If one more direct selling company or sponsor encourages new recruits to Make a List of 100 People You Know, I’m going to stick a fork in my eye!
I’m talking about the practice of spamming the snot out of their friends, family and acquaintances. It goes against the entire concept of target marketing and finding a niche. No wonder the direct selling industry still has a bad reputation in some circles.
This archaic and tired practice claims that if you make a list of 100 people to hound, it’ll be your first networking contact list that will supposedly help launch your new direct sales career. Although, whether you’re selling candles, jewelry, kitchenware, makeup, home decor or any other product offering, wouldn’t you have better results if you presented your new product line specifically to the people whom you believe could benefit from and enjoy your goods?
Market to Those Who Have a Specific Want or Need
This concept of making a list of 100 is ridiculous. What if your dental hygienist started a business selling metal widgets that would help expedite an automobile factory manufacturing process? If this person made a list of 100 people she knows and included you in that list to push her steel vehicle widgets on, you’d think she was totally off her rocker for wasting your time. Yet as direct sellers, we’re supposed to do just that; having no regard to market to those who have a specific want or need.
Instead of investing precious time trying to list and then contact all of the people you know such as: Family, Friends, Neighbors, Your friends’ parents, Your parents’ friends, Your parents’ colleagues, Your children’s friends’ parents, Classmates, Alumni of any school you attended, including high school, Members of the local chamber of commerce, Members of your church, temple, or other faith-based groups, Professors, Teachers, Mentors, Former Bosses, Former or current colleagues, Former or current customers, Former employees whom you managed, Members of the YMCA, YWCA, or other clubs, Members of professional groups to which you belong, Members of a service organization (e.g. the Rotary), School committee members, Counselors, Friends from military service, Coaches (in sports, arts, hobbies, etc.), Your doctor, Your lawyer, Your insurance agent, Your accountant or tax preparer, Your auto mechanic, The manager of your favorite coffee shop, The bartender at your favorite watering hole, The owner of maitre d’ of your favorite restaurant, Your barber/hairstylist, Your mortgage broker, Your real estate broker, Your veterinarian, Your dry cleaner, Any shop or business owners who know you by name (especially in “˜high touch’ businesses like art dealers, florists, dress shop managers, wedding planners, wine dealers””people who have long conversations with others), Any acquaintance who owes you a favor, spend some time defining your target market.
The Likely Results of Spamming the Above List:
- You’ll ostracize yourself from them so that in the future they’ll be forced to check Caller-ID before taking your call or find themselves suddenly running late for an appointment and need to promptly depart your presence.
- You may get a few mercy purchases from those who have a hard time saying no because they don’t want you to feel discouraged.
- If you stumble upon someone who is genuinely interested in what you’re offering, it is mere statistics. If you spray enough bullets you’re bound to eventually hit something. But is that the reputation you really want to start off with? Or would you aim narrow, and therefore miss narrow?
I’m Not The Only One Who Believes This Way
Leslie Truex of Work at Home Success agrees, “Having a business is about finding the market that wants your product/service, not brow beating people you know into supporting you. Plus if you’re successful without the list, your recruitment may go up because talking to friends and family is a major reason why many people avoid direct sales and you’ll be able to show them how to do it without a list.”
Further, Adriaan at Direct Sell Assistant concurs that “90% of new consultants will stay with this list and expect to make a lot of money. I wish more people that get recruited are rather shown how to market a product and find new customers, than to write down that list of a 100.”
If You Said Yes …
Lastly, if you’ve signed up for a company that has a fantastic product line, don’t you think you should be able to find others who enjoy and benefit from it as much as you do? No need to approach your auntie who has severe allergies to buy your candles or your sweet bald mechanic about your organic shampoo. Just because you may know 100 people, doesn’t mean they’d be good customers.
My advice: It’s 2017, time (way past time) to throw out your “List of 100 People You Know.”
*I originally wrote this post in 2008, and periodically revise it to ensure it’s still current.
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Loved the article, but whats next? Is there an article on defining my target market???
Melissa H Dery says
Great article! The more direct sellers can see what they do as a business and wotk it as such the sooner they will achieve the results and build the relationships they need.
Leslie Truex says
Hi Laurie, Thanks for sharing my thoughts on marketing for direct sales. Everyone says “treat it like a business” is right, except when it comes to marketing, reps aren’t taught about target market and how to reach it. With the Internet, that’s so much easier! Great article!!
Good observation about marketing for direct sales, Leslie. It has always boggled me how this important element could be missed in this element. It’s so vital for longevity in the direct selling industry.