According to the Direct Selling Association (DSA), direct selling is “the sale of a consumer product or service, person-to-person, away from a fixed retail location. These products and services are marketed to customers by independent salespeople. Depending on the company, the salespeople may be called distributors, representatives, consultants or various other titles. Products are sold primarily through in-home product demonstrations, parties and one-on-one selling.” There are more than 90 million direct sales consultants globally who sell nearly $154 billion of goods and services each year – $30 billion in the United States alone! About 3 million direct sales reps earn between $50-$5000 a month, and more than 20,000 people worldwide bring home more than $5,000 a month.
Think you’re too young? The youngest direct seller earning more than $5000 a month is only 18 years old. Or maybe you’re too old. Wrong again – the oldest top earning direct seller is 82. Clearly age is not a factor! But just how do you become a direct sales superstar?
Create lasting relationships and retain customers
The first and most important direct sales tip to be a superstar direct seller is this: your customers want to buy from a real person they connect with.
You should focus on loyalty, retaining your customers and creating long-term relationships; this relationship marketing is developing strong connections with customers by sharing information that is tailored to their specific needs, wants and interests.
What are the benefits of relationship marketing? Increased word-of-mouth advertising, repeat customers and customers who are more than willing to provide information to the organization (e.g. join your mailing list)! You will build an effective network for your direct sales business.
How do you start? One of the easiest and fastest ways is Facebook. Don’t explode your sales pitch all over your friends’ walls – this is a huge turn off! It makes you look desperate to unload your product. Remember the 9 to 1 rule: for every 1 business post you make, you should have 9 useful posts.
What does useful look like? Entertaining, positive, uplifting, informative, funny, helpful, interesting. Useful is notpornographic, lewd, offensive, or negative! Keep in mind that even on your personal page, you are the face of your company. Airing your dirty laundry or throwing a pity party on Facebook is not cute and will not inspire anyone to buy from you!
Start by “liking” and commenting on pictures and statuses. Join in conversations. Add 2-3 new friends every day (cancel sent friend requests that aren’t accepted within a few days) and interact with them, too! Before you know it, you will have a whole new customer base.
Be the sunshine to everyone around you
When is the last time you wanted to approach someone who looked really mad? Have you ever felt inclined to buy something from someone who was complaining about her kids driving her crazy? If you go to the store and your cashier is in a bad mood (and showing it), would you call that good customer service? How many T.V. commercials include angry, ranting, sad or upset people?
Your customers want to spend money on things that are going to make them feel good. A positive outlook is essential in direct sales! To your customers, you are the home party business you work for. You are the only connection they have to your company. Make sure they associate you with positivity, happiness, warmth, joy and energy!
Imagine two direct sales reps in your head – and they both look like you. They are too far away to talk to yet. One is smiling, laughing and loving life. The other one is down, overwhelmed and jumpy. Which one would you choose to interact with?
Be the person your customers can’t resist approaching! Whenever you notice yourself feeling negatively, take steps to bring the positivity back to your life.
Do Share, Don’t Sell
You’re a friend, not a robot
One of the most important things to remember is do not be a salesperson! You shouldn’t feel the need to sell your product. If your product is ahhh-mazing, it will sell itself! Your friends and family don’t want to fear that a get-together will turn into a sales pitch.
Instead, share your awesome product. Share how it makes your life easier/better/nicer. Ask them what they think and answer any questions honestly. Then let it go. Share something about your personal life or ask a question about the other person. Never, ever ask them to buy! (Say that last one again, and keep it in your head forever.) Also remember: if you are sharing online, that counts as your 1 business post.
Explain the Benefits, Not the Features
What have you done for me lately?
While you’re sharing your product, you should always explain the benefits: how the feature will help the customer. For instance, if you are a Jewelry in Candles rep, you could tell your customer how the Baby Powder scent covers even the dirtiest diaper pail, or how the Banana Nut Bread fools husbands into thinking they took up baking.
The best way to figure out the benefit vs. the feature is to ask “what’s in it for me?” or “how does this help me?” Think of a problem your ideal customer faces and how your product can solve it.
Take a look at these examples.
Feature: This bag is 12″x8″x8″.
Lame Benefit: This bag is big enough to hold all your stuff.
Better Benefit: This bag can replace your diaper bag – it holds your wallet, planner, diapers, wipes and makeup bag with room to spare!
Feature: Our candles burn for more than 100 hours.
Lame Benefit: Our candles will last you a long time.
Better Benefit: You can burn our candle when you get home from work every night and it will last you at least a month!
Feature: This lotion is all-natural and free of chemicals.
Lame Benefit: This lotion is safer for you and your family.
Better Benefit: This lotion is free of cancer-causing chemicals, allowing you peace of mind every time your family uses it.
See how a little change of the words makes a big difference?
Face to Face is Best
Just remember to brush your teeth
I’m going to tell you something that might scare you. I want you to concentrate on home parties. I know a lot of people sign up for a direct sales company thinking it can all be done online. You can sell 100% online, but you will be missing out on a huge chunk of your customer base and, therefore, a huge chunk of money!
It’s so important to do home parties. Online sales only account for about 11% of sales; face to face transactions still make up around 77% of sales.
You need to get your product into the hands of your customers! Let them see it, hold it, smell it, try it on. You already know how great it is but it’s hard to put a reason behind those feelings. Allow your customers to create their own reasons! It’s so much easier to get them to buy more when they have it in front of them.
Think about it. You don’t really want to buy a candle if you might not like the scent. You don’t want to buy jewelry until you know it will look good with your favorite outfit. You don’t want to buy a purse if your stuff won’t fit inside. Your customers are so much more likely to buy when they are certain they will love it. (And your product is so incredible, of course they will love it!)
Coach Your Hostess
But do it right!
In order to have a successful home party, you need to have a properly motivated hostess. Your hostess coaching needs to be spot on for this to happen!
If she gets a 10lb. hostess coaching package in the mail with a ton of stuff for her to complete, she’s going to feel overwhelmed. She’s going to put it off until the last minute and then neither one of you is happy! Consider condensing all that info into a few key points and important dates.
Send the minimum amount of paperwork – guest list, invitations, one catalog and a few order forms. Two to three days later, send a postcard with the important dates: when to send out invitations, when to return the guest list, when to make a reminder call and of course, her party date.
Don’t bombard her with phone calls, either – make a quick check-in a couple days before the party by phone. She doesn’t need the full itinerary or a run-down of how the party will go. She doesn’t want to make decisions about what games to play. Her only job is to make sure she has a minimum of 10 people at the party – your job is to make sure they all buy enough to get her a lot of free stuff!
Between the time you send her hostess packet and the time you call to confirm the party, anything you need to tell her should fit in a single text message. (If she wants to call you with questions, absolutely answer them. But don’t overwhelm her if she doesn’t want it – it’s supposed to be fun for her, not work!)
Throwing a Kick-Ass Home Party
As I’ve said before, you have to get your product into the hands of your customers for them to really appreciate what you offer. Home parties are the absolute best way to make money as a direct sales rep! If you follow all the home party tips here, you should aim for at least $100 in sales from every guest – and you should always be implementing a 10 person minimum. That’s $1000 per party! How do you hold the best home party possible?
Open House vs. Set Time
In my opinion, you should skip the open house-style parties! Set a concrete time for every party. Here’s why: when you set an open house (i.e. 6-8 pm), most people will wait until the last minute to show up – and they’ll just “want to look around.”
Your invitations should clearly state the party time – i.e. 6-7 pm. If your hostess wants to have her own get-together after your demonstration, she can let her friends know her own way.
You should fill out the invitations with your scheduled time and other pre-planned information so she can give them out.You don’t have to – and shouldn’t! – send them out for her , no matter what your company recommends. Most hostesses are not comfortable asking everyone for their physical address, and if they are, they don’t want to write it all down and give it out to other people.
This also eliminates the need for a bulky guest list in the hostess packet; you can simply get a list of RSVPs from her when the date approaches (and remind her that there should be at least 10 people there).
First and foremost, your presentation should only take 45 minutes total. Every minute past 45 minutes is a dollar lost from your pocket! We are a world of short attention spans… oh look, a squirrel! So what do you do to keep it short and sweet?
Here’s what your presentation should have:
The Rose Game
2-3 games that include your products
10 minutes of fun, funny, and useful demonstration of your products
Small surprise gift to thank your hostess – bottle of wine, box of chocolate, keychain, etc.
Your introduction should be about 5 minutes. Tell guests your name and company, where you’re from and a little about your family. Explain how long you’ve been with your company and your favorite parts about working for them. Finally, let everyone know any bonuses your hostess is receiving for having her party and a how much credit she will earn.
Direct sales party games should always include your products. You want them to associate your products with fun!Check out these direct sales party games for ideas – choose two or three games to incorporate into your demonstration. I recommend intermixing games and actual product demonstration; it keeps guests on their toes and paying attention!
We all need a little help sometimes
If you are still struggling with sales, consider working with a life or direct sales coach! They are full of inspiring tips and a ton of information. They are successful in their own lives and careers and only share what actually works.
Leonie Dawson is an inspiring life coach that will help you find clarity and direction. Her Amazing Life & Biz Academyleads you to your personal success!
Alishia Willardson is a no nonsense POWERCoach and wildly successful direct sales rep. She has found what really works in direct sales and she will share it all with you in her Rockstar MOMpreneurs Academunity!
Work with local businesses to gather leads for your direct sales business
As direct sales consultants, we all hit a point where we feel like we have exhausted all our leads. Maybe too many hostesses are canceling. Friends and family are tired of having parties. It’s the holidays and everyone is “too broke to have a party right now.” One way to build your network and generate home parties is to place lead boxes at local businesses.
Use brightly decorated boxes or small, fun gift bags for this. Make a small sign with your company logo, some pictures of your best-selling products, and “WIN $100 in Free [company name] Goodies!” Place it on the front of your box/bag.
Create sign up forms – in this case, less is more! Keep it simple: name, address, phone number. Nobody wants to fill out a 20 minute survey for a chance to win. All you want is to be able to contact them in the future; you can ask them all the other questions as you build your relationship.
Contact local businesses to ask a manager or owner if they would let you leave your contest box there for two weeks. Offer them something in exchange for their generosity – a free product is best!
Once you have placed the boxes and sign up forms at businesses, be sure to visit at least once a week to collect any forms and have a quick chat with the manager. (Remember, we’re always building relationships!) Only leave the boxes in one location for 2-3 weeks, then give the manager their gift and remove the contest. You can always do it again later, since you’ve built such a great relationship!
Choose a grand prize winner to win the $100 in free product. Call first; if you can’t reach them by phone, then send an email. The only catch is they have to hold a party within 60 days. Offer them two dates that work for you and ask which one works best for them. If they say neither, offer two more then let them know which days you are typically open.If they are uncomfortable having a party at their home, suggest a restaurant party! Once they are on the books, let them know they only need 10 people in attendance to get their free product.
Contact the runners-up (the remaining entries) by email and offer them a $50 bonus if they book a party within 30 days. The same restrictions that apply to the Grand Prize apply to all the runners-up.
Craft Fairs and Vendor Events
Not for making sales
Vendor events like craft fairs and fundraisers are another useful tool to have in your direct sales toolbox – however, I recommend you only use them to generate bookings, not for sales. Let me tell you why: yes, people come to these events prepared to spend money. However, you’ll notice there are TONS of other vendors there. How much of their money do you think you’ll get?
If you are with an older, bigger company (like Avon, Tupperware, even Scentsy or Pampered Chef) it’s much easier to sell actual product because most people have tried those brands and have a preference for a particular product offered. The downside: everybody knows a Tupperware, Avon, Scentsy, etc. rep already! You might make a quick sale but it’s unlikely you’ll gather many new repeat customers.
If you’re with a new company, it’s even harder to sell the product because people are not familiar with it. They don’t know if they will like it. They don’t know if having a party will be worth it. How do you explain all that within the few seconds that they walk past your table?
First, remember to be irresistible. Smiling, happy! If the event is dead, play music on your cell phone (nothing offensive of course). Make sure your table is inviting, too – bright colors, balloons, and candy at the edge of your table so people want to stop by.
Then, play the Dice Game to get tons of new bookings! If you keep up the energy and make your game a blast, guests will flock to your table to see what’s going on. You’ll end up with a full calendar and lots of new friends – and maybe make a sale or two.
Prize and Gift Ideas
So we have all these games and winners that need prizes. Here’s some ideas for prizes.
Mini body lotion or body wash
Small notebooks or journals
Mini picture frames
Big candle lighters