You’re an entrepreneur at heart, and the idea of selling products excites you. Finding a direct selling company to partner with may be the way to get your small business off the ground. When you partner with a direct selling company, you grow your business as an independent contractor, selling products for commission.
In the direct selling model, the seller becomes a small business owner with low overhead costs while the company produces, stores, and ships the products. It’s a win-win relationship. The catch is to make sure you partner with a reputable direct selling company that matches your values and goals.
What to Look For
The direct selling company you choose to join will be your most important decision. Major traits of the company will either promote or detract from your success, so it’s best to get to know them before you join. Look for these positive characteristics:
1. Proven Longevity
Look for a company that is established. Businesses with a successful history have a more stable outlook for the future. And talk to current distributors who will speak candidly about their experience. Ask questions like:
- What’s the culture like?
- Does it feel like a community or competition?
- How quickly are orders filled?
- Do you get training from the company? What type?
When you’re comfortable with the longevity, mission, and values of the company, the next step is to validate their reputation.
2. Strong Ethics
Ethics is the lifeblood of the direct selling industry. And reputation is everything in an arena where companies must differentiate themselves from scammers. Ensure the company you choose is a member of the Direct Selling Association (DSA). The DSA promotes, protects, and polices the direct selling industry while helping companies and their sellers be successful.
Over 200 direct selling companies are members of the DSA. Explore the largest 25 reputable companies to find one that adheres to a high standard of quality and ethics—like Mary Kay, USANA Health Sciences, and Tupperware.
With science-backed products and core values at the forefront of their brand, USANA Health Sciences has a proven track record of integrity and excellence.
3. Fair Compensation Plan
Commission is your primary stream of income in direct selling, and it increases based on your and your team’s sales. The company you select should have a simple and realistic compensation plan that includes:
Commission from selling product. You’ll receive a percentage of what you sell. You may choose to sell in person or online.
Team commissions are based on products sold by team members you enrolled. You’ll earn a percentage of their sales, providing you’re an active seller. Team commissions are the fastest way to earn.
Bonuses are based on specific qualifications such as team sales or if you’re a leader. The top earners in a company are usually eligible for elite bonuses.
Incentives include contests, incentives, and rewards to motivate direct sellers. When you meet the qualifications, expect exotic trips, valuable prizes, and even extra cash.
4. Realistic Income Claims
Reputable direct selling companies will never tell you it’s easy to make money. While it’s possible to meet your sales goals, it takes work. Steer clear of any direct selling company that promises a fast track to financial success.
Direct selling income claims are strictly regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Companies must support their income claims with clear data in their income disclosure statement. If you can’t find it easily, don’t join the company.
5. Low Sign-Up Cost
Starting your small business should come with a reasonable cost—it’s one of the most attractive reasons to get into direct selling. Costs should include some type of starter kit with products and business materials. But beware of unexplained fees or inventory requirements. Your partner company should carry most of your inventory and send it directly to your customers.
6. Quality Products
When you’re passionate about how a product can help someone, you’re excited to share. Your support is a key ingredient to a successful business, so get to know the products. Research reviews and try them yourself. You should feel comfortable and confident paying retail price, recommending the quality, and explaining the return policy.
7. Product Returns
A good return policy can increase your sales. Return done well to ensure customer loyalty and satisfaction, so know your company’s policy before joining. They should also provide a customer service number to answer questions and concerns.
8. Resources and Training
Most direct selling companies offer business and marketing tools along with training. If you can’t find details about training before you join, ask a current distributor about any specific training and assets provided by their company.
A personal website—an online shopping experience with your profile displayed where customers can buy product, and you receive the commission. Some companies also offer an app for on-the-go shopping.
Marketing resources—digital marketing resources like advertisements, email templates, and social media posts boost your online presence and send customers to your online store.
Training—you’ll need to know the ins and outs of the products, responsibilities, and opportunities available to you.
Keep an eye out for anything misleading as you research. Pyramid schemes are illegal multi-level marketing setups that could end up costing you. Fortunately, they’re easy to recognize. Shady organizations will:
- Make big promises to help you get rich quickly.
- Focus on recruiting instead of selling products.
- Persuade people to join using aggressive tactics.
- Require large up-front costs and ongoing fees.
- Hide details of business operations.
- Play on your emotions.
- Require expensive start-up costs.
- Offer low-quality or fake products.
Pyramid schemes generate money through recruiting new members, not selling products. They’re fraudulent, so if you find one, report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). False promises can subject companies to big penalties.
Get to Work
Direct selling can be an exciting opportunity, and finding a company that supports your values and goals is easier when you know what to look for. Once you’re confident about the company you want to partner with, you’re ready to sign up and jump in.