Direct Selling Success Tips

By: Amy M. Robinson

Improve your association’s sales efforts with advice from selling experts.

Even in a down economy, direct sellers (like Mary Kay or Pampered Chef representatives) have to get out there every day to make the sale. Here's some of  how they find success.

Product knowledge. Direct sellers are micro-entrepreneurs who rarely have professional sales training but who often become experts at marketing their products because they are intimately familiar with them.

Personalized service. Today's consumers crave personal attention. Customizing every sales presentation to the unique needs of each buyer isn't possible with mass marketing, but it is the cornerstone of direct selling.

Motivation pays. Because they have no brick-and-mortar locations, direct sellers must find their customers, an effort that requires diligence and a thick skin—after all, not everyone approached will be immediately interested.  Constant pressure is never the answer and could turn an opportunity to build a relationship into an entry on the do-not-call list.

Relationships matter. It's helpful to think of contact with each potential customer as a process of relationship building instead of a "sale" or "no sale." By understanding their needs, respecting their current situation (and their space!), and being ready to help them when their needs change, people who may not be interested today may become loyal customers in the future.

Amy M. Robinson is vice president, communications and media relations, for the Direct Selling Association in Washington, DC. Email: [email protected]