Is Direct Sales Really That Hard?

JasonC —  March 6, 2013 — 1 Comment

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What does it take to be successful in direct sales?

Do you have to have a ton of friends? Be super smart? Highly motivated (or self-motivated)? Do you need to have money to make money? How about spending tons of time on the business? A marketing degree? Do you have to start early with the company (getting in on the ground level)? 

While I’m sure any of the above factors (with the exception of having money to make money) can certainly be beneficial, none of them are necessary. 

Dogwood in Bloom

So, what IS necessary to be successful in direct sales?

I think there’s a general misconception that you need to have some special advantage to be successful at direct sales. That just isn’t true. 

If you read my recent posts Why Do Women Start Direct Sales Businesses and Top Reasons Direct Sales Consultants Fail (& Part 2), you’ll see the motivating factors for starting and the main reasons for failure in Direct Sales. You’ll notice there’s nothing in there about being smart or pretty, being a workaholic, having any particular technical skills (marketing or business). Nor do you have to pick the right company in their infancy. 

Anybody Can Be Successful At Direct Sales!

The main key to direct sales success is focused intensity over time.

Dave Ramsey talks about Focused Intensity over Time in his book Entreleadership (the Kindle version is available to $1.99 for a limited time. Get it now!) This is a great principle for any business, but is especially true in direct sales. What he’s talking about is putting passion into action and keeping it going.

For direct sales, this concept can be broken down to drive, consistency, and perseverance.

1. Drive

We all know what happens if you tell your teenager “if you clean your room, I’ll take you to the movie you want to see.” It gets done in 5 minutes. That’s focused intensity. It’s also drive.  A lot of people start their direct sales business like this. They put a lot of energy into it at first. Having success in this period is very important

It’s important to harness your passion. For this, it helps to have a goal. My wife Holley calls this her “why.” Why is it she’s working her business? For the teenager wanting to go see a movie, it’s pretty easy to get them motivated. Do the same thing for yourself by putting some thought into what you want to get out of your business.

2. Consistency

Direct sales is a business that really thrives on consistency of effort. You don’t really have to put in a ton of effort. But be consistent in it. You’re going to be much more successful if you do a party ever week than you will be doing 6 parties in 2 weeks and none for a month. Your presentations will be smoother and more natural and you’ll get more bookings at your parties. You’ll get momentumI (Momentum is your friend!)

If you’re already in direct sales, you know the consultants I’m talking about. Their effort “curve” will spike and then flatline. It’ll come in spurts. Holley was like that when we first got together. She’d work at it hard for a week or two and the next thing you know it was 3 months later and she would have to scramble to get things going. She never got any forward momentum. 

Have a plan for consistency when you start up. Leaders & husbands – help these new consultants be consistent in their effort. 6 hours a week is easy to accomplish and will get you 4 hours for a party and 2 hours for planning and everything else you need to do.

3. Perseverance

The sad truth is that many of ladies will quit after the first 3 months. And those who quit probably do so because they didn’t have success with that initial effort. Others will give it up because they put so much effort into it that it’s not sustainable and they burn out. Other consultants will ask a few friends to do parties and after that, give up.  

Let’s face it, there are going to be ups and downs in your business. Stick with it. The longer you stay in the business, the more successful you’re going to be. You’ll know your business better and everything about it will come easier to you.

 

Question:

Girls: What do you think about it? Is direct sales really that hard?

Guys: How can you help your wife with her Focused Intensity Over Time? Can you contribute to her Drive, Consistency, or Perseverance?

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  • Heather

    I agree with consistency. As a single parent, this is probably the most difficult. But given that my ‘why’ is basically my children; it’s definitely necessary to maintain consistency.