Market Expansion Success the Rodan + Fields Way
We at Rodan + Fields attracted a lot of attention by winning the DSA Excellence in Salesforce Development Award—twice, back-to-back. But please don’t mistake that statement for bragging. As I’ve traveled and met industry peers, I’ve been repeatedly asked what we did, how, and why it’s different. So, here it is. Our story that may inspire you to pursue new field development strategies in your own company.
In 2010, we knew that the Atlanta market had great potential. We had many first-time direct sellers in the market and they were looking for leadership and direction. We tried quick strike company events and, although inspiring, they did not give these fledgling consultants the skill sets they needed. So we looked at how to empower consultants in the market to create a groundswell initiative with just enough support from us.
Our conclusion was to create a steering committee of self-appointed, energetic, committed leaders and bring them together to be at the forefront of this change. These leaders have proven to be the key to this entire process. We sent out the word that we were looking for consultants to lead this effort, and several individuals stepped up. As in any group, four or five key people emerged as the front-runners, the ones who kept everything moving forward.
With the steering committee in place, it was time for us to develop the support they needed. Drawing on the experience of seasoned leaders and my background of 15 years in organizational behavior and global strategy, we developed three days of foundational training. These would be Step 1 for equipping our leaders.
Our three days were conducted in modules, each day focusing on a component of the business in which we could engage with members, leaders, guests and more. The attendees also spoke with us. These modules were not presentations so much as they were interactive sessions. Each one was also spaced about a month apart, so as not to overwhelm consultants and to give them time to practice what they had learned.
The three modules consisted of the following:
- Steps to Success – During this module, we asked members to talk about their why, their motivation for getting in this business. Specifics were encouraged, but were not nebulous “wanted to see what would happen” kind of motivators. We also got very specific about goal-setting, asking attendees to set realistic, achievable, measurable and personal goals.
- Business Boot Camp – For this session, attendees learned how to focus on critical practices, rather than desired outcomes, in their day-to-day goal setting and to follow up on the results and fully capitalize on the Rodan + Fields compensation plan. In addition, attendees learned from each other how to improve their inviting skills, increase new consultant activity and duplicate the new consultant business launch program.
- Business Presentation – For the third and final module, we shared what key components make up successful business presentations. This module included questions on clarity of the message and how to establish credibility when presenting. The leaders who attended learned how to host and orchestrate team meetings that would bring standing-room only crowds. We had attendees practice their presentations, and we emphasized optimism and adaptability. We stressed that, of course, they were going to hear “no” in this business. Learning to handle that and to not take it personally is what makes the difference between high achievers and those who eventually quit.
So far, you may be thinking that this information is not all that groundbreaking. But remember that we had our volunteer steering committee involved lock-step with us for these modules, eventually getting to the point that they could deliver the training without corporate leaders, if desired. Their enthusiasm and buy-in made all the difference for the ongoing success of the program.
Salesforce Development Gone Wild … In a Good Way
What happened after the training is essential. We turned the field leaders and our steering committee loose.
The critical question was how could we maintain the conversation and propel the field to continue engaging and building their businesses. The answer was online resources. We encouraged our Atlanta leaders to set up self-contained virtual communities, through private groups on social networking sites like Facebook, Google, Yahoo and others. In these Internet-based sites, consultants could post their questions, share their successes, offer tips to each other, provide corporate or product information, self-recognize their achievements and maintain the feelings of commitment and enthusiasm that they established during the training period. This interaction created what we have called positive tension between members. It really imparted the lesson, “Hey, if she could reach this goal just by mentioning Rodan + Fields to her friends, I can do this too!”
While I jokingly say this was a period of the salesforce going wild, we were right there with them. We provided any resources they needed, we monitored progress consistently and we facilitated the online interactions. For every group, we would ensure that the discussions were balanced, respectful, fruitful and fair. At times, we would interject some guidance into conversations or provide more details to better explain issues that had been raised.
The beauty of these online communities is that they are both self-sustaining and unifying. There is a great deal of crowdsourcing when consultants provide content, including links to relevant external sites. In the private virtual communities, you can find links to our webinars, prepared scripts for business presentations, event templates and our corporate platform. The overall effect is one of building and reinforcing interconnectivity between multiple Rodan + Fields players. This is the future of networking.
Throughout this period in Atlanta, we helped the steering committee create multiple events and a timeline that included business activities, training and celebrations. Some of these celebrations were true, red-carpet-style extravaganzas with celebrity appearances of Rodan + Fields Chairman Amnon Rodan, President Lori Bush and myself. Consultants were even more enthusiastic after each event.
While our approach may have been a little unorthodox, we can’t dispute the results. In the Atlanta market’s three-month market expansion initiative, the following occurred:
- The number of highest ranking executive consultants tripled.
- Checks to field members almost doubled.
- Sales in Georgia grew 300 percent.
- A solid fleet of leaders was identified in the area.
We are still getting amazingly positive feedback from this market. Consider this statement from a Georgia consultant: “I appreciate so much the team building, goal setting and accountability you helped us put into practice. I love the abundant attitude our company has, and I am so proud to be partnering with you.”
Building on what we experienced in Atlanta, we have rolled out this initiative in other markets. We carefully select each new market based on leadership potential and key performance indicators, and we always start by calling for those committed leaders to be on the steering committee. We have locked arms with our key leaders and put the program in place in Dallas and Austin, Texas; Denver; and San Francisco. Similar results in these markets are proving that our program, officially called the Market Expansion Initiative, can be replicated. We expect to add four more markets in the coming months.
We are constantly evaluating our existing markets for “signals on the radar” based on key performance indicators. We cross-qualify those signals with local and regional leadership intelligence to gauge where our initiatives would have maximum impact. For example,
Montana is one of our top 10 sponsoring markets, and we believe this has everything to do with the quality of leaders there. An added benefit of our market expansion initiatives has been the ability to identify emerging leaders in specific locations.
Our Own Why
We think of Rodan + Fields as pioneers in our shared industry. As many of you know, we were behind the glass counter in high-end department stores as an Estee Lauder Company. Our founders chose to take this brand to the direct selling arena, with all the legacy, tradition, and quality associated with the product history in their hip pockets. This is how we became the first top-selling clinical skincare brand sold at top retail locations to deliberately move from behind the glass counters into direct selling.
We also tend to attract consultants who have never been in direct selling before, but are remarkably successful nonetheless. In addition, based on my years in business and watching competitors from within industries share their case studies, I know that we can help our industry as a whole by sharing our success. That is why we choose to share with you, our fellow direct selling leaders, the insights we gleaned from more than a year of trials and execution of strategies that have made a positive impact for our field and our organization as a whole.
I am certain that everyone can take the ingredients we have assembled and come up with their own formulas for success. On behalf of the entire team at Rodan + Fields, best of luck to all of us!
Oran Arazi-Gamliel is the Executive Vice President of Global Strategy and Business Development for Rodan + Fields.