Onboarding Essentials: How to Get New Recruits to Start off Strong

Let’s talk about distributor onboarding process in the raw, clearly and concisely, with no embellishments. 

There’s a certain parallel between the moment when new recruits join a direct selling company to start their own entrepreneurial trip and an actual voyage. They’re excited about the ocean of opportunities, anticipating flexibility, stable additional income, new acquaintances, and experiences they want to share with others. New distributors, when they come on board, expect the ship – their direct selling company – to have everything they need to succeed. 

However, little do they know that their vessel can become a heavy rock that will pull them down in the end. Their vessel may become the burden that will slow them down with no gratification and with no wins on the horizon. Worst of all, this voyage of an entrepreneurial lifetime could cast them ashore on a desert island. Left alone, distributors will either figure out how to survive by trial and error or become victims of the island. 

In both cases, their success and the success of a company will waver.

So what is the main question that every successful direct selling company should resolve? 

How to Successfully Onboard New Recruits 

There’s a 99% chance that your new recruits will soon become inactive or fail if you don’t get this one thing right. It’s as simple as that.

The foundation for distributor retention and productivity lies in effective onboarding. In turn, effective onboarding depends on the following five steps.

1. Integrate onboarding into daily routines from day one.

The majority of people who are involved in the direct selling industry start their careers somewhere else. They have little to no entrepreneurial experience, are used to a fixed work schedule, have a lower degree of accountability, etc. Most distributors are just trying to insert their direct selling business between their work and personal life. How is it related to onboarding? Directly.

Usually, when it comes to first sales, time spent on getting new recruits up to speed equals time not spent on increasing company profits. Research shows that for 50% of new recruits, it can take between 6 and 10 months to become fully productive. That’s too long and is why many direct selling companies jumble together resources and tools they think would be useful for distributors only to fail miserably later on. 

The root cause of such failures is a poor understanding of the distributor’s life beyond their direct selling business. It’s the core task of any direct selling company to smoothly build the onboarding process into a distributor’s daily routines. This way, new recruits will contribute to company growth from their first days and feel immediately rewarded.

2. Make onboarding personal and show you care about each individual.

onboarding process

Personalization hinges on the three pillars:

  • Why an individual joined your company
  • What is needed for each individual’s strong start 
  • How you will deliver that uniquely personalized onboarding experience

To develop an effective onboarding program, you should address every aspect mentioned above. First, start with the distributor goals. For that, it’s good practice to segment your field not just by location, language, age or gender but based on their objectives. The purpose is to understand the reason why new recruits joined in the first place. Is it because they love your products? Or do they want to earn additional cash? Or is it about joining a supportive community of fellow-thinkers and possibly meeting new friends? Their purpose will be a decisive factor for further action. 

Since every distributor has a different background, their skills and knowledge will differ as well. An effective onboarding program should take this into account to ensure that every individual receives only relevant support.

Relevant support means not only suitable resources but also the time and tools it’s delivered through. With new recruits, we have no time to fail and try again we need to make it right from their first experience with a company. Depending on what experience we are going to provide, new recruits will either succeed or quit. If they need help now, their questions also must be answered now, no matter where they are or what time it is. Thus, personalized support is delivered just-in-time, anywhere, via any device. 

3. Show that success is real and around the corner.

Unfortunately, for the majority of direct selling companies, it’s a pretty common situation to recruit distributors and see them become inactive in a short time. Blame it all on their uplines? Wrong answer. 

For this, we need to resort to psychology. People want good things, and they want them NOW. For distributors, the process of building their own direct selling business takes time and dedication. However, when they’re overwhelmed with another full-time job and personal problems, they simply don’t have the time, motivation, or energy. 

So your new busy distributors (who are really excited about an opportunity) sign up, receive an impressive starter kit, and… something goes wrong. At this point, they stop doing any activities and become silent. Why? They either don’t know what to do next or are not motivated enough to take any further steps. 

The goal is to show that their excitement at the very beginning wasn’t in vain. To motivate your distributors to keep going and growing their business, you need to motivate them, instantly. This is where data-driven personalized rewards meet the human need for instant gratification. With the right tools, you can reward every distributor at every step of their journey, ensuring their ongoing activity and keeping their engagement high.

4. Protect new recruits from information overload.

All successful direct selling companies have elaborate training programs to help their distributors get up to speed as fast as possible. However, one important thing they forget to take into consideration is the amount of the material new recruits need to absorb. 

Here we’re going back to the three pillars of personalization: individual goals, needs, and tools. Having been helping direct selling companies for seven years drive their distributors’ success, we know the secret sauce behind it. By collecting, aggregating and analyzing data for years and feeding it into our ML-driven Performance Enablement Platform, we have been personalizing each distributor’s onboarding experience to reduce the overwhelming effect of new information. 

It’s more than just personalized training. Every piece of content an individual receives is directly linked to their current needs and is always supported by business activities, to ensure the better absorption of newly learned information by solving real, urgent challenges. Distributors learn one thing at a time, reinforce it in practice, and move on. Such gradual upskilling creates the most efficient way of onboarding.

5. Set up communication channels to improve community power.

onboarding process

While technology can greatly help make the onboarding process effective, you can’t neglect the social aspects of working together, especially in direct selling, which hinges on people and building trusting relationships.

Communications matters. Timely feedback matters. Your groups and communities matter. 

When you welcome new recruits on board, they should feel the support of the company and their uplines immediately. They have to know that you’re there to help if they stumble or don’t know how to move forward. They need to get that strong vibe of your community strength. That’s why it’s so crucial to ensure your uplines and downline communities provide this kind of presence in distributors’ lives. 

By following these five steps, you will be able to develop an effective onboarding strategy that ensures high engagement and productivity from the first steps of recruitment.

Book a call with the Rallyware experts to learn how to build a strong and effective onboarding program!