system.
A follow up system is a fancy way of saying something you can use to keep track of potential team members, who you’ve already asked and when, and when someone has joined your team. Chances are, when you talk to someone about joining your team, they’re not always going to have the same amount of knowledge about you or the company.
Perhaps some of them have already been to one of your parties and already know a lot about the products that you sell. Or maybe they’ve been to someone else’s parties and think they know a lot about the products that you sell. Maybe they were a consultant for a competing brand at one point in time.
The point is, when you talk to person A and then turn around and talk to person B, even though you’re talking about the same thing, because they have had different experiences so far and different knowledge, you will actually be having very different conversations. Having a follow up system will help you keep track of where you are with each prospect.
Here are some of the things you want to track: who you spoke to, when you spoke to them, how you met them, and what their level of interest was.
Next, you’re going to want to build a system to follow up with people. You’ll use your tracker to help you determine who to follow up with and when, but your system is going to determine how you follow up with them. It doesn’t have to be a large or complicated system as long as it helps you reach out to the right person at the right time, which is all a follow up system is supposed to do.
And the final piece of your follow up system is going to be the delivery. Once again, are you going to message them? Email? Send a gift through the post office? Invite them to another party, ask them to host another party? Many times, the delivery of the follow up mask is as important as the task itself.
6: Generate and Track Your Leads
OK, time to start asking people to join your team. Kind of. First, you want to figure out who you’re going to ask and get them into your follow up system. This is called generating leads.
So, Who are some people that you want to ask to join your team?
Chances are, you’re going to start off by asking some of your friends and family. Maybe you already have, maybe you’ve run out of friends and family. That’s OK, we’re here to start fresh.
So, start with how you visualized your team: what types of people do you want on your team? What skills are you looking for to help enhance your team? List those out and this time start listing names of some of the people who match those skills and traits.
You see, one of the big issues with how new direct sellers go about building their team is they never have a good answer to the question “why do you want me on your team?“ They never actually put that much thought into why they want a particular individual on their team.
This solves that. And it allows you to take the time you need to really think about that exact question and answer before you even start approaching anyone or approaching anyone for the second time. It allows you to really define the value that they would bring to your team as a member without it being about your promotion or your bonuses.
Once you have this list built out, now it’s time to really think about how you can meet new people to put onto this list. Should you start a blog? Should you do training on your Facebook page? Should you have a form set up somewhere where people could let you know that they’re interested after a party or after a live sale or after seeing you at a vendor event? Do you want to have a referral system, where someone who is not necessarily interested in joining your team, might know someone else who is.
Once you have a system set up for generating these types of leads, and you have them set up in your follow up system, now it’s time for you to actually follow through and track your leads after you have contact with them. Remember, it takes anywhere from 32 to 37 points of contact with someone before they decide to do business with you. And starting a business is a pretty big deal. So this is a process that is going to require a lot of precision and patience for you.
By tracking your progress with each person individually, you’ll have a much better chance at being able to offer the opportunity to join your team at the right time for each person. Which means, you will have a much higher chance of them saying yes.
One thing to keep in mind, I mentioned that it takes anywhere from 32 to 37 points of contact with someone before they decide to do business with you: I do not mean for you to message them and ask them to join your team 32 to 37 times. That will get you blocked faster than anything, and possibly publicly called out as a stalker. That’s not what you want.
Instead, invite them to have a conversation. Talk about their day, learn about them, show some interest in them. At certain key moments, if it falls naturally within the conversation, you can remind them about what it is you do. But don’t make every single point of contact a pitch to join your team.
7: Invite the Right People to Join Your Team
This step is one of my favorites because this is the step where you can actually see peoples anxiety about growing their team actually start to lift. All that anxiety that you have about asking people and that fear of rejection, imagine waking up and checking your tracker, and seeing that you have scheduled yourself a follow up with one of your leads and that for this particular follow up, you’re going to offer them the join special for your team.
Imagine what it would feel like to see this in your calendar and know that there is a very big chance that they will say yes.
Of course, there is always going to be that small chance that they might say no for reasons beyond your control. But imagine what it would feel like to not have to fear rejection because you’ve actually got a better chance at getting a yes instead of the no.
There are a lot of direct sales leaders out there who teach that you have to go through 100 noes to get your yes. And that is definitely a system that works for a lot of people, but it happens to be a system that I find very demotivating. Rejection after rejection after rejection, even if you know that someone is going to accept your offer at the end of the line, that is still a very difficult burden to place on your mindset. There is still a lot more rejection than it is acceptance.
And the entire mindset comes from the idea that you never know who will say yes.
This system helps you figure out who is more likely to say yes. They can’t offer up any guarantees, because circumstances change and people have free will. But it definitely increases the chances of someone saying yes to you. And when you know that those chances have been increased, those are the people you asked to join your team.
If you ask every random person that you meet to join your team, that’s random team growth. It’s really hard to track and draw predictions based on random growth: if you want this to be your business, you have to build in something you can predict and track. And that includes knowing who is more likely to say yes, and then asking them.
Now, once again, people have free will and you never know when someone has changed their mind or entered into a circumstance that allows them to change their mind. So, I am not saying that once someone says no, wipe them off the list, or once you believe that they will reject you to wipe them off the list. What I am saying is keep them in your follow up system as a lead, continue talking to them, and don’t ask until you know they are more likely to say yes.
8: Remember to Ask the Right Questions
Sometimes, direct sellers get so caught up in everything about themselves that they forget to think about their team. They get caught up in recruiting and parties, and then before they know it, the end of the month comes along and their team volume is somewhat down and their team feels a little below the weather and so they start messaging everyone with motivational quotes and questions and saying “Hey, time to get those numbers up!”
This almost never works.
For someone who is on the fence, someone who is kind of middle of the line, it might be enough to get them to book that one last party of the month. But for someone who is already down and out, someone who is already behind on their goal, all it does is highlight the fact that you were not paying attention and then when you finally saw what was happening, you did not know how to get them back on track.
Part of being a leader means understanding where your team members are, not just where your team volume is but where each member of your team is mentally and emotionally. Are they going through any circumstances that might make it harder for them to book any parties? Are they struggling to learn the back end of the office? Are they struggling with a new schedule and launching a new business while they have a family at home or another job?
There is something to be said for personal responsibility, but the minute you brought these people onto your team, you also assumed part of the responsibility of teaching them whatever it is that they need to know in order to reach their goals. You can’t teach them to be like you, you can’t teach them to run their business the way you want to run your business. But what are they trying to get out of their business? That’s the responsibility you took on, to help them reach that vision.
And that means checking in throughout the month, either individually if you need to or as a group, to see how everyone is doing. Do they have any questions, is there any other training that they’re looking for, do some of them just need a pat on the back?
Behind the scenes, numbers are important to the company. The numbers determine your bonuses, your compensation, and sometimes even your title. But on the front end, those numbers are meaningless. Bringing them up to your team at the very last minute isn’t necessary because the back end of your website does that.
Don’t repeat the information that they can get from the back end of the website. Instead, make sure that you are asking the right questions in order to track how your team is feeling and correct the course as needed to make sure they have what they need.
9: Deliver on Your Promises
OK, all those values that you listed off in number two? Make sure you are actually following through with them.
If one of your values and one of your promises was that you were going to build a library of resources that your team members could use, make sure you are building that library of resources. If you promised to be the kind of leader who would listen to them, teach them, guide them, then do all of those things.
Too many direct sellers out there promise to be a motivating leader, like a “big sister” in direct sales. They treat their leads as someone special, and then as soon as those leads join their team and become new direct sellers, these leaders disappear: off to find the next lead and build their team.
If you’re promising family, don’t check up on someone right at the end of the month just because they haven’t met their sales goal yet. Do you like it when a family member only ever calls to let you know that you haven’t reached your full potential yet? That’s what that feels like.
If you promised that your team was going to be a tight knit community that could lean on each other for help, then make sure there are opportunities that allow them to do this. Give your artist opportunities to teach your team how to make graphics. Give your copywriter opportunities to teach people how to write sales posts.
Remember that in your team, it’s not about you: it’s about your values and the team you’re trying to build. If you don’t see one of your values being reflected inside your team yet, then it’s time to reflect back on that value and decide how you can bring it in.
10: Celebrate Effort and Results
I cannot stress this enough: if you only ever celebrate results, you will alienate more than half of your team.
Some people respond very well to leaderboards, competition, top sales person, top recruiter; all of these things will attract certain high achievers. But they also only celebrate the numbers. And remember what we said, on the front end in front of your team, the numbers are meaningless.
And for someone who is working hard, but does not have the time to hold parties during the week because of other obligations, they are almost always left out of your celebrations when you only celebrate the numbers. After a while, if your hard work goes uncelebrated or unrecognized, people stop bothering. People start to feel like there is no point.
So, put together a way to celebrate the effort. Think about the people who are trying their hardest out there, the people who are following your training, the people who are reading the resources you give them, the people who are holding parties when they can.
And here’s a hint: this is something you can also ask your team for help developing. You know the values they bring to your team and the reasons you asked them to join your team. Here’s your real chance to ask them how they want to be acknowledged and celebrated. What are some things about themselves that they feel deserve recognition?
Bonus #11: Recognize Why People Are Joining Your Team
The single biggest mistake that direct sellers make when they start trying to build their team is thinking that everyone joins their team for the same reason or with the same goals. As humans, we have a tendency to project our own reasoning and logic onto other people. If we joined a direct sales company because we wanted to build an empire and own our own business and make that full-time, then that must mean everyone who joins a direct sales company has that same goal in mind.
But that is not the case.
There are actually six different reasons a person might join a direct sales company. Each one of them is valid, but each one of them also holds the key to how to keep that individual consultant motivated and participating in your team.
Discount Diva—The Discount Diva is a power user of your product, and she wants it all – for herself! She likely joined for the discount and will maintain her active status just by keeping herself in the latest catalog items. Keep her informed of new product offerings, and ways she can maximize her own discount such as with flash sales.
Short Timer—The short timer has a specific goal in mind. She is saving money for a vacation, new appliances, or other specific purchase or event. She will likely work consistently until her goal is met — but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a new goal waiting for her around the corner! Keep her informed of ways she can maximize her earnings, such as with flash sales or promotions.
Part Timer—The part time consultant has a dedicated number of hours per week or month to dedicate to her business. She wants to maintain her consistent part-time income, and may be motivated by challenges or incentives if it works within her timeframe. Keep her informed of ways she can maximize her earnings and make it easy for her to find the information she needs — she isn’t likely going to be able to spend much time looking up information.
Career Builder—The career builder wants a full-time future with your brand. She will work aggressively and passionately to build her personal business and downline sales team. She is striving for financial freedom and autonomy. Keep her informed of ways to network, explore leadership opportunities, and grow her skill in sponsoring. Challenges and incentives may be highly motivating for a career builder.
Social Sister—The social sister joined to meet new people, make friends, attend meetings, receive recognition, and feel part of something larger than herself. Social activities and recognition are likely more important to her than the financial outcomes of her business. Keep her informed of opportunities to socialize, such as team meetings or training. Be sure to include her in recognition activities.
Socially Conscious Consultant—This type of consultant joined your brand because she believes in the mission and values of the company, and will stand behind them. She is an amazing brand ambassador, and wants to share the mission with others. Encourage her to use her business for socially conscious activities, such as fundraisers.
It’s important to understand these different kinds of consultants and why they join your team because then, and only then, can you develop a way of keeping them motivated and engaged. Someone who joins as a discount diva, meaning they joined because they wanted a discount on the products but they have no interest in building a team, there is a real chance that someone might join their team by accident.
Maybe when they join, one of their friends or siblings join right under them, thinking that he’s going to give them a big boost. And now, that sibling doesn’t have the resources that your discount diva has. How can you better help your discount diva with their accidental team members?
And, I spoke earlier about the fact that people change, circumstances change, that includes their consultant type. Someone who joins as a discount diva may very well decide to become a career builder. Someone who joins as a career builder, on the other hand, may have a another opportunity come up and decide to become a part timer, or even a short timer.
It’s not up to you as their leader to decide which type of consultant they should be and push them into that direction. However, it is up to you to decide the best way to help them meet their goals no matter what type of consultant they choose to be and when. And keep an eye out for those who are changing roles, since the way they engage with the team will often change with them.