I once met a doctor who badly wanted to sell a particular product. He had done a lot of research to find a supplement that would help the brains of people with a particular disease and finally, after scouring the medical world, he had found it. But there was a problem.
It was sold through direct sales, also known as multi-level marketing, and this doctor, like so many people, hated direct sales.
This was such an obstacle that the doctor almost didn’t offer the product to his patients. He almost let this chance to help them go by simply because of the sales method.
Why was this such an obstacle?
Why Do People Hate Direct Sales So Much?
This is an unscientific assessment, but as far as I can tell from observation, there are two reasons.
- Sometimes people who sell direct sales products are inexperienced salespeople and they are come off as aggressive. They don’t understand yet that selling is a matter of finding people who want what you have, not convincing people who don’t want it to buy it.
- Some direct sales products are kind of … absurd. I’m not going to single anything out, but I’ve been the target of direct sales people trying to sell what we used to refer to as “snake oil”. One product essentially claimed that it was vital to human health even though none of the things it “cured” had any symptoms and the consumer would have no evidence that it was doing anything.
All of this has made me very nervous, but direct sales has some interesting advantages.
Good Direct Sales Companies Offer a Lot of Education
Education is a critical part of self-sufficiency. It costs more than most people can afford to reinvent the wheel and experiment until they figure out how to make a living. A good direct sales company teaches you how to be a salesperson and, even better, they utilize the relationships between recruiter and recruited to offer mentoring.
In other words, your friend who signed you up is the same person who helps you learn to do this for yourself and the community of consultants support each other.
I admit that some companies are doing this badly or perhaps some people aren’t taking advantage of the educational resources available to them. Nonetheless, the opportunity to learn a marketable skill should not be sneezed at.
Serious Sellers Can Make a Living for Themselves
I learned something interesting after I signed up. People who approach direct sales seriously and who choose their product carefully can make a living. If it’s a good product and people want it then the seller isn’t that much different than any other salesperson except that they run their own show. They’re not working for anyone but themselves.
I take this seriously. Many smart people dislike or are not suited to working for someone else. A person who struggles in an office may do very well on her own with the right resources and support.
The Path To Promotion Is Very Clear
When you work for a big corporation, no matter how hard HR tries to build a clear path to promotion, it’s still very political. Sometimes your boss just doesn’t see you as promotable and sometimes there is simply no opportunity for promotion. I can’t speak for other direct sales companies, but the one I signed up takes the politics out of promotion. If your sales reach a certain level and you sign up a certain number of new salespeople, you get promoted. End of story.
How did I learn this? I signed up with a direct sales company that makes a product I love right here in my state. Despite direct sales’ reputation, I’m not sorry. I’m learning how to sell a product without annoying my friends & family, spending time with people I like and getting to do something that doesn’t involve sitting in a chair for 8 hours at at time.
And once I’ve gotten what is essentially free training, I can use it to sell anything. My “Colorado Local” store dream is one step closer to reality.
To sum this up, I’m not telling you to quit your job and sign up with a direct sales company, but next time someone asks you to come to a jewelry party or participate in a Facebook nail wrap party, try not to roll your eyes. By all means, say no if you’re not interested in the product, but if it’s something you like, give it a try.
Your purchases from that individual help build a world where independence is really possible, a world where people can support their families without spending half their lives in a cubicle.
It seems to me that the real obstacles to opportunity haven’t changed. Can you get the education? Do you have community support? If so, then you have the power to choose how to live.
Choose wisely, do your best and you might be pleasantly surprised at how much there is to be grateful for.
copyright 2017 Hungry Chicken Homestead