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To stay competitive in the marketplace, a business has to adapt to transformation, especially in this digital age. This is no different for direct selling. Today, direct selling “champion” Meredith Berkich joins us to talk about Jenkon and how they’re making innovation simple for customers, affiliates, influencers, and independent representatives worldwide. Meredith serves as Chief Growth Officer for Jenkon and works with corporate leadership who are seeking solutions to digital transformation, innovative user experiences, and business evolution. Whether you’re an affiliate marketer or a traditional MLM builder, tune in and discover how you can cope with the shifts in the marketplace.
Meredith Berkich: Builder And Now MLM Consultant
I am with Meredith Berkich, and Meredith is the Chief Growth Officer at Jenkon. We had a chance to chat a little bit before. You have a fascinating background. I’m excited to have you on the show.
It’s great to be here. You as well. It’s always wonderful to get to spend the afternoon with you and your audience, trying to add value.
Let’s give some people some context on your background in the networking space, and then we will transition a little bit to Jenkon and what you do there at Jenkon and what Jenkon does. That would be awesome. Tell us about how did you get into the industry. What was your beginning here?
My beginning in direct sales is such a long life and a great life. It’s very rich and incredible, but I always say it started with shoes. I was a stay-at-home mom. Buying a pair of shoes. Maybe it was wanting to buy a pair of shoes. I decided to stay home, raise a family, and we came to that decision. After about a year or two went by, I saw a beautiful pair of shoes and it was expensive. We were on a shoestring budget and I couldn’t do it. I was annoyed that I couldn’t do it. I went to a party of a friend of mine and I heard the gal say, “You could make an extra few hundred dollars a month in your spare time.” I thought I could buy shoes. Funny enough, that’s how it started.
Ten years in the field with Princess House was a very fortunate team. I was able to grow wonderful people. It’s so diverse and so rich the talents and interests. I did that for over a decade. I was the youngest Division Organizer in their twenty-plus year history. It was a great run, and then I had an opportunity to leave the Seattle area and go out to Florida. Unfortunately, the company at the time had a radius rule. If you moved over 150 miles away and you had an upline that was local, your entire team broke away and dynamically the upline.
It was a little booger. It was indeed. We had a chance to start a little company that became Garden of Life. We went to Florida, it was a dear friend of ours, and launched that company. It grew into quite a legacy, but that was where I stepped out of direct selling for a little bit because I lost my entire team over ten years of my life.
I helped with getting Garden of Life off the ground and then went back into direct selling, but this time on the corporate side. I said, “I want to be on the corporate side and help direct selling companies not make ridiculous policies and procedures that hurt the people that love their company that want to grow.” I was on the corporate side for the next fifteen years.
There are so many nuances in network marketing. It almost seems like a prerequisite to me. No offense to people that don’t have backgrounds in the field and vice versa. It works both ways, but the fact that you are now working with companies and you had that experience, it’s got to be refreshing to them and in an enormous value.
I think that what it does is it stops you from stepping into crap when you don’t have to. It does because there are ideas that sound great in the boardroom. Ideation sessions, whiteboarding, and everybody are very brilliant that’s in the room. If you haven’t done it, it doesn’t register. It sounds good. It looks good on paper, and then if they are not a company that is particularly collaborative with their field and they think, “We got to keep it a secret. We are going to surprise them with this amazing big idea.” They don’t have anyone in there to do a litmus test for them. I have a lot of very expensive mistakes, not financially, but time, trust, and belief in the field who gets alienated from that lack of experience on the inside.
Let’s talk about that experience specifically, but set the stage for now. You as the Chief Growth Officer at Jenkon. Jenkon for my lack of better terms as a backend genealogy commission engine. Can you explain a little bit about what Jenkon does first? That would be helpful for people to understand, and every company has to have that platform. They can’t operate without it.
If you look at it as 3 to 4 different platforms, it’s probably the most simple way to approach the conversation, which is you have the corporate office, which is necessary for the decision-makers at corporate to see real-time data and what’s happening to model commission plans and events that they are putting out there that are incentive driven and say, “What does this look like? If we had done this incentive last year with a set of rules, how many winners would we have had? Who would have won?”
There’s the whole corporate side where you put together all of the coupon codes and everything for our shopping, sales, and communications, and then get that real-time view to make educated decisions. Secondly, you have the business center, which is where your distributors, consultants, contractors, or whatever they are called get to go and say, “What does my business look like at this exact moment? Who is on target to achieve this next rank? What’s happening in my business? What should I be paying attention to right now? I have new people that just joined.”
Just that visibility because of all people, we have a part-time volunteer army out there that’s benefiting from direct selling. If they can’t have those quick glances when they are waiting for the kiddos at soccer practice sitting in the car, scrolling through their phone with it, it puts them in an awkward position to maximize their time however many precious hours there are in a week that they devote to their business.
The last is the personal website or the replicated site that takes the website experience, the shopping experience, and then allows me to share that with my friends, my family, or my circle. If I’m a big influencer, whether I’m a monster with tons of people out there, or I’m a macro, micro, or nano, whatever the case may be, then I can share my link. People can shop, and then that way it counts for me. All the recruiting counts for me.
The last piece that’s new here with Jenkon is live shopping, which takes that to a whole another immersive experience where people can, whether it’s the corporate who wants to talk about a product, and I can send everybody on my team or my group in there and they can all order or buy the newest product that’s out there. Hear it from the expert and have it get credited to the right person, or I could even do my show where I could talk about the products and have guests on there remotely and they can buy. That makes me a global threat. That’s what it does.
Jenkon takes live shopping to a whole other immersive experience.
How does that happen, the live shopping? Are you doing that through Zoom or your internal platform?
We have a platform, correct? It is not Zoom. Yes. We have a platform for that.
Somebody’s watching a central show and then the buyer, whomever they invited goes to their hub site to purchase.
In a real case scenario, if I’m a distributor and you are the corporate and you are there to launch this amazing new formulation. You want to tell the science story. You will publish a show in my back office, and then what I will do is I will take that link and I will share it with whomever I want to show it on my social. I will share it through SMS.
By clicking on my link and using my link, they will come in directly so that on that show, when they buy something, or do an action, it will stay with me. My reporting will reflect that and I will also have intelligence into who came to the show. Even though you are a corporate person that’s doing it, it’s the link that is the magic.
We have seen a lot of changes in the industry, and I’m interested in your perspective on dealing with companies and doing what you guys do at Jenkon. This affiliate versus MLM, and you see some companies reacting poorly to it. They are leaning towards the affiliate marketer. They are shallowing out the comp plan. They are seeing a lot of churns and a lot of jumping around. On the other side of it, you have people holding onto a more traditional in-depth MLM structure. The problem with that is you are not recognizing the power of a seller who might be an influencer. Are you guys addressing that? How are you helping companies cope with these shifts in the marketplace?
The way that the platform is designed, it can support multiple types or classes of distributors and multiple types of customers. If you are a distributor and you are just about influencer marketing, you can have the compensation plan that applies to you. Because it’s unique to your type, then that’s trackable. When I log into my back office or I go into my app, then what I see are products and compensation that pertain to me. How Jenkon has mastered this is by saying, “We understand it. You could have five different types of people that run entirely different compensation plans and the system has to recognize this person.”
One might be an affiliate marketer that wants to retail and wants to be paid for the retail. They are not interested in recruiting or building a team. That might be an example.
It’s a class of a type of person.
Would you suggest that that person lives inside of the genealogy of a more traditional MLM builder that might have recruited them?
That is a great question because if I’m out there living the brand and I’m talking about the products and I’m sharing my passion, who knows whom I’m going to come into contact with him my daily life? I may only know 1 or 2 people that are major influencers, but I may know a lot of people that are more of that micro-influencers.
Everybody’s an influencer. We are all influencers even if it’s just our family, but we influence somebody. Those levels of I would like to be able to recruit that person and speak to them in a way that would appeal to them knowing that they are not my best friend that’s a direct selling monster, and she can build a crazy team, but I have to have something for her as well. I have to have something for somebody who says, “I’m just a customer and I’d like to be able to share with a friend. I don’t want to get into it. It would be nice if I got a little kickback. I could get a discount on my products.”
I think it’s a necessity today. The environment is changing so fast and dramatically. Going to an affiliate marketer and making them move through some compensation structure and recruit people that are not designed for them, that’s awesome to hear. That’s fantastic. It’s got my mind reeling a little bit there, but who is your ideal target? Do you guys target mostly brand-new companies that are just launching mid-tier large organizations or across the board?
As far as a target audience for what is the ideal Jenkon customer, what makes sense more on the customer side of it, a lot of times we have people that are trailblazers. When I think of people that have come on and benefited over the last years. People who maybe didn’t have a lot of money in the beginning to start their direct selling company, or they hadn’t thought it through on how much they wanted to spend on technology. They came through with this little bootstrap so they said, “Here I am and I like this.”
There are more and more of those now. Decades ago, you are talking about distribution and branding and all the things you have to do. There are a lot of successful leaders that want to try their hand. They have some money. They don’t have a big enterprise corporate budget, but they have the means to get something off the ground, and you are suggesting they can do it more affordably now.
Over half of the people that come to Jenkon already have established businesses that couldn’t scale on their current software platform. That’s the reality. They came in. They bought something simple, easy, and inexpensive. The next thing that happened, their business blows up. One last time, they went to $100 million in their first year. They were on this little bitty rickety platform. We are like, “This isn’t keeping up. We can’t scale. We can’t expand.”
The software was bogging down. It wasn’t enterprise software.
Exactly, because they couldn’t bring on new products. They couldn’t open a new market. If they had to make a transition in their comp plan quickly because maybe they were bleeding cash on a check match or something was happening, they couldn’t move. It was like their vision was being hindered by their technology.
That’s the downfall of it but what’s good for Jenkon is we are used to that change management because that is a big thing. Switching from one platform to another is high risk. It instills fear in people of what’s going to happen. It’s such a big change. When you work with a company like Jenkon where over half of their business has been transitioning people from one software platform to another, you have decades of experience in getting it right with minimal disruption.
Meredith, it has been awesome to be with you and I appreciate the time. I think we will do round two at some point, but thank you so much.
It’s been great. Thanks for having me.
About Meredith Berkich
Meredith is a direct selling “champion” with a proven 30-year track record as both independent distributor and C-suite executive, leading companies from trailblazer to legacy. Her deep-rooted passion lies in empowering entrepreneurs and organizations to achieve their highest and best potential.
At Jenkon, Meredith serves as Chief Growth Officer, working with corporate leadership seeking solutions to digital transformation, innovative user experience, and business evolution.