Part 2 in our series about onboarding and retention systems. You can read Part 1 here.
In 2017, we know nine million folks just stopped participating in direct selling. That number includes a mix of people. Some signed up to buy the products and others started as independent reps. But why did they walk away once they started?
The following reviews may sound familiar:
“I would NEVER use [COMPANY A] again. I used [COMPANY A] for years, but after studying about their safety and quality testing am highly disappointed. They use low-grade E.O’s and they offer little to no training to their distributors which makes for a lot of unsafe use.”
“I was signed up, received no support from my upline, and yes although [Company B] has good quality products you need a substantial amount to sign up and all the marketing materials, rally’s etc is expensive. Felt like I needed to be a slave of the company to get ahead. It feels also like you are pushing those above you up rather than them pulling you up. Feels like you are working for your upline’s wealth rather than truly prospering yourself…”
“This company is a joke! I was given false information by a distributor upon signing up to sell. I called to get answers as soon as I got a red flag and they hold NO accountability for their distributors and are not willing to work with me. DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY/TIME! I’m appalled at their lack of customer service.”
We’ve all heard similar concerns and frustrations about direct selling, and you’ll notice I didn’t include any company names in the reviews. The goal here isn’t to point fingers at any one company. Instead, I want to help you figure out an onboarding system that supports the kind of growth you need without triggering this kind of feedback.
American author Robert Kiyosaki nailed our goal perfectly when he said, “Confidence comes from discipline and training.” With a well-designed and effective onboarding program, your reps will feel confident about representing your products or services because they have the right kind of support from Day 1.
Onboarding Begins at Enrollment
Let’s begin by defining the requirements for your onboarding system:
- What does your new rep need to LEARN during this window to be successful?
- What does your new rep need to DO?
- How can you reward your new rep for LEARNING and DOING?
- How can you help your new rep avoid self-sabotage?
- What framework do you need to build to create these different touchpoints?
Take the time to answer these questions in detail. Don’t assume you know everything. Ask others in different areas of your firm for their thoughts. Customer service will have one perspective while sales and marketing will have another.
Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to your field. Identify the leaders and reps who appear dialed in to your company. Ask them these questions. Figure out what’s working for these reps and their teams. What do they wish you’d taught them in their first days with the company?
Onboarding that Works
On some level, onboarding isn’t rocket science. But to Mr. Kyosaki’s point, it does require discipline. So, as you start to build out your onboarding system, make sure you only include elements that you will execute consistently.
For example, you may decide right after enrollment to send a quick text with a link to a short welcome video from the company founder. Then, you may follow up a few minutes later with initial training materials to help your rep get started with learning the basics of the company. Don’t forget to include positive feedback and rewards as reps continue their onboarding journey.
Over the following days and weeks, your onboarding system should engage with reps through a series of emails, texts, phone calls, and other supporting materials. These touchpoints must be anticipated and deliver a clear value to your rep. You don’t want to overwhelm, but you do want to folks to feel connected to your mission. They also need to feel like they’re making progress.
Attrition Won’t Stop Unless You Plug the Hole
You may remember the retention numbers from companies without onboarding programs from the first article in this series. The short version: it’s not good. The slightly longer version: over one year, you might hit 10 percent retention.
By implementing your onboarding system, you will start to see your retention numbers improve. Do nothing, and you’ll continue to feel the painful effects of that churn.
One final note. As you start answering these questions and designing your onboarding blueprint, you will find holes — maybe big holes. Don’t let these gaps distract you from your goal. They can be fixed, and you’re just the person to get the job done.
Next up, we’ll conclude our series about onboarding and retention programs by walking you through the power of a Fast Track Program.