Saturday, June 10, 2023

Good Business Sense: How to Build A Professional Direct Selling Business Responsibly

Success in direct selling can mean different things to different people.

Ask 10 different distributors, and they might all proffer different ideas.

At QNET, we have always believed that success is built on a solid relationship of trust and mutual respect between direct sellers and customers, the foundation of which can only be laid by salespersons upholding principles of honesty and integrity.

QNET’s Code of Ethics — which is based on the company’s Policies and Procedures and details the standards that distributors are expected to aspire to — is very comprehensive in this regard.

Yet, at the heart of it, being ethical and professional is all about maintaining a high standard of conduct that constantly puts the customers first.

And it needn’t be hard. Here are a few ways you can do that in your daily interactions:

Be clear and honest

If there’s one thing that customers don’t forgive — and QNET doesn’t tolerate — it is Independent Representatives who aren’t honest.

Always Be Closing may be the mantra of many of us in sales. Nevertheless, the goal of sealing deals should never be an excuse for distorting facts about products and services or misrepresenting one’s organisation. 

Indeed, many people who have taken this unprincipled shortcut to success have discovered that it almost always ends in massive losses to both one’s reputation and business. 

Remember, customer trust is fragile. So be as clear and truthful as possible. 

And when you aren’t sure of the facts, it’s perfectly all right to say so to customers and prospects, but make the effort to get the information to them pronto.

Be mindful of the competition, but don’t badmouth rivals

Part of becoming a great direct seller is being knowledgeable about your products and business and the offerings of rivals, too.

In fact, analysing the competition and using that information to improve one’s own practices is a critical business growth strategy.

That being said, what you shouldn’t do is disparage your competitors, especially not customers

Yes, it’s permissible to critique the features of available products and services in the market and explain what makes your organisation and offerings unique.

But take care to not slander or belittle anyone, because not only is that unethical, it makes you look petty and bitter and does damage to QNET’s reputation.

Address complaints and problems head-on

You’re never going to please everyone. Regardless of how hard you may work as a direct seller, at some point, you will face unhappy people.

The solution, however, is not to ignore or run away from issues but to face them calmly and gracefully.

Even when complaints aren’t directly related to your service — e.g. in the case of supply chain issues — always strive to acknowledge grievances, apologise, and offer to help work out solutions.

Incidentally, all product and service-related complaints should be forwarded to QNET immediately, as it is the company, rather than independent distributors, that takes full responsibility and facilitates refunds.

Follow through on promises

Regardless of whether you’ve promised to furnish your prospects with more information or even just to return a phone call, always make sure to honour your commitments.

Do you recall that adage about one’s word being their bond

Well, success in direct selling can often be determined by how faithful distributors are to the promises they make.

Missing the odd meeting or call may seem no big deal. But every time direct sellers do these, adverse damage is done to their credibility and customer-salesperson relationships that take ages to build.

Be empathetic, not self-centred 

Whether you’re speaking with a long-time customer or a new prospect, it’s important to appreciate that everyone’s situation is unique.

Perhaps your customers are just not in the right financial or mental positions to make purchases at present. Perhaps the products and services don’t meet their current needs.

The duty of direct sellers is to listen to their clients, be empathtic and never badger them into sales.

Remember, direct selling, essentially, is a business of people. And relationships between people always require understanding. Get it right, and you can build a relationship that can last you, and your business, years.

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