How Direct Sales Reps Themselves Often Give the Industry a Bad Name and Why You Shouldn't Let Them
50-90% of direct sales consultants quit within their first year. If you regularly hop on any social media account, this likely doesn’t come as a big surprise. Most of us have experienced the following scenario: a friend announces their new venture with xyz company and excitedly starts blasting their timeline with their product and company info…for about 3-6 months. Then, suddenly, you no longer see or hear anything about xyz company again, and find out they are no longer with them. I can write a whole other blog post on why these individuals, which we tend to block because of their never-ending blasts, are the same ones that don’t make it long-term. I digress.
Most people unfairly jump to one conclusion after seeing others start and quit that first year - that direct sales doesn’t work. Another one bites the dust, so there must not be any real money or opportunity in it. Can we have a real moment here? That is ludacris, and I’m not talking about the rapper. To me, that is like saying that every coffee shop that has closed its doors did so because there is no demand for or money to be made in the coffee industry. What about realtors that don’t make it? Is that because the market is too saturated and the demands too high? Could it be because it is a career that requires a lot of self-discipline and motivation for success and not everyone is suited to that?
Why are we so quick to blame the direct sales industry and company and neglect the fact that anyone, for any reason, can join these companies, and quit, at their leisure. Is it not possible that some of those consultants who quit within their first 3-12 months did not want to put in the time, work and training involved when launching and marketing a new business? Perhaps they did not understand their specific company’s requirements. This also sidesteps the fact that many people initially join with no desire to ever sell. They simply want the starter kit and/or the discount for themselves. These individuals may announce it on Facebook or send out a few texts to see if there are any bites, but they themselves admit to not really wanting it for the income/business portion, so they do not pursue it as such.
From experience, I can tell you that there is a ton of new information and skills to be learned when you first get into direct sales. Most people, including myself, have little to no previous experience with marketing, selling, customer service or social media at the beginning. They are not complicated skills to learn, but they must be learned. No matter how awesome the company training may be, it is useless if someone is not motivated enough to schedule out time to listen to it, ask questions and apply. Not everyone wants to do the work to learn the new skills required to succeed in this business. For a more in-depth look at 3 of the most common reasons new consultants quit in their first year, check out one of my other blog posts on the topic.
Anyone that has ever worked with other people can attest to the fact that we all have different work ethics, internal motivations and values. It is no different in direct sales, except in this industry, there are NO entry requirements surrounding education, skill level and experience. The beauty of this is that anyone can enter into their own business venture with minimal start-up costs, regardless of race, age (assuming you are an adult) and background. The obvious setback to this is that many will eventually quit, for a variety of reasons. Easy in, easy out.
Some of the first to quit are those who were hoping for a get-rich quick scheme or falsely believed this would be a passive source of income. Those of us used to working the 9-5 and getting paid for our hours put in, not necessarily our outcomes or actual work itself, have to shift our perspectives and approach with direct sales. You get paid for everything you personally sell, and often, for the success of those you manage and lead to do the same. You earn money not for showing up, but for doing, for producing. This is highly motivating and encouraging for hard workers and goal oriented individuals, but can be hard to swallow for those hoping to sit at home and watch the money roll in.
This is a legitimate business and there most definitely is money to be made within it. However, I believe many join with false expectations and quit as a direct result. It is easier to blame a company (or comp plan or sponsor) than it is to admit personal failure or blame. You see this all the time in jobs outside of direct sales as well, with an employee quitting and blaming the boss or coworker or their pay. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with quitting a job that isn’t a good fit for you or changing your mind. Just make sure you own up to your part in it and be honest about why it did not work out.
I started this post with a dismaying stat and I will leave you with another equally telling one. Though the large majority of direct sellers quit well before, an estimated 95% of those who remain in network marketing 10 years or more become wealthy! Think about that the next time someone who gave it a try for 5 months tries to discredit the potential.