Product Development and Launch Series: Launching New Products – Part 3
A MESSAGE TO PRODUCT CREATORS
If you’re a product developer and you’re looking for the best way to bring your unique creation to market, the direct selling industry could provide you with the ideal channel, with a fast track to market and huge potential upside.
The Sheffield Group has decades of experience advising product developers and helping them launch new and great products into the MLM channel. Here we summarize some of the key insights that help generate maximum success.
When to Launch a New Product
Each new product launch should include a launch strategy. Generally, it’s best to launch new products in the spring or fall. Prior to launching a new product, establish the commitment level of the client company to the promotion of the product then decide on a marketing strategy.
Minimally, the marketing strategy should include:
- How to excite distributors
- How the product will be sold (by unit or case, for example)
- How the product will be positioned amongst other products in the product line
Be sure to have all supportive marketing ready for the launch, including all supportive websites and digital assets. And, have product samples ready to go in order to help generate interest and excitement upon product launch.
Supporting the Product Launch
Prior to launching a new product, part of the product launch strategy plan should include the supporting speakers and assets. During meetings, have supportive speakers and experts ready to endorse the product, such as doctors, manufacturers, or celebrities.
Have all of the advertising assets designed and ready for the product launch date. This includes any websites or webpages, print materials or promotional items.
Also include marketing and advertising plans at any live events that relate to the product or product line. Be ready to hire the right people to man any booths at all conventions and events. More information about hosting successful events is available at Sheffield Global Academy.
Consider who will be training the client company’s distributors on the product benefits and features for sale purposes. Have your product specialists ready to answer any questions upon the announcement of the new product.
What will be the cost of hiring a trained team of professionals to train distributors on the new product? Consider not simply their compensation fees, but other expenses as well (such as travel and training materials).
Training materials have their own expenses to consider. Product samples, sales and marketing materials, manuals, websites, recruiting materials, etc. are all necessary to consider for the product launch expense plan.
After establishing a manufacturer, launching a new product or product line, and developing the product launch strategy, what can be expected as the beginning outcome of all the hard work and effort?
Consider the amount of the initial order. Multiply the sale of the first order’s active sales force by 25% to get a general estimate of what future orders will include. Consider the length of time between the first and second orders. Expect that timespan to be consistent for around 18 months, then more frequently to every three to six months. This basic formula will establish some manufacturing and sales expectations as time progresses.
Evaluate the Company
Before signing any contracts with a prospective MLM company, it’s important to thoroughly vet their business. Here are some common questions and factors to consider when establishing a business partnership with a new MLM company:
- How long has the company been in business?
- How many active or passive distributors do they have?
- What is the average sales per distributor?
- Do they operate on a retail or consumption concept?
- What are the expenses of the corporate owner?
- Do they have an attorney? If so, be sure to meet their legal department as well (corporate, MLM, FDA, etc.)
- Does the company use compensation plan software? Is it credible?
- What style of compensation plan is the company using?
- Is the company going through any pending or closed lawsuits?
Entering into a business partnership must be done ethically and completely. Know the health and success of the prospective company who will distribute your products. Some key information to glean includes:
- How long the company has been in business
- Number of active and passive distributors
- Dollar volume of sales per month
- Background of the owners
Inform the company with whom you plan to work that there is only one planned MLM partner. If the company meets all qualifications and visa versa, they will be the exclusive seller of the product.
Don’t commit to price or quantity on the first meeting. Exchange literature and samples. Be sure you get a copy of their sales kit, as well as any videos, websites, product literature, and samples. Get to know one another and make sure the partnership is a good one.
How to Tell A Product Story
When marketing a product to potential MLM companies, focus on the uniqueness and salability of the product. The product story should be told thoroughly and convincingly. And, remember to keep these key selling points in mind:
- Uniqueness (of the formula, packaging, patent, history, celebrity use or endorsements, professional credibility, non-replicable, and demonstrable)
- Pricing (don’t commit to a specific price – 5-7x markup depending on your retail strategy)
- Attractiveness (how and why will it be attractive for new distributors)
- Support (outline the consulting or marketing support for your product)
- Marketing Assets
- Sister Products (show how the product will fit well into any existing product lines the company has)
When to Ask for More Help
A MLM consultant can improve every aspect of the sales strategy. If attempts have been made but the product developer continues to find no success in the first year of MLM business, perhaps it’s time to hire a MLM professional consultant.
Any consultant hired should be well vetted and have several referrals and clients who can provide feedback on past business experience.
For more information on how to qualify an MLM consultant and the prices to hire one, contact the Sheffield Network.