Direct Sales Success Steps (written November, 2009)

Every year thousands of men and women across America sign on with a direct selling firm – Tupperware, Amway or a cosmetic company – hoping to make money enough for new draperies, a new davenport or some new clothes. They sell a little merchandise to a few relatives and close friends. Then they are through. They quit before they give themselves a chance to learn the basics of success in sales. “I am simply not a born salesperson,” they often say.

No one is born a salesperson any more than one is born a doctor or a lawyer. Sales is a profession. To be successful in any profession one must learn not only the basic techniques. Success in sales makes use of all the abilities one is born with plus all those acquired through education and experience.

If you are looking for a career opportunity or “extra income” to help with the family budget, direct selling offers you dream fulfilling possibilities. However you must give yourself time to learn the techniques of sales. Ask yourself, how long does a doctor need to study? How long does a lawyer need to study?

What is direct selling? Direct selling is marketing a product to the consumer with no middleman involved. Most reliable firms are members of the National Association of Direct Selling Companies. They bring to the public fine products that are modestly priced in order to insure mass consumption.

Most direct selling companies furnish their representatives with a starter kit and essential supplies below cost prices. In many instances the investment is under $100.

I went into direct sales to earn a better income. I chose a diverse product line and marketed them to small groups of women in the home. I provided a service for women who wanted to buy products for the home and learn to sell to others.

My sales background proved beneficial. My clients were interested and eager to learn. I worked every day, as I would at any job, and put in long hours. I read books on how to sell to people. I devoured inspirational and motivational books. My income grew steadily. Soon I was earning more money than ever. I was excited about my new “freedom to earn” and I began to share this opportunity with others – recruiting and training sales organization.

There is an old adage which says, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” I taught my trainees how to fish. Many of them were able to change their lives for the better. They took their families on nice vacations. They saved money for college educations. They redecorated their homes, bought new furniture. One highly successful saleslady built a new home.

The rewards of direct selling are many – You can be your own boss. You can set your own hours. You can own your own business with little or no investment. You can pay yourself more than any boss would ever pay. You can give yourself regular raises as your business grows.

It is only fair to tell you that there are failures too. There are people who will not work for themselves. When working for a boss, they rise early, are well-groomed and get to the office on time. However when they are their own boss, they are still in a bathrobe, drinking one more cup of coffee at 11:00 A.M. If you can be your own boss and discipline yourself to do what has to be done when it has to be done, direct selling offers a most unusual fantastic earning opportunity.

Here are some steps that will assure your success.

#1) Be a Goal Setter. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to save for college educations for your children? A new home? You can have whatever you want, but you must want it enough to do the things that have to be done to get it. Whatever your goal, write it down and set a target date for reaching it. Divide the time period into blocks of achievement that are reachable. Work consistently toward accomplishing each day, each week, each month what you set out to do. Goal setting is a must in every area of life. Little is accomplished without definite goals.

#2) Be a List Maker. Each evening, list all the things you want to get done the following day. That gives you an organized approach to each day. As each task is finished, mark it off your list. It is amazing how much gets done with a “things-to-do” list. Also have a notebook listing appointments, potential clients, repeat clients and referrals, and keep it with you at all times. You will be adding to it constantly.

#3) Be Enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is the high-octane “fuel” that salespeople run on. Enthusiasm generates its own energy. Energy and good health are synonymous with busy, happy people – people who are achieving.

#4) Recognize the Magic Word in Sales is “Ask.” In direct sales we don’t have to wait for business to come to us. We create our own business by asking for it. Ask for appointments then you can do business. Ask for business then you will close sales.  Ask for referrals then you always have a full list of potential clients. Be quiet, yet firmly aggressive.

#5) Expect No’s. Realize that no’s are not personal. In sales, as perhaps nowhere else, the law of averages works. Every no gets you closer to a yes. Keep track of your ratio. It will help improve your techniques. Are you getting ten no’s to one yes? Is your ratio five to one? Remember the yes’s are your income. Also remember that “no” does not necessarily mean “no.” Often a “no” is simply a stall for more time to think. It may be a request for more information about your product or your service. What your client is actually buying is assurance. Assure them by your helpful attitude and your complete honesty, that you want what is best for them. They will most likely respect you and do business with you.

#6) Schedule Time Wisely. A schedule is the roadmap by which salespeople travel. It takes the frustration out of the day. It assures that the necessary things get done and get done on time. Plan your work then work your plan.

#7) Be Positive in your Attitude. Success in sales, as in all areas of life is 90 percent attitude and 10 percent aptitude. All of us must work at developing habits of constructive thinking. I am proud to be a salesperson. Sales make the wheels of our economy turn. Bernard Baruch, advisor to several presidents, is quoted as saying, “If every salesperson sat down and took no orders for twenty-four hours, it would bankrupt our country!” Every company that manufactures any kind of product depends, upon salespeople to move that product. Without salespeople business would be paralyzed.

#8) Have an Office Area. Most direct salespeople work from their own homes, but it is essential to have a place where you can work in an organized and efficient manner. An office plus a strict working schedule gives you dignity. Both are absolutely essential for efficient operation and accurate record keeping, so important to the success of any business.

#9) Be Involved. Most sales organization offer contests to stimulate production. Include winning contests as part of your business goals. Contests make your business fun as well as adding considerable dollar value to your income. One of my grandfather’s clocks was earned as a contest prize.

#10) Learn to Handle Money Intelligently. A regular nine-to-five job usually means a paycheck at the end of the second week. Direct sales “reps” handle money constantly. Direct sales is instant income and constant income. Therefore it is absolutely necessary to become an efficient money manager.

I teach people to deposit every penny collected from clients into a checking account set up especially for its business. Since bank statements show an exact record of all monies collected and business expenses can be verified by cancelled checks, record keeping becomes simple and accurate. Everything except a few “petty cash” transactions can be directly taken from bank statements. Money saved regularly and put at interest soon develops a second income in addition to earned income. A long-term goal, which is realistic in direct sales, is to be able to live in retirement off the interest earned on savings.

Follow these success steps and you will succeed in Direct Sales!

The author of this article is Larry Costello, President of All-American Print & Mail, 2200 Wilson Blvd #102-57, Arlington, VA 22201.