MOMENTUM. IT’S EVERY network marketing company’s dream. However, momentum doesn’t just happen. Just like you can’t run a marathon if you haven’t conditioned your body for a marathon, your company won’t be able to build and sustain momentum if it’s not in “momentum” shape.
It’s easy to be distracted by what seem like easy paths to sustained growth or by what other companies seem to be doing to achieve their momentum. Don’t be. You will lose focus and steam. Effective momentum training has two phases:
- Build and maintain a foundation for distributor success.
- Move distributors from a rewards mindset to a responsibility mindset.
A Foundation For Distributor Success
Are you properly compensating and training your distributors for the work you ask them to do? That might sound like a strange question, but the fatal flaw in some direct selling compensation and training plans is a lack of alignment between the company’s stated priorities, and the money distributors make for acting on those priorities.
Examples: If you say distributors should focus on customer acquisition, but you don’t reward them well for acquiring new customers, there’s a disconnect. If distributors know they have an opportunity to be paid weekly for closing sales–but the reality is that closing sales takes the average distributor 30 to 45 days, there’s a disconnect there, too. There has to be a clear relationship between the behaviors you say you’re looking for and the compensation and tools they are given for engaging in those behaviors.
The conflict may not be apparent right away, especially if distributors make front-loaded bonuses during their start-up phase. But once those bonus opportunities fade and the grind of building volume begins, distributors will get discouraged if they don’t see a financial return for their sweat equity.
Of course, some paychecks will be higher than others. That’s the nature of sales. However, the peaks and valleys in compensation can’t be too extreme. Pay that’s directly tied to activity creates predictability, and predictability creates comfort. You want people to be comfortable with their compensation.
From Rewards To Responsibility
Most people join direct sales organizations to make money. It might be part-time money that makes bills easier to pay or full-time money that gives them the flexibility they didn’t have in previous jobs.
But why do they stay?
Money alone won’t keep a salesperson engaged once the excitement of starting something new wears off. Salespeople are more likely to keep choosing your organization if they also feel connected
to, energized by and accountable to its larger purpose. When they are driven not only by their own success but by your organization’s core objectives, they will see and work beyond self-interest. Then, everyone wins.
So how do you not just motivate people but move them, too? You have to help them make the shift from a rewards mindset to a responsibility mindset, from “What’s in it for me?” to “What’s in it for us (the company, customers, distributors)?” This phase of the momentum training plan has three steps:
- Make your mission clear.
- Know your audience.
- Reward teamwork.
Make Your Mission Clear
You want new distributors to get on board with your mission quickly. So, make sure you have identified your company’s central purpose, and then state it in clear, simple language. What are you really about? If saving the world truly is your goal, that’s okay. It’s also okay if your mission is to give people a chance to make a lot of money and have fun doing it.
Just be authentic. If you sugarcoat your organizational purpose, your actions will not reflect what you say your goals are and you won’t attract people who will help you achieve them. Your employees and distributors will discover the incongruence, too, which will create doubt and mistrust. However, people will sacrifice time, effort, money and emotional currency if they believe you, if they believe in your purpose and if believe they can be part of helping achieve that purpose.
Know Your Audience.
There’s the crowd you want and the crowd you have. Are they the same? If not, you have a couple of choices: You can change what you’re selling or how you’re selling it to attract the distributors and customers you want, or you can keep doing what you’re doing and get more of what you already have.
Be realistic about what your company provides, and do some audience research to find out if it’s what your intended targets really want. Maybe you have a product that has always appealed to baby boomers, but you keep pushing your teams to recruit and sell to millennials. That may be partly why momentum feels so elusive. Again, alignment is key. Understanding the audience you want to attract and selling that audience what it wants to buy is the only way you’re going to have the growth you’re looking for.
Great salespeople, just like great athletes or great actors, aren’t going to do what it takes to be excellent if they’re not recognized and compensated for their individual work. Still, even with a field full of appropriately rewarded distributors, you won’t become a legacy company if people don’t feel responsible to each other and to your organization. Create opportunities for and reward work that benefits the entire group. This will foster buy-in to the idea that everyone is accountable for the success of the whole organization.
Distributors should show up not just because they want to meet their own goal. If that’s their only motivation, once they’ve satisfied that goal there’s no incentive for them to work beyond it. But if they show up also because they believe everyone on the team is depending on them, that’s a true responsibility mindset.
If people in your organization are “me” focused, the sum of the parts is the sum of the whole. If they are “we” focused, the sum of those parts is so much greater. And now you’re in momentum shape.