By Alan Luce

An article by me entitled Sales Force Trust in Company Key to Business Sustainability appears in the September issues of Direct Selling News. You can access the full article by going to Direct Selling News, click on the US and then scroll down the Sept 7, 2011 issue until you reach “Working Smart” on the lower right.

The essence of the article is this: The most important asset any direct selling company has is the trust and belief of the volunteer sales force that use and sell its products.  Great products, marketing programs, training materials, compensation plans and technology can all help build that trust, but they cannot replace it or overcome the lack of trust.

Company founders learn the importance of the trust and belief asset in the early days of the business.
They tend to work side by side with the first believer sales people selling the products and recruiting new sellers.  They depend everyday on the fact that their early sellers are only doing the business because they trust that the founder’s intention is to help them succeed and they believe in the quality and benefits
of the products.

Too often as the companies grow and successor management teams take over, the fundamental understanding that the business runs on sales force trust and belief is lost.  The business becomes a matter of statistics and performance metrics, cost control and market share.   The volunteer sales force becomes just another company asset like the warehouse building, the inventory and the IT systems.

When that fundamental understanding about the importance of the sales force trust is lost or simply fades through neglect, the company inevitably enters into a period of decline. Not just sometimes, every time!

The most important job of every CEO of a direct selling company is to recognize the importance of the sales force trust and belief in the Company and its actions and intentions and then make preserving and strengthening that trust and belief your first and foremost duty every day.