Your best friend just joined the latest direct sales craze. She’s hoping you’ll support her new business venture. You don’t know how to break the news to her that you just don’t want another __ [cream, purse, bracelet, kitchen gadget, supplement, pair of leggings, etc.]__. We’ve all been there. Some of us are just better than others at saying no (tactfully, without hurting anyone's feelings). I am terrible at saying no. Partly because I feel guilty, and partly because I honestly want my friend to be successful. Unfortunately, I don't always want or need whatever they're selling. Sometimes, I am willing to try their product, but I may not have an extra $50 lying around to spend. The question becomes, is it possible to help our friends succeed in their direct sales businesses, without having to buy something? My answer is, absolutely! Here are my top 5 ways to support your friend’s business without making a purchase.
Be a Host
Hosting a party, workshop, or class is a great way to support your friend’s business and earn free stuff without having to make a purchase. All you have to do is work with your friend to invite people and then get people to show up, either in person or online. This is a numbers game. Generally, out of every 4 people you invite, only 1 of them will actually attend. So if you want 10 people to come, you have to invite at least 40 people. It will be more successful to send out individual, personal invitations, one at a time, using Facebook Messenger, rather than bulk inviting all 500+ Facebook friends. People get so many invites every day. After awhile, they stop feeling special or important. Individual invitations will always be far more effective than bulk messages, and maybe that way you won’t develop a reputation as an over-inviter. Before bulk inviting your friends to the event page, contact them through Messenger. Give them a few details about the event, why you thought to invite them, and/or how they might benefit from attending. Ask them if they are interested, and only invite them if they respond favorably. Don’t be pushy.
Offer to Trade Skills
When it comes to direct sales, it’s hard to be an expert at everything. What do you really excel at doing? Are you great at marketing, accounting, online networking, graphic design, taking product photos, blog writing, or setting up a vendor booth? Perhaps your direct sales friend would be willing to trade some free product for help with one of those areas. If you are in direct sales too, try to figure out some ways to team up together. Perhaps host a party or open house together, or offer a special incentive to each other’s customers. Create a list of your strengths and weaknesses and brainstorm together to see how you could help fill each other’s gaps.
Help Them Promote Their Business on Social Media
If your friend is promoting their business on Facebook, chances are only a small percentage of their friends are actually seeing those posts, due to the way Facebook’s algorithms work. The more people who interact with a post, the more Facebook will show it to others. Be their number one fan by liking, sharing, and/or commenting on all of their social media posts. This will really boost their exposure, and they will love you for it. This works equally well for Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter too. Here’s an article I found that explains those complicated algorithms in more detail:
Be an Idea Generator
Do you have great ideas? Do you see things your friend is doing that may potentially harm their business? Do you see things they are not doing, but could be to help grow their business? Sometimes I get so caught up in the details around me, it’s hard for me to see the big picture. When that happens, I would love for someone else to come along and say “hey, I have some ideas that might help,“ or “hey, you might want to rethink this.” Most people will readily accept positive feedback, though not all will appreciate constructive criticism. Ask them if they are interested in hearing your ideas and feedback, and explain how being a sounding board is one way you are able to help support their business efforts.
Give ReferralsMaybe you aren’t interested in what your friend is selling, but maybe you know someone else who is. During your conversations, if someone is talking about needing some new hair products, direct them to your friend who sells hair products. If someone is complaining about brown sun spots on their skin, refer them to your face care friends. Maybe you would even be willing to carry around a few of their business cards in your purse, so you can hand out their information as the need arises. Word of mouth advertising is a tried and true way to support your friends.
When in Doubt, AskIf you want to help your friend, but aren't sure which of the above methods would be the best choice for them, just ask. Be honest about your situation. Explain why you aren't interested in buying right now, but say you do want to support them, and ask if there are other ways you can help.
Got Some Great Ideas?
How do you support your friends with businesses? Comment below and share your ideas.