New To Direct Sales? The First Is The Worst

Presentations, websites, parties, interviews… in all these instances the old adage is fairly accurate: your first is usually the worst.

Looking back over nearly two decades of building my business online, I cringe when I think about the very first website I built (I designed that crazy logo in “paint” and coded the entire site in “notepad”), the very first show I ever did (one of the guests kept tapping her watch and staring at me, urging me to hurry up), and the early interviews I hosted (everything I said was scripted!). I certainly had a lot of learning to do over the years to improve my performance!

At the time, they weren’t bad, mind you. They were pretty good – especially for the technology of the era, and I certainly practiced my butt off to get them as good as possible in the time I had available.

But comparing that “old me” to the more experienced, confident, and knowledgeable me of today, I can honestly say it was the worst work I’ve ever done.

The same is probably true for you. 

In direct sales, we coach our new consultants to book in close, and get their first shows done before they’ve even been in the business for a month. One coach I know recommended her consultants get in nine shows in the first three weeks of business! The reason? Practice. Even if you have one or two “good” shows right out of the gate, a new consultant won’t have enough experience under her belt to handle some of the more unusual situations that can come up during the first few months of business.

Here are some tips to improve your performance fast:

1. Pick one thing and know it cold. Most direct sales companies have hundreds, if not thousands of products available for purchase. Pick one product, or one product collection, and become an expert on it. If you’re new, people will be impressed with what you know, and will understand that you couldn’t possibly have memorized everything in the catalog in your few short months in business.

2. Rehearse. If a show cancels or reschedules, use that time to practice your demonstration. Even if you’re practicing to an empty room, the more you rehears your demo, the better you’ll be when it’s time to present your wares in front of an audience. If you’re waiting in line at the bank or the grocery store, practice the one-liners that you say during your presentation to encourage bookings and recruiting. Even if you’re only saying them to yourself under your breath, it helps. Besides, if someone is brave enough to ask what you’re doing, you can tell them you’re rehearsing for a big presentation you’ve got coming up. That just may open a conversation that books a new party for you! If you think of your demonstration as a performance – with you as the lead actor – it just might fire you up for an Academy Award-winning performance!

3. Confess. You don’t have to know everything. No one but you expects you to know everything. Let your clients know that, while you don’t have all the answers, you’re committed to finding the answers for them. Then go out and find those answers!

4. Ask. Whether it’s the online training center, the book store, the library, your team leader, or a colleague, it’s smart to ask for help. No man is an island, and it’s foolish to pretend that you’re the sole author of your success. Ask for help when you need it (and show gratitude when you receive it), and you’ll be modeling the traits of a real leader to those you meet.

And what if your first few shows were really spectacular? Maybe it wasn’t beginner’s luck. Maybe you really are that good! If so, congratulations, and don’t rest on your laurels. It’s important to keep learning, keep growing, and keep practicing. New questions crop up every day, and it’s up to you, as a business owner, to be able to find the answers for your clients, hosts, and team members. Just think how much better you will be after twenty years of learning and growing!


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