Even the smallest company can benefit from a direct sales strategy. Do you know what a direct sales strategy is or what it involves? Direct sales is one of those terms that gets used a lot, but does everyone saying it know what they’re saying? Say it with us, “Direct Sales.”
Direct sales mean merely that a company sells a product directly to a consumer. If you buy an Xbox from Walmart, that’s not direct sales. However, if you buy your Xbox from Microsoft, it is. A lot of the time, direct sales refers to a particular category of businesses that are usually only available from representatives of the company.
When you look at the use of data in sports or business, data can provide a lot of a certain kind of insights. But with a small company, you may get more “bang for your buck” from talking to your customers directly— not with surveys— actual conversations. Consider a face-to-face approach.
Your customers are dying to talk to you.
Now, how do you design and implement a direct sales strategy? Consider using a “street team,” “influencer” or “brand ambassador” approach. The key benefit to this as a smaller brand is that you can choose to engage your best customers as your sales and marketing team. They share their love for your product with people who will listen to them.
Here are the eight steps to creating a successful brand ambassador strategy:
Set a tangible goal: Is it to gather intelligence, promote a new product or distribute free samples? Be clear, and singularly focused.
Be audience specific: Understand your target audience and meet them where they are.
Set a budget for winning: This is where some brands fall short. You need to be sure you’ve got the right budget to ensure success. Don’t skimp on your branding materials. You only get one bite at this apple.
Recruit and train your ambassadors: Find the right customers and make them a special offer to become an ambassador. Make it fun, but make sure it’s organized. Consider using an event manager to coordinate the training.
Include a call to action: Be clear about what you want people to do once they’re engaged. Do they receive a first-time discount or a promotional item? Incentives can make a difference.
Collect useful data: Where possible, make sure you collect actionable data. How many samples were handed out in exchange for contact information? What was the average length of engagement? These are critical.
Measure your success: Ultimately, this work is all about sales. There are other things to measure, and it’s based on the data you collect and the amount of customer feedback you get.
Refine and repeat: Some things will go well; others will not. The best part is, you get to learn from your approach and do better the next time out.
This methodology is what makes direct sales powerful. It’s a hotline from your customers’ mouth to your ears. The deal on the street will tell you what’s real. And in business, “In Real Life” still matters.
Much of the marketing advice these days focuses on digital: content marketing, social media, online advertising, and eCommerce. These are vital. For a lot of businesses, especially new or smaller businesses in the personal care market, building a direct sales brand may just be what will have your product breakthrough.