If you have the heart of an entrepreneur, direct sales can be an incredible direction to go. It offers the possibility of starting a business in your basement, recruiting others to sell for/with you, and then enjoying the profits. Entrepreneurs like Mary Kay Ash and Doris Christopher, creators of Mary Kay cosmetics and The Pampered Chef, are just two of the dozens of successful entrepreneurs who were able to to make direct sales work for them. Today, direct sales companies specialize in everything from pearls to candles to nail art.
As anything worth doing goes, getting started in direct sales isn’t easy. It’s a business, after all, and businesses can be difficult challenges to tackle. That being said, direct sales companies are unique enough that they have their own set of pros and cons. If you’re looking expectantly to the possibility of starting a direct sales company, here’s a good general picture of the upside and the downside:
Pros of starting a direct sales business
- Inexpensive product releases
- Short start-up time
- Hyper growth
Cons of starting a direct sales business
- Confusing compensation models
- Dozens of distributors and customers
- Plateau of hyper growth
As you can see, direct sales have their own set of challenges and advantages. In today’s blog, we want to share some pieces of wisdom that many other entrepreneurs wish they had known before they got started.
Choose to focus on people
It can be easy to get really excited about your service or product, but remember that you have two important constituents: your salespeople and your customers. Without great salespeople, you’ll never be able to access great customers. We recommend you give someone high in your company the responsibility of recruiting good consultants. Finding and recruiting elite salespeople should be central to your company’s mission.
Remain aware of company life cycles
Direct sales businesses depend on organic growth around their unique concept. This means a lot of word-of-mouth and general noise-making before any sort of success happens. People need to know you exist and find value in your product or service. Reaching success is a journey that usually takes longer than we want it to. Indeed, it can take up to three years to really establish a presence for your business—three years of persistent work and pushing. You need allies like Exigo, direct marketing support companies who provide scalable systems designed to save your business’s budget.
It’s important to be aware that companies who survive to see their fourth years often experience explosive growth all through their eighth years. After that, companies often plateau or die completely. Why does this happen? Usually, because direct sales consulting isn’t a life-long pursuit for the average consultant. Only about three percent of your consultants will be with you for the long haul.
Because consultants tend to come and go, pouring all of your energy into top performers will result in a decline for your company. Instead, keep filling in positions to make sure you aren’t depending on your veterans. Cultivating new talent is key to maintaining steady sales over the years. Making sure you have at least one person in leadership dedicated to finding new talent can be a lifeline.
Work to solve a problem for your customers
Direct sales companies who solve problems usually do well. Having a story to tell, a reason for existing, gives you the access to customers who otherwise wouldn’t engage. You’ll be even stronger if you offer multiple products to ensure you are completely fulfilling a need. Your company has to offer more than a retail experience; otherwise, people will simply access your product in a store.
Think through how your product/service is best presented
This follows off of the previous point: you need to offer your customers more than a retail experience. In-person demonstrations and samples set you apart from the stores and the internet. The more you can do to create an interactive, one-of-a-kind experience the faster your popularity will grow. Staying abreast of modern developments will give you even more of an edge. For instance, incorporating social media into your sales template can allow you to engage with customers who don’t have time to attend long parties.
At Exigo, we make it our highest priority to meet your business where it is and provide you with the advantages you need to find success. Get a free demo of our multi-level marketing system today!