Sorry it has taken me so long to get this out. I’ve had it written for almost two weeks, but a head cold (on top of everything else) has taken more out of me than I expected. The words are finally not swimming on the page, so I hope I’ve caught my typos and everything makes sense.
The holiday shopping season is in full swing. As much as I love the buying and giving of gifts, it feels a little early for my tastes, but it is what it is. I am, however, trying to restrain myself from becoming too sales-y without getting lost in the shuffle. So I am going to share some ways that you can help your friends (female or male) operating some form of small business, like myself, to thrive during the holiday season.
Whether your friends are operating a small physical shop, an online shop, or serving as a direct sales or multi-level marketing consultant, we are all just doing our best to fulfill our dreams and make a way in this world. We all face enough criticism and can use some encouragement from our friends and loved ones.
Now, I know there is a lot of hate for MLM’s out there. Some of it is well deserved, but not all companies or independent contractors are created equal. Unfortunately the bad apples tend to be the loudest. But just you wouldn’t give up all on-line retailers or all department stores because of poor service or shady practices of a few, you shouldn’t just write off all MLM/direct sales companies because of a few.
You probably have several REAL friends who are doing their best to bring in some extra money with a direct sales business, and you might not even know about it because they don’t want to be too sales-y or annoying or any of the other traits they are afraid they are going to be labeled with for trying a new opportunity.
So here are a few ways you can genuinely support the real people you know and respect with their business.
Ask about their business
Make an open social media post, give them the opportunity just to say “I sell …” and share a link. That way you and your other friends will at least know who they can ask for their lipstick, kitchen wear, leggings, jewelry, or whatever.
Try the product. Accept the samples, attend the sales pitch, check out the website. Get to know the quality of the products so you can recommend them with confidence. You might find something you love.
I think it is important here to add saying “No, thank you.” If you are really not interested in their product after legitimately looking into it, tell them so. Don’t string them along letting them think you will engage, host, or shop at a later date. Don’t be a drag on their online algorithm. Don’t shove the elephant in the room in between the two of you. Preserve your friendship with your honesty.
Engage & Share
Give them a shout out. Share their business page or website on your social media. Share your experience with your friend and why you support the person. Share why you like the product.
Did you get complements on your sensational skin or amazing earrings from your latest selfie? Tag your consultant in your reply. Show off your new lipstick or manicure and tag your consultant in the caption.
Engage with their social media posts. This helps improve their algorithms and gets the post seen by more people. It also helps new followers to feel the love and get to know more about the consultant and product. It creates community. I’ve actually made a few online friends from direct sales groups that I wouldn’t have met without a common consultant.
Take a moment online or in person to encourage them in their business. Heck do this with all your friends in their endeavors. It always feels good to have whatever you are working hard at recognized by others.
Not into kitchen utensils, but have a friend who loves to cook? Refer them to your consultant friend. The best way to support your trusted friend with referrals would be to offer a list of a few people who may be legitimately interested and their phone numbers to the consultant. If you are not comfortable with that ask for a few extra business cards and offer them to your friends with your hearty recommendation to check them out.
This costs you nothing but an evening spent with your friends. Giving your direct sales friends the opportunity to share their story and their product with a larger audience is huge! My company in particular is built on those personal relationships with product that you really have to try to appreciate.
Well, obviously, buy from them. But buy it because you like the product not just the sales person. As we approach the holidays consider your friends as a source for buying gifts. They will give you much better service than you get at big box stores or faceless websites.
I LOVE to support other small businesses. If you are reading this drop your small business, side hustle, Etsy shop, or direct sales company in the comments. I’d love to hear what you are up to! I am an Independent Beauty Consultant for an amazing company, you can learn more about our amazing offerings here.
Direct Selling Association’s Code of Ethics and Membership Directory