Looking to start or grow a profitable direct selling business? Discover the five traits you’ll need to succeed.
If the words ‘direct selling’ only bring to mind images of Tupperware parties or Avon ladies then you’re in for a big surprise. Because today, direct selling is a multi-million pound industry that covers a mind-boggling range of covetable products and brand names.
And for ambitious mums looking to start a business they can manage from home, grow on their own terms and get support if they need it, direct selling is an increasingly popular option.
What makes a successful direct seller?
Today there are now an estimated 91 million direct sellers worldwide enjoying the flexibility, sociability and healthy work-life balance that the career choice offers them.
But while millions may attempt direct selling, not everyone makes millions from it. So what separates a successful direct seller from a struggling sales woman? And how can you learn the techniques and secrets of the women (and men) who build impressive direct sales businesses?
Paula Gorry from Stampin’ Up! UK identifies five essential traits that every successful direct seller has, and explains how you can use them in your own business.
The five essential traits of a successful direct seller
If you’re considering becoming a direct seller (or already one but would like to grow your business), what are the five traits or qualities you need to make it a success?
1) Passion for your product
Successful direct sellers are always passionate about their product and will use that passion as a source of motivation. There are plenty of direct sale products to choose from – such as cosmetics, cleaning products, nutritional products, homewares, paper craft supplies and more.
With this breadth of choice, it’s important to carefully select the type of product you want to sell. Being enthusiastic about your product will ease the selling process, and make it much more fun to continue expanding the business.
The independence that is synonymous with direct selling also means you have to be self-motivated – something that comes naturally if you’re selling a product you believe in.
2) A knack for networking
Social interaction is very important in direct selling. In a typical direct selling environment sales are conducted face to face with products demonstrated to an individual or a group.
This helps to explain why it’s a great way to meet new people. Whether you are greeting mums on the school run or hosting a party for friends, both are great examples of networking in order to build your customer base. However, dynamic direct sellers also use digital channels to grow their network and drive sales.
Online platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook will help you to share your product to a wider audience anytime, anywhere. The key is successfully striking a balance between classic face-to-face interaction and digital communication.
3) Great customer engagement
Once you’ve picked a product and established a customer network, you need to think about how you are going to engage your customers and keep them coming back for more.
A successful direct seller will go that extra mile by thinking outside the box. For example, you may host product parties but what about themed parties, birthday parties or hen parties?
While traditional methods of customer engagement are essential, we now live in an age of multichannel communication. Therefore a holistic approach to keeping customers engaged is required. Keep up regular communications via social media channels as well as regular email bulletins.
Customer care should always remain high on your priority list of engagement strategies. The better you treat your customers, the more likely they will keep coming back. This is a timeless piece of advice among direct selling circles – with good reason.
4) A talent for time management
As a business model, direct selling is flexible. Sellers are able to expand their business as much or as little as they want, enabling them to balance their work with other commitments such as family life.
However, what you get out of a direct selling business depends on how much you’re prepared to put in. It is important to strategically manage your use of time and create a routine that works for you. Many direct sellers find that a business plan, with key goals and milestones is an effective way of staying on track.
5) A love of media
Another great way of getting your product out there is by developing a media profile. As part of this process, it is essential to target your messages to the right audience.
In other words, deliver content along media channels that are most likely to reach your prospective buyers. This could include actively engaging in popular business or mumpreneur forums with advice or tips, or creating a knowledge-sharing blog about your direct selling business.
Meanwhile, interviews with the local press on subjects such as how you have transformed your hobby into a successful business venture are a great way of raising your profile in the local community.
Use these five traits to succeed
So if you’re toying with the idea of starting a direct selling business, or want to grow an existing business, check how many of these traits or qualities you have.
Maybe you need to re-consider your choice of product, or invest in training to increase your skills in a particular area. With the right preparation and attitude, direct selling offers the flexibility and opportunity many mums are looking for in a family-friendly career.
Paula Gorry is the UK Business Development Manager for Stampin’ Up! UK, a leading craft company which operates via a network of direct sellers.Paula Gorry