How to Decide Which Direct Sales Business to Start and Questions you Need to Ask Before Joining
So you’re intrigued at the idea of starting a direct sales business and you want to decide which one to pick for your business. Starting a Direct Sales business is a great way for stay-at-home moms to make an income from home while raising your kids.
First let’s define Direct Sales and bust some myths about them…cool?
Myth: Direct Sales is really just a Pyramid Scheme
Raise your hand if when you think of a direct sales company or a multi-level marketing company, you think of a pyramid scheme? If you don’t, great! But I’m sure many of you do, or as you’ve thought about it your friends and loved ones are worried that you are going to get hurt or “taken advantage of” with this company.
Myth: Direct Sales companies are more expensive so they have to pay their consultants commission
More and more companies are choosing the direct sales model because it is a great way to organically grow their business. They don’t need to invest in physical stores or hourly employee rates. Instead, they provide a generous commission to their sales people who are the ones who help customers with a sale. Sales people (aka you) become experts about the company and products so you can help customers make informed decisions. You earn commission and bonuses for your sales, in the same way any sales person at a corporate company would receive for earning new business for the firm.
Myth: Direct Sales companies make you take advantage of your friends and family
While direct sales does rely on network marketing to build their businesses, and your first network is your friends and family, this is not how it SHOULD be. In order to be a successful sales person, you will work to attract the right clients to you by providing them with education, information and products that interest them. Your products will not be for everyone, and that’s okay! You will find your tribe of people who will know, like and trust you and therefore want to buy from you.
Myth: Direct Sales Consultant only make enough to pay for their own products
Not at all! Most consultants make $300-$500 a month, many make $1000+/month while working from the comfort of their home and a few of the hard working leaders make tens of thousands of dollars a month (several 6 figures a year). If you find the right company and are willing to put in the work, there is no reason that couldn’t be you!
Okay, now let’s talk about what you need to think about when choosing which Direct Sales Company to partner with
First and foremost…. think about the products. Big Duh here.
Are they products you use and actually feel good endorsing?
Let me tell you, if this is not the case you will NOT succeed. People see through this immediately. They need to know that you love and use the products. They want to see your results before jumping in.
Do they help people or harm people?
Do your research. Make sure what you are selling is not snake oil. There are a lot of companies out there that may use less than reputable ingredients. I remember my mom having a friend back in the 90’s who purchased a weight loss pill from one of the companies of the time, and it ruined her metabolism for the rest of her life. You do not want to jump on with a company like that (don’t worry, THAT company no longer exists)
Are they the type of products that people already use or will you have to convince them to use a whole new product?
Think about the types of companies are out there: oils, wraps, candles, makeup, jewelry, skincare, shakes, etc. You will have more luck with products that people are already using on the regular because it will be easier to help someone buy a new brand than it will be to add something completely different to their routine.
Frequency people purchase products
Is it a product people buy once a year, once a quarter, once a month? Think about this. If they only purchase once a year (say Christmas or Birthdays) you will have to make sure you are exposing your business to new customers all the time. However, if they have to buy it once a quarter or once a month, you will have residual income coming in. Meaning you’ve already built a client relationship, but they buy from you on a regular basis which will give you a more predictable paycheck.
Is the product best in class?
The direct sales companies that I see succeed are the ones who have products that are unparalleled in quality. People love the product and will be grateful to you for sharing it with them! Seriously, this is the best place to be.
What are their values and do they match yours?
People are drawn to a strong mission and values. It’s what starts a movement Companies like Noonday which gives a sustainable income to women in third world companies (while also having awesome jewelry), or Beautycounter who is highly involved in advocacy committed to getting safe products in the hands of everyone while also creating best in class products. Many companies have missions like these. Do they match your own values?
What are their goals for their consultants?
This is something to look into before you join in with someone. Do they have monthly goal, quarterly or annual goals you need to meet to stay active and receive your discount or commissions? This shouldn’t matter too much considering you are in it to win it and build a thriving business, but they are still good questions to ask. Do they have incentive plans with bonuses or prizes? Although I’m not a consultant with Arbonne, I’d love that white Mercedes their employees get when they reach a certain level!
How many consultants do they already have?
Is the market saturated? Does everyone already HAVE a consultant who sells the product you want to sell? You want to be the first in market. For example, according to a fact sheet put out by Mary Kay in 2012 (sorry I couldn’t find the most up-to-date number), they have 4.3 MILLION independent consultants world wide. Which makes sense, they’ve been around since 1963 and have products that are loved by so many! Compare that to a company like Beautycounter, which I’ve chosen to partner with, has only been around 5 years that only has 25,000 consultants worldwide. There are pros and cons to both. With a strongly established company like Mary Kay, people know and trust the products already, but they probably already know someone who sells it. With a newer company like Beautycounter, some people may not have heard about it yet so it requires more education, but you would be one of the first to market allowing your business more potential for overall growth. Whatever company you decide to join, make sure you find out these numbers.
Who will your mentor or sponsor be?
The awesome thing about joining a Direct Sales company is that it is designed for mentorship. You have an up-line (people who joined before you and who you will be working “under”) who is there to see you succeed. It’s a business model that is built around helping you succeed. Your company and up-line should be there to answer questions and give you tools for success. With that being said, not all teams within a company are created equal because they are built by other independent consultants and some are more gifted at mentorship and training than others. Ask your potential mentor what the community and support is like on your team and within your up-line. Make sure you are joining one with a strong team culture.
Is it a product or industry that interests you?
Could you talk about the product or things relating to the industry with a sense of authority? Remember, when you start a direct sales business, you become the expert in that field. You are their lady. You are the person they come to for tailored advice and tips.
How do you plan to grow the business?
There are ways to grow your business. You could build an online empire and use your social community on instagram, facebook or your blog to grow your business. You could go traditional and do parties (either online or in person) which is the most effective way to grow your client base. You could focus on recruiting and mentorship, making sure that you are serving the consultants that sign up with you and helping them grow a business that they are proud of, and in turn you will receive a commission from their sales as well. Come up with a plan before joining a company and imagine what it will look like partnering with the company. Write down all your ideas! This will help you know how inspired you feel going into this business.
If you are currently a consultant with a direct sales or MLM company, comment below with your company and why you love it! This will help future readers decide what company they should join.
For those of you interested specifically in skincare and makeup and value safe products, I have a growing team with Beautycounter and I’d love for you to be a part of it. If this doesn’t interest you, no worries! Hopefully there is someone in your friend group or even someone in the comments of this post who you could partner with!