Direct Selling For Dummies
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Succeeding in direct sales calls for a certain combination of personality traits and skills. Despite their apparent differences, the same personality traits and skills come in handy with all three of the business models:

  • Resilience and persistence

  • Strong work ethic and discipline

  • Ability to accept rejection and work outside your comfort zone

  • Enthusiasm

Beyond those generally applicable traits, you'll find that possessing or cultivating many other skills and talents will be of immense help to you in direct sales.

Belief in the product

It is imperative that you authentically and completely believe in the product you represent. Without that, your skills will fail to convince others, and the experience will be so lacking in satisfaction that it will all feel like hard work.

Vision and goals

You need a clear and specific vision of what you want to achieve with your business. And you need to define, in writing, your income goals, production goals, progress up the company ranks, and what having this business will do for your life and how it will feel. You'll hear people refer to this as your why. Having this strong why will help you overcome the challenges you will inevitably encounter.

Superior communication skills

If you're naturally a great communicator, you're in luck. But even if you're not, if you're determined, it is possible to significantly improve your communication skills and reap the benefits in your life and in your business. This includes becoming a better listener who asks questions to gain clearer understanding; a better connector, because people do business with those they know, like, and trust; and presenter, because being able to demonstrate your products or explain your opportunity with confidence is essential.


Rome wasn't built in a day and regardless of the model you choose, gaining mastery and building your business so that it provides a steady, reliable income take time. In Network Marketing, people often give up too soon, because their small initial checks make them feel unsuccessful. In Party Plan and Hybrid, a lack of patience often leads to frustration because achieving a rhythm of parties booked and getting better at consistently running them will take time, as well. People do get better at the activities of their businesses, but there is no substitute for practice — and practice takes time.

Patience is also helpful in your interactions with customers and prospects. Statistically speaking, it takes seven exposures before someone makes a buying decision. Learning to feel calm during this process can be a great help.

The yes you're looking for can feel like it takes a long, long time. The more you practice some detachment to the outcome and just stay the course and maintain patience, the more enjoyable your business will be.

Interpersonal skills

You should have a desire to build relationships with others, including your new contacts, party guests, hosts, team members, and recruit leads. The better you are at working with others and building relationships, the farther you'll go in any business, and the better results you'll experience.

When you put relationships first, business follows naturally — sometimes directly, and sometimes through referrals.

Presentation skills

In Party Plan and Hybrid, you'll do not only product presentations, but also presentations designed to encourage others to become party hosts and team members.

The key to great presentations is to be brief. The primary reason people attend an in-person home party is to socialize with their friends — shopping while they do it is an added bonus.

And though it is true that the Network Marketing model relies on tools to make these presentations, as you build a team you'll be called on more to present to groups. You'll also present over the phone to your team member's prospects. Developing solid presentation skills is valuable in that model, too.

Ability to recognize buying cues

To succeed, it helps greatly if you're able to recognize small, tell-tale signs that someone is interested in exploring opportunities to purchase, join your team, or host a party. Often, people won't directly ask for more information on hosting or joining the business. Instead, they may simply lean in to listen intently as you mention a benefit. Or they may ask you about how much time you spend on your business or how much money can be earned. Sometimes, the clue is as subtle as offering to help you collect your demonstration products and put them in your car, connect with you on social media, or even just sit next to you at a luncheon.

In general, when someone gives you a conversation opener, they are exhibiting interest. And, as tempting as it is to let all your enthusiasm show, you'll find that your best results occur when you give small pieces of information in an upbeat manner and avoid overwhelming them.

Customer care

More of a scheduled habit than a skill, this is crucial, nonetheless. Each month, or at least every other month, you should contact your customers and ask how you can serve them. What you're also doing is reading their temperature. Start these conversations by asking how they're enjoying the products they purchased. In following months, offer them products they may be interested in for themselves or for upcoming holidays. At least twice a year, offer them the opportunity to earn free or discounted products by hosting a fun party for their friends.

These periodic conversations keep you connected to your customers and provide them the opportunity to share their product testimonials with you, express interest in your income opportunity, or provide you referrals.

Technological aptitude

You don't need to be a computer geek, but companies are turning to technological solutions more and more. Currently that means e-commerce, mobile phone apps, and leveraging social media at the corporate level — and encouraging their independent representatives to do the same. They're using apps, running webinars, and conducting online conferences. Some companies (most often in Hybrid and Network Marketing) even boast that you can "work your business from your phone." To keep up, you're going to need to plug in and connect online.

Commitment to personal development

Efforts to build your vision, become a better communicator, and develop a more patient personality all fall under personal development. An essential part of your job in direct sales is to improve your attitude, resilience, interpersonal skills, and leadership skills.

You've got to realize that, although the time spent developing these skills may not appear to have an immediate or direct impact on your business, it makes a significant difference in your experience and your results. Reading books, listening to motivational audio, and seeking out additional training will all help with your personal development.

Surrounding yourself with people you want to be like and observing them will improve your skills. Each day is new, regardless of what you did or didn't do yesterday, and you get to start fresh.

Be persistent, be patient, help others, keep an open mind, develop a positive attitude, and you will go far!

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