Direct sales businesses have been around for a long time but there always seems to be pockets of time where there is a resurgence of sorts. I feel like right now is that time based upon the amount of invites I get weekly. Everyone including their sister, cousin, and friend are joining up, aren’t they? Well, there is good reason for that!
Joining a direct sales company is a great way to contribute to the budget, work on a flexible schedule, make some new friends, and get some great products at a discount.
You are not going to get a pitch for one Multi Level Marketing (MLM) company over another in this article. I have been involved in various direct sales companies throughout the years and have seen great success from many of them. There are so many great companies out there with quality products that I can’t just choose one. Instead I would like to share with you some tips on how to choose the right multi level marketing company for YOU.
If you are joining a new company as a consultant for more than just a discount or have joined one and just haven’t been able to get your new endeavor off the ground, you may want to consider the following before jumping on board or jumping ship. Your direct sales business may have some life left in it.
What is your WHY?
First things first, have a little heart to heart with yourself. Why is this start up kit, this business, this product calling your name? Do you need more money? Are you just wanting a discount on something you love? Do you just want some new girlfriends? Maybe it is some mixture of all of the above. Whatever your reasons are for joining, you need to define them before you sign the dotted line.
Why do you need to know your WHY? Your WHY will determine your strategy, your persistence, and your success. Defining your WHY? is what will make or break your business, and it is best to project it before you join a company as an independent consultant. If you desire to take your new business seriously, I recommend you put a bit more thought into your choice than just the cursory emotionally charged money drop.
Prudence Equals Profitability
When you are choosing a direct sales company to work with, be sure that you are well informed before signing on concerning issues that are important to you.
- Ask questions about the company – Are you joining the company because their mission is something you desire to be a part of? How long has the company existed and where do they project they are growing?
- Ask questions about the products – Is this product one that you can stand behind? Are their materials sourced with integrity?
- Ask questions about the business – Is this business structure sustainable? Ask multiple consultants about their experience with this business for a more objective reference.
- Ask questions of yourself – Do you have time to commit to make this business successful? Do you have the financial means available to cover both start up and continuing costs? If this doesn’t work, what will I lose?
We all know that the majority of direct sales sign-ups are spare of the moment decisions with grand plans that never see the light of day. Why is that? It is because the decision was emotional and would you believe there is a marketing strategy behind that on the part of the recruiter? Be prudent. Think through your decision. Define your WHY. Ask thorough questions of the company, its consultants, and yourself. Your careful steps into big leaps will help you build a foundation for a real business and not just a fleeting hobby.
Passion Project vs. Kit Collection
So often people make a hobby out of collecting start up kits because they can’t pick just one product to sell. To the consultant this sounds like a good idea. You might think it makes you more marketable, but to your customer you look desperate for an easy buck. If prudence equals profitability, passion equals possibilities.
Passion is reflected in the professional way that you carry yourself as an independent consultant. If you are a legitimate business owner, please act like one. A professional does not shove cliche marketing lines down the throats of everyone they know. A business owner with integrity does not harass all those within their line of sight to help them start their business. A professional learns the product, educates themselves in business, determines a marketing strategy, and gets out there and does the work. Success does not just land in your lap. If direct selling is a legitimate business avenue, then it requires dedication and persistence to lay a foundation and build a brand.
Simple Market Research
If you choose a product that you love, personally use, and that your area needs and wants then you will more than likely be able to market it successfully. People often don’t think about doing market research for joining a direct sales company, but this doesn’t even have to be intensive. Just think about it, if you live in a lower income area, others may not be willing to drop $100 on one bottle of face wash. If that is the company you are thinking of signing up with, just realize you may need to work outside of your region to acquire a customer base.
Build Your Brand
Do you know what is great about an MLM? You don’t have to start from scratch! What a relief, right?! They have the product ready for you, marketing materials are already prepared, often team training is waiting for you to help you get off the ground running. It sounds too good to be true! Sometimes it is, but not usually.
Often those who have the most success with direct selling are those who build their own brand within the brand. What do I mean by this? Branding within a brand can look like a myriad of options, and it also depends on the company’s rules concerning how far you can take your individual business, but it might include anything from a personal website, to a VIP page on Facebook, or just exceptional customer service for which you just become known. Building your own brand takes time, energy, and strategy. It does not happen overnight, but if you are able to do it, your home business will thrive.
According to Forbes, eight out of ten businesses fail within the first eighteen months. Poor financial planning, zero goal projection, and unrealistic expectations leading to a lack of determination I believe are to blame in many cases for why a direct sales business fails. I have seen it all too often. A new consultant signs up. The excitement wears off when she can’t get her business up and going or her leads dry up and so she quits and tries another MLM. The problem often lies not with the company or the product, but with the consultant.
You can find various statistics online, but they all say it takes time to make a profit from a new start up business. Very few people jump into these things and have immediate success that is stable for the long term. This is exactly why you need a plan before you begin. Consistency and persistence in your business is key to helping it succeed. Home business doesn’t take a special kind of person, so much as it takes a willingness to learn – learn the product, educate yourself in marketing, listen to your customers, make yourself stand out from the other consultants. All of this takes time, diligence, and yes, realistic expectations.
I can’t promise you that you will be able to make a pretty penny with one direct sales company over another, but I do want to leave you with a few pearls of wisdom from my own experience.
- Do not pay for your start up kit or inventory with credit. If you can’t pay with cash, please just take a pass or wait until you have the funds.
- Understand their buy back policy, if they have one. It is good to have an exit plan, if you need to take advantage of it.
- Follow the initial new consultant training provided. If you want to customize what you do later, that is fine, but it is best to follow the time tested strategies that work first before blazing your own trail.
- Find out what the consultant and branding guidelines are, because if you do want to build your own brand, that information will be helpful. You need to know exactly how unique you are allowed to be.
- Ask how flexible the avenues of marketing are. Can you sell in a brick and mortar store? Vendor shows and farmers markets? Do they offer fundraising options? Home parties are fun, but having more than one option will be such a life saver when you go through a dry season for leads.
- Do not bad mouth your company or team members. It is just not professional. If you have a beef with a direct sales company, just leave it behind. You don’t need to share your bitterness with the whole internet.
- Be careful not to over extend the graces of your friends and family. It is perfectly fine to ask for a little help when you begin, but you don’t want to be that person that everyone cringes when they see you coming because they know you are going to ask them for something. Build personal relationships with people, let marketing pitches be more organic than forced. Trust me, it goes a long way!
- Set business hours or you will regret it!
I am sure there are more questions to ask and tips to be given than what I have provided here. I would love to hear from you! What is a question that you wish you had asked before signing on the dotted line? Do you have a horror or success story to share with your direct sales company (no names please!)? If you could share one tip with a person about to join a company, what would it be?
Do you desire to begin a home business that your entire family can be a part of? Don’t miss one of our recent podcast episodes on how to begin a business with your children!
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