“Direct sales” and “MLM” (or multi level marketing), feel almost like dirty words these days.
You see, people have really strong feelings about it.
“OMG, STOP SELLING ME STUFF.”
“Why can’t you support mothers who are trying to support their families?”
“I DON’T WANT YOUR $50 LEGGINGS.”
(Disclaimer: I don’t know how much the leggings cost.)
MLM and direct sales companies are very popular, and it seems every other month there is a new one that is all the rage. The only way I know about them is due to my inbox on pretty much every social media platform.
For all you who are working your booties off to sell product that you believe in, I get it. But, there’s a but. I’ll get to the but in a minute.
I understand the strong desire to stay at home with your children. Sometimes, it’s even a necessity. Daycare is freaking expensive, and unless you’re going to be working a fancy high-paying job, often times going back to work will just barely cover daycare costs. You’ll be making pennies so that someone you barely know can be responsible for your baby’s well-being. The obvious solution is to try to make money while you’re at home. I GET IT. I even respect it. Get your hustle on, girl.
I, like many others, have had some seriously negative experiences when it comes to direct marketing as a potential customer. There are a few things that will send me running.
Message me when you haven’t connected with me recently.
“Hey girl! It’s been so long! How have you been?” RED FLAG. RUN.
This is probably one of the most disappointing sales tactics I’ve seen. I guess they browse their friends list, see me as a potential customer, and hits that “send message” button. What’s so wrong about this: I start off thinking you actually want to reconnect with me. But you’re fooling me. As soon as I write back a genuine response, excited to hear from you, you’ll send me your pitch. And then I realize: You never really wanted to reconnect with me. Dirty.
Put on the pressure.
If everyone knows you’re selling, the best thing to do is just let people come to you. If I know you’re selling some special mascara, I’ll tell you when I want special mascara. If you’re my friend or family member, I’m going to feel bad saying no to you, so don’t put me in an awkward position.
Ask for my friends’ phone numbers.
If I decide to buy something from you — whether it’s because I’m actually interested in the product, or I’m trying to support you — it’s pretty crappy to then ask for ten of my friends’ names and numbers so you can text them non-stop for the next three weeks.
Not keeping it separate.
In direct sales, you’re often selling to your friends and family. I understand that, but I think it’s a really good idea to keep things as separate as you can. Otherwise, people in your life are going to distance themselves. In other words, your own sister is going to hide all your posts from her Facebook news feed.
Not talking about literally anything else.
Yes, you’re going to talk about things you’re excited about. But it’s all about a healthy mix. If you only talk about your business 20% of the time, I know about your product, but I’m much less likely to be completely annoyed. *insert green heart emoji*
Obviously target me based on…
Want to piss a new mom off? Congratulate her on her tiny bundle of joy, then immediately pitch her a product to help her lose baby weight. Actually say “lose baby weight”. That’ll do it.
Keep inviting me after I’ve declined.
Dear friend, if I’ve declined your last FIVE Facebook events and left your group twice, I am very obviously not interested, and you are annoying. *Unfriend*
Accuse me of not being supportive.
Not buying things from you doesn’t make me a bad friend. I shouldn’t have give money to my friends. Because that’s what’s happening when I’m buying a product I don’t want.
Lock me in as a repeat customer.
Let’s say I give your product a chance. Maybe you pressured me. Maybe I’m trying to be supportive. Please, please don’t text me every time you’re about to put in an order. If I want something, I will tell you.
Make your financial problems my responsibility.
How embarrassing for both of us. Please don’t tell me you’re having trouble paying your bills, that you need to meet your quota, and then pitch me your product. So. Awkward. And your credit card bill isn’t in my budget this month.
Believe it or not, I’ve experienced all of these, and a lot of my friends have, too.
There are a lot of great saleswomen, and I admire them! They don’t do any of these things. They advertise well, post on social media about their lives, only tell me about their product if I’ve shown interest and/or they’ve connected with me, and never talk about their personal financial problems.
What do you think? What’s the worst direct sales tactic you’ve seen?