Information to Help you Pick a Direct Sales Company

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Chances are, if you are just getting into direct sales for the first time, you attended a party or an event, fell in love with the product, and decided to join.  While you may only be signing up for the personal discount, it is possible to make this into a profitable business where you can get your product free or you can even end up making a few dollars as well.


Information (Photo credit: heathbrandon)

For some, they love the product so much that they do not care about anything specific when they join, they just want to join.  But if you are someone that needs to do some research and to make sure you are making a good decision, there are some things you want to look into.  If you considering changing from another company, then chances are these questions are even more important.

  • What kind of commissions do you make on all activities – sales, team, fundraising, website?
  • What do you get when you sign up – product, supplies, support?
  • How much does a website cost for customers to shop on?
  • Can you host parties on your website?
  • How much is shipping?
  • How do you get paid?
  • Where does the product ship from and how long does it take?
  • How do you process credit cards?
  • Do you have to carry inventory?
  • Are there any restrictions on advertising?
  • What kinds of costs are involved – catalogues, order forms, supplies?
  • How often do new catalogues come out?
  • Are there quotas you have to meet on a monthly, quarterly or yearly basis?
  • Who pays for the hostess benefits and customer specials?
  • What kind of training does the company offer its consultants?

These are just some of the questions you may have about a company you are considering.  Some of these may not have any importance to you while there are others I may have missed that are very important to you.   Write them down in advance and record the answers you get from any sources you may use.  Check the company’s website as it is the most reliable site and then talk to your potential sponsor on things that you could not find an answer for.


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Finding a Direct Sales Sponsor

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Whether you are new to direct sales, or you are switching companies, it’s important that you have a good sponsor/upline to work with.  There are several things that you can do to make sure that you have someone who will be there to assist you and help you get the most out of your business.

Group of business people

Group of business people (Photo credit: SalFalko)

Once you have found a potential sponsor, the first thing you should do is talk to them.  Send them an email, call them, and use whatever your preferred method of communication is.   Consider this an interview and do not be afraid to talk to a few people.  I always find it telling how fast they reply to my emails and if it has taken a while, if they offer an explaination.

Things to ask in regards to the company:

  • How do you make commission – Can you increase your rate with monthly sales?  Recruiting? Fundraisers?
  • Do you have to recruit?  What happens if you don’t?
  • If you want to do fundraisers, are there any conditions/requirements to be allowed?
  • Are there quotas to make – monthly, quarterly, yearly?
  • How do you process credit cards?
  • Do you have to pay to have a consultant website?
  • Can you do parties online?

Do not be afraid to ask a potential sponsor about their own business.  This could be one of the most telling things about them and to help you with your decision. If they refuse to answer anything about their own business, then chances are they will not be a lot of assistance to you.

  • How many parties/events do they do a month?
  • Are they as busy as they would like to be?
  • How many team members do they have?
  • What sort of training do they offer?
  • What level are they with the company and what does that entail?  (sales requirement, team requirement)
  • How can you get a hold of them if you are at a party and need help?

If you do not get along with this person over the phone, then chances are this will not be a good match.  If they never reply to your emails, move on to someone else, as you need someone who will respond.

Don’t forget to look them up on Facebook or other sites and see what you can see.  Some people constantly post about their business, but you may find some people rarely mention it.  This may simply be because they have a fanpage instead and keep the two separate but it is good to know.

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Why choose Direct Sales?

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When it comes to direct sales, there are many reasons that people get into the industry.  Ultimately, the reason you join is up to you, but here are some great reasons to consider getting involved with direct sales.

English: Tupperware brand plastic containers 2...

English: Tupperware brand plastic containers Tupperware 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brand Recognition

One of the best things about joining a direct sales company is that there is already a brand there that people know or recognize.  The longer the company has been in business, the more likely that people will know it when you mention it to them.  This can be a great way to get your business off and rolling.  For instance, if you tell a friend that you just joined Tupperware, chances are they are familiar with the product and would be willing to assist you get started by hosting a party.

Product Research

Another great benefit to joining a direct sales company is that they have already done a lot of research in regards to the products and therefore you do not need to do much research.  This is especially important when you are working with products that have various chemical make ups as the company has done all the research and can provide you the data that you and your customers want.  They will also do research to determine what types of products people want and will invest their funds in producing these products.

Low Start Up Costs

If you were to start a business, even a home based one, you would need quite a bit of capital to get started.  Even a business with a limited inventory will require several thousands of dollars to get off the ground with product and marketing.  A direct sales business can be started for less than $500 or even for free and with brand recognition and word of mouth, you can be making a profit within a few months if not sooner.


For many people, the greatest benefit of a direct sales business is to be able to control their work schedule and their income.  If you only want to work a few hours a week, you can do that.  If you want to make a full time income, you can do that as well.

These are some of the more common reasons that people get into direct sales.  Do you sign up for any of the reasons or did you join for some other reason?


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Basic Information about Fundraisers

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It seems that most companies these days have a fundraising component to them that you can promote as a consultant.  Your company may have rules about who can participate and it may not.   Make sure you know what this involves as this can be a lucrative option.

That said, fundraisers can be difficult to get.  Everyone tends to want them as they are a great method of generating sales and repeat customers.  Think about how many people who could be introduced to your product if the organization needs to sell 500 units of your product to make their goals!  And if only a few of them came to you later to have a party, you could be setup quite nicely!

pile of money

pile of money (Photo credit: axlape)

A few things to keep in mind when doing a fundraiser:

  • Communication is key!  You need to keep in touch with the organizer and make sure you are both on the same page.
  • Make sure they know what is expected of them and what you will be doing.  I highly recommend going through this with the organizer and writing it down for both of you.
  • Set the end date a few days before you really want it to end.  This should get those stragglers in by the real end date.  Hint:  Don’t tell the organizer you are doing this – sometimes they are the straggler!

When it comes time to sort of the fundraiser, see if the organization is okay with you doing a little bit of promotion with it.  For instance, you may want to put reorder stickers on your product if it is something that you can do that with.  You may want to put some business cards in the bag for them.  Maybe you want to offer them something special if they book a party or their own fundraiser within 30 days of delivery.

If possible, you may want to follow up with those that purchased to see what they think of the product.  This will depend on the information that the organization gives you and what you ask for.  If you only get the grand totals of product, you may not know who ordered what which will limit your ability to make calls.

A fundraiser is a great way to get your name out there and to give your business a boost, especially if you are able to continue promoting it after the event is done!

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How often to Host a Party?

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The answer to this question depends on a few factors.  Make sure you consider each one when you are thinking about hosting multiple parties, especially if you want to host them close together.

A birthday party in Oregon. Taken by me.

A birthday party in Oregon. Taken by me. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Company Choice – Are you planning to host the same type of party each time – for instance, jewellery? Or do you want to host a jewellery party, a candle party and a purse party?   If you are looking to host direct sales parties that are different types of products, you could probably do a party per month.  But if you are looking to host another party with the same company, it is best to wait until they have a new catalogue out as a reason for people to attend a second party.

Money – A big factor to consider is your own personal finances as well as your friends. Quite often the products that are sold through direct sales parties are those that are luxuries for people.  For this reason, your friends may not be able to attend all that often and make a purchase.  But, you could host if you have funds to make some purchases and your friends may decide to book their own party to get the items for free.  And depending on the company, you could get some rewards just for them booking.

Time – Another consideration is how much time you have or your friends have.  Some people just cannot attend a party too often due to work commitments, needing a babysitter or other reasons.   But depending on what their reasons for not attending are, you may be able to get around some of them.  For instance, if you are having a jewellery party, kids could possibly come if there is a bedroom they can play in.

Attendance – Do you have enough people that you can invite that you will get a decent attendance at each event?  While you may not mind if no one shows up, or only one or two people, the consultant will not be impressed if she shows up and gets no sales.  Of course, if you are putting in enough sales to make it a party, then it is not such a big deal.

Of course, these are just my opinion.  Do you think there are different considerations for how often to host a party?

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Book Review: Making Millions in Direct Sales

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By Michael G. Malaghan

This book is copyrighted in 2005 and in going through it, it is more focused on the person who is a sales representative for a company.  As a result, the focus is not on party plan people but there is enough information that it is worth reviewing for the site.    making milliions

First of all, there are 8 activities that the book is based on:

  • Sell
  • Prospect
  • Hire
  • Train
  • Replicate Yourself
  • Motivate
  • Manage
  • Lead

I did like that at the end of chapter, there were a list of questions to ask yourself and book recommendations if you wanted to read more on that specific topic.

In going through the book, some of these topics caught my attention as ones that someone in a party plan might be interested in:

  • Phone appointments – 11 ideas to increase success rates
  • How to find leads as well as how to work with them
  • Tips on how to find recruits as well as how to interview them
  • Working with new sales reps as well as the veteran reps
  • How to set goals using a workshop approach (could work in a conference call or team meeting)
  • 12 career wrecking demons and how you can resolve them
  • How to be a good manager
  • 60 ways to energize your meetings (but don’t use them all at once!)

Again, due to the age of the book some of the ideas presented are no longer as relevant or practical (such as the ones on the Internet) but there are still many tried and true methods in here.

If you are someone who is struggling, this book may be good to pick up and read through to see if there are ideas you can incorporate.  Make sure to look at the books recommended as you never know what or where you are going to find the tip that makes you successful.

Buy:  Making Millions in Direct Sales

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Sales Specials for your Guests

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When you are having a party, you need to get some of your friends to attend to make the event a success.  But you may be wondering if your guests will get something when they attend to make it worthwhile.  In short, the answer is most likely yes.

It is always best to ask the consultant about what guest specials are happening.  They can change from month to month and may vary in regards to what the customer gets.

Different guest options:

  • Discount – Guests may get a discount at a direct sales events when they spend a certain amount
  • Free Product – Another guest incentive is free items for spending a certain amount
  • Exclusive Items – There may be exclusive items that your guests qualify for when they spent a certain amount but these products tend to be reserved for the hostess
  • Booking Gift – Many companies offer a free gift to any guest who attends your party and decides to book their own direct sales event.
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Top Loading your Month

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Have you heard of top loading your month before?  Do you know what it means?  This is a new term to me, but one that totally makes sense in the Direct sales industry.  This is an especially important concept if you are trying to meet a monthly quota or goal in any given month.

Calendar Module and iCal data

Calendar Module and iCal data (Photo credit: m.gifford)

Top loading means you book all your parties/events in the first three weeks of the month and then you leave your last week open.  This way you have room to book people in if they have to cancel or reschedule or they contact you at the last minute to have a party.  By having the last week open, you are able to still fit them in and make that quota you are aiming for.  And if you have already hit it, then they will just be extra parties and money that you make.

Top loading your month can be especially important if you are just starting out or if you are having a tough time meeting quotas or goals within the month.  This is helpful for those that do not do a lot of events each month and may have a harder time controlling their calendar.

Another thing to consider when you are booking people is to consider how far out you are booking them.  I suggest only booking them a week or two from today’s date.  The reason is that people do not know what they are doing a month from now so are more likely to cancel on you if you press them into a date that far out.  But if you book them for next Wednesday, they likely know what they are doing and will have an easier time committing and actually following through.  They will have an easier time getting guests as their friends will know their plans as well.

By doing this, you can top load your month and as the month goes by, and your parties are holding, you can book out the last week of the month without any difficulty.  While you may have a hard time convincing people to book now instead a month later, you need to just make sure you stick to your policy of only booking out a month in advance.

At the beginning of the month you typically are feeling very positive but a cancellation can really depress you.  But if you have room to reschedule them within the same month, your month still looks good and you are able to make up those sales and make your goals.

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5 Methods of Marketing your Direct Sales Business

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Advertising plane over Miami Beach

Advertising plane over Miami Beach (Photo credit: lonnypaul)

One of the biggest obstacles for anyone in business, no matter the type, is marketing and letting people know you exist.  If they do not know your business, they cannot support you.  If you are lost for ideas of where to look, hopefully this list will help you.

Network with Others

Find other direct sellers and let them know you are out there.  Offer to swap parties – you hold one for them, they hold one for you.  This can be a great way to get your name out there.  This can be tricky if you are not interested in their products but you want them to book with you.

Small Business Groups

Look around where you live and see if there are business groups you can get into.  I know in my city there are several different organizations for home based businesses to get together and discuss a variety of topics.  Sometimes they have an evening where you can show case your business whether by giving a small presentation or having a trade show.  You may want to look to see if there is a chamber of commerce where you live and what type of activities they are involved in.

Print Advertising

There are many consultants who use print media such as the newspaper or local bulletins to put their ads in.  I have not done this but have heard from others who have been successful with this.  Make sure you do some research before investing as this can be quite a commitment in terms of money and time.  Contact those who are currently advertising and see if they would be willing to tell you what type of results they are getting.

Social Media

These days, sites like Facebook and Twitter are huge.  If you are not using these types of media to help you with your advertising efforts, you could be missing out big time.  How to use these is another article, but get out there and start using them!


No article about marketing is complete without some information on using the Internet to promote your business.  There are many different places that you can look, some of which are paid and some of them are free. If you are considering paying, make sure you find out the statistics such as how many unique visits they get a month, how long people are staying on the site and anything other information they will provide.  Email other vendors to see how much success they have had through the site.

Marketing your business can be very time consuming but it is worth it to try a variety of avenues to see what does and does not work out.  If you do not have a large budget, then it is a good idea to stick to free sites as paying for an ad does not guarantee it to work out better than a free advertisement.


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Having a Website for your Direct Sales Business

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When it comes to your direct sales business, it is a good idea to have your own website.  There are a couple of options if you are not sure what you want and like anything, each has its own benefits and disadvantages.

English: "updating the website from work&...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Consultant Site

Most companies have a website that you can get through them to sell your product.  The advantage to this type of site is that it is easy to get setup and running as they have done all the work to create a professional site. You likely can customize it a bit with your own story and information.  One of the disadvantages is that this site will be very similar to every other consultant’s website so nothing will set it apart.  There may or may not be a fee for this type of website.  Find out if there are perks for having a site such as a customer newsletter or online leads.


Another option is to setup a blog.  These are popular as there are many sites where you can get one for free.  It is similar to having a journal online but you would use this space to talk about your business.  You might talk about how to use the product, how your business is going, specials that are coming up and information about the company itself.

A blog is about getting people to know you as a person and as a consultant and making them want to deal with you.  If people are choosing between consultatnts, they likely will pick the one they have gotten to know and like.

A disadvantage to using a blog is that you may have a hard time finding a setup or a style that you like.  You may not have the flexibility to set it up the way you want for a variety of reasons or have the knowledge and patience to get it working.


A website is a site that does not change a lot but is more about getting information out than anything else.  A website is great if you want to have an easy way for people to find information and you don’t want to have to be updating it all the time like you do with a blog.  Of course, you could add a blog to your site or have an area for updates.

Remember though, before you set up a blog or a website, make sure you know what your company does and does not allow.  Some will let you have a site but you cannot name it after the company or sell product through it.  Others may have restrictions in how you advertise your site or represent yourself.

As with anything, if you are not sure what the rules are, contact the company and ask them.  You do not want to spend a lot of time and energy on something to find out it is not allowed.

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