Matt ZavadilWritten by Matt Zavadil
Updated February 26, 2022

What is direct selling?

Direct selling is a business model where products are sold directly to consumers through independent representatives.

It’s sometimes referred to as network marketing or MLM (multi-level marketing).

The industry has been around for many years and is a great way for people to make money by selling products they believe in.

In this article, I’ll discuss the basics of direct sales and how you can get started.

What Is Direct Selling?

Direct selling is the sale of a product or service from one person to another in a face-to-face setting, typically outside of a retail store. It is also sometimes referred to as network marketing or MLM (multi-level marketing).

Who’s Involved In Direct Selling?

The direct selling industry has come a long way since its early days. In the past, most direct sellers were women who sold products door-to-door or at home parties. Today, there are men and women of all ages selling everything from cosmetics and skincare products to jewelry and kitchenware.

There are also many different types of direct selling companies, ranging from small, family-owned businesses to large corporations. And while some direct sellers work part-time, others make it their full-time career.

Direct sales companies are the other side of the direct sales industry. They are the businesses that create and manufacture the products that direct sellers sell. Some of the most well-known direct sales companies include Mary Kay, Avon, and Tupperware.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Direct Sales?

Like any job or business, there are both advantages and disadvantages to being a direct seller.

The Advantages of Direct Selling:

  • You can work from home or anywhere you have an internet connection.
  • You set your own hours and can choose the days and times that are best for you.
  • You’re your own boss and decide how much money you want to make.
  • There is no need to invest a lot of money to get started.
  • You can earn a percentage of the sales you make, as well as bonuses and commissions.
  • You can learn new skills and grow your own business.

The Disadvantages of Direct Selling:

  • It can be difficult to find customers or build a downline (a team of direct sellers who sell products for you).
  • You may need to put in a lot of hard work and effort before you see results.
  • There is no guaranteed income, so your earnings can vary from month to month.
  • It can be challenging to balance work and personal/family responsibilities.

So, is direct selling right for you?

Only you can answer that question.

But if you’re looking for a way to make money from home, direct selling could be a great option for you.

Tips and Strategies for Direct Sales

There isn’t only one way to become successful when reselling for direct selling companies. However, some best practices and strategies give you the best chance of building a successful business.

6 Direct Selling Techniques

Here are five excellent methods for selling as many products and services inside the direct sales model.

  1. Give it away for free
  2. Reduce costs with cross-promotion
  3. Use email marketing
  4. Get social with social media
  5. Offer extras
  6. Connect to sell, don’t just direct sell

Give it away for free: This is the most common and basic method to increase sales in any business, yet it’s often overlooked in direct selling. The premise is simple: give a product sample away for free, and people will be more likely to buy it from you when they see how valuable it is.

Reduce costs with cross-promotion: Cross-promotion is a great way to sell more products and services without having to invest any extra money. Simply put, it involves promoting another product or service that you offer as a part of the sale of the product or service you’re currently selling.

Use email marketing: Email marketing can be an extremely effective way to reach out to your customers and increase sales. By sending out periodic emails with special offers, coupons, or product recommendations, you can keep your customers coming back for more.

Get social with social media: Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to connect with potential and current customers. By creating a strong social media presence, you can build relationships and trust with your audience, which can lead to more sales.

Offer extras: Offering extras, such as discounts, free shipping, or bonus products, can be a great way to increase sales. Customers love getting a good deal, so by offering them something extra, you’re more likely to make a sale.

Connect to sell, don’t just direct sell: It’s important to remember that customers don’t want to be sold to; they want to buy. So, focus on building relationships and connecting with your audience, rather than trying to force them into a sale. This will help you sell more products and services in the long run.

Top Direct Sales Companies

You might recognize the name of a direct sales company like Amway, Mary Kay, or Legalshield.

However, thousands of direct selling companies exist. Here is a list of dozens of the most popular direct selling companies:

This is just a small sampling of the direct selling companies that are out there. Some people confuse direct selling with network marketing, where they think there’s a big difference between the two business models.

If you think that calling it a direct sales business means you’re not in MLM, then you’re in for a surprise.

There’s no difference between an MLM, network marketing, or direct selling business.

Simply ask the Direct Selling Association by looking at its list of direct selling companies (ahem, MLM companies).

Now you know!

MLM vs Direct Selling?

It’s all the same business model.

How Can I Promote My Direct Sales Business Online?

I’d like to expand on the best practices I offered above for becoming a winning direct sales representative.

Let’s look at how to build your downline, reach potential customers, and make online sales from home.

Here are six excellent ways to make your own sales and attract other business partners using the Internet as your #1 marketing strategy.

  • Start a blog
  • Use lead magnets
  • Promote your brand with influencers
  • Benefit from email marketing
  • Use paid advertising
  • Think about messenger marketing

1. Start a Blog

Using a blog gives you an extra advantage. You can write about the products you sell, your company’s story, and helpful tips for using the products.

This strategy is an excellent way to attract potential customers and business partners who are interested in what you have to say.

Additionally, a blog allows you to build trust and credibility with your audience.

Make sure to include calls to action on your blog posts that encourage your readers to learn more about your products and services.

2. Use Lead Magnets

A lead magnet is a freebie that you offer in exchange for an email address.

This is an excellent way to grow your email list so you can market to potential customers at a later date.

Your lead magnet can be a helpful ebook, cheat sheet, template, or any other type of freebie that will help your readers.

3. Promote Your Brand with Influencers

When you have influential people promoting your brand, it helps to legitimize your business and attract potential customers.

This is why working with influencers can be so beneficial for direct sales representatives.

Reach out to popular bloggers, vloggers, and social media influencers in your industry and offer them your products or services in exchange for a review or shoutout.

4. Benefit from Email Marketing

I mentioned this above, but email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies available to direct sales representatives.

This tactic allows you to stay in touch with your leads and customers, promoting your products and services regularly.

Make sure to use an email marketing service like Constant Contact or MailChimp so you can take advantage of features like automated emails and segmented lists.

5. Use Paid Advertising

While paid advertising can be costly, it can also be effective in reaching new customers.

Think about the channels you want to advertise in and then research which ones are the most affordable and have the highest ROI for your business.

For direct sales, some of the most effective paid advertising options include Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, and LinkedIn Ads.

6. Think about Messenger Marketing

More and more people are using messenger apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to communicate with friends and family.

This makes messenger marketing an excellent opportunity for direct sales representatives.

You can use a tool like ManyChat to create a chatbot that will allow you to send automated messages to your leads and customers.

Is a Direct Sales Company a Pyramid Scheme

No, direct selling is not an illegal pyramid scheme.

Pyramid schemes exist in a non-retail environment that relies on recruiting new members to make money. When people stop joining, the pyramid collapses.

Direct selling is a sales model where products are sold to customers directly by sales reps. There is no requirement to recruit new members to make money.

Related Reading:

Is Herbalife a Pyramid Scheme?

Is Arbonne a Pyramid Scheme?

Is Melaleuca a Pyramid Scheme?

Direct Sale FAQs

You may still have a few questions about direct selling and what’s involved with becoming a direct salesperson.

What is the meaning of direct selling?

Direct selling is a sales model where products are sold to consumers directly by sales reps. There is no requirement to recruit new members to make money.

What is the difference between direct selling and MLM?

MLM is a type of direct selling. Multi-level marketing companies use a direct sales structure where sales reps are compensated for both the products they sell and the people they recruit. There’s no difference between MLM and direct sales.

What is an example of direct marketing sales?

One of the most popular examples of direct marketing sales is Mary Kay. Mary Kay consultants sell cosmetics directly to consumers through in-person parties and online.

What are party plan sales?

Party plan sales are a type of direct selling where products are demonstrated and sold to consumers at in-person parties.

Some popular party plan companies include Pampered Chef, Tupperware, and Thirty-One Gifts.

What are some tips for success in direct selling?

Here are a few tips for success in direct selling:

  • focus on product sales first
  • build a downline & override their one-on-one sales
  • build trust and credibility with potential customers
  • use email marketing to stay in touch with leads and customers
  • take advantage of paid advertising
  • consider using messenger marketing
  • be knowledgeable about your products and the industry you’re in

What is the most profitable direct sales company?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The most profitable direct sales company varies depending on the products being sold and the compensation plan. Do your research to find a company that offers a product you’re interested in selling and has a compensation plan that aligns with your goals.

Final Thoughts On Direct Selling

Direct selling is a great way to start your own business and be in control of your own income.

Do it correctly and you can make a lot of money. Do it wrong and you’ll probably just end up spending more money than you make.

Become successful by focusing on directing marketing materials to a target audience, paying attention to your monthly numbers of products sold, and recruiting new salespeople to override their sales commissions.

Finally, become great at buying business opportunity leads that fit your market, or learn how to generate your own MLM leads who convert into high-end customers.

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