Beach Body. Thirty-one. Scentsy. Tupperware. Plexus Slim. LuLaRoe. Stella & Dot. Chloe & Isabel. Usborne Books. Rodan + Fields. Mary Kay. Avon. Younique. Norwex.It Works Wraps. Jamberry.

This is a list of direct sales companies I know about because one (or more) of my Facebook friends sells their products.

I’m not trying to shame anyone who chooses to become a direct sales representative for a company or product that they love, but there is a line, and I feel it’s being crossed way too often these days.

That line: direct sales and social media.

Here’s the deal: I’m on Facebook for a few reasons—

  1. To learn what my friends are up to and what’s happening with them and their families (and sometimes, their pets);
  2. To stay informed about what’s happening in the world;
  3. To buy stuff on the cheap from garage sale sites, like kids’ clothes and toys

As the years have passed, a LOT of women I know have fired up their own direct sales business.

The first place they turn for customers: Facebook.

As soon as a friend announces (usually with an exclamation-point-ridden post that seems oddly prescripted, as if someone else wrote it) that they’ve become a representative for an oh-so-amazing product line that they love, I make a mental note. I don’t hide them from my feed immediately. Everyone deserves a chance.

I just start watching when they pop up in my feed. Picture of their kid, or dog? Great. A little post about burning dinner? I hear ya, sister, I do that all the time. But if it’s a sales post, followed by another, and another… now there’s a problem.

When the friend’s posts become 90% direct sales and 10% real life, that’s when I click the ‘UNFOLLOW’ button.

I’m your friend. I’m not your customer. I don’t need to be ‘marketed to.’ If you’ve begun selling something, great! I’m happy to hear it, and I thank you for letting me and the rest of your Facebook friends know that if we are interested in Product X, we can buy it from you. We’ll definitely seek you out when we’re ready to do some shopping.

But please, do not convert my friendship/acquaintance into a business relationship, particularly without asking me first. A business relationship is not why I’m here; it’s not why I am your friend.

I’m interested in you, not your LATEST AWESOME PRODUCT!

Honestly, I’m already being “sold to” in my newsfeed by a slew of companies that I don’t know personally. Primary (the baby clothes with no words on them!), The Honest Company, Social Book, Toyota (seriously, I looked at new Rav4 models one flippin’ time, and now I’m being stalked all over the G.D. internet!). I can’t get away from people trying to sell me stuff. I’d rather my friends didn’t join in the melee.

Doing it right

I do have a handful of friends who strike the balance between selling and sharing extremely well. One sells Stella & Dot, another Younique, and a third sells LulaRoe. I barely remember they sell stuff, except for posts about once a month or so when they gently remind everyone that if we’re running low on Product X, they are placing an order soon. It’s subtle. I don’t mind it one bit, and I appreciate the fact that they’re not going overboard. Others… not so much.

Maybe it’s just me…

…and no one else is bothered by this. Could it be?

I’ll admit that I have never been a fan of direct sales. When friends invite me to direct sales parties, I almost always decline. I’ve attended just a few, and I always feel incredibly awkward. I don’t wear jewelry. I am a lifelong nail biter, so Jamberry makes no sense. I own two Thirty-One totes (which I bought secondhand), but prefer my Land’s End tote bags. I go to the gym two times a week all on my own, and I hate shakes. I’ve got no use for body wraps (yet), and even though I probably sound like as crazy as a Drumpf supporter, I think Plexus Slim is going to be declared a carcinogen someday.

I’m in an age group where women seem to embrace direct sales, and I struggle to relate. I’ve never had the urge to start selling things to my friends. I’m a marketer by trade—I do plenty of selling at my 9-to-5, so I’ve no desire to take on more after hours. Back in high school, I never met the sales goals set by our marching band teacher, or the ag teacher during FFA Fruit Sales. I hated that stuff.

(Plus I’m just too busy keeping my small people safe, fed, and alive.)

I am sad to miss out on the posts that are actually related to my friends’ real lives when I unfollow them. I miss important stuff, like pregnancy announcements. But the upside of unfollowing is that I can always go check out what I’ve missed if I wonder what they’re up to. Of course, I’ll have to sift through eleventy-billion “omg check out this great new product!” to do it, but oh well.

Perhaps try it this way…

If selling on Facebook is how you want to roll, that’s cool. Create a private Facebook group where you peddle your wares, and invite everyone to join. Folks uninterested in being a customer can still know what’s up in your world, without having to wade through a sales pitch. At the same time, the ladies who want to buy what you’re selling have an easy way to stay in touch and in the know.

Easy-peasy, and everybody’s happy.

 

 

Photo courtesy of flickr user jakerust

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