Here’s the cold, hard truth about direct sales – anybody can do it, but not everyone will, and not everyone should. If you’re in the business, here are four reasons you may be failing at the very career you’re trying to create for yourself – and how to fix it fast.
1. A career in direct sales takes time – anyone who tries to sell you on overnight profits and get-rich-quick dreams is blowing smoke where the sun don’t shine. The truth is that you need to give yourself a minimum of 6 months of actively working your business to create stability.
Most consultants won’t stick beyond the first three months, which is, ironically, about as long as most companies offer incentives for new consultants. Real success comes after you’ve got systems and support structures in place to to make your business sustainable. That comes with practice, and practice takes time. The most successful consultants and leaders are those that stick with the industry for more than three years. Are you willing to give yourself the time you need to see true success, or are you in it for a quick buck? Your answer will determine your outlook.
2. It’s called ‘direct sales’ for a reason. There is no such thing as a product that sells itself. I’ve never, in all my days, seen a product leap off a display and into my purse, pull out my credit card, take down all the data, sign my order form, and place itself into my shopping bag for the trip home.
You need to learn some basic sales and marketing skills. There is a sales component to this business, and to pretend otherwise is like sticking your head in the sand during a hurricane. Many companies provide training from a company perspective, but that will only take you so far. You need sales training from an external perspective to have a balanced view about the products and services your offering. Your company is in business to sell stuff and make a profit. They are going to do only as much as necessary to make you a passable consultant. If you want to be successful, you need to be more than passable.
Jeffrey Gitomer said to think of your clients like your spouse. “Do you want your spouse to be satisfied or loyal?” he says. Do you want your clients to be satisfied or loyal? Passable might get you satisfied customers. Then again, it might not.
3. The most successful consultants invest in their personal and professional development. There’s only so much a company can do to help you learn the skills you need to be one of the top performers in your company. Ask any of the multi-million dollar leaders in your company and they’ll tell you that they had to invest in their own success – training, conferences, books, seminars, etc. It’s like continuing education in any other industry. Why would you join a direct selling company and think you’d never have to learn another thing as long as you lived? From social media to sales conversion strategies, there is always something to be learning to improve your craft.
4. Direct Selling requires a financial investment. Beyond your initial starter kit (which you might have earned free), there are ongoing expenses for any business. From postage stamps and office supplies to travel and product replenishment – there is always something to invest in (even if it’s just yourself, see reason number 3). If you’re not willing to set (and stick to) a budget or financial plan for your business, you are out of business before you even begin. Your budget doesn’t need to be huge. You just need to have one and learn to work with it. Set aside a portion of your income for taxes, marketing, and other recurring expenses from the onset. Then you won’t be caught off guard when those expenses come up.
Building any business takes resources. Time, energy, focus, and often times money are the tools that lay the foundation upon which you build success. Get clear on your goals, get clear on the truth about your business, then build success on your own terms.