How do I improve retention of my recruits?

The challenge presented is a LOADED question - how do we increase retention? All direct selling companies asks the same question!

I believe there are many ways to improve retention, but I'm only going to address one, and fortunately it's a biggie.

Experience shows me that the biggest challenge for all salespeople is getting the word out - actually calling their prospects. In this industry one of the challenges that never seems to get mentioned is that we ask the new recruits to begin prospecting with a list that consists of family and friends. Everyone acts as if that's easy. HA! That's the most challenging part.

The vast majority of new recruits get all excited, but when it comes down to calling their friends and family, the tension begins - "Wait! What if my family and friends don't react like I want them to? What if they start to think of me as just a salesperson?"

All it takes is one situation in which one of those family members or one of those friends gives the new recruit the cold shoulder, and chances are incredibly high that the new recruit will struggle to ever pick up the phone or talk to friends about this new business.

The problem? The vast majority of salespeople are never taught what to say to attract their prospects' attention, and on top of that, they are never taught the key elements of an irresistible offer. 

Now let's talk about the recruits who seem to get started just fine - they have their grand opening and/or their first few parties, and everything is going great. Then, just as a new season is going to begin (and you think they'll be ordering the new collection), they decide to throw in the towel. What happened? They seemed to be doing fine.

It's really the same problem that I described above; it just took longer to play out. This type of recruit probably had enough will power and desire to overcome any rejection felt, when first getting started, and this recruit was fortunate to have a few good parties. But this recruit never realized how important it would be to the livelihood of her/his business to follow up with everyone who attended those parties.

Now it's been a couple of months since they've had any contact and the recruit feels uncomfortable calling them. If the recruit manages to muster up enough gumption to call one or two but gets the distinct impression that they feel like she/he is a pushy salesperson, she/he will lose that desire to continue picking up the phone.

This is when a newer recruit will decide to cut the loses and come to the conclusion that she/he is just not cut out for direct sales (of course until some other direct seller gets that person excited about another product and acts like THIS stuff is so easy to sell and people are screaming to host parties! Ahem, right!).

Direct Sellers need to learn what it is that they say that puts their prospects into a state of resistance. Direct sellers need to understand why their prospects react the way they do (like the direct seller is a pushy salesperson) and how to prevent that from happening.

The other key factor here is what I call the "Osmosis Factor." Everyone seems to think that the training begins once they get that new recruit signs up. I maintain that the most important training began long ago, and now it's part of the fabric of who the new recruit is.

Training begins with one's experience as a customer. If the direct seller fails to call the day after meeting that customer at a party, the customer now fails to see how important it is to do that. If the direct seller asks, "Do you wanna have a party?" and the customer happens to agree, it's only natural for that customer to think that asking, "Do you wanna have a party?" is an effective way to ask.

If you want recruits who hang in there for a longer haul, then teach them the key elements of an irresistible offer. Show them what causes their prospects to raise the wall of resistance.