CEO Traci Lynn Burton of Traci Lynn Jewelry joins DirecTech Labs Podcast Series to provides her thoughts on the future of the Direct Selling channel, her leadership style and digital tools she has used that are making a difference for her business.
Traci Lynn Jewelry was established in 1989 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania by its CEO and founder Dr. Traci Lynn Burton. In 2008 Traci Lynn expanded the brand into a National Direct Sales company. Traci Lynn believes jewelry creates an opportunity for women to own their own businesses, balance their lives, and achieve financial independence doing something they love! (source: tracilynnjewelry.com)
You have this idea that you call “Passing The Mic” which you describe it as “motivate inspire and change.” How did you come up with that idea?
Dr. Burton: Well you know the one thing that I love about “Passing The Mic” is that I honestly didn’t come up with it. That was a mission that I had before I founded the company. So that’s what makes it so authentic is that it’s the real me. My goal is to motivate, inspire and change lives in everything I do.
People often link the word MLM to schemes and it gives the Direct Selling industry a bad name. How do you wrap your head around this kind of PR situation that we have as a Direct Selling channel? What would you do to improve the PR image of the direct selling space?
Dr. Burton: How do we improve that from a PR standpoint? One thing is we got to keep getting the message out, even in the field. I mean they’re the biggest cheerleaders and the biggest brand ambassadors. We need to enhance the brand and get the bad actors out collectively. Shine a light on the bad actors and make sure that we are collectively a force for good and that we get that PR message out there. We go to Capitol Hill just like we do and we get our force involved to make a difference. But I think that if we continue to highlight all the great positive things that we do and show that we will not stand for the bad actors, we’ll get to move forward
One of the things that you do that is interesting is bringing celebrities into your business. I know that you had a gifting suite at the Grammys and you’ve had interaction with a couple of celebrities. Can you talk to us about the strategy behind that and some of the value that you’ve gotten out of bringing this type of associations into your brand?
Dr. Burton: In this day and age, TV is no longer the only channel for advertisement. Everybody knows how influential celebrities on social media are. Pictures and notes are posted, tagged and re-tagged. So there’s an opportunity in digital media. It’s been working really well for us.
Let’s shift into your leadership style. Are there some key metrics or key indicators that you look at to gauge how the business is performing?
Dr. Burton: One of the KPI that we use on a daily basis is looking at how well each item is performing. One thing I learned is that I can get excited over a design because I’m the designer or one of the designers. In the beginning, I was the only designer and I would fall in love with my own designs until one day somebody didn’t like and buying that particular design. And then I realized that not everything has to be what I like. Our people represent our brand because they love our style. That’s that’s why we’re growing, and that’s why celebrities like our brand. But I’ve learned to watch the KPIs even though it was something I was in love with. Can we sell it? Do the people like it?
I’m also always looking at the top sellers; I’m always looking at our product mix because for a long time we only offered jewelry. That’s what we did. Then we branded into accessories, one or two things. But then it exploded. We started selling more accessories, the handbags over some of the jewelry pieces. So we had to change the product mix then we add bridal. So I’m always looking to see what we need to tweak.
One of our KPIs also gives us a good indication of our new consultants’ performance. You’ve got to take a look at that. That is your direct relationship to the field. I also cannot be a CEO without a heart. So that plays into my leadership style. Do you know the old saying “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”? So we also measure how often we are getting out there. I usually go on tour every other year. I do 10 to 14 cities because I want to touch the people. Some people won’t come to the convention because I go to them. So what is that relationship metric look like? You need KPIs to run the company.
Do you guys have some way of looking at people and identifying people with potential that you feel or maybe your leaders feel are the up and comers?
Dr. Burton: Yes, we do a leadership training twice a month where we look for our rising stars. Our meters will identify the rising stars and then we do have a KPI to see for ourselves. For someone who’s only been in the business 30 days, we can pull a report to see the performance line and then we send them a special prize. Then we can see if they’re even starting leadership, we also have a KPI for that. We then invite them into a special orientation or leadership meeting. So we have multiple ways to communicate and reach out to them.
It seems like know social media is a big a big part of what you do and how you train people. Are there some like digital tools that you’ve launched in the field or any kind of digital technology and initiatives that have paid off for you that you want to share?
Dr. Burton: I have quite a few technologies that have paid off very well, and then I’ve got some that have not paid off. And I just happened to be a tech geek. I like all things tech. I love all things new. We recently launched a new app, a selling app. The consultant can create their own personalized app, create their website and have their customers download it. It was only for them, and then they can highlight unique items that they wanted the customers to see. That has been like a transformational hit. Having your app, not the company’s app, with your items has worked wonders.
So let me let me understand that. So this sounds interesting. You, the consultant, can highlight specific products that you think your customer base is going to resonate with. So they’re seeing those featured items when they log into the app?
Dr. Burton: That is correct. And then the customers can buy it right on the spot. They don’t have to go through a sign-in process.
And did you guys build this in-house or did you work with a vendor to do this?
Dr. Burton: We worked with a vendor to build this. We found them through via the direct selling Association DSA. They allow us to connect with such cutting-edge companies like yourself to give us the greatest and latest technology without us spending all of the resources on trying to develop it in-house.
Talk to me about your perspective on the regulatory landscape.
Dr. Burton: Well I can honestly say that we as an association we’re very well aware of the climate in terms of the regulations. Under Angela Loehr Chrysler, we’ve come up with an ethics plan and adopted new things that we will continue to strengthen our ethics as an association. I’ve had few calls from my comp plan consultant and my attorney, and they recommended a couple of changes to the comp plan. The FTC is going to come in and scrutinize everything you do. So my thought is this: Scrutinize it yourself, disrupt your way of business yourself. If you can do it yourself, then you don’t have to worry about anyone else coming in and possibly put you out of business.
To hear the entire podcast, press on the button play, next to the logo. Want to read more? Check out Nu Skin’s Ryan Napierski on Megatrends disrupting Direct Selling Industry