Don’t Forget The Basics: A Cautionary Tale

by Andrea Tortora

Click here to order the April 2015 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

When companies leave direct selling, their stories present keen lessons for the entire industry. Interviews with industry experts and business leaders, as well as extensive research, show many common challenges and mistakes. The most notable? Forgetting the basics. As companies mature, they become complicated and drift away from their core. This can create weakness in a business’ culture and attitude.

“There has to be a synergy between the efforts of the corporation and the efforts of the field to work together as partners. You have to always respect the field and care about them and love them to be truly successful.”

—Neil Offen, former President and CEO, Direct Selling Association

To remain strong and growing in the industry requires an understanding of many complex issues, but foremost among them is a foundational principle—what makes direct selling tick are personal relationships. This remains true regardless of product offering, level of new technology utilized, or even what label is attached to the process—whether it’s group selling, party plan, social selling or one-on-one.

While it remains important for nearly every business today to maintain a commitment to technology expansion in some form, the manner in which each company embraces technology should never supersede the organization’s commitment to its people who function within that technological framework. Parties and gatherings may move to a more virtual landscape, but the people involved are still the ones engaged in the process and business channel. Indeed, the rapidly evolving landscape in business in general requires everyone to stay nimble enough to respond to market pressures and consumer preferences in ways that align with their company’s true principles.

People First

Every time a good company exits direct selling, it hurts the industry as a whole. There are many recent examples from which we can learn, including two energy companies that closed their direct selling segments: North American Power and NRG, whose business unit operated as Independence Energy Alliance. Other companies include … Click here to read the full story at Direct Selling News.


About Direct Selling News
Direct Selling News Magazine has been serving direct selling and network marketing executives since 2004. Each issue of Direct Selling News offers content on topics that shape the dynamics of our industry.

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