Making the Benjamins: Late Nights & Taboo

Earlier this week I read an article in Forbes, Is MLM a Bad Word?  And this brought me back to the reasons why I became an entrepreneur myself.

How many people would love to run their work around their lives? How many people want to be in business for themselves but are not sure how?  For established direct selling and Multi-Level Marketing companies, the consultants or distributors within their family truly have control of their own destiny.

As a former consultant for Partylite and Arbonne, I can attest that having your own direct selling (or MLM) business takes time, commitment, patience.  I needed a second job to support my self-funded college education and I chose to go into the direct selling side of the industry to pay for my college books.  I loved candles so why wouldn’t my friends and family.  I got out of the business what I put into it, making me successful.  Later in my life I moved on to Arbonne.  At first it was for my own consumption, but soon friends and family wanted to know the secret to my beautiful skin.

If you are thinking about a secondary income and wondering which companies to review, ask yourself what you love most – is it candles, potions, lotions, jewelry, purses and utility bags, etc.  Next question to ask is which type of company would be the best fit for you, Direct Selling or Multi-Level Marketing?

Direct Selling

This was perfect for me since I love to socialize. I couldn’t think of a better reason to escape my otherwise boring night of household chores, a phone that never rang, and books screaming to be read. Somehow sharing baby quiches and drinking tea with folks I didn’t know (and some I did know) to talk about a product I loved sounded so much better.  Especially during the work week, which meant it was going to be a late night, but I didn’t have to cook!

Don’t let me lead you to believe that the sales from these parties come easy because they don’t.  It’s about trust, it’s about relationships.  The purchase is emotional. The guest needs to believe they can’t live without the product.  They could love the product but if they don’t like you, as a consultant, you won’t get the sale.  And you may not even know it’s happening. That sale now belongs to a craft shows, maybe another party, another consultant, or online.

I found the guests that would come to the hostess’ house and tell me that they weren’t going to buy anything.  That same guest would leave later that night with multiple variations of the product and, in most cases, book a party so they could reap the benefits only a hostess can receive (free product, percentage off her order, monthly specials, etc.)

What can you expect as a new consultant (representative or advisor) having your first party?  Expect lots of emotions, like it’s the first day of school, excited, scared, eager, and all the other funny feelings you get when you’re in a room with people you don’t know.  The toughest part of this business is earning the guests trust.  They need to trust you as their main guide to product happiness.  Next, they need to love the product, which is easy because in most cases, they know the brand already as most have the product on display somewhere in their home or medicine cabinet.

People would ask me, between working full-time and going to college nights, how I found time for my direct selling business?  The answer was and still is, I maintained the relationship after the party and the euphoria of the purchase were over.  With my businesses, social sites, digital newsletters, etc were not available and if I had access to them, I can only image how more successful I would have been.

Folks, direct sales is an endless cycle of goodness:  Book the party, Greet the Guests, Showcase the Product, Close the Sale, Book the next party, and be remarkable! Nurturing the relationships. Otherwise you’ll be an afterthought for the consumer, lost somewhere between the local convenient store and Nordstrom’s.

Multi-Level Marketing

If you are thinking that your friends and family may run away if they hear that you are thinking about a Multi Level Marketing (MLM), think again.

Like the 100,000 Pyramid game – I say MLM, you say Pyramid.  Let’s talk about MLM’s and why they have a taboo associated with them.

  • When corporate loses control over the message their distributors are showcasing, bad things happen – meaning their parent company’s reputation is at stake!
  • When a distributor inflates the price of a product(s), bad things happen – meaning this also puts the parent company and all other reputable distributor’s reputation on the line!
  • When a distributor succumbs to the pressure of not meeting what is expected of them, bad things happen, meaning their business folds and they have already left a trial of reputational destruction behind.
  • When a distributor looses the excitement and motivation that prompted them to join in the first place, bad things happen – they find their company at a stand-still and they panic, see above.

Signing up as a distributor is an exciting event.  Distributors come on board with enthusiasm and excitement; however, after a new distributor has exhausted all avenues of possible relationships, they find themselves at a stand-still.  Here are some tips to keep the motivation going:

  • Use the power of the brand
  • Let the product have a voice by using testimonials
  • Use Social Media to extend your product’s reach
  • Use a digital newsletter to expand your reach (socially and electronically)
  • Be duplicate-able: Pay attention to the leaders within your Distributor family. Find out what they are doing to grow their business and implemented it for your business.
  • Be consistent: keep the product messaging consistent with Corporate’s message. It keeps your marketing efforts truthful and respectable.
  • Keep your eyes on the prize (trips, cars, other incentive goals)

In both scenarios, the business is only as good as the effort you put into it.

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