Operating in the direct-sales world is challenging, so consultant Brett A. Blake lends a hand. He notes that direct sales are counterintuitive. In non-direct-sales firms, increased sales are always positive. But for direct-sales firms, increased sales now can result in slower sales later – unless firms correspondingly add more field leaders. Blake tackles the challenge of adding the right new field leaders, reaching new customers who can become leaders, and prospering in this challenging arena.
Direct-sales firms need strong field leaders, especially to boost renewals.
Field-sales leaders are vital to the success of direct-sales companies,especially during a sales slump or a renewal program. Sales slumps followed by renewals or attempted renewals are all too common. Research suggests that 100% of direct-sales companies go through a renewal period. The most successful firms traverse multiple sales-renewal episodes.
Some companies renew successfully, and others don’t and go bust, such as Longaberger. Other firms, such as Pampered Chef and Creative Memories, never fully recovered from slumps and remain smaller than their former size.
Typically, direct-sales companies experience a hyper-growth period of three to five years, and then stop growing or contract. How these firms and their field leaders deal with sales declines is central to their future sales volume and results. Renewed sales growth demands quality leadership.
Direct-sales firms need planned, efficient processes for acquiring customers, not only for renewal, but for sales at all phases. Such a system should feature an easily repeatable ...
Brett A. Blake, a partner in The ServiceQuest Group, has been the president, CEO or GM of seven companies. He also wrote Private Equity Investing in Direct Selling: Identifying Risks & Rewards, and RENEWAL: Leading Direct Selling Turnarounds.