Should you pursue a career in direct sales? Is there money to be made? What qualities are needed? Those are some of the questions I’d like to cover in today’s post. In the paragraphs below, I want to share an overview of direct sales so you can learn the ins and outs and see if it is the right career path for YOU.
What is Direct Sales?
In my own words, direct sales is when someone works as their own independent agent, outside of a fixed location, and sells something directly to another person or business.
Here’s a more detailed explanation I found online.
Direct selling is a business model that offers entrepreneurial opportunities to individuals as independent contractors to market and/or sell products and services, typically outside of a fixed retail establishment, through one-to-one selling, in-home product demonstrations or online.
More than six million entrepreneurs in the U.S. are selling products or services through the direct selling channel, providing a personalized buying experience for more than 36.6 million customers. That’s because direct selling offers a low-risk way to participate in a fast-growing part of the economy.
Is MLM & Direct Selling the Same Thing?
No. They are quite different, although the words are interchanged frequently. Direct sales is all about selling a product or service. It’s about one person doing a lot. The person only gets paid on their own personal sales (in most cases).
On the other hand, network marketing is about leverage. It’s about a lot of people doing a little bit. Instead of just selling a product, you also use the products, service a few customers, and then teach others how to do those same things.
I personally prefer network marketing over direct sales because of the leverage involved. Network marketing is more about coaching, nurturing and leadership, whereas direct sales is all about personal selling.
Reasons to Consider a Career in Direct Sales
Here are some of my favorite reasons to consider a career in direct sales.
# 1: Unlimited Earnings Potential
If you can find a profitable product or service to sell, and you enjoy selling, the sky is the limit. Some people make six figures, even seven figures, in direct sales. Not everyone does that well, but the sky is the limit. There are no earnings caps placed on you.
# 2: Flexible
When you work in direct sales, you have a flexible schedule. In most cases, you can set your own hours and work when you want. However, you still need to put in the hours and work. You typically don’t have that option in a regular 9 to 5 job.
# 3: Be Your Own Boss
When you work in direct sales, you are an independent contractor. You work for yourself. You might have a sales manager, but probably not. You call the shots. You set your goals. If you can manage your time and manage yourself well, this career is like a dream come true.
# 4: Travel
Depending on where you live and what you sell, you might get to travel to meet new customers. In many cases, you can work from anywhere in the world, especially if you do everything online or by phone.
# 5: Help People
My favorite thing about direct sales is helping people. As a salesperson, all you are really doing is helping someone else solve their problems by using your product or service. You’re really more of a “coach” or “consultant” than a salesperson.
Helpful Qualities for Success
If you look at people who are successful in direct sales, they share similar qualities, even though they come from many walks of life.
# 1: Self-Motivation & Self-Discipline
If you want to pursue a career in direct sales, it is vital that you are self-motivated. You will be responsible to manage your own time, find prospects, close deals, overcome objections, and get the job done. If you are lazy, need to be told what to do, or aren’t self-motivated, this definitely is not the career for you. Go-getters typically do well in direct sales.
# 2: People Skills
Direct sales is ultimately a relationship business. Never forget that. People tend to buy things from people they know, like and trust. You must be able to get along with all types of people. You must be likeable.
# 3: Time Management
To succeed in direct sales, you won’t have a boss telling you what to do or when to work. It will be your responsibility to manage your time wisely, so you can be productive and make sales.
# 4: Salesmanship
At the end of the day, to succeed in direct sales, you must be able to look another human being in the eyes and ask them to buy from you. Selling is not about high pressure or hype. It’s about influence. It’s about leading someone to a buying decision.
# 5: Communication
Communication is important in direct selling. You have the responsibility to stay in touch with your prospects and follow-up with them as needed. You must communicate effectively verbally, in writing and in person.
Things You Can Sell
There are so many things you can sell if you want a career in direct sales. Here are just a few things that come to mind.
- Cable TV
- Internet Services
- Meats & Foods
- Cell Phones
- Legal Services
- Website Design
- Weight Loss
- Funeral Services
At the end of the day it makes sense to find a product or service you are passionate about and something that provides a nice profit for each sale.
In conclusion, pursuing a career in direct sales is a great opportunity for the right person, although it’s not for everyone. Ultimately, you must decide if you want to work for yourself and don’t mind working 100% on commission. Some people thrive on it, whereas others are attracted to job security. What you do is up to you. Now you know.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. If you’ve had a career in direct sales, please share your story with our readers by leaving a comment below. Any insights would be appreciated. I look forward to hearing from you.