I love attending direct selling parties or demonstrations – not only for the fun and the shopping experience (I can be a bit of a shop-a-holic), but also because I think it’s important to continually update my practical knowledge of direct selling. In most cases, I wait until later in the event to let to let on that I’m somewhat more than a casual observer. It’s important for me to see exactly how people are approaching their business.
But this past weekend I had an interesting opportunity to be part of a conversation that was a bit different from a product demonstration. I was at the mall with my daughter and we stopped in the food court for lunch. We were seated in a cluster of tables and next to us six women were having a friendly conversation. During a break in the discussion I was having with my daughter about her upcoming birthday party, the conversation at the next table caught my ear. After casually eavesdropping for a few moments it was confirmed – the women were direct sellers having a team meeting. It didn’t take long to determine that the company they were with is a DSA member, so I listened intently. What would the sales leader say to motivate her team, particularly in this tough economy? Would she say anything that would make me want to leap up and flash my business card as though I were an undercover cop? Would the ladies report brisk sales or tough times?
The leader asked the women how they were feeling about their business. One woman began by reporting strong sales the week before. Another woman reported that even though sales were pretty good she said she knew the economy was having an impact on people – they were considering more carefully how their money was going to be spent. After going around the table the leader chimed in again. Her direction to her team was the following –
“Almost all of you joined this company after having used the products yourselves. You know they are great products, but just as with anything, some people will love them and some people won’t. It’s our job as consultants to show people the products and help them decide if they are the right products for them. If you find yourself trying to convince someone to make a purchase, that’s not the right kind of sale. Just give them the facts and let them decide.”
By this time my daughter was asking me to remind her who had RSVP’d for her party so my attention went back to her, but I was grinning on the inside. Despite the urge I had to turn around and congratulate this seller on her wise advice (and wanting to continue listening), I finished my lunch and headed back to shopping. The meeting continued and no one in the group had any idea that I had been listening to the conversation or that their words had fallen on the ears of someone who had a much different perspective than most.
It’s not that the conversation at that adjacent table was unique – it happens thousands of times each day in this country and around the world. But the perspective was unique – and what I heard reaffirmed for me why direct selling works. Tough economy or not, direct selling has a real impact on the lives of millions of people around the globe every day. It works because it’s a business about people. I don’t know the stories of each of those women, but I know they wouldn’t stand out in a crowd – they are just doing what they need to do to put food on the table, have a little fun, buy products they love, etc. etc.
So, thanks to those women for providing me with an opportunity to be a fly on the wall. I wish them good luck in their business and hope they continue to find success.