Generation Z – people born between 1997 and 2012 – are coming of age and entering the workforce. And they’re bringing their own unique set of experiences and expectations. How can multi-level marketing (MLM) companies recruit Gen Z sales representatives? Start by getting to know what makes Gen Z-ers, also known as “Zoomers,” tick and what they want from their careers. From there, tailor distinct recruiting strategies that tie the benefits of direct selling to Gen Z priorities.
Who is Gen Z?
As the oldest Gen Z-ers enter their mid-twenties, the generation’s impact is being felt. Representing 12 percent of the workforce as of 2021, the percentage is projected to increase to 27 percent by 2025. Like generations before them, Gen Z has common defining experiences and influences that shape their behaviors and values.
- Tech-savvy: Most Gen Z-ers don’t remember a world without the Internet, Wi-Fi, and smartphones. They’re adept at using all types of technology, and they rely on it for instant access to information. For example, Gen Z-ers are on their smartphones five hours per day on average, and nearly one-third say they’re uncomfortable being away from their smartphone for 30 minutes or less. The important takeaway is that Gen Z-ers are true digital natives whose devices serve as primary communication hubs.
- Diverse: Gen Z is the most racially and ethnically diverse generation in US history, with the Census Bureau projecting the majority of Gen Z-ers will be non-white by 2026. As a result, Gen Z prioritizes diverse representation in their communities, the workforce, and the media.
- Pragmatic and independent: After growing up during the Great Recession and watching their parents navigate financial challenges, Gen Z-ers take a more conservative approach to money and spending. At the same time, they are fiercely independent and competitive, especially in their careers. Nearly half already report having a side gig that enables them to earn extra money.
How MLM companies can recruit Gen Z
MLM companies are well-positioned to appeal to Gen Z-ers for a range of reasons. To successfully attract, recruit, and retain Generation Z sales representatives, MLM companies must highlight the following five selling points for a career in MLM sales.
1. Make authentic connections.
Gen Z craves one-to-one connections and values the opportunity to build authentic relationships, both personal and professional. At the same time, they rely on digital communications – texting, social media, and virtual events – to connect with others. With deep, personalized relationships at the heart of MLM sales, direct selling offers the authentic connections Gen Z is looking for.
When designing a Gen Z-targeted recruiting strategy, MLM companies should dial up their online brand presence to help build awareness and share recruiting-oriented content. Assist field recruiting efforts with targeted social media templates and encourage current field representatives to follow up social media engagement and sales to Gen Z-ers with personalized messages. In addition, make sure to leverage your MLM software to offer streamlined online representative enrollment capabilities so that Gen Z-ers can explore the MLM sales opportunity and take immediate action to become a representative.
2. Emphasize the opportunity, not the company.
With their independence as a primary driver, 62 percent of Gen Z-ers have entrepreneurial aspirations and report they have started – or intend to start – their own business. Research by the Direct Selling Association found that Gen Z has the most interest in finding flexible ways to earn money, with becoming more financially secure, low start-up costs, and flexibility ranking as most important when considering their options.
With these features in mind, MLM companies should focus recruiting outreach on the opportunity to be your own boss and control your own destiny as an MLM sales representative. In addition, recruiting strategies should appeal to Gen Z’s practical financial natures by emphasizing direct selling as a cost-effective, turnkey way to build a business.
3. Adopt a digital-first strategy.
Most Gen Z-ers got their first smartphone by the age of 10, which means they have been swiping screens and tapping out texts for most of their lives. Technology is integrated into every facet of their day-to-day lives, making them more than simply technology users. Generation Z lives digitally.
To attract Gen Z representatives, MLM companies must take a digital-first approach to their technology strategies and prioritize mobile-friendly MLM software tools and apps that enable reps to run their business from their phones. Representative dashboards, reports, and automated alerts optimized for mobile devices are business-critical tools for Gen Z representatives. Along with a digital-first approach to operational tasks, digital will also take the lead in terms of how Gen Z reps interact with their customers via social media, text, web-based marketing, and Ecommerce. Look for MLM software providers that deliver these types of solutions as well as regular updates to continually enhance the functionality.
4. Showcase development opportunities.
Gen Z’s independence definitely comes through in their choice of careers. Three in four say they are responsible for driving their own career, and they value training and resources that support professional development. They seek work with a clear path for growth and will change jobs to find the opportunity they want.
When recruiting, MLM companies should highlight training and mentorship programs to attract Gen Z’s interest. Build journey-based onboarding within your MLM software to deliver appropriate training content at key milestones. Journey-based onboarding also allows the delivery of information and resources to be personalized for each representative. And with the right MLM software, the training modules can be automated to trigger based on either timelines or events. For example, you can build a module to send when a new representative completes their online enrollment and another when she makes her first sale. Aim for a mix of product, skill-building, and technical training.
Make sure potential Gen Z recruits understand your company’s compensation plan and how they can achieve ranks and recognition within the organization. Include formal and informal mentoring programs so that young reps have people to reach out to for advice, best practices, and encouragement along the way.
5. Share your values.
Gen Z wants to make a positive impact through their work, and 63 percent say it’s important to work for a company that shares their values. They also want to enjoy their work and prioritize that over making a lot of money. MLM companies can fulfill these criteria by giving Gen Z products they believe in and building in a commitment to causes, such as the environment or social justice.
As part of your recruiting efforts, communicate your company’s values and how its products and services help to make the world a better place. And optimize opportunities to turn customers into MLM sales representatives. Recent research by Deloitte shows that Gen Z-ers prefer to work with companies they connect to as consumers or through shared causes.
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