Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Direct Sales: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Yesterday, I was driving home from school, and I was thinking about my blog post: 10 Reasons Why I Love Working in Direct Sales. I thought about how someone who was reading it might think that it was all too good to be true. I thought about how it might come off as "pushy" or just overly positive. Then, I started thinking about the bad aspects of our business, and because I'm all about openness and honesty 'round here in these blog parts, I decided that I would share some of them with you in today's follow up post.  So here you have it... Direct Sales: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, as told by a Tupperware Consultant of (nearly) 5 years. 

The Good

I pretty much covered the good great things about my job in direct sales yesterday.  But in case you are too lazy don't want to click to read the whole post, here's a brief recap. 
  • I LOVE being my own boss.
  • I LOVE working on my own schedule.
  • I LOVE that I can 'work' my business when I want to.
  • I LOVE having fun at work. 
  • I LOVE meeting new people.
  • I LOVE sharing our product and business opportunity. 
  • I LOVE being a part of other people's success.
  • I LOVE being recognized for a job well done.
  • I LOVE working with other Consultants. 
  • I LOVE making more Money!

The Bad

  • Sales is a lot of hard work. Shocker, I know... but to make money, you actually have to work.  When your business kit arrives at your door, there is no magic "poof" that automatically lines your pockets with money. Building a customer base, a party line up and a team are hard work.  Some people aren't willing to put the time and the effort into a direct sales business. Therefore, they make no money, and often end up with a bad taste about direct sales in their mouths. I've seen it happen over and over. 
  • It can be a slow process. Like I've said before, it has taken me almost 5 years to get to the point where I am really dedicated to my business. Remember reading that "Sales is a lot of hard work." bullet point right up there?  Yeah, I didn't do that, so things have moved kind of slow. The majority of the time, it takes a little bit of time before people start making serious money with a direct sales business.  Promotions take time too.  Sometimes, there is that person that opens up that kit box, hits the ground running and gets off to a phenomenal start. We love those kind of people, but chances are, it's going to take some time before the money comes rolling in. It takes patience, and some people just don't have that.  They think that they didn't make any money in the first month, so direct sales just isn't for them. 
  • It can be overwhelming. New catalog coming out? New sales specials? Host specials? Special challenges? Keeping track of personal sales, team sales? Encouraging your team to grow?  All of that, all at the same time can be overwhelming! It takes good organizational skills and time management.  I've not perfected it, yet, but I'm working on it. Many people do not succeed in this industry because they feel like they are swamped. I get it. 
  • There is competition. And there is a lot of it... Not only are you in competition with other direct sellers from your same company, but now a days, there are a ton of direct sales companies available.  People sell everything from kitchen products to sex toys, candles to self defense items, pet items to jeans... all through direct selling, party plan businesses. (cough:Tupperware was first: cough) People can't party all of the time... that's understandable. You have to find a group of people that love your product and party with those people. Then, you have to make yourself and your company stand out. 

The Ugly

  • Sometimes, people suck. I hate to burst any bubbles here, but sometimes, people just plain suck. Direct sales business rely on you dealing with a lot of people.  Not all of those people are going to do what they say they are.  They will cancel parties. They will not order when they say they are.  They might unfriend you on Facebook. You might alienate some people because they are afraid of the "big bad direct seller." It's sad, but it will probably happen. People who you thought were your friends might not really be your friends. 
  • Not everyone likes {insert your product here}. As much as direct sales consultants don't understand this, at the end of the day, there will be some people who just do not like your product. I face this from time to time. There seems to be a growing trend of people disowning plastic products and switching to glass.  While that's disappointing for me, that's their prerogative. Sell candles? There will be people that don't like them.  Sell food? Yep, even that, people will turn down. Such is life. 
  • Some people aren't social. I know right? Who doesn't like to get together with their friends to socialize? There are those people out there who look at you like a turd in a punch bowl* when you even mention the word party. They will throw every excuse in the book at you as to why they simply cannot have a party. When you run into those people, you just have to keep going. As much as we'd love to share our awesome products with them, they just aren't having it. They'd rather sit at home and play FarmVille or whatever the latest Facebook game craze is by themselves, eating cereal on the couch out of their Dollar Tree plastic crap, because they just aren't social. 
  • Disappointments are a certainty. You will have off months. You will have canceled parties. You will have people that sign up under you to sell that don't even put in one order. You will have disappointments, it is inevitable.  What you do with those disappointments, will define your business. It is easy to just say "Oh well, no one wants this stuff," and give up. I've been there.  I've thought about quitting.  But, when you take the disappointments in stride, and keep going, you will succeed. 
  • You have to step outside of your comfort zone. Everyone has one.  For me, it is walking up to complete strangers, and making phone calls.  You have to step outside of that comfort zone and make your business grow.  Your success is only predetermined by your effort. I have to keep telling myself this one over and over.  It's hard to do something (like make phone calls) that you don't like to do. Tupperware ladies that have been doing this for years, swear by making phone calls. They've built a business doing it. If you can't leave that happy, easy place, where everyone is comfortable, and do something a little edgy (if you can say that making a phone call is edgy) once in a while, then you might not do well at direct sales. 
So there you have it... Direct Sales is really not as bad as people make it out to be.  If you are with a company that is solid, and well respected, there will be people that will help you along the way. If something sounds too good to be true, it might be.  Do your research to find out what company you best fit with. I'd love for everyone to sell Tupperware, but I know other things work for other people.  As always, if you have questions, let me know! 

*My friend, Holly, used this expression the other day and I thought it was hilarious!  I promised her that I would work it into my next blog post and credit her. :) 

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