Hundreds of direct selling executives gathered in person and virtually to share game-changing insight of a channel in a state of transition.
Direct selling executives need insight and fresh ideas now more than ever before. In one of the most challenging years in direct selling history, leaders faced continued lockdowns in certain markets, changing consumer behaviors, a tense regulatory environment and lingering supply chain issues.
To provide practical solutions, Direct Selling University enlisted more than 25 of the industry’s leading executives to share unique perspectives and new approaches regarding some of the most complex issues facing the channel today.
We kicked off DSU with the CEO Forum, one of our highest rated events, and had 75 executives in the room representing $43 billion in revenue,” said Stuart Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Direct Selling News, Direct Selling Partners and NOW Tech. “We talked about omnichannel strategies, fighting field fatigue (our industry’s version of quiet quitting), attracting the next generation, industry reputation and the rise of affiliate models in the marketplace.”
Johnson cast vision for attendees, calling them to move beyond customer-centric thinking to becoming customer-obsessed. Following his lead, speakers provided tangible ways to improve customer conversion rates, improve salesforce morale, upgrade training systems, drive revenue and create authentic connection with customers.
“DSU gives leaders the chance to open their minds to a bigger picture,” Johnson said. “This event exists to share knowledge, future trends and success stories that inspire, challenge beliefs and spark change. I’m confident that every executive left the event with at least one game-changing idea or initiative to take back to their teams.”
Amazon. The eCommerce goliath has been the elephant in the room for years, and for the first time, Direct Selling University tackled the challenge head-on. Without shying away from the complexities of the issue, DSU offered multiple opportunities for participants to listen and learn from experts about how to alter their approach to what is arguably the industry’s biggest competitor.
Blake Mallen, Author, President of Prüvit, delivered the most talked about speech of the event, as well as a break-out workshop session that drew more than 150 attendees, discussing his proven Amazon strategy.
“A lot of customers buying on Amazon assume they are buying from the company directly, and when they receive a damaged or expired product, they’ll either blow up the support team with their complaints or—worse—blast Amazon with negative reviews,” Mallen said. “This stuff can cause serious potential long-term damage to our brands. When you share the message that anyone can start today with the same opportunity to change their life, but when there are different prices for different people, it can erode the very heart of what our channel stands for.”
Continuing the event’s conversation about how to become customer-obsessed, Mallen explained the importance of setting an intentional Amazon game plan, telling attendees that winning the Amazon game begins with controlling their brand’s footprint on Amazon.
“This is not the future—this is the present,” Mallen said. “Amazon is a key part of the customer journey today, which means this cannot be ignored. This is something we as a channel need to do not only for our companies—but for our communities—and make the shift our industry really needs.”
Rudy Revak, Founder and Chairman, Xyngular, reminded leaders of the importance of taking care of new distributors and helping the sales force stay persistent and positive.
Shelley Rojas, Chief Brand Officer, Direct Selling News, and Heather Chastain, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Bridgehead Collective and Direct Selling News Strategic Advisor, announced a new social community platform for DSN Supporters, as well as a new entry-level of Support, the Advocate, that will enhance the user experience and open up becoming a part of Direct Selling News to many more companies.
Magnus Brännström, President & Chief Executive Officer, Oriflame, focused on the ways the pandemic impacted work trends and how Oriflame reorganized its brand experience structure to improve the product, customer, digital, social selling and employee culture experiences.
Lynne Coté, President and Chief Executive Officer, Princess House, and Laura Beitler, Chief Global Sales Officer, Rodan + Fields, in a conversation with Heather Chastain, discussed the importance of transparency in creating alignment between the home office and the field in the midst of change and challenges.
Dan Macuga, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, USANA, illustrated the power of their “Start Something” campaign and offered a how-to for companies wanting to create similar initiatives that drive customer engagement, loyalty and connection.
Amber Snow, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Amway, shared how executives can make DE&I more than just a buzzword in their companies by facing the fact that people of color make up only 14 percent of direct selling representatives and persuaded leaders to make a commitment to listen, learn and act.
Amanda Tress, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, FASTer Way to Fat Loss, shared the simplicity of her company’s one-tier micro-influencer marketing model, and why she believes it could be a powerful strategy for companies fearing FTC scrutiny and enhanced regulations.
Glenn Sanford, Founder, eXp Realty, Chief Executive Officer, eXp World Holdings and SUCCESS, in an interview with Stuart Johnson, discussed the strategy behind eXp Realty’s hypergrowth and why a focus on agent experience has built a collaborative culture that drives value.
Wayne Moorehead, Marketing and Branding Expert and Host of the Direct Approach Podcast, in an interview with Stuart Johnson, reflected on the hot topics and trends discussed during interviews with leaders from 30 different companies who represent $30 billion in revenue.
Russ Moorehead, Chief Marketing Officer, Nu Skin, exposed five myths direct selling companies often fall prey to, and why the latest shopping trends give direct-to-consumer companies a significant advantage.
Patrick Wright, Chief Executive Officer, AdvoCare, gave a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s 2019 FTC settlement and described how seeing limitations as opportunities has allowed AdvoCare to increase its customer conversion rate by 10x while better serving their affiliates.
Jesse McKinney, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Red Aspen, shared a sneak peek into the company’s 2023 strategy, including four pillars—sustainability, technology initiatives, Tik Tok-style training videos and a new Gen Z-focused product category—all inspired by her experience at DSU Spring 2022.
Nick Martinez, Top Distributor, Prüvit, encouraged industry leaders to embrace distributors who are building influence instead of recruiting and why consistently creating social media content can be the key to unlocking top earner potential.
Noah Westerlund, Executive Vice President, NOW Tech, in a conversation with Wayne Moorehead, discussed the importance of Quick Commerce and long-form landing pages to increase conversion rates.
Michele Gay, Co-Founder & Chairwoman, LimeLife by Alcone, described the toll the pandemic took on women especially, and how the Three Laws of Performance helped her sales field and staff overcome the fixed mindsets and patterns of excuses that two years of living in a socially distanced world had created.
Ben Riley, President, Young Living, reminded participants of the importance of disruption and how direct selling leaders can leverage small-scale innovation and strategic change management to outsmart gig economy competitors.
Brandy Huyser, Director of XS Energy and Next Gen Strategy, Amway/XS, reflected on 20 years of adventure as the XS Energy brand built momentum by upending business-as-usual at Amway, staying focused on the field, controlling the supply chain through local manufacturing and creation and designing a youth-driven culture.
Jason Dorsey, President, Center for Generational Kinetics, Speaker and Researcher, offered a sneak peek at the first-ever generational research study conducted in direct selling that he will be leading for Direct Selling News to uncover how to quickly connect with, build trust and drive influence across generations.
Gina Ghura, Chief Marketing Officer, MONAT, offered advice for building consumer love through relationship building, personalized customer experiences, distinctive product offerings and a compensation plan that rewards customer acquisition and retention.
Rajneesh Chopra, Chief Commercial Officer, Immunotec, shared how the company invested in technology and opened new markets and manufacturing facilities during the pandemic, resulting in tremendous growth that is moving them forward in the midst of a cooling economy.
Garrett McGrath, President, ANMP, talked about the power of tiny gains and how improving by one percent every day in the areas of customer retention, community building and compensation strategies can build unstoppable momentum.
Dana Roefer, Author, Entrepreneur and Direct Selling Strategist, highlighted takeaways from her book Shopping Social and shared how education is crucial for helping consumers understand how social shopping can connect them with products that support their best life.
Darnell Self, Executive Vice President of Network and Business Development, PPLSI, shared his insights as both a field leader and industry executive, shining a light on the undervalued priorities of effective communication and a healthy team culture.
Gordon Hester, General Manager Sales, North America, PM-International AG, explained how culture is the biggest differentiator in business, and why focusing on revenue drivers and profitability can prevent feelings of entitlement and division within the field.
Must-See (In-Person) Events
The energy of this DSU—the first in-person fall version ever held—was inspiring, and the feedback received was overwhelmingly positive—making this Direct Selling University one of the most successful to date.
Planning for the next DSU event in April of 2023 in Frisco, Texas is underway, and the momentum and excitement is already building.
From the December 2022 issue of Direct Selling News magazine.