The Top 3 Reasons Why New Direct Sales Consultants Quit In Their First Year
If you have read my blog post on how direct sellers themselves can often give the industry a bad name, then you know that 50-90% of direct sellers quit within their first year. As a direct sales consultant, and a sponsor of team members myself, I have had the opportunity to personally witness the beginning and ending of different individuals’ careers in this industry.
The individual reasons for quitting vary slightly, but they all tend to fall within 3 broader categories. If you sponsor team members or know someone who is new to direct sales, please do them a favor and pass this post along to them to help avoid the high drop-out rates mentioned earlier. Here are the 3 most common pitfalls that new consultants fall into within that first critical year:
This is #1 for a reason! We all have similar fears when we begin: fear of failure, fear of what people will think, fear of being rejected, etc. In fact, it is the most qualified individuals for this industry that will never even consider it because of fear. The irony is that these fears never really fade away until you move forward through them, which can be hard initially.
It's amazing how much less power fear has over you once you face it head-on and come out the other side. That is when you begin to learn that the fear and worry over the actual thing itself was always greater than the reality of it happening. The things that made me tremble in my first 3 months as a consultant are now common activities for me that I don't think twice about (such as customer follow-up, social media posts, videos and more). Someone once taught me to play the “what if” game. This involves imagining the worst-case scenario for the things you are worried about. One example could be what if all of my friends laugh at me and do not take me seriously? You would play through all the possible scenarios in your head and most times you realize there is nothing that debilitating that can really come from most of our fears.
If fear is causing you to hold back from an opportunity, or to stall in your current goals, then I would argue that you are at a pivotal point. You WILL be misunderstood by some, you WILL make mistakes and you WILL have disappointments. Let's be honest - this is true no matter what position you hold or what new avenue you take in life. Anything worth pursuing often creates initial fear and discomfort...but it is short lived when you push through it. How many things do you regret not doing in the past because of fear? Don't let this be one of them.
2) UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
Many people have a similar dream in their head when they join a new direct sales company: as soon as they announce to the world they are now selling _______, the orders will start pouring in and they don't really have to do much else. No one gets paid thousands of dollars per month* simply by working 1 hour a week and handing out some catalogs. No one. This is a small business and requires that you learn and practice new skills such as developing relationships, marketing and finding ways to connect your products to those who need it.
As with most companies, you will tend to invest more time upfront, within that first year or two, while you are learning the business and building a customer base. There is much to learn, but it can be learned and it can also be done at your own pace. There is money to be made, but it is typically proportionate to the time and energy invested into your business, and treating it as such. I always advise my new team members to create a work schedule for their business, just as they would in their regular full-time careers. No matter if you have 5 hours or 50 hours to devote each week, it is crucial to schedule out and honor that time as well as remain consistent. It is a beautiful thing to have a career that allows you to choose when you work, but don’t forget the important key here: if you don’t work, you don’t get paid.
You will be required to work and work hard. You alone are responsible for growing your network of customers and team members. This requires substantially more work than simply posting something on Facebook or forcing your sister to host one party for you. It is a process that demands perseverance and dedication, as well as creating brand new networks of people who are now strangers to you. As I always say, it is not complicated and can even be lots of fun, but it is work.
3) IGNORING ADVICE AND TRAINING
Any reputable direct sales company will have a solid training program for their new consultants. These trainings and systems are there for a reason. No one is as invested in your success as your own company. Assuming you are working with a reputable and seasoned company (see my blog post on the top 5 things to look for in a direct sales company), they should regularly compile and revise their trainings based on what is working for those successful in the company, as well as changing trends.
Don't be "that" person who thinks they know better at 2 months in than those currently making 6 figures* in the same business. There will be things you are asked to step into that will likely push you out of your comfort zone, or that you don't feel like doing. This does not change the fact that it works, and still needs to be done. I provide all of my team members with a 10-step system I created on how to be successful in this career. It includes tried-and-true methods used by countless others with many more years of experience in this industry. I can not tell you how many people I see that come through, don’t watch a single training or follow any of the steps recommended, then quit stating that it just didn’t work for them. Insert head thunk here.
There you have it. The main reasons why this industry experiences the attrition it does. Many of those on the outside think it simply must not work, or worst, be a scam of sorts. However, those of us who are successfully running our direct sales businesses know the simple truth. It takes a lot of time, discipline, consistency and determination to be successful in this industry. Not everyone is ready for that. If you want to endure that first year, make sure you are prepared to tackle your fears, set realistic expectations and heed advice.
*can not guarantee any specific income. Please see each company’s Income disclosure statement for more info.