A Decade of Innovation: How Digital Tools & Physical Tools are Impacting Direct Sales

Sep 2, 2020 9:45:11 AM / by McKinley Oswald

To view the full Masterclass with Cord Udall and Adam Roberts click here:

Did you know the last Blockbuster store was recently converted to an Airbnb? That’s right, for about $200, you can go stay at the last Blockbuster store and watch all your favorite VHS tapes all night long. The company that was once a thriving retail model 20 years ago has been replaced because it failed to embrace technology.


In 2000, Blockbuster had the chance to buy Netflix for $50 million. Today, Blockbuster is down to one store (an AirBNB). Netflix is worth $250 billion.


The same cautionary tale can be said for the direct sales industry. Companies who fail to embrace technology have been left behind. Yet, one similarity that we see with all of our successful clients is that they have found a way to take a hybrid approach that combines the power of technology with physical tools to create a simple approach for their distributors to build the business, using tried and true practices that maximize the power of technology.


This edition of the Direct Sales Masterclass features a conversation I had with Verb team members Cord Udall, VP of Marketing Extension, and Adam Roberts, Director of Sampling and Marketing Extension Projects. We discuss the best practices of many of our clients who are using a hybrid approach to tools, combining the best of the Verb app with the power of physical tools.


How Direct Sales Has Changed in the Past Decade

A lot has changed in the direct sales industry over the last 10 years. Two of the main areas relate to videos being played digitally over the internet and the advance of social media. Being able to share content in real time over the internet or through an app has sped up the pace of contacting someone about products or opportunity. Add to that the connections of social media, and a whole new way to do business has emerged. Gone are the days of sharing a DVD or a CD with someone. The expectation has evolved to viewing it now and making a quick decision.


Without having retail locations, direct sales companies have always relied on a starter kit or product shipment to provide the first experience with the company. Even with the emergence of this new digital era, physical tools still play a critical role in how successful direct sales companies are building their businesses.



“Finding a digital and physical strategy for tools has led to the best success with the companies that we are working with.”

– Cord Udall


We have seen the failure to adopt a strategy that combines a physical experience and a digital tools component lead to failure as a company. Many of the companies we worked with 10 years ago stuck to their traditional ways to build and are no longer in business or growing the way they were 10 years ago. The reality is that this is still a relationship business—people enjoy getting things in the mail, and companies can provide that physical experience, whether it is a sample of the product or a starter kit and combine it with the power of technology.


Sampling: The Perfect Combination of Physical and Digital Tools


Sampling has been around direct sales for decades. Providing a contact with the opportunity to try a product before they buy it isn’t something new. But, combining sampling with the power of technology is something new to the industry.


“At Verb we like to say that we didn’t invent sampling, we just perfected it.” – Adam Roberts



Best Practices of Successful Sampling:

  • Create a Samples Culture: It starts at the executive level. If you are committed to sampling, then the program will have an impact.
  • Follow-Up is Key: Utilize the Verb technology to follow up with the person receiving the sample and provide coaching tips to the distributor
  • Social Sampling: Sampling on social media is a key way to build a list and get your product in front of the masses
  • Provide Physical Samples: Sell 10 packs of your samples to the field and provide a way in the app for them to utilize the follow-up technology for in-person samples


Verb Samples Case Study

One Verb client tested sampling with a select group of leaders. Over a four-week period, they sent out hundreds of samples. And, the conversion rates were high. Following the beta test, this company launched sampling to the field with great results. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of sales come in annually from the sampling program alone.

  • 50 leaders in the beta group
  • Hundreds of samples sent
  • High conversion rate of customers and enrollments


Sampling can be the perfect combination of creating an experience for the potential customer with a physical product, but also engaging them via technology. This type of prospecting leads to high rates of customer acquisition and also provides key data to help measure success and drive customer acquisition goals.


Physical + Digital = Success


Over the past few years, we have worked with several of our clients to put together a strategy on best practices for utilizing the combination of physical and digital tools. This type of a strategy can include a focus on everything from onboarding and starter kits to customer acquisition and enrollments. Finding the right blend of a physical and digital experience can make a massive impact on your company’s overall goals.



Recently, one of our clients approached us with a pain point. They were struggling with their existing Welcome Kit and felt the need to give it a complete overhaul and combine a new digital strategy with the release of the new kit. Working with their team, we came up with a whole new experience that combined the following:


  • Welcome Text: Immediately upon enrollment, a text is sent out welcoming them to the company and giving them a link to download the app
  • Digital Samples: The new member receives digital samples to begin sharing with contacts immediately
  • Digital Onboarding: Tools and other digital components from the welcome kit are available in the app
  • Physical Kit: The new member kit is mailed out and received a few days later, providing an “experience” with the company and products
  • Tools and Samples: They physical kit includes samples of all products to share with contacts. The kit also includes physical literature and tools


Rather than waiting 5-7 days to get started, the new experience gets the new enrollee in the app right away to start learning and building their business. Within a few days, they are provided a powerful experience with the company and the brand by way of the welcome kit. The synergies of physical and digital tools create the ultimate onboarding experience.


It’s in Our DNA

Creating powerful tools is in our company’s DNA. At Verb, we have provided unique solutions to empower action for decades. Our recent success with the combination of our app and physical tools is the next step in innovation for our clients. These unique solutions are helping companies to maximize the opportunity and ensure that they adopt the current technologies that can fuel their growth.



Topics: Business, Technology, Marketing, Best Practices, COVID-19, Direct Sales, Sales Enablement, Sampling, Verb App, Income, Masterclass, McKinley Oswald, Leadership, Disrupt, Team Verb

McKinley Oswald

Written by McKinley Oswald

President of Global Sales for Verb

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