10 Product Characteristics for Today’s MLM Entrepreneurs
This article is from educational training materials available in Module 2 at Sheffield Global Academy.
Developing the perfect product for the MLM business is no easy feat, but with the right product and the right planning, you can help ensure your company’s long-term success. Since the world has changed so significantly over the past two years, have the desired MLM product characteristics changed for MLM entrepreneurs? Let’s take a look at the relevant characteristics of all successful direct selling products.
Is there a product out in the marketplace just like your product? If you offer a product that is simply a “me too!” version of something already in existence, then that’s the same reaction you’ll receive from the marketplace.
Your product has to be something special, something different. How do you find something different? For one, your product or service has to have a story that needs to be told. If your story can’t be told by one human being to another, then it’s not a product that belongs in MLM.
In the multi-level marketing product distribution channel, it’s the distributor – the consultant – who shares the passion they have for a product. Lifetime customers are created by the personal attention distributors give to the story of the product, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.
Lastly, another factor that determines a product’s uniqueness is its ability to be copied. If it is easily copied, it will be, and likely, by your own distributors who believe they can do better. It’s you that trains your competitors, so you’ll want to launch your product quickly, with the best tools, the best story, and the best product and packaging. If possible, you’ll want absolute exclusivity.
True wealth is a steady income stream, as opposed to one large lump sum of money. Brand loyalty comes from building a company that people love and will buy from again and again. Products that can be eaten, applied to the skin, or flushed down the toilet are highly-consumable as customers must buy them again and again.
There are three types of customers: retail customers, preferred customers, and your distributors. Preferred customers are a form of retail customer that will commit to purchasing on some sort of auto-ship program in exchange for discounts or loyalty points. And, your distributors are also your customers even though they buy products wholesale.
When you’re developing a product for your startup multi-level marketing company, you must keep your corporate mission and vision in mind. It’s incredibly important that you believe in your product or product lines and they must make sense with not only the company mission, but other products.
For instance, if you’re selling skin care products and also launching a line of perfumes, that makes sense as both categories are skincare-related products. On the other hand, if you have a line of organic nutritional supplements yet plan to launch a line of chemical-based shampoos, your product lines begin to contradict one another. Make sure that your product lines are compatible with not only each other, but the company belief system.
Product quality is also very important. Can you control for quality? If not, you have an immediate problem.
“The more people between you and your money, the less chance you have of even getting it” – Old saying
When you’re using a private contract manufacturer, you lose control of the quality of your products. Having an ongoing quality control analysis with your contract manufacturer in place is a necessity. Trust but verify. Use that saying of Reagan’s when you think about how you should deal with quality control standards for your product or service.
Compliance is another significant consideration with product development. There are legal issues to be aware of in this business. Most likely, your product will have one agency or another looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re in compliance.
If you’re selling skincare or nutritional products, you’re going to be dealing with product labeling that you need to make sure meets government requirements. You’ll also have to deal with label extensions, which include things such as your website, brochures, and other marketing materials that are extensions of your label and are subject to inspection by regulatory agencies. Therefore, the importance of an FDA attorney working alongside your direct selling attorney will greatly protect your interests.
Is your product consumer-friendly? In other words, is it easily understood? Do people know what it is? This may seem contradictory to your product being unique and different, but you still need to make sure that the information you have, the instructions available, the video presentations that illustrate the product, are all easy to understand, to visualize.
Because of the lifestyles of people living today, convenience packaging is more critical than it used to be. People are on the move. Creating products that people can take with them, easily and conveniently use, will help you maintain customers much longer.
Is your product a fad? There’s nothing wrong with a product that has the potential of being a fad. Something new and exciting may help you attract a flurry of distributors. For those in the age group old enough to remember, had you invented the hula hoop or pet rock you’d probably have made a fortune. But it had to be done fast, as fads pass by very quickly.
There are some products that seem very faddish, but in reality, create a paradigm shift in the way people think about a particular concept. A good example might be the paradigm shift from the taking of pills and capsules for your vitamins to the switch to functional food beverages. When companies came out with juice in a bottle it looked like it was the latest fad that wouldn’t last. However today, vitamins are consumed in a plethora of various ways. So, if you have a product that you think is new and different and has that sizzle to it, go ahead and give it a shot. Just remember to add other products as quickly as possible in case that product is truly a fad.
Marketability is so important. Do people really want the product? The chairman of Rolex was once asked, “How’s the watch business?” and he replied, “I have no idea. I’m in the image business.” That’s a great lesson to learn. We all think about our product and its great features, but people really want to know the benefits. If you’re in the cosmetic industry, is that really what you’re selling? No. You’re selling hope, so remember to get it right the first time and that people are interested in the benefits, not just the features of the product.
There are ten keys to success in product development when it comes to multi-level marketing. Your product must be unique, profitable, consumable and enduring if it’s going to be a direct selling product.
Do you have more questions about the distribution of your product or need a professional consultant to get your product launched off the ground? Contact us for a free consultation or join Sheffield Global Academy for a crash course in ALL THINGS MLM.