Technology continues to change all facets of modern day life. Whether that be our personal lives or the way a business functions, technology has and will continue to influence the way that things are done. When it comes to direct selling, things are no different. Today, businesses have shifted their models significantly due to the influence of technology and the way that we do business.
A veteran of direct selling, Bradley DiNunzio of Orlando, Florida, discusses how technology is changing the way businesses and individuals sell directly to consumers. He also notes that it is important to the success of your business to always keep up to date with your customers wants and needs and make sure that you create and nurture a positive relationship.
How Does Direct Selling Work?
Like the Kirby Company, thousands of suppliers across the United States offer consumers a unique entrepreneurial opportunity. Instead of attempting a traditional business launch with major overhead, consumers can buy the products they love at a discount and sell those products to the public, says Bradley DiNunzio.
Direct selling bypasses the retail store shelves and empowers the consumer-turned-entrepreneur to demonstrate a product and sell it directly within a particular market. Sometimes referred to as network or multi-level marketing, direct selling takes many forms and offers a personal touch to retail.
Ways that Technology Empowers Direct Selling
While some consider direct selling an old-fashioned approach, the reality is that direct selling wins wherever relationships drive sales.
Brad DiNunzio notes that technology is continually opening new doors for direct sellers to spread the word and nurture prospects. From productivity hacks to online communities, direct selling has more ways to grow than it ever has in the history of sales, thanks to new technology.
The most obvious technological impact to direct selling occurs through social media. Direct selling entrepreneurs are no longer limited to their own cities and neighborhoods. Now they can create their own online community and convert sales around the country and the world.
Some direct selling organizations are training their staff to create or join social media groups that have a particular lifestyle in common. Direct sellers can engage other members and introduce problem-solving products/services.
Many happy customers then return to social media and become brand ambassadors. This social media traffic further increases brand awareness for the product.
Mobile Device Apps
Direct selling companies are going mobile. Now sellers can track their sales, prospects, referral codes, product lines, and more from the palm of their hand, says Bradley DiNunzio.
Existing customers don’t have to pester their direct seller when they want to reorder. They can simply log in to their app and order in seconds. If consumers want to launch their own direct selling business, many brands are allowing them to switch their membership from a customer to a seller.
Customer Relationship Management Software
Most direct sellers spend time “in the field.” As a result, they need to capture relevant prospects and customer information on the fly rather than recording data in a quiet office.
Customer relationship management software, or CRMs, are growing more popular among direct sellers. These platforms are also growing sleeker and more customizable. Many direct sellers track their “touches” via the CRM program on their phone or tablet as they move between homes and events.
Sometimes prospects are not ready to buy right away. Technology is such today that direct sellers can build email lists (with permission from the customer) and employ their own version of email drip campaigns, says Brad DiNunzio.
Low-cost email marketing software like Mailchimp allow direct sellers to stay in regular contact with their prospects, nurturing them closer to a product purchase. These same email marketing software providers also allow for customer segmentation so that sellers can send automated emails to only certain recipients on a list.
For example, sellers can have an email list of existing customers to notify them of special offers or resupply promotions. The seller can have a list for moderately interested and seriously interested, each receiving their own unique email message on a regular basis.
Bradley DiNunzio on SMS Marketing
A step farther beyond email, direct selling brands are also putting SMS text marketing to good use. Sellers can use texting to remind prospects of product demonstration appointments, confirm RSVPs to a sales event, send out promo codes, and more.
So long as direct sellers do not abuse the medium, says Brad DiNunzio, SMS open rates are much higher and have a greater chance of generating an immediate response from customers.