The rising tide raises all ships.
MLM company, ViSalus recently announced a seven-fold increase in sales from 2011! They must not have heard the news about the sour economy. They grew from a solid $34 Million in 2010 to a stellar $231 Million in 2011. This sort of growth is fantastic for the network marketing industry in general. Regardless if they’re a competing business, their success matters for multiple reasons.
First, as the heading suggests, their success increases the visibility of the network marketing industry. Blyth, a private equity firm, placed a very successful bet on a small MLM company a few years ago. The bet paid off…big time. It’s a great testimony to the geometric possibilities for growth that the network marketing industry offers. Another example of venture capital throwing their hat in the network marketing arena, Sequoia Capital invested $37 Million in party plan company, Stella and Dot, last year. With more capital in the industry, the level of play increases, which benefits everyone.
Customers Volume Supports Growth
Second, ViSalus grew substantially while focusing on customer sales. Sure, they recruited a lot of talent this year. But they’ve also maintained a great customer to distributor ratio. Purportedly, this ratio is 7 to 1, customer volume to distributor volume. Customer volume is vital for stability, not only for ViSalus and its investors, but for the industry in general. There’s too many companies that live by four principles:
1) Recruit distributors
2) Teach distributors how to buy for self-consumption
3) Repeat steps 1 and 2
4) Teach distributors about steps 1 through 3
This leads to a terrible sales culture dependent on hype and opportunity driven demand. Assuming worst case scenario that ViSalus’s ratio was 1 to 1, it’s a demonstration that growth does not need to occur at the expense of customer sales. Customer sales can support growth, as evidenced by ViSalus’s hockey-stick growth. Customer volume and distributor volume are not mutually exclusive goals.
Third, this growth occurred mainly in the continental United States. Think it’s tough to build in the American market?
Those who care the most win
Fourth, their success demonstrates the awesome power of person to person marketing. There’s nothing unique about weight loss. But combine an age-old solution to an age-old problem and mix it with a personal, human touch…it dramatically changes everything. While network marketing is certainly about selling unique and innovative products, at the end of the day, it’s really about connecting with people and influencing them to honor simple commitments. And when good commitments are honored over time, the results can dramatically change lives and build emotional bonds. ViSalus is not world class at selling weight loss shakes, they’re world class at creating an encouraging culture, one that gets people to honor commitments.
So if you get good at creating culture and “delivering happiness,” you’ll build a loyal tribe regardless if you have the latest magic pill. Do not try to out-ViSalus ViSalus and do not try to copy Amway or any other company you think is cool. If you fake it, the market will find you out. Be authentic, bring your unique style to the equation, solve a real problem and slowly build emotional connections with your customers. Care about your customers! ViSalus and Blyth’s success proves that good decisions compound over time. The barriers have been obliterated. If you’re an executive for a network marketing company, there’s never been a better time to engage than RIGHT NOW.