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One thing you probably didn't even consider as you were launching your business is how you might go about running your direct sales business during a healthcare crisis, global pandemic, and national stay-at-home order.
The biggest draw to working in direct sales is the ability to work from home: set your own hours, be your own boss, take care of business without having to jump through hoops or wait on getting approvals from managers while supervisors are breathing down your neck.
And working from home during a healthcare crisis definitely sounds more appealing than having a supervisor breathing down your neck.
A quick note: This article contains no medical or political bias and is provided solely for informational purposes to assist small business owners in continuing to provide value to their communities and continue to generate revenue through the health pandemic.
Whether you live in an area that has been directly affected by a global pandemic or other healthcare concerns, are experiencing closures, travel restrictions, work from home restrictions, or even if you're living in an area that hasn't been directly affected, whenever a global pandemic surfaces, it brings with it a host of new concerns you may not have ever considered otherwise:
- What do you do if your business relies heavily on in-person bookings or events?
- What if online presence isn't strong enough to withstand the perceived absence?
- What if the sudden changes in schedules force people to stay off social media and they miss your posts all together?
- What if you get sick?
- How will you keep your business afloat?
- And if you do get sick enough to have to take time off, how can you ensure that your direct sales business is strong enough to be rejuvenated when you are able to return to work?
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14 Tips for Running Your Direct Sales Business During a Healthcare Crisis
Get ahead of these concerns by proactively offering alternatives and shifting your social voice to be more online-centric, focused on safety and convenience.
- If you had vendor events booked, check with your vendor event coordinators for cancellations, reschedules, or refund policies. If you have event contracts, check your contract for cancellation terms.
- Offer any in-person bookings the option to switch to online party experience to avoid the outright hostess cancellation. Being proactive will help your hostess see positive alternatives.
- Offer incentives for new online bookings. This might include additional product, free shipping, or discounts. Get creative with what value might be a lucrative incentive.
- Create mini videos for product demonstrations that you would typically do in person. Make the videos generic so they can be used at any future time, which will create more flexibility in your future marketing.
- Schedule and promote your next online live sale and focus on fun and community. Using a tool like BeLive.TV can be a lifesaver for this.
- Send a follow-up mail or message to all current and past customers and hostesses and invite them to your Facebook page, group, or upcoming live sale — where you’ll be conducting business for the near term. (Or just follow-up with service, or to share any new specials.)
- If you sell products that would assist in cleaning, safety, children, schooling, or entertainment during self quarantine, focus on positive benefits rather than promoting fear or panic. You can also avoid controversy (and spammy appearance) by keeping your posts focused on the benefits of your items rather than mentioning any specific healthcare crisis, and avoid making any claims about healthcare or medical uses.
- Pre-schedule social media posts to remain consistent if your daily routine will be unpredictable due to closures in your area. HelloWoofy is an amazing social media management tool that can help you do just that.
- Focus on positive messaging. You can still stay connected online even if people are advised to restrict in person interactions.
- Coach your team how to shift to a primarily online strategy. Direct them to Elite Kickstart if this is not your speciality area, and we can assist.
- Reach out and invite leaders on your team to take turns as guest speakers in your group to lessen the coaching burden.
- Create a team stockpile of social media posts, challenges, graphics, and videos. If you never end up needing them, great, but if you fall ill, you’ll be glad for the post inventory.
- Use the time to develop a video strategy to share more online instead of in-person demonstrations.
- Download Zoom and hold a live coaching session or social event with your team.
BONUS! Remain positive, optimistic, and motivational to your team. When you're running your direct sales business during a healthcare crisis, your team is looking to your leadership confidence to help them navigate an unknown marketing and sales landscape.
Developing your online strategy, brainstorming options with other online sellers, and getting creative with sales channels will separate those who can weather the storm from those who can’t. It doesn’t matter whether your financial goals are $200 or $20,000.
We will all be affected by this health pandemic either directly or indirectly. And taking time off, planned or unplanned, doesn't always feel possible (despite evidence that taking time off can help increase productivity).
You can't predict everything. You can't even predict most things — least of all a healthcare crisis triggered by a global pandemic. But you can prepare to start running your direct sales business during a healthcare crisis by following these strategies and staying ahead of these concerns. And in doing so, you can lessen the negative effect that such things would have on your business.
Running Your Direct Sales Business During a Healthcare Crisis
Is it okay to market your business during a healthcare crisis?
Absolutely! Take care not to come off as though you're making money off the crisis (ie, don't do a “Coronavirus Sale!!” That's gross). But people still need things. All those old pain points are still there, they've just moved up or down in priority. So keep building those relationships.
How can I keep the healthcare crisis from affecting my direct sales business?
Remember to put the relationship first. You are there to serve your customers with what they need when they need it. That means listening to their needs and following their lead. When the crisis is over, they'll remember you and what you've done for them.