Direct Selling Must Embrace the Virtual Party
The virtual party is swiftly becoming an important part of business for both the party plan and MLM/network marketing sides of the direct sales business model. As consumer shopping preferences evolve, it is becoming increasingly evident that companies must adapt in order to survive. Our salespeople find virtual parties more efficient and far-reaching. They can do more of them in a shorter amount of time. And often our customers are more willing to show up to something for 30 minutes online without having to give up an evening for a shopping experience.
So why are we so bad at them? True, there are some direct sellers who are having success with the virtual party. But companies have been slow to create consistent corporate models that offer the duplication success that our model requires.
Some of this is due to a lack of understanding of what works. Companies must study what is working both within the industry, as well as with their individual salespeople, to identify best practices. But the other challenge is the technology required to create a seamless experience for customers. Facebook by itself does not offer the complete solution. When it comes time to shop, we as an industry need to provide an easy way for customers to add items to a cart without leaving the party experience.
Fortunately, there are industry software providers who are starting to create solutions that hold a lot of promise for our industry. But our industry has been slow to adapt, holding out the adage that the in-person party is still the core business. And while in-person experiences may be ideal, dwindling attendance tells us that we can’t stop adapting. We MUST let our customer lead us in the ways they want to shop, and want to interact with us. What makes us most comfortable, what we’ve designed all of our materials for, may not be the best solution anymore.
It is time for the industry to get fully behind virtual parties, put a serious effort behind creating the materials needed for consistent success, and invest in the technology to support these shopping experiences. It’s time to stop kicking and screaming against change. Because like it or not, the world will evolve with our without us.
Does your company support virtual parties? How is your shopping experience? What best practices have you identified? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments.
Jennifer Fong is a direct sales business consultant who helps startup and established direct sales companies adapt to today’s changing business environment. If your business needs a checkup, contact Jennifer today.