This week’s guest author is Roseann “Ro” Shales, Vice President of Sales, JIC Nation, a 3-year old e-commerce party plan company. Ro built a $12M organization with Tupperware then moved into corporate management with Weekenders USA, PartyLite, and JAFRA Cosmetics. She was an Executive Consultant, Party Plan Expert, with The Sheffield Group and is the author of “RECRUIT! Connecting with People to Change Your Business and Your Life.”
Guest Post by Roseann “Ro” Shales
Could ‘Facebook Live’ Change The Game?
If you work corporately in a direct sales company today you may wonder, “Where have all the parties gone?” “Where is all the sales activity?” Do you sometimes feel like you have tried everything and nothing works like it used to?
The constant changes we face today makes our jobs as corporate executives harder. We have to be more nimble and view our sales force with “fresh eyes,” without filters or bias from the good old days. We are pioneering a new pathway, utilizing more technology, and working through changes for our current base and future generations of direct sellers.
Success for you and your sales force is STILL about creating relationships, now more than ever. Our people have unlimited opportunities to join other companies at their fingertips 24/7. Today’s sellers and team builders are more demanding, less forgiving, and work fewer hours each week than in the past. Some want to sell at live parties and events, however many others want to work from home in their pajamas. Everyone wants business to be simple and they want to make more money on their own terms. People’s lives are busier and they want faster results with less time commitment – full-time (<25 hours/week), part-time (10 hours/week) and even spare-time (< 5 hours/week).
JIC Nation started with an online presence 3-years ago by giving away free e-Commerce stores before launch. When Christmas 2013 hit, they backordered 35,000 orders, 85,000 products. It took four months to fill them and they survived. Today we provide weekly product graphics for the sales force, in part to prevent reps from taking time away from selling, booking and sharing, to create their own materials.
Many of our reps fall into the make money from home in their pajamas category, and I suspect many of you feel the same about your people. To support all reps, we actively manage Facebook groups and chats for both our sales force and our customer base. We provide weekly corporate training, plus we spotlight tips from our key leaders online daily and in our 5-day a week rep newsletter.
We train on best practices for both in-home and online parties. In-home parties take 3-4 hours for booking, host coaching, presentation, closing and ordering host rewards and average $500-750 in sales. Online parties take longer, 30 minutes a day, over 5-7 days, plus set-up time, with lower sales averages. Over the summer, we observed the advent of Facebook Live for product sales, parties and training. If you are not familiar with this fresh, new way to get visibility for your company offers, click here and here.
Here are general Facebook Live party tips:
1. Schedule a party time and alert people on your personal and/or business pages 1-3 days before to build initial interest and engagement.
2. Prepare everything you want or need to share and have it within arms reach.
3. Be aware of the view through your camera lens. You don’t want attendees to see things online that could embarrass you or someone else. Limit external distractions.
4. Start on time. As guests arrive, interact immediately as they begin watching. It’s important to ask guests to share the party with their Facebook friends on their own page. This will create a larger viewing audience. Get comfortable talking about products and welcoming people at the same time as they must be acknowledged and encouraged to share the party.
5. Be engaging, interesting and make it fun. Just like a traditional party, keep your presentation to 15-20 minutes.
6. Follow the general flow of an in home party. Welcome everyone, share the benefits of your products, the host opportunity, and the business opportunity. Explain how to order, book, and join.
7. Be sure to answer questions that come up in the comments.
8. End the party making sure everyone knows how to contact you. Thank them for their participation.
We started holding our own Facebook Live parties a few months ago. Our leaders took them one step further and began to combine in-home and Facebook Live parties. This allows hosts to invite their local and non-local connections. During a combined party, reps ask the host to stay close to the computer screen to relay questions from online guests. Reps get to maximize their time and sales opportunities for the best of both worlds. Guests can “attend” a party anywhere from their mobile device. They don’t need to set aside dedicated time to support the host. This is important in today’s busy world. Streaming a Live Party breaks down barriers and transcends traditional sales strategies. It can facilitate new relationships across the country that may have never happened otherwise. It can enhance sales, recruiting and team building. It allows leaders to train their teams easily and efficiently in a live setting by inviting their team members to observe from home.
I think Facebook Live is a game changer! If you and your sales force embrace it, activity and sales can increase quickly. We need to be flexible in the ways we create and enhance our relationships to grow business for the long term. When we seek and implement new ideas, train and communicate effectively, and encourage our sales force to try new things, we are re-creating the “good old days,” in brand new ways. E-Commerce is here to stay and by taking advantage of it, we can engage a new generation of young, eager direct sellers with dreams of their own. We need to fully embrace it, because our future depends on it!