Uncertain times provide a unique opportunity to prove that working from home really works!
Who could have imagined the world we currently find ourselves in? 2020 has ushered in times of tremendous uncertainty and unease. So many feel far removed from the routine of daily life and are struggling to find balance as working from home becomes the new “normal” for millions unfamiliar with the juggling act it requires.
But for our channel, a home-based opportunity has always been a big selling point. And, even in these troubling times, what is creating uncertainty and adversity for many has created opportunity and advantage for forward-thinking direct selling companies and the distributors that partner with them.
Why Working from Home Works
Although reporting is still anecdotal, results are encouraging. In fact, we are hearing that dozens of direct selling companies are reporting solid growth throughout the first quarter of 2020. New distributors are coming onboard and dormant distributors are becoming more engaged as service, entertainment and travel sector jobs dwindle, retail locations shutter and incomes in traditional channels plummet.
After recent periods of stagnant growth and losses within the channel, the opportunity in this moment is real, and immediate action is imperative. Medium- and large-size direct selling companies are reporting double-digit growth (some exceeding 20 percent in recent weeks) with the trend showing no signs of abating.
What has allowed direct sellers to grow while other industries falter? There are many factors, but technology plays a pivotal role. Of course, technology purely for technology’s sake isn’t the answer—but technology with a strategic purpose, technology that removes barriers—certainly is.
One critical tech tool is the right app. Direct selling apps should offer clarity and a clear path. They are simple, focused and effective. They eliminate clutter and confusion. And—in times like these—what could be more valuable?
Is your current app equipped with everything your field needs to not just survive but thrive in the current environment? Here are a few key factors to consider.
Closing the Social Distance
Personal connections and in-person contact is traditionally thought of as a key component to building a strong team and healthy customer base. But the new reality ushered in by social distancing, self-isolation and quarantines has made that a seemingly insurmountable challenge.
In many ways, social media has already usurped traditional face-to-face meetings. Apps simply extend that trend, particularly as COVID-19 creates a compelling need for virtual contact.
An app can provide a steady stream of branded, compliant, shareable content to distributors who desperately need it. For John Licari, Chief Operating Officer at TLC, that frequently refreshed content stream is powerful. “Social content has a short shelf life. We constantly deploy new content on the app to keep the messaging fresh and we have seen significant increase in consultant engagement with the app because of it.”
TLC’s app was developed in partnership with our company, SUCCESS Partners, a boutique agency with over 30 years of experience in the direct selling channel. We provided the platform through our NOW app. It was then fully branded and customized for TLC, including a sampling system program.
It’s a partnership that has alleviated multiple pain points for the company says Licari. “Growth is surging—they are on track to double or even triple sales this year.”
A Success in Any Language
Another feature that powerfully resonates with our NOW app clients are the multiple languages available. The UI currently supports 17 languages that automatically match the language setting of the phone, with additional languages in process. Popular social media platforms around the world like Facebook, Instagram and WeChat are also supported with one-click connection from the app interface.
Jeremy Wardle, VP of Marketing at New U Life shares that once the company fully embraced what the NOW app had to offer, their results grew exponentially. “We have people in Oklahoma building in Hong Kong. Being able to eliminate the language barrier has been phenomenal,” he says. “People across all demographics are embracing the technology. It’s really simple for distributors to master it.”
Features and Functionality
Moreover, apps provide a built-in system designed to help distributors succeed. It manages the discussion from contact to closure. The strongest apps handle Customer Relationship Management (CRM), enabling distributors to contact prospects and send them a relevant video or email. Automated follow-ups, task reminders and scripts further “goof proof” the process to help distributors provide higher levels of personalized customer service.
The app has taken our sampling and customer acquisition systems to a completely new level.
– Kyler Pentecost, VP of Sales, It Works!
Personal development and training through the app helps to immediately immerse new distributors into the corporate culture. This becomes even more important as recruitment numbers continue to rise. The resources available on apps like NOW allow new distributors to engage and get active immediately.
As Kyler Pentecost, VP of Sales at It Works! explains, “New distributors don’t even have to wait for their starter kit. They can send corporate-sponsored content and product samples to their prospects as soon as they download the app. The app has taken our sampling and customer acquisition systems to a completely new level.”
A Sample Solution
Apps are nothing new—practically every company has one. What every company doesn’t have is the right app. What is proving to be a true game changer is the ability to send product samples. Sampling through an app is an easy way for distributors to engage new customers and potential prospects, without personally handling the product and without leaving the safety of their home.
As the industry continues to refocus on product sales over recruitment, a sampling component for apps is increasingly vital to help drive sales and customer loyalty. Industry trends show that hero products continue to define brands—becoming synonymous with the company’s culture, philosophy and positioning. An app that allows distributors a simple, straightforward and speedy way to share samples of these defining products to prospects builds enthusiasm, belief, brand loyalty and customer retention.
Sampling through an app is an easy way for distributors to engage new customers and potential prospects, without personally handling the product and without leaving the safety of their home.
Revital U is known as the Sample-First Company. Founder and CEO Andy McWilliams explains how their app empowers that philosophy. “For us, the technology played such a major role because it was intuitive. It allowed our Brand Influencers to simply open up the app, follow the instructions—one, two, three—and they’ve got a sample going out.”
The company incentivizes customer acquisition and product sales over building a large organization. The app helps them focus on building product loyalty by making sampling the first part of the process. “Our Brand Influencers pay a nominal monthly fee and receive sample credits in return. New distributors use the app to send samples and trigger automated follow ups,” Andy says. “Our philosophy is that giving feels better than selling, so more nonprofessional networkers will actually engage. We make it as simple and quick as possible.”
Adding a sampling component to a new or existing app can happen quickly if companies partner with the right platform. Our NOW app is an industry leader in sampling functionality, designed to execute customer acquisition systems with speed and scale.
One recent success story is It Works! The company collaborated with us to launch their sampling program in just six weeks. Since rolling out in January 2020, the company has experienced month-over-month growth in February and March.
According to Kyler, an unexpected benefit has been the confidence it has given the distributors. “We knew it would save them time and allow them to focus on building relationships, but we didn’t anticipate how much confidence it would give them,” he says. “Instead of creating their own samples and wasting time at the post office mailing them, they can do everything at home using just their smartphone. That’s a real asset for our field.”
The Time is NOW
Many companies get lost in a digital maze, overwhelmed by expensive, ineffective dead ends and distractions that lead only to frustration. Multifunctional apps with CRM, language and sampling capabilities alleviate confusion and save time.
What should you look for in an app that adds sampling to your arsenal?
It’s clear that it is no longer a question of whether or not you need an app with product sampling functionality. The question is what is the cost of waiting? According to Andy, “This is the future of customer acquisition. If you don’t adapt to the technology, if you don’t evolve with it…you aren’t going to survive.”
Kyler agrees, “Adding the sampling component to our app has been such a positive experience. If I could give one piece of advice to anyone considering it, it would be ‘the sooner the better.’ What are you waiting for?”