Direct sales jobs are a dime a dozen right now. They also have a terrible reputation. Their high failure rates contribute to people trashing the industry as a whole and make many write it off as a non-viable option. However, even with that, there are many positive aspects in its favor. I am even willing to argue that this bad reputation mainly comes from ignorance of those in the field rather than a flaw in the industry itself.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a direct seller. I’m not trying to be self-depreciating. I’m trying to be real. Something that seems hard to come by this day and age.
When you join a direct sales company you are joining a team. You have your sponsor, or person who you directly joined, and your upline. Oftentimes these are people who have been in the industry a long enough time to leverage their contacts and customers to build a team for themselves. The inherent flaw in this is that many, maybe even most, people are not good leaders. Reaching a position of leadership in direct sales mainly means that you are a good salesperson. Becoming a director, or whatever you company calls it, doesn’t actually make you a good leader. It just means there are people you should be leading. While in other industries your leaders get training and coaching on being a good leader, in direct sales the training on any aspect is up to the person. Though available it may not be taken or taken into action.
Due to this people driven model where you need be recruiting and building your team to make money, it is almost counterproductive for you to be honest with recruits that this may not be a good option for them. This makes Direct Sales unique from other fields of business where management makes it their priority to recruit the right types of people and/or model them into being productive assets to their business. Since this is lacking in direct sales, here is my short list of necessary qualities to be successful so you can figure out for yourself before you join if this is a right fit for you.
Since this job is so flexible it can be easy to just work when you want and not work when you feel like binge watching netflix. This however, will ultimately lead to struggles. There is the saying in this industry that, “you get paid like a business when you work it like a business.” That doesn’t mean you have to be rigid in your scheduling but you should have a schedule that you set for yourself. Have certain times each day or week that you spend working your business. If you have a full time job elsewhere it can time on one of your days off or it can be a little time each day when you get home. However this will work for you, being consistent with when you work your direct sales business will be a skill that is necessary.
While many of our companies prefer to call it sharing it still boils down to selling. If you are unable or unwilling to actually ask people to buy your product this is not a field for you. I like to tell my new recruits that Scentsy sells itself because it’s a quality product that is consumable. However, I also make sure they know that they need to be willing to ask the guests at their parties to actually order. Many hold back from fear of rejection or annoying their market but if you don’t ask the answer is almost invariably, “No!”
While many of us put this on our resumes to pad our skills section it often isn’t called into play. At a regular job you have external motivations in the form of a boss who will be ready to administer corrective action if you don’t perform. In direct sales it is all on you. If you do not succeed it is 100% on you. You are the only one who can get you to learn the business, you are the only one who can do the work, you are the only one responsible if those things don’t happen. It is easy to blame your upline but they are not your boss. They are your mentor and cheerleader but if you aren’t telling them what you want or need help with they can’t help. So, take the time to figure out your motivation for working to help you get those tasks that no one likes to do, done!
Be responsible for your own development. In this field, like many others, the squeaky wheel gets the attention. Ask for help, plan with your sponsor, seek out those who are successful and ask them what they do, train yourself. There are so many resources through blog posts, Facebook, YouTube, etc that are all waiting for you to find them and use them. Make time regularly to learn new things and update your processes. This keeps you relevant in a field that is ever changing.
These skills are the 4 main things that can help you build a direct sales empire. Figuring them out early in your business will make things so much easier than if you come to the conclusion that they’re necessary later.