Running a direct sales business is harder than many people might think. After all, you need a quality product and the drive to network and spur on higher conversion rates. While it’s a great opportunity for self-starters, it requires a good amount of time, energy, and resources.
If you’re looking to get your start in direct sales, there are many moving parts to keep in mind. Whether you’re learning how to initiate your first marketing campaigns or you’re getting ready to source in-demand products, here’s what you need to know about direct selling and all of its components.
It all starts with your product selections.
Before you start reaching out to prospective customers, it would help if you actually had something to sell. However, you can’t just choose any old project on a whim and hope that it’ll sell out in minutes. In fact, you’re going to need to do a good amount of research before you get ahead of yourself. Market research is a good way to start. It’s a natural first step for any sales decisions and can help you nail down your target audience. Picture your ideal customer. What do they look like? How old are they? Where do they live? And, most importantly, why do they want the products you’re trying to sell? If you’re looking for someone interested in dog-friendly vacations or an individual who loves shopping at local, independent businesses, these can determine some of your merchandise choices.
When you’ve answered some of those questions, you can start to make more informed product decisions. For instance, say you want to target pet lovers and pet parents. Brands like PawTree offer direct sales options that help you cater to any pet lovers and their furry friends. PawTree direct sales offer a level of convenience that some other brands don’t. This is also something worth noting when you vet a particular brand. From pet supplements to leashes, there are plenty of options to consider.
Of course, you might not necessarily target pet owners. In fact, your target market might be a younger, more tech-savvy demographic. In that case, you may want to partner with a company that sells a smart photo manager with the best online photo storage on the market. It’s great for individuals that frequent social media, rely on their smartphone cameras, and want to document all of the important moments in their lives. In this instance, you’ll want to choose products with cloud connectivity, easy photo management, and enhanced sharing functions.
Develop a distribution network.
In the beginning, you’ll likely handle a good amount of your sales and shipping yourself. Unless you want to store a great deal of your merchandise in your home, you’ll need somewhere to place the overflow. That means you’ll end up Googling things like “storage units in Las Vegas” or “self-storage near me.” However, this won’t always be the case. In fact, as your direct selling business scales upwards, you’re going to want to invest some of your resources in a dedicated distribution network. This means you’ll have less of a hassle handling any shipments, tracking orders, and verifying deliveries. It’s a great way to spend more of your energy focused on growing your brand instead of dealing with daily operations.
When you’re trying to build a distribution network, you need to consider a blend of speed, efficiency, and value for the money you spend. While you’re likely going to pay higher rates for bulk shipping and larger orders, you need to consider the money saved by your ability to broker more deals, sell more products, and reach out to more potential clients. It’s a smarter way to navigate your business and can free up your resources considerably. If you have any existing industry contacts, it’s best to start there. Ask around to see if you have any friends or colleagues who use any particular distribution platforms. If that doesn’t work, you can always dig into some online research.
If you’re looking for a distributor online, you need to do some serious vetting before you sign any contracts or commit to a partnership. Start by checking out some of the brand’s reviews. This is the easiest way to get a snapshot of how well a certain brand performs and whether they meet consumer expectations. You can also check out different business listings, the brand’s website, and its social media platforms to get some proverbial glimpses behind the curtain. It’ll help you make a smarter decision for your brand.
Don’t market too aggressively.
A common pitfall of the direct sales industry is the overall marketing approach. Many salespeople take a “more is better” approach, which seldom benefits the bottom line. In fact, many customers hesitate to purchase if they feel like they’re actively sold to. It’s important that your marketing tells a compelling narrative instead of simply blaring sales opportunities and messaging. You want to establish a rapport with your customers, and overly aggressive marketing can alienate them. Since many direct sales lines rely on social media, it’s important to master your platforms of choice.
Find smarter, more organic ways to interact with your clients. Instead of looking at the sales process as a one-way street, consider it as a two-way road. Try and start a dialogue with your customers. Open avenues for discussion, feedback, and communication. It helps build trust more quickly and establishes you as a respected authority on your products. While this may take some time to learn, it can only benefit your business as you continue to grow. Don’t let the learning curve discourage you. Instead, view it as a stepping stone to your overall direct sales success. It’ll take time, but it’ll be worth it.
Succeeding in a direct sales role won’t happen overnight. It requires a degree of patience and a willingness to hustle. If this doesn’t seem too daunting, however, you might have found your ideal career path. Follow some best practices, and you’ll never know where your inner salesperson could take you.