Getting into Direct Sales

Success Tips in a Little Known but Huge Home-Based Market

By Deb Bixler
All of us will likely have the opportunity at one time or another to take advantage of a direct selling opportunity. Many people start part-time, and later leave their other careers when direct selling becomes more lucrative. According to the Direct Selling Association (www.dsa.org), direct selling is the sale of a consumer product or service, person-to-person, away from a fixed retail location.

These products and services are marketed to customers by independent salespeople. Depending on the company, the salespeople may be called distributors, representatives, consultants or various other titles. Products are sold primarily through in-home product demonstrations, parties, and one-on-one selling. Virtually every consumer product or service can be purchased through direct selling.


Size and Structure of the Direct Sales Market

People from literally all walks of life, of all ages, can be successful in direct sales. According to the Direct Selling Association, about 90 percent of those working in direct sales are women, five percent are African American, 13 percent are Latino and one percent are Asian, Native American or other.
According to the Direct Selling Association, www.dsa.org, an estimated 15 million people are involved in direct selling in the United States, and more than 65 million direct sellers worldwide. Most are women, though nearly a third are men or two-person teams such as couples. The vast majority are independent business people — they are micro-entrepreneurs whose purpose is to sell the product and/or services of the company they voluntarily choose to represent — not employees of the company. Approximately 90 percent of all direct sellers operate their businesses part-time.

Benefits of Direct Sales
Direct selling has benefits for company representatives and distributors as well as consumers. The Direct Selling Association’s research shows that:
•    Direct selling is a good way to meet and socialize with people.
•    Direct selling offers flexible work schedules.
•    Direct selling is a good way to earn extra income.
•    Direct selling is a good way to own a business.
•    Earnings are in proportion to efforts.
Maintain Balance to Achieve Success
A balanced direct sales business is one which utilizes all opportunities available to create business and cash flow. It is desirable because it will provide you with a solid business with less chance of bad seasons or events jeopardizing your business and income.

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A few reasons for pursuing a balanced direct sales business are:
•    Multiple streams of income
•    Constant cash flow
•    Less stress
•    Easier maintenance once you get it going

Provide Three Services
In direct sales, generally you have the opportunity to generate income for yourself by providing three services to others. The services are:
•    Product sales
•    Conducting home party shows or events
•    Teaching others how to create income
When you eliminate one of your services, you are reducing your income by one-third. A balanced direct sales business will utilize all three services to generate leads. Having a web page that describes your products and includes an ordering page can support your services. In regards to conducting home party shows, I offer the following success tips:

Keep Your Home Part Show Time Short
Your home party show time should be no more than forty five minutes. Short shows will make you more money. For every minute you go over 45 minutes. you are losing a dollar of sales. A “show” refers to your official presentation. From the time you start talking until the time you stop talking, no more than 45 minutes should elapse. That also implies that your show has official start and stop times. The guests actually are aware that you have officially started and officially ended.
This applies to your company, too. The Direct Sales Association has determined in studies that when your show presentation is longer than 45 minutes, your sales will drop. Frequently when I present this topic, I get objections that the particular company I am presenting to is different than all the others and they need a longer show. I hear the same reasons why this doesn’t apply to “their company” from all sales professionals in a wide variety of companies. Everyone says the same thing whether they are selling make up, plastic containers, food and food mixes, kitchen tools, romance enhancement, vitamins — you name it, they all say the same thing.


Keep a Home Party Show Unique

•    Provide education.
•    Play games, have fun and educate.
•    Enable guests to see more products.
•    Say more about your product than XYZ products.
•    Teach a lot of tips.

Think Through Your Presentation

Your company is not that different, so take the time to think through your presentation. Your goal is to plan a presentation that respects people’s time, so as to create better value for your guests.
If anyone has ever said to you, “I am too busy…..” to host a show, or be a sales representative, then you really need to look at the length of your show. When people say, “I am too busy,” it doesn’t mean they are busy. It really means that you have not given them enough value for their time. Time and fun are the two biggest commodities in America. People are not too busy to watch television, go to the movies, or sit on a lawn chair all night and watch a soccer game. When your show time creates great fun and provides value-packed time, then people will be coming up to you asking if they can host a show.

Less Talk Is Better
Less is more. Less is better. If there is one thing that people will not tolerate, it is being bored. Don’t rule yourself out, just because you think that your company is different. Think about how you can use this belief to create better cash flow in your business. Successful sales consultants say, “How can I?” Not “I can’t!” Less is better for everyone, because everyone has a full life. By keeping your show to 45 minutes and providing great value for that time, people will spend more money and want more time with you. When you give them more value in less time, they will see the value of hosting a show. They had fun; they learned and had a terrific time. Your calendar will fill up, and your sales will skyrocket.

More Home Party Show Secrets
Home party shows are like gravy and you should take advantage of them. The more time and attention you give to booking parties, the more cash flow you can generate! When you pass on home parties, it is like passing cash on the street and not picking it up. Home party success secrets include:
•    Keep it short.
•    Keep it fun.
•    Keep it informative.
•    Keep the focus on the guest.
•    Give the guests good value for their time.

Marketing a Balanced Direct Sales Business
A balanced direct sales business will take advantage of every form of advertising and marketing available to it. Many home party plan professionals rely solely on their shows for generating future business. Others depend entirely on friends and family to create cash flow. Many network marketers rely only on cold calls or Internet-generated leads. Focusing on only one lead source isn’t the answer.
There is an unlimited supply of leads out there, and when you create a balanced direct sales business, you take advantage of all of them. The author’s suggested approaches to lead generation include:
•    Public Speaking
•    Fairs and Expos
•    Friends and Family
•    Picking Up Cards At Bulletin Boards
•    Internet Marketing
•    Home Parties
There is no excuse for not having enough business. You too can be successful in a part-time or full-time direct sales business. HBM

Sources: Reprinted with permission from: http://www.CreateACashFlowShow.com
Deb Bixler is a home business expert who specializes in teaching direct sales consultants how to have a consistent cash flow from their home party plan business. Deb retired from the corporate world and replaced her $80,000 year income with her home party plan business in only 9 months. Deb teaches business systems and principles that will work for all sales companies regardless of their product line. Learn more about finding an unlimited supply of business leads at www.CreateACashFlowShow.com . Invite Deb to speak at your next seminar: www.DebBixler.com . 717.751.2793.
Information also provided by the Direct Selling Association, www.dsa.org

Previously published in the October 2009 issue of HOME BUSINESS® Magazine, an international publication for the growing and dynamic home-based market. Available on newsstands, in bookstores and chain stores, and via subscriptions ($19.00 for 1 year, six issues). Visit www.homebusinessmag.com

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