Social Over Selling: Personal Branding in Direct Sales

Episode 8 of the Imperfect Party podcast is with Abby Garrison, picture here with brown hair smiling, talking about "Social over selling: Personal branding in direct sales"

Direct Sales, MLMs, Network Marketing, whatever you wanna call it, I feel like you either love it or hate it. 

Today I’m talking with Abby Garrison, who LOVES it, but doesn’t always think that people can go about growing that kind of business the right way. She’s a leader in her direct sales company, and a business coach who helps other women in direct sales get it right. 

We’ve all gotten those messages on Facebook from a person you haven’t talked to since high school starting with “hey hun” telling you how excited they are to share something with you. 


Abby’s talking today about how to infuse your own personal branding into growing your direct sales business so that you never have to beg your family and friends to help you grow your business again.

I feel like I’ve totally done that before…so this is my official public apology to everyone. It’ll never happen again. Love youuuuU!

Let’s talk about social selling…

The first thing I wanted to know was what the heck to call these companies! I hear them called Direct Sales, Network Marketing, MLMs, and other things. Abby cleared it up straight outta the gate…they’re all correct, but they fall under the umbrella of social selling. And to be honest, I think that sounds a lot cooler to me. 

But, what’s a pyramid scheme?

Abby admits that, yes, the structure resembles a pyramid. But, that’s how most businesses work. There’s one CEO at the top, then a few managers, some team leaders, and a bunch of staff.

It’s not a “scheme” because in MLMs, the people at the top need to work just as hard as the people at the bottom or they’re out. In my opinion, this sounds MORE fair than a lot of companies, but that’s just me. 

Why do some people HATE direct sales so much?

Abby thinks it’s the way that social sellers are set up. Leaders look at their team as just another way to hit big goals so that they can get their bonuses. They’re pushing numbers and sales over the experience and the process. There’s too much pressure and too much expectation put on new team members. 

When people first start, they’re told to make a list of all their family and friends and send a message saying, “Hey! I just joined this company and I’m so excited! I would love to have you as one of my first hosts. I would love to have you on my team! What do you think?” They’re encouraged to do “booking blitzes” where they message 20 people in one day asking for parties. Or even taught to create a Facebook post saying, “Help me hit my goal!”

Those sort of tactics basically do the opposite. It pushes people away. They don’t want to keep telling you no. It’s totally awkward. Abby reminds them that people want to be your friend on Facebook, not be pressured into buying from you. 

We as women value our relationships so much and can really take it personally when our friends and family don’t support us. One of Abby’s friends made a statement that she really liked, “My job as your family or friend, is to support you in your successes, not to support you in your business.” 

So what should they do instead?

It’s a better business move to have family and friends support you by referring people to you who are your ideal client. Sending people your way that want to be in your community or would maybe eventually buy from you is way more valuable than hosting a party that no one really wants to be at. 

When no one wants to be there, the party’s a flop and the pity sales are just products that end up going to waste. Your friends and family feel frustrated because they were pressured. It’s all-around icky feelings and wasted time that benefits no one in the long run.

Abby’s Tips for Success:

Stay in your lane and Approach it as a business owner from day one.

Doing this will create a huge mindset shift. Every conversation you have can just be a conversation where you connect with people.  If the business stuff somes up, you can offer to tell them more, but leave all the pressure out of it. 

Social selling should be about relationships!

There has been a trend that is way too sales-focused. Her coaching business is called Abby’s Coffee Social because she wants social sellers to put the focus back on the relationship aspects that this business model was built on.

Without the people, you have no business. And if you push people away by not acting like a professional business owner, they’re not going to refer you to more people, your groups aren’t going to grow, there’s not going to be engagement, and you won’t be able to build a team because people aren’t going to want to spend time with you.  Building those relationships is the key to growing your business. 

How to add personal branding to your social selling business:

  • Make sure your name is on EVERYTHING!
  • Take your own pictures
  • Make your own graphics
  • Whatever you write is professional and sounds like you: read your post out loud before you post it to make sure it sounds like you
  • Go Live in your group so people can get to know you!
  • Have a landing page, a blog, or a like tree to link out to your different companies.
  • And be consistent…you never know who’s listening!

Some companies have different rules, so be sure to check and see which ones you can implement in your business.

Your next step:

You just gained some great ideas about how to infuse your personality into your social selling business! 

I personally think that an easy one to start with is just going live on social media, wherever you hang out and start sharing more about you. Abby’s already the coffee lady, but who are you? Maybe you’re a coffee lady too! Share more about you and start to connect, and then grow from there!

More from Abby Garrison…

We also about all the direct sales companies I’ve worked for, and laugh about all the things that people can do wrong. And you’ll find out if Abby would rather host a party or be a guest at one. You probably already have a guess. So push play on the episode above to get the full scoop. And don’t forget to check out more from Abby!

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