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I’ve been in direct sales for a long time and it has never ceased to amaze me that the very best consultants in the direct sales businesses are usually the ones that have the busiest lives before they even add direct sales to the mix. Many successful direct sales representatives on my team either work a full-time job in addition to the business or are very committed to volunteer, church or other activities that keep their lives extremely full.
Why is that? You would think it would be just the opposite. A mom whose kids are in school and not working or volunteering has all the time in the world to promote her business, do home parties and follow up with customers. Someone working full time still has to come home, do the laundry, make dinner, spend time with the family, do the paperwork and other household duties. You’d think they would barely have enough time to get to bed at a decent hour let alone build a successful side business. Yet they do it.
Here are a few reasons why I think women with full-time jobs still build successful direct sales businesses:
1. They’re business-women. They treat their business like a business and not a hobby.
2. They’re consistent. They may not have a two-hour window to work their business but they know and are committed to doing something for their business every single day. Even if it’s just one phone call during their lunch hour.
3. They’re realistic. They know that the chances of winning the company cruise or other incentives probably won’t happen but they love the business anyway for whatever reason they decided to join.
4. They’re focused. They realize that in order to make a direct sales business work they’re going to have to focus on what needs to be done during the small window of time that they have and just do it.
5. They’re trainable. They understand that the beauty of direct sales is that it’s like a copy machine. If they follow the lead of their upline or company training manual they’ll do the business right, and they’ll do it well.
6. They’re persistent. They don’t give up at the first downward run of the inevitable roller coaster ride of direct sales. They understand that a business like this has peaks and valleys and pursue through them.
If all direct sales reps would keep those 6 simple things in mind their businesses would thrive too!
As wives and moms we learn early how to multi-task and accomplish several things at once. We cook supper while feeding the baby, iron clothes while talking on the phone, straighten up the living room while helping a child find her shoes. We seldom, if ever, do only one thing at a time.
That’s why it’s sometimes hard for us to focus on just one direct sales business or on just one aspect of our business at a time. We are so conditioned to multi-tasking that we worry if we’re not doing several things at once. We feel there must be something wrong with us. But there are times when we need to focus on only one task in order to achieve the best results.
A University of Michigan study shows that multi-tasking can actually hinder our productivity. While we feel as if we’re accomplishing a lot by doing two or more things at once, we’re not giving any task our complete attention. This causes us to make more mistakes and even take longer to complete each project.
Single-tasking, or focusing on only one task at a time, actually increases our productivity and helps us to get more done in less time with better overall results.
Henry Ford discovered this principle in the early 1900’s when he is credited as being the first industrialist to use the assembly line process. His goal was to streamline productivity and manufacture more vehicles in less time. His success is legendary. And you can use the same principles to get more done in less time in your direct sales business.
Using this method, simply group the smallest measure of similar tasks together and then work on each group of similar tasks until it’s complete before moving on to the next group of tasks.
So rather than simply grouping phone calls together, group phone calls by category such as booking calls, hostess follow-up calls, customer re-order calls, etc. Make one complete set of calls in the first category then move on to the next category of calls.
You may spend what seems to be more time on the telephone at one time, but your focused efforts will result in increased productivity and you’ll actually get more calls made in less time and will see much greater results from your efforts.
This simple production line technique will help keep your momentum going, and will help you concentrate more fully on the actual task at hand at that moment. Greater concentration always results in a greater rate of success.
If you’ve ever joined more than one direct sales company or more than one company at a time – then you may be a direct sales junkie!
It’s easy to get sucked into almost every get-rich quick scheme there is because you want more money or “love” the product. If your focus isn’t clear then it is easy to fall into the trap of the next best thing. Most direct sales companies make it so easy. All you need to do is sign on the dotted line and spend a few hundred dollars to be on the way to early retirement.
Don’t learn the hard way that a lot of time and effort is needed to make money with a direct sales business. There are quite a few direct sales companies that have excellent product to sell and people will buy them but before you fall for some of the things the people trying to get you into the business (your up-line leader) will say, take a look at some of these popular misconceptions and be ready to face the reality.
You’ll only have to work 2 to 6 hours a week to make enough money to replace your current job.
The truth of the matter is, although ideal for a young mother – working or not – a few hours per week sounds do-able. What they’re talking about here is actual time to do a show but this doesn’t take into account the time it takes to pack your kits, load your car, drive to the house of the hostess, set up, pack back up and drive home. Each “demonstration” should only take about an hour but then you’re meeting & greeting, taking orders and gauging interest in hosting shows or starting a business. That doesn’t take into account the time you’ll spend making phone calls to your contacts, getting your displays ready for your shows, preparing gift packages for your hostess, bookkeeping and organization. 2-6 hours a week to make the big bucks? Probably not.
If you recruit X number of people, you won’t have to work as hard.
You may not have to hold as many shows, but you will still have minimum requirements to maintain your leadership role and make the extra money that it brings with it. With a down-line in place you are a leader, and a good leader is there to help their recruits be successful too. That means meetings, training and meeting with their potential recruits. You might also have to handle their business if they suddenly decide to quit the business. Less work? Hardly.
So and so at the top makes millions of dollars and so will you in a short amount of time.
It is absolutely true that some people rise quickly in their direct sales businesses. It can happen. However, the likelihood that you will make a boat-load is slim. Can you? Definitely. Will you? That depends on you. Before you start your direct sales business thinking you’ll be making a certain amount, take the time to find out how long – on average- the people making the money have been in the business and what they’ve done to get there. Find out the true amount of hours they put in each week to get where they are today. If it’s still something you want to pursue then by all means do so.
You only need to spend X number of dollars on your kit and you won’t have to spend a dime more.
A starter kit is just that, a starter kit. Usually made up of the company’s best sellers a starter kit is meant to be supplemented with popular products, seasonal products, new products – you get the picture. You might even be required to purchase a certain amount of inventory or sign up for an auto-shipment to be considered an active consultant or partner. Get all the facts on what is required to keep your status active before signing that dotted line or spending a dime.
You determine your own schedule.
This is a big one that might help you determine if you really want to start a direct sales business. This statement is true to the extent that you can determine your own schedule. You can choose which days of the week or time of day that you will hold shows, however, keep in mind there is still a public out there. Not every potential hostess will be available when you are so if you ever want them to host a show for you you’ll need to be a bit flexible. Keep that in mind when you think about your schedule. What time do you currently have free, that will coincide with your potential client’s time?
If you approach your direct sales business realistically and with good expectations, but not with high hopes and you will be able to attain your idea of success.
You’ve thought about starting a direct sales business but you aren’t sure if it will be successful and that has you at a standstill. While there are no sure bets in direct sales, there are some tips that will help you on your journey to success.
1. Love and believe in the product you are selling. If you love it, use it yourself and know that it works, it won’t be hard to sell.
2. If you have to invest a lot of money to get started on a starter kit or literature, re-think it. A starter kit should have the best selling products, catalogs and other literature you’ll need. Replacement catalogs & literature should be reasonably priced and your personal discount to buy new product should be 30%-50%.
3. Build a network, but don’t just build a network to sell to. Build true relationships and friendships with people first. Be genuine and real.
4. Know your product and know your competition. If a similar product is sold in stores, be ready to explain why yours is the better product especially if there is a cost difference.
5. Have a web site. If your company offers their representatives the option of having a corporate site, make sure to take advantage of having one. Many times you’ll be able to communicate easily with your customers with just a click of a button.
6. Think about creating a personal website to complement your company site. Be sure your web site is top of the line. Don’t just throw something out there to have something out there. You can hire a virtual assistant to make a quality, SEO ready website for your business for usually a lot less than it would cost to hire a web designer. Make sure to check your company’s rules & regulations regarding having a personal website before you create one
7. Make sure your web site has a shopping cart for people to make purchases easily.
8. Verify your company’s advertising rules and then think about advertising your direct sales business in the local yellow pages with your name and phone number.
9. Keep excellent client records. If you sell multiple products like make-up or storage containers, know what products your client uses, likes or doesn’t like. Don’t try to sell them something they’re not interested in. They will be turned off and probably stop buying from you.
10. Keep monthly records of:
• tax collected
• money invested in education and training
• product loss (returns and refunds),
• gas mileage to and from sales meetings and consultations
• meals out with clients or potential clients
• money invested in promotional materials
• money invested in building a web site, web maintenance, etc.
This will make tax time much easier
11. Be honest in everything you do. Your clients will trust you and come back time and time again. Own up to any mistakes you might make and always make things good.
12. Learn to accept rejection. You will run into a heck of a lot more “No’s” than “Yes’s” along the way, so just know that from the get-go, get past it and move on. You will eventually come to a “Yes” and then to another and another.
13. Attend your sales meetings. You will learn from others who are successful in the same line of business as you, you’ll be built up and encouraged, and you may even help someone else out.
14. Set goals. What goals do you have for your business? What steps will you take to get there?
15. Share your goals with others who will support your efforts: your spouse, others in your company, people in your network. Ask them to help you stay accountable.
16. Help yourself become a success by helping others be a success. Teach others what you know, and then learn more from others and teach that. You’ll be surprised at the lives you touch and change.
17. Don’t expect overnight success. Starting any business takes hard work, effort, determination and perseverance. If it’s worth it to you though, you will stick it out, see it through and be a success.
18. Know when to throw in the towel. If you find you don’t love what you’re doing, you can’t believe in what you’re selling, or the product isn’t good enough, then maybe it’s time to do something different.
19. Back to number 1, know and love what you’re selling! You may be the best sales person in the world but if you don’t love and use the product your clients will see right through you. On the other hand if you know and love your product and use it every day then you won’t have to be a sales person. Your product will truly sell itself.
20. Take Action. Be a doer. No measure of success will come to you until you take action steps to make your goals a reality. Write them down – visit them often but DO something every day to grow your business.
There are many advantages to joining a direct sales company. The income potential, setting your own schedule, prizes and awards, support groups and camaraderie, free product samples, some come with a free website customized for you, free advertising and so on. Check out all the advantages and disadvantages (like cost to join or product that you may have to purchase first) before diving in or being sucked in to a direct sales company.
If you use some of these tips and have a successful direct sales company, won’t you share some of your tips and stories with us? We’d like to hear what you’re doing, what works and doesn’t for your business, so leave us a comment here.
There are thousands of Direct Sales opportunities out there these days and with help from the Internet, those numbers continue to increase. A Direct Sales business can be an excellent way to earn a living if you are in the “right” one.
How do you know which Direct Sales plan is right for you? Here are 5 questions to think about and discuss with your recruiter before you sign on that dotted line:
1. Is the product something I believe in? If you don’t believe in the product and use the product yourself, chances are you won’t be able to sell it very well. People will eventually be able to see through you and ask themselves “why would I they buy it if they person selling it to me doesn’t even use it?”
2. How successful is the person who is trying to recruit you? Are they making money, setting and reaching goals? You want to work with someone that has similar goals and outlook as you. It’s ok if she is new, too. Just make sure that they have good leadership and training in place from their up-line leader.
3. What is the reputation of the company? A company that has been around a long time isn’t always “better” than the new kid on the block but, it’s always best to research the company and the management before signing on.
4. Does the company offer consultant web sites? Replicating sites (the ones that look just like the corporate site) can still be beneficial if they include your name, contact information and a photo of you. Even better for you if the site allows your customers to order their products on line and you get the credit & commission for the sale. A website is an important consideration. People like and expect the convenience of ordering on line.
5. How much money do you have to invest to get started? Some company’s require you to purchase a starter kit while others expect you to purchase and carry a certain amount of inventory. Judge the “buy-in” by what you can afford and what you get. Several direct sales companies have different starter kits at different price points so you can join at the level that you’re most comfortable with.
Once you have asked yourself these questions, talked with your recruiter and are satisfied with all of the answers, then it is you’re probably ready to join. But remember, any company is only as good as the effort you put in to it. Don’t expect overnight success and don’t be fooled by get rich quick schemes. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Owning your own direct sales business can be very rewarding. You can set your own schedule, be your own boss and set your earnings potential as high as you want.
You might even earn some fancy jewelry to wear, a fancy car to drive or a great vacation. However, it’s important to make a good decision and choose a company that is right for your situation.
There are a lot of things to consider when choosing a direct sales company to partner with and we’ve outlined 7 of the most important here.
What is the actual cost to join? Often times a company will require you put out money for a starter kit when you sign up. What comes in that kit? Are there actual product to sell or just samples or demos? Will you receive paperwork and catalogs or do you have to pay extra for those? What about when you run out? Is paperwork reasonably priced or free? If you have to spend a large sum of money on a starter kit, but don’t receive any “extras” in it, you may want to reconsider. A good direct sales company will have items in their starter kit that you can use personally or sell to your first customers.
Is the product consumable? What is the re-order rate? Is the product competitive? Is it overpriced? Is it such a great product that it will sell no matter how much it costs? Do people need it? Is it something people can’t or shouldn’t be without? Always consider the product, its value and the competition before deciding that you want to sell it.
How long has the company been around? Are they a new company, just starting out? You will want to find out as much as you can about the product: how much competition is out there, and if there’s a lot, how much better is this product? Who started the company? Are they reputable? A well established company is usually a good sign.
How will you make money? Are you selling actual products? Memberships? Services? Make sure you understand the business model and that you are actually selling products. Other business models are fine but might not be what you’re looking for.
Have you yourself tried the product, use the product, love the product? If the answer is yes, then that’s a good start. If the answer is no, then ask yourself why you are even considering selling something you know nothing about. If the product is something that you won’t mind owning a lot of –in the event you have to buy inventory or decide to quit the business – then go ahead and get started.
What is the sales director like? The sales director is the person that holds the regular sales meetings and usually determines the success of the team. Will you get along with that person? Are they a good trainer and show true leadership skills? These answers won’t necessarily determine whether you should join the company or not, but it is something you should consider. Do you get along with most people easily or are you slow to get to know others or a bit shy? Ask yourself these questions before joining a team you might not feel comfortable with or get the training and leadership you need.
Most direct sales companies offer incentives. If you’re motivated by challenges then you might do well with the company incentives. You’ll want to take this into consideration as it will make setting and reaching goals a lot more fun. Incentives can be in the form of recognition, jewelry, products, cars and trips
Whenever you’re choosing any business you’ll need to consider the pros and cons. Things like cost and time investment could be deciding factors. If you’re unsure, sit down with your recruiter and ask questions.
If you get the answers to all your questions and you still don’t have a good feeling about a company or the person representing it, go with your gut. Ask more questions, give it some time, put it away for a month or so, and then come back to it. See how you feel after some time has passed, and after you have gotten some more answers. Don’t jump into something you’ll regret later.
Once you decide to start a direct sales business take some time to really consider all of the things mentioned above; it will help you make the right decision and be on the path to success.
When you first decide to join a direct sales company, one of the first things you’ll notice is the lingo –a language all its own. There may be words you’ve never heard before or words that don’t mean what you think
they would. We’ve put together a glossary to help you become more familiar with the terminology that will become part of your everyday life. The lingo varies somewhat between companies, but generally similar
terminology is used throughout all direct sales companies.
Annual Conference or Seminar: This is usually a trip to a large city where everyone in a designated area or district goes to get awarded for sales and recruits. Often the conferences are filled with shows, classes and awards ceremonies. They are fun, motivational and encouraging to attend. Some companies offer an incentive, like a free pass or discounted rate to the
conference for meeting a specific sales goal or recruiting goal.
Client: A more sophisticated term for a customer.
Clientele is the plural form of client.
Close or closing: The act of getting the customer to make a commitment to purchase.
Cold calling: The act of making phone calls to unknown persons or persons not expecting a call from you or your company and there is no known need of the person receiving the call.
Commission: The amount of money you, the salesperson, will make from the sales at a show, class or party.
Consultant: A term often used in place of ‘salesperson’ by direct sales companies.
Consumer: The person purchasing and/or using the product or service.
Customer Service: Taking care of your customers, their needs and desires in a professional and courteous manner.
Database: A record of all your clientele’s information, purchases, desires, etc. A database can be stored in a folder in a file cabinet, on index cards or on a spreadsheet in a computer software program such as Microsoft Excel.
Demographics: The information about people in a certain marketing area or territory such as age, number of men, number of women, number of mothers, number of children, income brackets, home owners, renters, line of work, etc.
Distribution Center: A building located closer to an area, region or district that houses products and makes shipping less costly and timelier.
Host/Hostess: The person holding the show, class, party or meeting in their home. Usually the hostess will receive free or discounted items for reaching a certain number of sales and/or recruits at their show.
Incentive: A reward for sales or purchases.
Inventory: Products or goods on-hand, ready to sell.
Marketing: The act of displaying and presenting goods, products or services to the consumer, enticing them to purchase.
National Sales Director: A sales director who has achieved the highest level of sales and recruits in the company.
Networking: Building relationships with others in the marketing area.
Objection: Reasons or excuses a consumer may use to resist making a purchase.
Recruiter: The person who signs you up when you join a direct sales company. The recruiter is your direct up line leader. In most direct sales companies they will make some commission from your sales.
Residual Income: Recurring money that is earned from a first sale, usually of a service, over a period of time.
Sales Director: A leader, who has recruited a certain number of people to their team, met a set amount of sales and holds the weekly team meetings. The director is also responsible for encouraging their down line, building the team up and motivating sales. This is the person a new recruit can go to for answers regarding the product or company. Often times, a Director will
drive a car they’ve earned due to sales and recruits.
Target market: A certain group of people the company or salesperson wishes to sell to.
Team Trainer: A person specialized in training new recruits all about the product or service being sold. They have met a certain amount of sales and know the product well.
Up line: The people on your team that are already part of the business. In most direct sales companies your up line makes some money from your sales. The higher up they are, the more recruits there are under them and
the more money they make from the sales of their down line teammates.
Warm calling: The act of making phone calls to contacts who are already clients or who are expecting a call from your company or there is a known need of the person receiving the call.
These are just a few of the new terms you will hear, and they may vary some between companies, but don’t let the lingo scare you. Learn it, get familiar with it and start using it yourself. The sooner you do, the more
likely you are to succeed in your new direct sales business.
It’s your decision. You started your direct sales business with the idea of making money. The choices you make in your direct sales career will determine if your business will be a money maker or money breaker.
The first thing you should do before ever deciding to join any direct sales company is to do some research. Find out how well the company is really doing, what the competition is, how long they’ve been in business, and if they have been mentioned in any well-known business magazines like Forbes or Fortune 500.
If you find out that they are well established and successful, have been in business a while and are growing strong, decide to join, then the rest should be fairly simple, but it still depends on you.
Setting goals and putting forth time, effort and, yes, money are necessary to make your direct sales business a money maker. It is not going to happen by itself or overnight not matter how much the people at the top try to tell you the product or the company sells itself.
Time management is an absolute necessity for making a direct sales business successful. You are in business for yourself now, so you need to know how to make wise use of your time. Don’t spend time on tasks that are not money makers. Learn to schedule your business so that it coincides with your family, church and other activities. One of the greatest things about being in business for yourself is having the ability to make your own schedule, so learning how to do it well should be a priority so that your business a success.
Save time by being organized. If you are unorganized and everything is in disarray all the time, you will waste valuable hours looking for lost receipts, sales orders, catalogs, or even product. Get yourself organized and your business will be more likely to succeed.
Something you should avoid doing is using your profit to buy more product. You will try to justify spending your money for new products, more products, prizes, supplies, accessories….you name it because you feel if you just had “it” that it would make you a better consultant and bring you more sales. That road only leads to storage spaces filled with all the products you aren’t using at the time, too many old catalogs and paperwork. There is nothing wrong with investing in your business but try to balance selling the old and/or discontinued products as cash & carry with purchasing the newest and best for your product display. Often, direct sales companies will offer new products as incentives. Try to earn new stuff that way instead of spending your hard earned cash.
Making your direct sales business a money maker is dependent upon you setting worthwhile goals, being organized, know when to spend and using good time management skills. If you need help in any of these areas, get it now! There are tons of books and websites out there on the subjects and there are people in your upline whose success depends on your success, so get your hands on whatever information you can to help you succeed. If you are truly in business to succeed, you will do whatever it takes to improve yourself and therefore ultimately reach your goals, dreams and desires.
In direct sales, the word “NO” should become one of your favorite words. When we learn to say no to certain things in business and our personal lives for that matter, we become more productive and successful in the things that truly matter.
Are you so focused on trying to do everything that you forget you forgot? Don’t let this be true for you in your direct sales business. Determine what you are supposed to be doing with your time and energy and focus on the areas of your business that will help it can grow and prosper. Figure out where you need to say “No” to so that you can focus on what you’re supposed to be doing.
Here are some things you may need to say “No” to to get your business growing in the right direction:
- You may have to say no to more organizations or social clubs, at least until your business is up and running smooth and prospering. Don’t get distracted by things that aren’t going to help your business grow. Of course family comes first so this doesn’t apply if it’s a situation that involves your family.
- Sometimes you may have to say no to friends so you can focus on your business for the day. Do you have a “time sucker” friend, one who is needy and perhaps more of a burden than a help? This may sound harsh, but if you are serious about your business, then you will have to learn to say no to them. And honestly, it will actually probably help them to not be so needy.
- Another way to make “No” your favorite word is by realizing that when someone tells you “No” whether it’s to being a hostess, buying product or joining the company, a “yes” is right around the corner. You will hear the word “NO” a lot more than “YES” so get used to it and let it make you stronger. Just keep searching through the “NOs” to get the the word “YES” more quickly.
By making “No” our favorite word in direct sales or in our personal lives we will be stronger and more successful in all that we do because we will have learned to persevere and move on in the toughest of times. So make “No” your favorite word now!