Tag Archives: Multi-level marketing

Party plan or Independent seller?

While you are an independent consultant within your party plan, for my purposes here, someone who is independent is a person who gets a wholesale account and does their own thing.  Which is better?  Let us look at both.

Party Plan:

Support – You have support from your upline, other consultants and the company.

Costs – Minimal costs to get started.

Research – The party plan does the research to help you determine what products should sell best.  This may not be true in your particular region, but overall, the company feels these are the best products.

Brand – If you stay with your company for any amount of time, and there are other consultants, you will help to develop the company’s brand which will help to increase your business over time.

Technical – You do not have to set up your own website or find suppliers to buy product from.

Independent:

Control – You control everything that you do – from your website, the products you sell and the price you sell them at.

Support – Chances are the wholesalers you are buying your product from will help you to a degree as they want you to keep buying from them, but they are not on the frontlines, you are.

Costs – The cost of getting setup and running varies depending on what you are selling and how much product you want to offer.  Expect to spend several hundred at a minimum for product and then you likely will need a website.  If you plan to sell like a party plan, you will also have to come up with incentives, etc which will come out of your own pocket.

Research – You will need to figure out what types of product are going to sell where you live and where you are selling as well as a good price point.

Brand – Consider yourself starting from the ground up, as you have no personal store brand to assist you.  Your product may have its own brand which will help you to get started, but it may not carry you that far.

If you are looking for simple and easy, a party plan is likely the way to go.  But if you prefer to do things yourself, then being totally independent may be your preference.

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5 Tips for Choosing the Right Direct Sales Business For You

If you’ve decided you want to get into direct sales but aren’t sure which company you should choose, here are five tips to help you decide.

DSA (US) Logo

DSA (US) Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Choose something that interests you. The best salespeople truly believe in the products they are promoting. You will find it much easier to sell products that coincide with your hobbies or interests and you’ll also be more likely to stick with the program long-term.

2. Ensure that you can afford the kit. Some party plans require you to purchase an expensive kit to get started whereas others send free samples or let you pay in installments. Make sure that you won’t be stretching yourself to pay for the startup kit. If you have a small budget, look for a company that is cheap to get started with.

3. Look out for monthly minimums. A lot of direct sales companies have monthly sales quotas. Compare the quotas with what you think you can realistically sell or pay for yourself if you have a bad month.

4. Do some investigating. Check out forums for different multilevel marketing companies or direct sales workers in general to look for trends of satisfaction or unhappiness. See if the majority of posters have had good experiences. Every company has a downside so try to find one with a downside you can live with.

5. Seek help from the Direct Selling Association. They have a code of ethics that all companies must follow so checking their member directory is a great way to find direct sales companies that follow legitimate business practices.

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Using Your Upline – They are There for You!

When you are working your direct sales business, there is a good chance at some point you are going to get stuck and you are going to need some help to move on.   When that happens, contact your upline for assistance!

a business team

Working Together (Photo credit: pennstatenews)

Your upline wants you to succeed.  Sure, part of it might be due to the fact that they make money when you sell product but chances are, they just want you to be happy and successful with your direct sales business.  That is what it comes down to at the end of the day.  Happiness.  If you are not happy with your direct sales career, you are not going to continue in it and you will not be putting out a good word about your company in general.

So that said, what sort of things can your upline help you with and what can they do?

Offer Advice – One of the biggest things that your upline can do for you is offer you advice.  There is a good chance they have been where you are and they got past it.  Can’t get sales?  Ask them what they recommend.  Have people interested in signing but they never sign on the dotted line?  See what your upline can tell you.

Make Calls – If you are having an issue and you need to deal with head office but cannot get anywhere or do not have the time to call, see if you upline can do it for you.  I have called on behalf of my team several times for a variety of reasons.

Resources – Maybe you are having a hard time figuring out what a product does or how to sell it?  Your upline can guide you through a presentation on a particular product or even an entire party.  Not sure how to fill out an order form or how to sort the party?  No worries, ask them!

 

 

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Keeping in Touch with Your Direct Sales Team

Even if you do not have time to contact your team on a regular basis through the phone, it’s a good idea to keep in touch in some method.  For me, I like to use a newsletter that I send out to my team monthly.  I aim for the first three days of the month but it does not always happen for a variety of reasons which may or may not be in my control.

When I first started my newsletter, it was three or four pages.  I always included team recognition on Communicationthe first page and then I went into information about what was going on with the company and then into some training information.  But as time went on, I cut down on how much I was doing for a variety of reasons – time was one issue and another was I did not know if anyone was actually getting anything out of them.  Now, I have cut down to just recognition and information about what is going on – probably a page at most, but it contains the most important information in my opinion.

Regardless, my point was that my team hears from me monthly.  This way, they know how to get a hold of me if something pops up and hopefully they at least look to see what is important in the coming month.    I know I have had teammates get a hold of me through the newsletter as they will hit reply so I at least know that it is getting through to them.  Unfortunately, when teammates change their email address I do not necessarily know and I cannot guarantee they get my notes.

I know this is something that a lot of leaders do not do.  I know that I could do more for my team as well but it can be hard to do it day in and day out without feedback.  So if you are a downline, let your upline know you want more information or that what they are sending out is helpful!  And if you are an upline, why aren’t you getting in touch with your downline?

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Getting Started down the Direct Sales Path

Congratulations on deciding to start a direct sales business!  You are likely excited to get going but you have hit a roadblock for some reason and you have found this blog.  Without further ado, I am going to provide you to some links on this blog that should be helpful for you and your search.

Still looking for a company to join?

Picking the Best Direct Sales Company

The Top Direct Sales Companies

Before Joining Direct Sales

What Type of Direct Sales Company Should I Join?

Maybe you have joined already but are anxiously awaiting your kit?  Here are some ideas of things that you can do while you wait for it to arrive!

Tips for Waiting for your Direct Sales Kit

Learn Direct Sales Terminology

Maybe you have taken a bit of a break from your direct sales business and are getting ready to get back into it.  No need to fear, it’s a bit like starting from scratch but a bit less waiting.  Here are a few ideas to get you going while hitting the ground running.

Re-Starting Your Direct Sales Business – Getting Up to Date

Getting those Direct Sales Bookings when Restarting

Places to Leave Direct Sales Catalogues

Regardless of where you are, or even if you are just looking for some new ideas, it’s a good idea to do as much as you can while you are full of energy and passion for your product!  It is contagious and people will respond to that energy positively!

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Direct Sales Online Vendor Events

There are many direct sales vendors who live in an area that either does not host vendor events or cannot attend for a variety of reasons.  But fear not, there are people who organize and offer online vendor events for direct sales consultants.  How do you know what is a good one though?

First, decide what you want to see from an online vendor event.  Do you want sales, do you want to be able to do a

presentation, and are you concerned about cost or time frame availability?  Then, you can sit down and locate events and decide if they are worth it for you.

What to Look for:

Convenience – With an online event, you will be given a time slot.  You may be able to select or it may be assigned to you.  With this, you want to make sure the time frame is convenient for the most amount of people.  For this reason, you may not want an 11 pm PST slot as all the people on the east coast will likely be asleep.

Advertising– Have you seen a fair bit of advertising for the event or if you are getting in early, do they plan to do quite a bit?  Has it been done before and has a reputation fo

r being a good event?   Ask the organizers if they can provide you with buttons, banners or other methods of advertising to use.  If there is a Facebook event set up, make sure to get an invitation so you can invite everyone you know.

Time – How much time do you get for your presentation?  Look for events where you are given between thirty minutes and an hour.  This gives you time to do a short presentation as well as answer questions people have.  More than an hour and people will get bored and leave.

Come back Wednesday for part 2

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Keeping the Momentum in Direct Sales

Now that you are going again, are all updated and ready to party, its important to keep your business going and growing.  This can be the easiest thing to do once you start getting parties, but if you are having difficulties, do not give up. It may take a bit of time to get your business growing and busy again, but it will happen if you keep at it.

Organize your Calendar

Make sure you know when you are available for parties and when you are not.  You want to be booking at least two parties at every event you do – one to replace the one you had and one to grow your business. Even if you cannot get a hostess to 100% commit to a date, if you can get them to tentatively commit and pencil that date in, chances are it will follow through.  But if they tell you that they will contact you, you likely will never hear from them again.

Following Up

If you called someone originally about booking a party and they were not ready at that point, make sure you put them on your list to call again.  I keep a spreadsheet of all my customers and who I have called and when.  If they tell me I can call again in a few months, I will make a note of call in September – new baby.  Then, when I call, I can ask how the new baby is which impresses them and I am calling when they asked me too.

Keep Up

One of the biggest things I always tell people is to keep current on all your communications.  If you have social media accounts you should be checking them on a regular basis.  If you have an email account, you should be checking it at least daily.  If you have voicemail, you should be returning calls within 24 hours.  I have had many customers who have told me that they contacted several consultants but that I was the only one that replied.  You want to be the first response as they will likely book/buy with whoever gets in touch with them first.

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Tips for Waiting for your Direct Sales Kit

When starting your direct sales business, it can be hard to wait for your kit to show up.  But do not despair as you expect it to take a week or so, there are many other tasks you can do while you wait.

Read – Chances are, your company has a manual online somewhere.  While it likely is not the most exciting reading, it isn’t a bad idea to sit down and read it to become familiar with what the company has to offer.

Play – Play with the company’s computer system.  Try creating a fake party and see what kind of data is required and become familiar with how the system works for inputting products that are free and those that are paid for.

Call – Contact your friends and see who wants to earn free product!  Explain that you have just started this great new business with Y Company and you want them to be one of the first to see it from you.  This approach may not work so well if you attend a party and signed up there, and you are approaching the same people to book with you.

Buy Supplies – There are likely some supplies that you can purchase to help your business out – labels to put on your catalogues and onto products as well as business cards, a stapler or other supplies. See:  Unique Ways to Save on Direct Sales Supplies for Trade Shows

Plan a Business Launch – While you are talking to your friends about booking their own party, invite them to attend a launch you are having for your business.  Ask them to come by, check out the product, and tell you what they think.  This can be especially helpful if you joined a direct sales company that is not known in your area.  Make it a no-pressure to buy event so they can check it out and then book.  This is a good route to go if you are getting resistance to bookings.

Attend a Party – If possible, attend a party with your upline or someone else in the same direct sales business.  This will allow you to see how a party works and how to take orders.  If you have not attended an event before, this can be very helpful.

 

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The Top Direct Sales Companies

Direct sales is entering a new age, when the pressures of technology are too much for many traditional commercial outlets. Click to call communications, social media, and mobile marketing are strong forces in modern day commerce. So how are the traditional giants of direct sales doing in this new landscape? Are they rising to the challenge, or withering under the pressure. The answer is that some companies are slowly adapting and tweaking their models, while others remain staunch in their ways:

Avon Products—Avon, the US cosmetics, perfume and toy seller, utilizes door to door sales, such as their well-known “Avon ladies.” Avon is a firm believer of direct selling, as they believe it builds a strong relationship-building, one-to-one bond with consumers that is free from whole sale, advertising and retail. Avon uses somewhere on the order of 87 million independent direct sellers in over 140 different countries.

Amway—Another of the big direct sales global companies, Amway specializes in health, beauty, and home care products. They have taken direct sales to a new level by incorporating social media campaigns into their strategy. While Amway still focuses on face-to-face interactions, social media is being used to follow-up the original meetings.

Natura—Natura is a Brazilian skin care, solar filters, and cosmetics manufacturer that has been using the direct sales model since 1974. Using a team of over 80,000 resellers spread across South America, Natura has become popular among women as a bikini waxing service.

Vorwerk—Ranked as the 4th largest direct selling company of all time, this vacuum cleaner company has been peddling household appliances for the better part of a century. Eschewing all e-commerce and even Facebook itself, President Dr. Friedrich Kroos believes it is the personal contact and emotional connection to the product—a kind of “lovemark mentality”–that has allowed Vorwerk to grow.

Herbalife—Herbalife is a global nutrition, weight-loss and skin care company that uses over 2 million independent contractors in 81 countries. Michael O. Johnson, Chairman and CEO of Herbalife, even wrote a 10 point manifesto outlining the merits of direct sales.

Only time will tell whether these companies can continue to grow their brands through direct sales alone. Several of them have implemented more complex multi-level marketing strategies that include network marketing, Velaro integration, and referral marketing. While some may say that direct sales that utilizes social media is a bit of a contradiction, many manufacturers have to begun to attempt to broach this paradox by using social media sites as secondary and complementary methods.

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A Quick Tax Overview – Direct Sales

Recently someone on my company’s Facebook group asked if she had to claim her direct sales business even if she did not make over $600 and as a result, did not get a tax form.  There was some thought that if you made less than that the government considers your business a hobby and then you do not need to claim it.

But… in reality, there are many reasons why you may not have received over $600 in overrides in your direct sales business.

  • Joined later in the year
  • Didn’t have a direct sales team

    taxes

    taxes (Photo credit: 401K)

  • Had to take time off due to illness

That said, you still need to claim this income on your taxes and the main reason is that you will also get tax deductions.  You can claim things such as a portion of your utility bills, car maintenance and gas as well as expenses around you home.  You need to be careful though that you are only claiming those which are legitimate.  If you are not sure, you can check out the website of your tax agency or give them a call.

IRS – Small Business

Revenue Canada – Business

If you have kept track of all your revenue and expenses throughout the year, the tax process should be relatively easy and painless.  If you have not, you will need to sit down a few evenings and get it sorted out. You can pay your tax accountant to do this for you but it will only help to increase your bill.

Sort the papers into those which brought in money and those which you had to pay out money.

Find the utility statements and organize them in some method that makes sense.

Know when you started your business if you only started it in the current tax year that you are working on.

Disclaimer:  I am not a tax accountant.  Please consultant with your tax accountant for the advice that is relevant to where you live and your situation.

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