More people are turning to direct selling as an attractive career option. Indeed there are now 91 million direct sellers worldwide. A key pull is the flexibility direct selling brings, enabling a healthy work/life balance. In addition, the sociable nature of the industry and the chance to discuss products that they are truly passionate about are other factors that are drawing people to this thriving industry.
Paula Gorry, UK Business Development Manager, Stampin’ Up! UK – a leading craft company which operates via a network of direct sellers – explores the traits needed to make the most of the opportunities available in this industry.
1: Product passion
A successful direct seller will always be passionate about their product and will use that passion as a source of motivation. There are a range of products available within the industry including cosmetics, cleaning products, nutritional products, homewares and paper craft supplies to name a few.
With this breadth of choice, it’s important to carefully select the type of product you wish to sell. Being enthusiastic about your product will ease the selling process – making it much more fun to continue expanding the business. The independence that is synonymous with direct selling means you have to be self-motivated and this should follow naturally if you are selling a product you believe in.
2: A knack for networking!
Social interaction is very important in direct selling. In a typical direct selling environment sales are conducted face to face with products demonstrated to an individual or a group. This helps to explain why it’s a great way to meet new people.
Party plan at home – by Shutterstock
Whether you are greeting mums on the school run or hosting a party for friends, both are great examples of networking in order to build your customer base. However, the dynamic direct seller will also utilise digital channels to grow their network and drive sales.
Online platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook will help you to share your product to a wider audience anytime, anywhere. The key is successfully striking a balance between classic face-to-face interaction and digital communication.
3: Crazy about customer engagement
Once you’ve picked a product and established a customer network, you need to think about how you are going to engage your customers and keep them coming back for more. A successful direct seller will go that extra mile by thinking outside the box. For example, you may host product parties but what about themed parties, birthday parties or hen parties?
While traditional methods of customer engagement are essential, we now live in an age of multichannel communication. Therefore a holistic approach to keeping customers engaged is required. Keep up regular communications via social media channels as well as regular email bulletins.
Customer care should always remain high on the priority list of engagement strategies. The better you treat your customers the more likely they will keep coming back. This is a timeless piece of advice among direct selling circles and with good reason too.
4. Talented at time management
As a business model, direct selling is flexible Sellers are able to expand their business as much or as little as they want, enabling them to balance their work with other commitments such as family life. However, what you get out of a direct selling business depends on how much you’re prepared to put in.
It is important to strategically manage your use of time and create a routine that works for you. Many direct sellers find that a business plan, with key goals and milestones is an effective way of staying on track.
If this is something you’re struggling with, consider taking a time management course. These courses will help you understand how to eliminate procrastination and time-wasting habits from your routine, and give you useful tips on how to take control of your working day. There are companies, such as Activia Training, who will even help you build a personal action plan at the end of your training session, making it easier for you to put your new skills to use.
5. Mad about the media
Another great way of getting your product out there is by developing a media profile. As part of this process, it is essential to target your messages to the right audience. In other words, deliver content along media channels that are most likely to reach your prospective buyers. This could include actively engaging in popular business or mumpreneur forums with advice or tips, or creating a knowledge-sharing blog about your direct selling business.
Meanwhile, interviews with the local press on subjects such as how you have transformed your hobby into a successful business venture are a great way of raising your profile in the local community.