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  • Writer's pictureJerome Freytag

Change management - our approach

2023 is still a year full of changes. It's a safe bet that 2024 will be too.

Why change management ?

Change management is at the heart of the work of our Consultancy in Direct Selling: analyzing, listening, suggesting, making data-driven recommandations...and above all selling the changes to your network are our most common gigs, and we love it!

What do we change in Direct Selling?

Everything that will affect the life of your Distributors is our specialty.

  • Compensation plan,

  • Starter challenge and starter kit,

  • Hostess program, Affiliate program, customer loyalty,

  • Product offering, price increase

  • Shipping and logistics policy

  • Marketing animation timings

  • Types of animations, change of incentive trip format

  • Direct marketing to customers, obtaining customer emails, communication,

  • Lead generation.

Change one or several elements at a time?

Direct Selling networks are resistant to the rest of us :-). But the resistance doesn't come from a bad attitude. It comes from the fact that your Independent Distributors often have very little time to spend on your brand. So they need more time to digest the new information and put it into practice.

Therefore, we recommend making as many changes as possible in one go. This attracts the attention of even the least active Distributors and avoids the impression that everything is changing all the time. Leaders who have too many ideas for change frequently are not trusted by their networks.

Our recipe

Here are 5 major points to keep in mind when you have decided on one or more changes:

Make sure that everyone has seen the external changes....

Not just you, but all the teams. Often, a leader is a visionary and sees his or her environment changing before anyone else (PESTLE tool). However, the employees and even less the network do not see these weak signals. If a change occurs in reaction to your vision, no one will understand why it should change, unless you take the time to describe, measure - with indisputable figures - and share this data. Tip: Use Third Party Validation to sell the idea of change, e.g. use the voice of a business expert.

Your historical leaders will be of little use to you.

In any case, it is a mistake to try to convince or please leaders who have been in the network for a long time. Indeed, it is likely that the changes are intended to bring growth, through changes in habit. However, it is almost systematically observed that "installed" leaders have no desire or interest in moving. The solution: your changes must encourage and benefit young leaders in the making.

Compare your KPI's with those of your competitors who are making progress.

You probably have a few direct selling companies that you benchmark against, competitors or not. Try to see what works for them. If you don't have access to this information, take advantage of the Direct Selling Association events or have someone accompany you.

Test the changes on young leaders.

There are two ways to "test". The first is to involve them in advance, explain, adjust with them and simulate the impact on their progression in the career plan and their compensation. Your leaders can therefore be a kind of focus group. The second, more radical, consists in proposing to your young leaders the new rules, and keeping the rest of the network on the old rules, for a limited time.

Announce changes by selling them.

  1. Connect, answer objections in advance, give names of test leaders.

  2. Explain the problems some people have and how these changes can solve those problems. Be careful, don't explain your problems! As difficult as it may seem, your Distributors are there to make their business successful first, not yours. Even though this often converges, focus on their situations.

  3. Simulate. You have to simulate the impact for your company but also and especially the impact for your young leaders and their downlines. In concrete terms, we do the calculations for 10-20 young leaders, then for the rest we calculate 3 or 4 typical scenarios, one calculation per distributor segment. If you have not yet segmented your Distributors, you can use the titles of the career plan. We recommend to have titles to manage the networks, and motivate the progression. You can also (re)read this article. It is thus obvious that you need to implement a large historical dataset and have the time and skills to finely analyze the financial impacts, without any mistakes, making as few assumptions as possible. In our consulting in Direct Selling, we use business intelligence tools and sift through network data for hours before validating a change.

Change is the life of any business. If you notice trends in numbers or behaviors in your network that you would like to change, contact us for concrete solutions adapted to your situation.

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