So you’ve just started your own direct sales business, congratulations! Whether you’re selling jewelry, candles, clothing, kitchen products, skincare/beauty, handbags, or something else, what an exciting time! Perhaps you were drawn to the prospect of a flexible, self-defined work schedule, or being your own boss, or additional income, or the social and recognition aspects that tend to accompany direct sales businesses.
In most direct sales and network marketing businesses, leads will come through three different channels:
Parties and 1/1 Contacts
- This is the traditional party plan model. A hostess invites guests to her home, and you setup a display where guests can preview the catalog and products, while deciding to make a purchase.
- There are so many types of vendor events, big and small. Fairs, boutiques, expos, anywhere vendors setup tables to expand your reach to new leads.
- Online is not limited by geography, so you can literally promote anywhere you brand is allowed to sell.
Working within those different channels takes organization, persistence, and some business skill. Now that you are your own boss, here are some considerations for the various business functions you’ll want to incorporate into your routine. Whether you have one hour a week to dedicate to your business, or plan on making a full time future, make that time as value added as you possibly can.
You’re now the head of each department that you’d find at any traditional company.
Public Relations and Marketing Manager:
- This refers to all the work around promoting your business. This would include any work around business graphics, social media placement and content, planning any promotions or incentives, sourcing parties or events, advertising (if permitted), or other activities related to lead generation.
• The sales function includes turning the prospect you generated through your marketing activities into a customer. A big piece of sales is relationship building, planting seeds for future business, and then harvesting those seeds over time.
Customer Service/Relationship Manager:
• Once you’ve made the sale, you can then work to maintain that customer relationship, and service their future business needs. This may be through customer newsletters, regular service calls, or customer-only/VIP incentives or events.
• As your own boss, you will responsible for deciding how to track your business finances. This might include separate bank accounts, tracking your business expenses (save all your receipts and track your mileage) that may be able to be deducted from your year-end taxes, track your wholesale vs. retail purchases and sales for your personal use, display, or inventory, and then reporting your personal (and team, if applicable) commissions as taxable income. Best to work with a tax professional for guidance on how to setup and track the required financial details.
• This function includes the activities around handling returns, defects, missing items, managing your product inventory, and any other tactical actions such as setting up your display or managing your business supplies.
Human Resources Manager:
• If you begin sponsoring new consultants, you then take-on a Human Resources function. While each consultant is an independent business person, as the Sponsor/Mentor, you are the primary source for training, communication, and coaching. You may also begin to analyze your team’s financial performance, which may help target areas for future training or incentives.
Direct sales can be immensely empowering, as you can decide how big or small each of these functions will be. You can personally develop your own skills, learn new functions, develop your own organizational processes, share best practices with others, and realize success that comes truly from your own efforts. If you have limited time, I would suggest starting primarily with Marketing and Sales related activities, as this is what will kick start your sales, and then roll forward into all the other functions of your new business.
Do you have other questions? Contact me, or join us!