Larry A. Meltzer, Agency Principal
Two events recently brought the world of direct selling back into the news: The eponymous pink mansion in Dallas owned by beauty mogul Mary Kay was razed to make way for new development, and the Wall Street Journal published a feature on how Avon plans to revitalize the company.
While the direct selling model seems almost quaint today, in a sense it’s the same model that we use in our profession, except we have a different product and a different audience. It’s all about a personal approach to selling, whether we’re meeting in person, using digital channels, or picking up the phone. Some lament that technology has diminished the personal, relationship-based nature of our business, but I’d argue that if used appropriately, we can find a middle ground where we can leverage technology to get closer to our audience. Consider:
Opt for performance over convenience: It’s easy and convenient to rely on blanket technology, such as an email distribution service to send out communications in batches. But taking the time to develop individual notes personalized to the interests of the recipient will almost always deliver better results than the “spray and pray” approach. Individual emails also are less likely to get hung up by spam filters.
Engage even when you’re not selling: Too often, we get caught up in our own content, focused on building engagement with the brands for which we work. But it only takes a few minutes to read and comment on others’ blog posts and articles, building a stronger two-way engagement as we define and elevate ourselves as professionals.
Dive deeper in the tech you’re using: The major social media channels are continually tweaking their services to enable more precise targeting. If you’re using promoted tweets and sponsored posts to target audiences, try drilling down further into the demographic options. You can get down almost to street level to make sure your content is relevant to the audience.
Low tech can be good tech: At the end of the day, this is a business built on relationships. A few years back, I asked a colleague to check with a co-worker about the status of a project. The following day, she said she hadn’t received a reply email. The odd part about this? The two individuals worked in the same office … two doors apart! Sometimes a good old-fashioned meeting or phone call can do more to personalize an experience than any technology can ever accomplish.
The next time you see a pink Cadillac driving down the street, remember that you and the driver are taking a similar approach to the work you do!