5 Things To Look For When Choosing A Direct Sales Company

So, you have decided to turn your dream of working from home and making a full-time income a reality. The thought of being your own boss and operating around your schedule and family is exciting. Even more exciting is the possibility of earning more than you do now while doing something you are genuinely passionate about!

It is true that direct sales offers a rare opportunity of unlimited income potential to those with the drive and motivation to pursue it as a real business for the long haul - that's right, no get-rich-quick speech here. However, many people jump into the first company they come across, or are told about, without ever actually evaluating the weight of this decision.

Researching your options is a very important step because not all direct selling companies are created equally. I firmly believe that some better position individual sellers for success than others. If you, or someone you know, are looking to join a direct sales company, here are the top five things you want to strongly evaluate and consider first:

1. LONGEVITY AND REPUTABILITY OF COMPANY

Has this company been around for a while and proven they can sustain growth? Do they have a long life span ahead, with the ability to adapt to future changes in their target market, workforce and economy? While there is no perfect formula for establishing how many years it takes to offer credibility or how well a company can manage unexpected difficulties, you can learn much from looking into their history.

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How long have they been established? This is not to say there will not be new, up-and-coming businesses that will prove to be reputable and successful over time. However, much the same, you also can not guarantee that new companies will stand the test of time. You want to look for a company that has the years and experience behind them, who have weathered some storms and still came out on top. If you are going all in with a new business venture, don't you want the security that comes from knowing they are there to stay? 

Are they reputable? Look for companies affiliated with the Direct Selling Association (DSA), as well as good ratings with Better Business Bureau (BBB). Do your research and ask those currently within the company what their experiences have been, including both the pros and cons. If a company requires you to purchase a lot of inventory regularly as a distributor, or mandates you have others under you in order to get paid, those are red flags. The quality of the products being offered, as well as claims made about those products, are also good indicators of the company's focus and intentions. 

Will the products being sold continue to be in demand in future years? While you may fall head over heels for a super trendy, unique product, don't forget about the importance of sustainability! Certain items will be around, and used, forever (think jewelry, clothing, food, home decor, skincare, etc.) while others will come and go as fast as you can say frosted tips. 

2. CONSUMABILITY OF PRODUCTS

Once you have established that you are working with products that people will want to continue to purchase for years to come, it is crucial to find a company whose products are consumable. This means that the items are used up relatively quickly, thus creating a need for and encouraging customer re-orders.

Think about it…if you sell an item which lasts for several months or is typically only purchased once per year, you will be forced to constantly find new customers and networks to sell your product to in order to maintain a profit. When you have a product that people love and regularly run out of, you will have a more steady flow of income as your regular base of customers keep coming back. Would you rather sell high-return boutique furniture, for example, that people only replace every several years or high quality but smaller ticket items, such as oils, that run out after a few weeks or months?

If you join a company whose products are not highly consumable, you will have to work that much harder to regularly find new customers in order to generate a profit versus working with a company whose products naturally encourage regular customer re-orders.

3. PROFITABILITY OF COMPENSATION PLAN

This seems like a no-brainer, right? However, not everyone thinks to review a company's compensation structure beforehand. This is very important as you want to ensure you will be able to reach whatever personal financial goals you have for yourself within this industry. You should have a general idea of what you want to eventually make in this career and then look at each company's commission plan to see if you are able/willing to do what they require to achieve that.

Keep in mind there is a big difference between wanting to make an extra $1,000 per month, which can be done solely on your own products sales, and desiring to make $20,000 per month, which for many would involve your sales + your team’s sales. Knowing what you want to achieve with direct sales, and how you do that, is everything, so take a look at how you will get paid. Any reputable direct selling company will also have an income disclosure statement available providing you with actual numbers on what their distributors are making. 

Additionally, don't be afraid to ask your potential sponsor what they or others in their own team are doing. Your sponsor doesn't have to be in the top tier of the compensation plan and making a full time income themselves yet, but it is a good sign when they personally know others in their own group who are, and who you can contact if you need to.

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4. ENJOYMENT AND EXCITEMENT OVER PRODUCTS

This is typically the main reason people get started with a direct sales company, and for good reason. If you plan on investing money, time and energy into creating a business around these products, then it is vital that you personally use and enjoy them! There is a quote that resonates with most direct sellers, myself included, that says "I don't love it because I sell it, I sell it because I love it."

When you genuinely believe in and are passionate about a product and company, it will radiate through you. You shouldn't have to force yourself to talk about it or share it with others - it should be as natural as discussing a really great movie or book you just finished. When you start as a consumer of your product first, then you are better positioned to understand and relate to them as a distributor.

I would even go a step further and stress the importance of shared values between yourself and the company you are looking to join. What is their mission statement and vision? Do they give back to their community and equally take care of their employees and customers? Focus on those things that most matter to you individually and see where that company stands on them. 

5. TRAINING AND RESOURCES AVAILABLE 

Don't underestimate how vital training is when you first begin with a direct sales company. The vast majority of direct sellers enter this industry with very little to no sales experience or background. There is much to learn about each individual company and how they run, and no one is better suited to know how to effectively market and grow your business than those who created it. As such, companies geared for success will offer extensive trainings, tools and resources to their reps.

While your sponsor is a great place to start for help, they are not responsible for your daily business operations - only you are. So, it is extremely important that you have access to resources and information that will teach you as you go, and offer suggestions for making the most out of your opportunity. You can inquire about training and support available on the company's website, as well as asking those distributors already with the company. 

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Choosing which company you join as you begin your direct selling business is the most important decision you will make initially, and it determines much of your experience thereafter. I hope this post has helped provide a solid foundation for that decision. I also offer a free checklist which provides a quick and easy way to evaluate different direct sales companies. You can get that by going here.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Jamie Hallman is an Independent Scentsy Consultant. She enjoys helping men and women start and maintain their own home-based businesses in the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Germany, Ireland, UK, France, Austria, Spain and the Netherlands. For information about how to start your own home business as well as to learn about our compensation plan please go here.

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