Direct selling is nothing new, but it has been around long enough for innovators in the industry to create a very successful business model for those who want to be there own boss, but want ongoing support from an established corporate model. Though there are always exceptions, many of these businesses provided a way for full-time homemakers to become independent at a time when there were fewer opportunities for women to succeed in business. Examples of direct selling go back to big names like Avon, Tupperware and Amway.
Technology has increased the potential for entrepreneurs to widen their networks and really exploit the possibilities in Multi-level Marketing (MLM) and direct sales markets. Direct sales is simply a method of selling directly to the public, either door to door – as in the early days – or through small group sales, like Tupperware parties; in MLM, the associate increases their profit potential and widens their network by recruiting other associates who work directly under them. Today’s direct sales associate also has the advantage of online marketing and the ability to sell their services in markets outside of their immediate geographic area.
Who Benefits From This Sales Model?
Direct sales and MLM offer advantages at every level of the production to market chain:
– The Manufacturer does better using a direct sales model by cutting out the cost of slotting fees and other considerations when using traditional placement routes like selling to retailers. They also save on the costs associated with advertising their product or service, as this is now up to the sales associate.
– The Consumer benefits by receiving high-quality merchandise or services at a reduced price. When the cost of production, shipping and advertising is lower, the savings are passed on to the consumer.
– The Sales Associate has the advantage of using an established business model, built-in training and ongoing support to establish their business. Much of the marketing and advertising materials are already designed and printed or available online, so they save on the cost of outsourcing website design and marketing materials. They also have control over the size of their sales force, discretion in pricing and unlimited opportunities and incentives to build wealth.
ACN INC is an example of a successful direct sales model that provides a lucrative salary to people who are invested in success, while providing a useful service to the public at competitive rates.