In the world of business, there is nothing more teetering on the idea of effective vs. ineffective than direct sales. A direct sale, to the ill-informed, seems intensely effective. Sell direct! Directly to the customer! How great! Bubbly beneath this bizarre gesture of effectiveness is a world of trials and frustrations and bizarre business practices, which inevitably makes direct sales, and by extension direct marketing almost entirely weird.
Let’s focus on the word “direct.” The word means straightforward and to the point, or in a literal sense thanks to the dictionary, “proceeding in a straight line or by the shortest course; straight; undeviating; not oblique.” So we can assume that direct sales means straightforward sales, and of course, that means ridding of all the barriers-of-entry and customer deviations that could ruin a potential sale.
In all likelihood, direct sales seem the ONLY way to go.
Of course, after digging through the exact implications of a direct sale format, you come to see that “direct” isn’t as straightforward as one would hope. Of course, there are misconceptions with the practice.
Direct sales are different from direct marketing, at least ideally. Direct marketing is all about avoiding the “middle man.” It is about supplying a customer with a service or product without them having to go to a retail store or working through an agent. Direct marketing has a certain poor identity as being unproductive, meddling, and a scam. This derives strongly from multi-level marketing, where you earn residual income from individuals who you help make sales, and by this you are meant to build a team and build “levels” of individuals who are all out to build “levels” themselves. Multi-level marketing is, in most of its forms, entirely legal, but it remains a shady outlet for business. Though it is an offshoot of direct sales as direct marketers usually go door to door to make their sales, it is missing a component of a “middle man.”
Direct sales are brought down by the existence of the shady business practice of direct marketing. But there is still validity in a direct sale structure. The ideal direct sale is meant to make the act of obtaining a product or service easier. Direct sales are about a company interacting with clients on an individual basis. For example, an electronic manufacturing company may use representatives to go about and work with electronic store Best Buy, requesting them to showcase their product in their stores. Perhaps they offer Best Buy some sort of offer, thus circumventing a “middle man” and working directly with the company. Best Buy is a large corporation, so this sort of selling is more conducive to smaller businesses.
And that is where you step in. Direct selling is very much appropriate for small businesses, which have yet to establish a strong middle man and are working on a more intimate level.
Many people turn to direct sales for a unique opportunity. The strongest attributes in an ideal situation is a freedom to “be your own boss.” This sensibility is common to your own personal goals of wanting to be a small business owner, and reflects a commonality amongst individuals interested in direct selling. Even when involved with direct sales through a much larger business, you are allowed a lot more leeway than with a typical employee. You are often allowed to construct your own hours and spent more time with family if you so choose. Many value this freedom strongly, and will take a lower pay (as which is often the case with direct sale jobs) for that freedom.
But the main appeal in direct sales is the potential. The more sales you bring in as an independent contractor or employee, the more you bring in for yourself. This limitless cap is extremely appealing, and though many never quite reach the hyped and promised potential, that concept keeps people involved. Direct sales companies know this well. They use shady tactics to appeal to what often ends up being High School and College students, using that limitless possibility that attract them.
So if you want to start a direct sales company with a few dollars and some creativity, it is suggested you try to find those interested in joining you. Direct sales are “direct,” and with that in mind, it takes a lot more time to garner a strong base of customers. It takes longer than with a traditional online business as you are meeting with people on a direct basis and attempting to translate that to web sales. When the majority of your marketing is limited to knocking on a door and Facebook, you are restricted by being only one person.
Find a team. Find people who are interested in exploring the world of direct sales. They need to have thick skins. Train them in communication, body language, and overall adeptness at being able to interact with people. Direct marketing companies force their sellers or “distributors” to undergo an often embarrassing but altering cycle of social interaction. They use tactics that perfect a certain person’s ability to socialize, and by extension, sell. They do this with scripts as well as common body language. You are to memorize lines and common reactions to different responses from a customer. The body language is to make the potential customer comfortable and ease them into a sale.
Of course, all this is valuable information for beginning a business in direct sales. These strategies are tested and tried and rather formulaic. Understanding them opens up the basis for devising and succeeding long-term with a direct selling business. But all this is just that- formula. Direct sales are a controversial business structure, but ultimately want that warrants a redesigning in its approach. When tackling this business structure, always feel free to explore outside the realms of comfort and devise strategies that can earn you sales.
With the stereotypes against direct marketing, you may want to create your business on a basis of honesty. Instead of manufacturing people and training them to all think alike, like a typical direct selling company, perhaps try creating individual bonds with the people
interested. Try offering them very generous selling bonuses and pay grades, and always value them above and beyond any selling numbers. Your sellers are valuable, and you do not rank them by “sales per month.” They are not numbers, but people.
Perhaps it is this very approach that will bring fresh vitality to a direct selling business. As you start it, understand these principles for long-term success.
Once you have the basis of the business, move forward with the practical nature. Getting the proper paperwork filed, such as selling permits, is important in establishing valid business practices. The price of these documents range depending on the state, but they hover around the price of entry for our business, at $100.
After filing the proper paperwork and permits for your state and county, you have reached your quota. Now, the rest can be done for free. Harnessing the power of social media, you can create a Facebook profile for your new business, and use Craigslist to “recruit” and hire workers under your belt. With such a small pool of employees, you earn tax benefits. Find loyal and intelligent people willing to support you in this endeavor. Use social media to extend the message and the products you have available.
A direct selling business is a hard business to start. But you must file the correct paperwork to establish your credentials. Of course, this business, like many others, is an act of starting with a single snowflake and building a snowman. Roll it and it will continue to gather snow. Knock on doors and practice proper social interaction. Extend yourself to businesses and provide them with a product or service that you can provide superior to competition. This is not easy. It is not meant to be. But people cherish that do-it-yourself aesthetic, and many will respond to it.
A direct selling business takes time to gather steam. With a loyal team, a quality product or service, and the proper basis of knowledge, you are beginning to get a feel for the structure of the business. But it is only with the direct selling motto- meet people and talk to people- that will allow you to take your exploration in this structure to another level.
Stop at the website Direct Selling 411 for comprehensive information on the structure and objectives of direct selling. It is one of the most substantiated places on the web, and a key place to explore when starting a business in this category.