The Direct Selling Association: What’s In It For Me?
The Direct Selling Association (DSA) is a national trade association of more than 200 direct sales companies (companies that sell products directly to consumers). Many member organizations are brand names that you would recognize easily such as Avon, Fuller Brush, Melaleuca, Pampered Chef or Shaklee. (Oddly Tupperware wasn’t listed as a member, but that’s an article for another day.)
The DSA’s purpose is to ensure that direct sales companies operate under ethical business practices in order to protect both consultants and consumers. DSA member companies go through a stringent year long application process before joining, and must then abide by the DSA’s Code of Ethics in order to remain a member.
Since members pledge their commitment to the DSA Code of Ethics prior to joining, verifying a direct sales company’s DSA membership prior to signing on as a consultant will help protect you as a consultant and help ensure that you are representing a professional company rather than some “fly by night” organization that may not be around in a year’s time.
The DSA Code of Ethics dictates a number of business practices designed to protect direct sellers and consumers. According to the DSA’s website, these include:
• legal and accurate disclosure regarding the company’s pay structure, products and sales methods
• actual and potential sales and earnings claims based on documented facts
• guarantee of repurchase of up to 90 percent of the marketable inventory and sales aids purchased within the past 12 months if a consultant decides to leave the business
In addition, the DSA Code of Ethics helps ensure that direct sales companies refrain from unlawful or unethical recruiting practices, exorbitant joining or training fees, or insistence that a consultant purchase more inventory than can easily be sold in a reasonable amount of time.
All of these are viable benefits to DSA membership, but there are others.
For instance, the DSA offers tax help, seminars and workshops on a variety of topics, research assistance in selecting a direct sales company opportunity, and a Growth & Outlook Survey questionnaire for members, the results of which they publish every year.
They also provide a number of books, CDs and DVDs to assist in direct sales success, regardless of the company chosen. While DSA membership is limited to direct sales companies, rather than consultants, the resources available for direct sellers is vast and growing. It’s well worth your time to investigate the success tools and information available from the DSA website – there’s a lot in it for you!