To view the full video of Curtis Call’s conversation with McKinley Oswald, click here.
The phrase “building a home-based business” has been used for decades when describing the direct sales opportunity. For decades, being able to start your own business and build it from your home has held an attraction that separates it from other entrepreneurial channels. Over that time, a playbook to successfully build a home-based business has been developed. The playbook includes some pretty simple steps: enroll, receive a start kit, make a list, share a tool, invite to a home party or hotel meeting, sort customers and team members, sign them up, and repeat. With the advancement of technology in recent years, the playbook has been redefined. Rather than building a home-based business, direct sales has now entered the era of building a “phone-based business.”
I recently connected with Curtis Call, Chief Sales Officer at Xyngular, and our discussion centered around the topic of the transition of a home-based business to a phone-based business and how technology has created a new way to succeed in direct sales, ultimately redefining the direct sales playbook. The companies who provide the opportunity for the distributors to build their business directly from their smart phone are the ones who are experiencing amazing growth—and Xyngular is one of those companies.
The New Era of the Phone-Based Business
From the moment a new distributor enrolls with a company, they enter the pathway of attempting to build a successful business. Having access to the right tools can determine whether that pathway leads to success or failure. Historically, this meant having access to brochures, magazines and DVDs, and being able to invite someone to a home party or event. Sharing tools has always been a critical part of building the business. But all of that has changed with the smart phone.
“Rather than carry a briefcase full of magazines or DVDs, a distributor now just carries their phone. This is what we love about the Verb app. All of the tools are right in the phone. The distributor has everything right at their fingertips. It used to be a home-based business, now it is a phone-based business.”
– Curtis Call
In the digital era, the way you share the tool has changed, but the principles remain the same. Communication is now flying back and forth at a digital speed. Rather than carrying around a stack of magazines and DVDs, distributors carry their phones. The tools are right there in the app. You can select what your contact needs, whether they are a prospect, team member, or customer, and immediately share it digitally. That new way of sharing a tool has changed the speed of the industry. You can connect faster, share information faster, and know exactly who is engaging with the content. You can then take the next steps to get interested people into your business by quickly sharing a link and getting them started.
The right tools (and the right technology) have never been more important to building a successful direct sales business. And, utilizing that technology to foster relationships remains a key part to achieving that success.
Technology Facilitates the Personal Connection
Many companies look at technology as being the end-all/be-all solution to growing revenue and hitting the momentum phase. The reality is, there is no silver bullet. Direct sales has always been a relationship business. While traditionally it was built belly-to-belly, nowadays you can build those same relationships using technology. But technology, when used correctly, simply helps to foster those relationships and speed up the process of making a personal connection.
“If we could design the perfect website that did all the selling, we wouldn’t actually need the distributor. But no tool does all of it. The tool simply becomes the facilitator. It still comes back to relationships. The technology helps bring the relationships together. Our field leverages that heavily.” – Curtis Call
The Verb app provides simple tools to help make that personal connection:
- Interactive Video: Record personal messages with interactive links to engage your contact
- Centralized Content: All of your company’s tools in one location, giving access to just the right tool for each contact
- Activity Feed: See who is engaging with the content, including what percentage of the video they view, allowing for timely personal follow-up
- Learn: Verb’s Mobile LMS (Learning Management System) makes education and on-boarding easy, allowing you to effectively teach distributors how to use technology to connect with contacts
In the end, the playbook on how to connect has changed, but making that personal connection hasn’t. Allowing your field to connect faster and more effectively with technology simply increases the likelihood of succeeding and the speed at which they can grow their business.
Segmentation: Communicating with Business Builders and Customers More Effectively
Another area that has changed in this new era of direct sales relates to the segmentation of customers and business builders. It used to be that companies would either enroll everyone as a business builder, or they would have a customer option as an alternative for those who opted not to become a distributor. Aside from being a concern from a regulation standpoint, this business practice didn’t foster a successful customer community or a simple business-building experience. Creating segments and journeys can help improve communication and loyalty to your company.
Xyngular focuses on segments within the segmentation of customers and business builders.
- Inactive Customer: Those who haven’t purchased recently
- Sporadic Customer: Orders once in awhile
- Subscription Base: Come back month after month
- Rabid Customer: Purchases multiple products from different categories frequently
Business Builder Segments
- New Builder: Someone who has been in the business for six months or less
- Casual Builder: Shares with a couple of people and enjoys the community
- Part-Time Builder: Actively building on a part-time basis
- Full-Time Builder: Building the business full time
- Leader: Someone who has built large organizations
Xyngular has separate marketing teams that focus on customers and business builders, allowing them to market and communicate with the two groups based on their needs. Clearly, you would speak very differently to a customer than you would a business builder. Taking it a step further, a sporadic customer benefits from a message that is different from a rabid one. Likewise, the new distributor has different needs than a long-time leader. Being able to communicate separately to these groups can and get the right message in front of the right people at the right time is a step forward in redefining the playbook in this era of direct sales.
Data: Diving Deeper Than a Gut Feeling
We all know the saying: “the devil is in the details.” When it comes to data, the details can be the difference in making a sound decision or just crossing your fingers and hoping something will work. The advance in technology has allowed direct sales companies to add a certain level of predictability to every decision that they make.
“While a gut feel is important at times, the best decisions come from trusting your gut mixed with good data.” – Curtis Call
Data can bring to focus the key indicators of what is really happening in the business. Having a dashboard look at what is really happening allows you to adjust. Whether you are adding fuel to the fire when something is working, or adjusting to get back the momentum you had, data can drive those decisions. And, there’s data, and then there’s good data. Going “all in” on being a data-driven company takes commitment, but provides a key understanding into everything that is happening in the business.
Last fall in our quarterly meeting with the Xyngular executive team, we noticed an extremely high number of shares of a video that the team had considered somewhat outdated. The data also showed that not only were the shares high, but the unique prospect engagements with the video were extremely high as well. This data allowed their marketing and sales team insights into how their sales and marketing efforts were being received. Gone are the days of having to rely on your gut to make a decision. Good data can make all the difference when making key strategic decisions.
Likewise, the Verb platform provides the distributor with key insights into how people are responding with what they are sharing. These types of metrics enable the field to have more effective conversations, ultimately helping them to succeed by focusing on the things that are working and the contacts who are interested.
The Era of the Phone-Based Business
The timing of this stay-at-home mandate has opened a lot of eyes in regard to technology. Companies who have already adopted technology for their field are thriving. And, the data they are seeing is helping them to add fuel to the fire of their growth. Strategically enabling your field to build their business on their smart phones is a critical aspect of the new direct sales playbook.