The Direct Approach podcast, hosted by Wayne Moorehead, has quickly become a trusted resource for industry executives. Every two weeks, Wayne and his guests share their thoughts on the channel, examining what’s new, what’s now and what’s next in a frank and lively exchange.
One recent episode took this to the next level—and we wanted to make sure DSN’s readers had a chance to engage with this incredibly valuable information. Wayne was joined by a trio of industry experts: Paul Adams, Owner of Adams Resource Group; Bridgehead Collective Founder and CEO Heather Chastain; and Brett Duncan, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Strategic Choice Partners.
Ever wonder what expert consultants think about the channel? These highlights unwrap that mystery, giving you and your teams priceless insights from the outside. Wayne and his guests took a deep dive into the secrets of direct selling success: key shifts in messaging; the challenges that legacy companies must navigate; identifying the channels most valuable differentiators; the magic of simplification; and the significance of the recent Neora win. They also looked inside the channel’s crystal ball to predict what the future might hold.
With decades of experience working in various roles with direct selling companies, and as leading consultants, their expertise provides an invaluable resource for all industry executives.
Key Shifts in Messaging
The consults agree: what the channel offers is something Young Millennials and Gen Z want. But it’s often packaged in a way that doesn’t resonate with them. Some of the key factors that this demographic is looking for include being able to monetize their influence on social, being a part of a community or movement and creating multiple streams of income. Sound familiar? What they don’t want is to build and manage a team. What’s inside the box remains enticing and relevant. It’s how the box is wrapped that has lost its charm. Promises of big money read as a scam—they are looking for multiple income streams and lower expectations for supplemental income.
Legacy Company Challenges
There exists within legacy companies a generational pull to not acknowledge or change to reflect the key shifts noted above. Direct selling must adapt to these changes or become irrelevant. It’s important to acknowledge that well-established field leaders found success doing things traditionally. It’s not realistic to expect them to embrace wholesale change without support and empathy. The work to facilitate this transition needs to come from the home office. It should be corporate’s role to steward this change by supporting established field leaders while still soliciting new ones. It’s also important for these established companies to own the often misguided and misleading messaging of the past and set more realistic expectations going forward.
Direct Selling’s Value Props
There is true alignment on what direct selling’s differentiators are. So what are the things that direct selling needs to lean into? Culture and community in the form of personal development, connection, mentorship and guidance. The channel has also taken huge strides in offering real products and services that people want. And sharing products with friends, family and followers is increasing in importance in purchasing decisions. Direct selling is the ultimate example of people selling to people in an authentic, organic way—free of gimmicks, scripts and pretension and full of genuine excitement and enthusiasm.
Keep It Simple
Customer experience continues to become more and more important as direct selling competes directly with DTC brands. The experience of onboarding also becomes more and more vital as aspiring entrepreneurs have multiple options on where to put their efforts. Direct selling tends to build unnecessary complexities into processes. The experts are united in their belief that those complexities come at a cost. There can be no extra steps, funnels or hoops to jump through. How to pay; how to join; how to get paid all must be streamlined and simplified.
What the Neora Ruling Really Means
The most important thing about the Neora ruling, according to the experts, was that it proves the model can be validated. The caveat to that is that if you aren’t doing the right things, this isn’t a victory for you. The Neora ruling will not lift regulatory scrutiny, but it will provide a blueprint for what companies need to achieve. Executives must familiarize themselves with the ruling and ask themselves the hard questions about whether their companies would hold up to the same scrutiny.
The group all agreed that more acquisitions and consolidations are on the horizon. They were also united in their opinion that FTC scrutiny will not be going away, and companies must make sure their values and practices align with the measuring stick provided in the Neora ruling. A final future insight was the need for companies to embrace the current culture and climate of change, including a laser focus on customer acquisition; offering real products with real value; and bringing new and younger people into the industry.
Listen to This!
We’ve just scratched the surface of the insights and insider tips shared in this episode. It’s an hour and a half you and your team simply can’t afford to miss. Listen to the episode in its entirety and to subscribe to Direct Approach and the full lineup of DSN podcasts.
From the December 2023 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.