Thought Leadership

The New Kids on the Direct Selling Block (Part Two)

TL;DRMillennials are a great demographic for direct selling recruitment, but companies need to meet their demand for ease-of-use and technology.

In my last article I explored the generational makeup of the direct selling industry and highlighted the value that young people present to companies. If you’re still with me, I’ll assume that you want to attract these entrepreneurial, freedom-seeking Millennials to your direct selling organization. But where do you start?

Millennials want two features from #directselling opportunities: flexibility and technology. Click To Tweet

Some companies might be inclined to approach Millennials like any other group of potential recruits, accentuating the opportunity to achieve their wildest dreams and emphasizing all the money that stands to be made. In truth, getting Millennials interested in your business might be a lot simpler (and certainly easier to deliver on) than that. According to Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends report from Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers (KPCB), Millennials are most attracted to two features in any professional opportunity: flexibility and technology. If you want to recruit Millennials, you’ll need to appeal to these essential motivations.

Flexibility and Technology

We touched on flexibility earlier, but it’s worth expanding on here. What’s important to understand is just how much Millennials value flexibility in their work. Reports on Millennial workplace motivations consistently find that young people are willing to sacrifice traditional workplace incentives—things like promotions, benefits, and higher pay—for more professional flexibility. This is great news for direct selling companies, who already pride themselves on the freedom that comes with being a distributor. But flexibility is about more than an open-ended work schedule; it also means giving young recruits greater control over the management of their independent businesses. For example, letting distributors choose how they receive their commission payments, or giving them digital tools to help with expense management and tax reporting.

This growing demand for professional flexibility didn’t come out of nowhere. Millennials, having grown up around modern communication technologies, know that most jobs can be done outside of a traditional workplace. It’s no wonder, then, that Millennials have come to expect the incorporation of technology to make work easier and more accessible. The Meeker report notes that 34% of Millennials prefer to collaborate with team members online rather than in-person (19% for older generations) and 45% expect to use their personal smartphones for work purposes (18% for older generations). Adopting mobile technologies that allow distributors to monitor their downlines, manage their earnings, and easily engage with prospects and customers is essential to attracting young people to your opportunity.

What is your #directselling company doing to address these Millennial motivations? Click To Tweet

You might be inclined to shrug off this growing expectation for ease-of-use and access to digital tools, but opportunities for flexible earning are becoming more common and competitors are already designing their platforms to cater to these desires. Consider on-demand companies like Uber and Taskrabbit, which allow users to manage their entire independent businesses on-the-go from their mobile devices. These platforms recognize the importance of flexibility and technology to the younger demographic. What is your company doing to address these motivations?

The Recruitment Requirement

Of course, flexibility and technology aren’t the only important motivators in getting Millennials interested in your opportunity. For example, adept use of social media is essential for effectively engaging young people. However, without first meeting these basic expectations of flexibility and technology, your other recruitment efforts will stumble. In an environment where competition for new recruits has become increasingly fierce, providing Millennials with professional freedom and digital tools isn’t just a good idea—it’s required.

 

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