Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, “Make me feel important.” Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life. – Mary Kay Ash
The real power of direct sales is about the freedom you can have to live the life you really want. When people talk about the American Dream, what they mean is to have what is important to them. And for anyone who has the desire and willingness to work for it, you can have it. If you choose to work for someone else, it could take years to work your way up the ladder, and you would be giving up a lot of freedom on the way up. And, at the top, you probably wouldn’t own the business.
Over the years, I have run into many individuals who had a negative perception of the direct selling industry. It usually stemmed from someone else’s so-called bad experience. The reality is that those who are negative about direct sale/network marketing really do not understand the industry and the power of this business model. Of course, the industry is not for everyone, but anyone can be successful if they decide to be.
For those of you reading this book and contemplating direct sales as a financial solution, or for those of you already in the industry who have never researched the history behind direct sales, allow me to share information on this wonderful business model.
Direct Sales Has Been Around Forever
You can go back through history and the establishment of trade routes to find examples of traders who distributed goods, food and fur, face-to-face, on behalf of various backers. Sometimes, these backers were rulers of a country. Sometimes, they were powerful individuals. And sometimes they were large businesses or companies.
The North American history of the notion of direct selling can be traced back to the 1600s. For example, the Voyageurs established fur trading routes and posts on behalf of the Hudson Bay Company. The Hudson Bay Company itself relied upon the influence of Prince Rupert, who was the cousin of King Charles II, to acquire the Royal Charter, which granted the lands of the Hudson Bay watershed to the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England trading into Hudson Bay in May 1670.
In New England in the mid-1700s, the phenomenon of the Yankee Peddler was born, in which peddlers would travel in their cart selling their wares home to home throughout the countryside.
From there evolved the concept of the door-to-door salesman. The Watkins Company was launched in 1868, selling a popular liniment. The late 1800s saw the spawning of new companies employing door-to-door salesmen to distribute Bibles, books, spices, remedies, perfumes, tonics and the like. The California Perfume Company, which later became better known as Avon, was founded in the late 1800s.
The Fuller Brush Company debuted in the early 1900s, and Alfred Fuller is credited with transforming door-to-door direct selling into something different. Rather than positioning himself as a salesman who sold brushes and focusing on the features of the brushes, he instead focused his attention on selling the benefits of his brushes to the consumers. This is referred to as “empowering the consumer.” His entire company vision was crafted in the context of the service he was able to provide to his customer. The approach was revolutionary.
The early 1900s also saw the emergence of vacuum cleaner and encyclopedia companies, such as Electrolux, World Book and Britannica.
It Was a New Age
The term “network marketing” is a 20th century creation. Its genesis lies in the post-World War II era of the late ’40s and early ’50s. This was the dawning of the era of the subdivision in which neighborhoods flourished with their own circle of trusting relationships and backyard barbecues.
It is out of this trend that the term “belly to belly marketing” – or “relationship marketing,” as you may better recognize it – was coined.
A company named California Vitamins came to the realization that many of their new sales recruits were, in fact, friends and family of their existing sales force. These new recruits’ primary motivation to becoming a sales associate was that they wanted the products for themselves at the wholesale cost. That led the company to recognize that it was easier to build a sales force with a lot of people who sell a small amount of product than it was to find a small number of top sellers who would move mountains of product.
And so California Vitamins designed a revolutionary sales compensation model encouraging their salespeople to invite new representatives from satisfied customers, most of whom were family and friends. Each of those new representatives in turn had the same right to offer the product and opportunity to become a representative to others.
This allowed the sales force to grow exponentially. The company rewarded its representatives for the sales produced by their entire group – or network – of sales representatives. And so multi-level marketing was born.
It was also during this time that the home party plan was introduced. The original party plan was the Stanley Hostess Party Plan, by Stanley Home Products. The focus of the party plan was to demonstrate the myriad uses and benefits of the products right in the home. Out of the original Stanley dealer roster came the founders of future marketing program giants, such as Mary Kay and Tupperware.
The introduction of the multi-level marketing (MLM), network marketing or person-to-person sales program in the mid-1950s coincided with another pair of new giants arriving on the scene. First, Shaklee was launched. Then, a couple of years later came the birth of Amway in 1959.
And the direct sales/network marketing industries would never be the same.
Direct Sales/Network Marketing Is Now a Way of Life
The direct sales/network marketing industry is really a simple concept that is part of our everyday lives. We all find it natural to recommend a good movie, book or restaurant. Direct sales/network marketing is very much like that experience, except that you receive a small commission each time you make a recommendation.
This industry is really no mystery. You get paid on sales volume just like any other type of business. The critical difference is that you can acquire more customers and sales volume through leveraging yourself as you grow your network of business partners.
What are some of the benefits this industry can provide for you?
- Better quality of life
- Opportunity to earn what you are worth
- Opportunity to re-invent yourself
- Personal development
- Greater control over time and activities
- More time with family and children
- Less time spent commuting
- Opportunity to provide hope to many others
- No layoffs
- Better balance of work and family life
- Tax advantages
- Opportunity to contribute to something larger than yourself
Continue to chapter 4