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A company thrives because of its customer base, those who repeatedly purchase the goods or services of a business. While a well-established customer base is important, adding new customers into the mix is equally so. Together, old and new customers will help your business grow and flourish.
Of the many ways a company can endeavor to retain customers and add to its customer base, one approach that seems to be talked about less often is versatility—multifaceted competence along with adaptability to many different situations.
There are a number of ways a business in the direct selling channel can show versatility to benefit its existing and potential customer base.
1) Be a Versatile Solutions Provider
No matter which aspect of the direct selling channel you are involved in, you know it’s a channel that is growing in popularity. The Direct Selling Association reported that, in 2015, more than 20 million people were involved in direct selling in the United States, with estimated retail sales reaching $36.12 billion.
This may seem like a pretty simple solution, given the topic at hand. But in the business world, especially when dealing with a channel that continues to experience steady growth, it is important not only to know how to perform multiple tasks in different ways, but also ably provide those tasks and services. Customers are often looking for a “one-stop shop” to meet their needs in a world driven by instant gratification—they want your product or service, and they want it now. Are you able to meet their needs on a multidimensional level? If not, another company out there likely can and will deliver the many different aspects of what a customer is seeking. Lack of versatility brings risk of losing potential sales.
2) Build an Experienced Salesforce
In any business that utilizes direct selling techniques, much of its success can be determined by, well, sales. Sales are the ultimate goal of most businesses and organizations, but those involved in the direct selling channel know this to be true even more so. Each member of your salesforce is an individual representation of your company. And since there is no store to back them up while they are out promoting various goods or services, salespeople rely very much on themselves. Having a team of passionate, loyal and experienced individuals is vital. There is a certain degree of uncertainty in what a sales representative may encounter in work-related travels—the situations faced or questions asked—a key reason why the salesforce must be versatile.
“There is no ‘I’ in team.” “Teamwork makes the dream work.” Clichés, yes, but they hold truth. While it may seem like a bit of a stretch when it comes to versatility, members of your company’s sales team are not the sole members of a direct selling business. In fact, they cannot expect to succeed without fully utilizing all team members. While it may be hard to remember that you’re all in this together, while oftentimes functioning as individuals in your working roles, hard work and a cohesive nature as a company will shine through in your company’s finished product or service, which the customer is sure to notice. Promoting a team atmosphere within your company will help increase the efficiency and overall well-being of employees as well.
4) Keep Your Website Current
Perhaps you’re selling the latest and greatest new product, a product that just hit the market and isn’t even available in stores yet. But you’ve either failed to make it available online or your website is so outdated that your company doesn’t appear reputable. As a customer, would you rather purchase from a company that actively keeps its website current, or a company that lets its website fall by the wayside? I know which one I would pick.
Both old and new customers will be frequent visitors to your website if they are interested in the products or services offered by your company. This is especially important for those involved in the direct selling channel, because quite often your business relies on a website to help sell your products much more than a traditional store does.
If your website remains the same with each visit, the likelihood of customers coming back for more will decrease. Adapting and changing your website will show customers how invested you are in your business.
5) Add Channels
If you haven’t yet taken the plunge, now is the time to create social platforms for your direct selling company. Something less formal and a bit more personal is a good way to engage pre-existing and potential customers, and they won’t have to put forth substantial effort to read a long-winded report or research document.
Similar to a website, blog and social media posts will help convey information in a quick and effective manner that the reader is more apt to pay attention to, as well as read all the way through. These platforms are perfect for incorporating eye-catching graphics or photos that will grab a reader’s attention much faster than a plain body of text. Sharing information about your company in a fun and creative way will draw readers in. Do you have some exciting company-related news that you’d like to share? What about a sale or promotion? Blog and social media posts are an ideal way to alert your customers to information they’ll want to know immediately.
Is your company practicing versatility to ensure success in the direct selling industry? If not, now is a great time to start. In an ever-changing world, it is critical for your company to evolve, adapt and be more versatile. Your customers will appreciate your “can-do” attitude when meeting their needs, and it will keep them coming back for more. Their positive word-of-mouth can refer new customers to see what your versatile business has to offer.
Bill Hunter is President and CEO of Valerian Technologies, a company that provides retailers and marketers with innovative customer loyalty data card solutions.