Reading the title just made me roll my eyes, too, and I am IN direct sales. As a matter of fact, I have actually rolled my eyes to some of my friends joining directs sales, even after I had been running my own direct sales business. Pretty shitty, right? Well, here are a few tips for those of you that just rolled your eyes, and began creating the list of the women you currently know. You are probably cringing inside at this very moment, because you know they will be hitting you up on DM.
Remember A Time When You Got Excited
Looking back when I first started Pure Romance, I remember just how bad at marketing myself I was. At first I posted everything Pure Romance, “buy this, party with me, isn’t my life great, Pure Romance, Pure Romance, Pure Romance…” Blah. It was never ending barrage of bad marketing, and a far cry past spamming; it was chaos and obnoxious. The truth was that I was crazy excited about the new journey that I was taking and how good it was making me feel. After being in business for a while and having the crazy wear off; I realized what I was doing wasn’t actually helpful for my business or friendships. Just as I did, most women who get serious about their businesses and ready to accomplish Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAGs), tend realize the same thing. Forgive your friends in direct sales. Seriously. They really don’t mean to be annoying, just like you probably didn’t mean to be annoying when you incessantly kept talking about the special someone you were dating, the new job, or promotion you had gotten, the new house, new car, or boat. You know, this, that and the other.
Understand Why It Bothers You
While there are many things people do in direct sales that are annoying on their own; your reaction might be something that really has nothing to do with the other person. One time, before Pure Romance, I was scrolling through FB and saw a girl I knew starting her fourth direct sales business. Instantly, I was annoyed and rolled my eyes. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe direct sales could work it was because she was on her fourth! In my mind there clearly couldn’t have been something wrong with that many companies? The other truth was that I had known her for quite some time, and I knew she had a hard time in self-motivation and self-discipline. The question is, what is it about the person who is beginning to promote their business? Is the fact that you may know them a little more intimately and just can’t take them seriously, or is it the company you have had poor experience with? Is that you might be a little envious of the happiness and all the things that come along with direct sales?
**Looking back, in all fairness, it was never my place to judge. Some of us may need a few different dreams to find the one that was specially meant for us. Follow my blog, because this is another post for some other time**.
Be Honest With How You Feel
You know the saying, “honesty is the best policy.” The same holds true for dealing with friends or family in direct sales. If you really don’t have the time or money to support their new endeavor then be up front. Did you notice that I said to be up front about your time and your money? To be up front about whether or not you believe what they are doing is a good idea, right for them, or will or won’t take work for them. It is not your responsibility. These people are grown ass adults and can make that decisions for themselves. Because, guess what?! They just did! Being honest is about how you can or cannot best support their business. If money is tight and you cannot buy anything; offer to take their business card or catalogs into work. If time is too tight and you do not have the option to party in person, then offer to host online. Supporting a friend or family member in direct sales doesn’t have to be overt gestures either. Just do something that shows you care and are happy that they are stepping outside of their comfort zone. For example, maybe ask them why they chose that particular company, and listen to the answer. Maybe one day you could babysit their kiddos while they get some business work done. How about simply taking them out for drink and letting them get their mind off the business entirely?
A ‘NO’ Is Better Than No Response
Can we all have a moment of honesty?
“Hello. My name is Tonya and I have ignored messages from someone in direct sales.”
I have ignored someone in direct sales, even after I had already started my direct sales business. I know, I know, don’t judge me. This my friend, is a judgement free zone and blog. There are so many reasons that people ignore others in direct sales; myself included. After having my Pure Romance business long enough, I have come to a few different theories on why I have been ignored.
- We just don’t feel like dealing with the shpeel. You know how it goes. The person makes their ask, you kindly decline, then they go to “the next step,” make a second ask, which again you politely decline, etc. This dance continues until they have asked all the follow-up questions needed to move their business forward.
- We don’t have the time or money to participate in what they have going on. Instead of going through the shpeel (please read 1. if you have not) and doing the dance, we avoid it entirely.
- We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. I think that many of us imagine that saying no will be the final straw that breaks their spirit. The reality is, this is entirely true. Sorry. There are some people who do not handle ‘no’ very well. I mean does anyone ever like hearing no? However for some, getting one too many no’s can really put a damper on their excitement, self-esteem, and motivation. So instead of being the person who places the final straw we just ignore and avoid.
- One of the biggest reasons I think people ignore those in direct sales is because many of us really don’t know how to say, ‘no.’ Think about all the times you said, ‘yes,’ when you really didn’t want to. You helped someone move, went for drinks when you weren’t up for it, babysat when you knew the child was a terror, paid for dinner when you damn well knew it was the third time in a row that you have.
- And number five. You ignore just because you find it all annoying and not worth your time.
The truth is, ignoring and avoiding is more about our own egos and not wanting to be the bad guy or being the one to hurt someone’s feelings. So, for all the love in the universe please just say, ‘NO.’ While hearing no sucks, because who really wants to hear no, it is far better than getting the silent treatment. I am not necessarily sure why getting a ‘no’ feels better than nothing, but it does. Maybe it is just the fact that you see us. While our businesses might not be for you; it’s nice to know you see that we are putting in the work to make it a success.
“Not At This Time” Is Not‘NO‘
There it is, loud and clear. NOT AT THIS TIME, IS NOT A ‘NO.’ Hold on. Please re-read that again. I’ll wait. One. Two. Three. It’s time for me to tell you a secret that I am sure you are very aware of. In our business of direct sales the saying goes, “No just means not right now.” So far in my business, I have found that to be very true. If that is how we view no, what do you think, “not at this time means?” The best way to really get your point across is by knowing what you want and being direct. Keep in mind, there is a difference in being direct and being a dick.
Sit and think about the person and the company that they are working under. Is it a product you could see yourself using in the future? Are they a person you would trust with your money and your business. If you can see something coming together in the future then totally stick with, “not at this time” or “not right now.” If not not. That is okay, too, but just make it clear with a simple, I am not (no longer) interested, but thank you anyway. And if you decide that you really are not interested, please be respectful of the person asking for referrals. Remember, they are running a real business, and asking all these questions or making multiple approaches is what it takes to be successful at it.
Do You Really Know How Much Work It Takes?
Being in direct sales take A LOT of work! Direct sales is actually a double edge sword in many regards. The benefit is that we get to run a business under an umbrella company that allows us to invest little cost, cary little or no inventory, pay no rent for space, hire no employees, etc. On the other hand, all the things I just listed can be a benefit to businesses in some aspects. Having inventory is always a great idea and can increase sales. Paying for a business space can be a benefit with immediate foot traffic, and having employees mean that we won’t have to do all the marketing and promoting single handedly. While we do get to work from home and set our own schedules, we also have so many other things to take care of. Well, those of us that run our businesses like a business and not a hobby. (please know that there is nothing wrong anyone who opts in just for a hobby.)
Be Up Front About How You CAN Support
At the end of the day, anyone in direct sales or any business owner, is just looking for your support. And if you cannot directly support their business please be honest and tell them in what ways you can! If you don’t know or are unsure what you can do, simply ask them how they need your support, they will be happy you asked and happy to tell you. Like I said before, maybe you can hand out business cards or catalogs at work or to your friends. Maybe you go over with a bottle of wine and help them label their products and business supplies. If you happen be out and are making a stop you could send a text and ask if there is anything they need from where you are. There are so many ways you can support a small business owner in direct sales, all you have to do is ask.
And Yes, Direct Sales Is A Real Business
No direct sales is not a pyramid scheme (insert eye roll).
If it wasn’t clear from the entire post, direct sales is a real business. Just like any other business it takes work, time, and patience. Can you achieve and do all the things someone in direct sales tell you about? Yes. It is just a matter of deciding if you are dedicated enough to run it like a business and work it’s a business. Additionally, when someone in direct sales chooses to be an active leader and build an organization (team,) they then become responsible for helping to build the self-esteem, knowledge, skills, dreams, and team culture. It is one of the most important pieces to direct sales and one that should be take very seriously. Kind of sounds like the function of any good team leader in any business, company, or organization, huh?