At least once each week, someone asks me to share how I have built a successful online direct sales business. While I am not a fan of form letters and automated responses, I thought for the sake of time management, I’d turn the response into a post since it’s such a common question.
I work my business entirely online. It’s possible to be successful with direct sales if you have internet marketing knowledge and experience. Without these two vital components, it’s definitely going to be quite the challenge unless you supplement it with offline activities as well.
I have always worked my current candle business online since I started in 2006. Nine years later, I have never done a home or basket (catalog) party with Scentsy. I’ve facilitated plenty of those over the last 27 years I’ve been in direct sales, but none with Scentsy wickless.
With regard to whether or not there is too much online competition with all the consultants trying to work their business online, it depends on how you look at it. There certainly are far more consultants out there than when I started nine years ago, but there are also so many more leads out there than could ever be satisfied by all the consultants. Also now Scentsy has brand recognition in many sectors, I’m more sought after online today. Initially no one had even heard of Scentsy flameless candles. People tend to be much more leery when they have no idea about the product or company.
I don’t pay for any advertising, but plenty of consultants do – either in Pay Per Click advertising, sponsored ads or a number of other advertising opportunities to rank high or drive web traffic. Nor do I pay for the services of a SEO expert. I know for a fact that some consultants are paying literally unbelievable and astronomical fees each month for their ranking/traffic. To be successful online you need to be prepared to invest a great deal of time or money or a combo of both.
I’ve achieved my ranking and success all organically which means I’ve invested human resources (me time) into employing various internet marketing techniques. I’m also self taught in internet marketing (read: I had no idea what I was doing), I just started reading and reading and learning, and studying the “art” of internet marketing. That’s also part of the time investment. It’s also very dynamic, so what I did or learned 18 months ago is old school now. I don’t know anyone personally who could help me learn it or even do some of the work necessary, so for me it is a large time investment.
I don’t mean to sound so ambiguous, but it’s just that learning IM is much like learning a 2nd language. It’d be if someone said that they really want to target the Hispanic community … but they don’t know how to speak Spanish. It’s certainly possible to learn but it just takes time (or good connections to people who already know what to do and have time to invest in your online business!)
It’s easy to teach someone how to do a home party or a vendor event or how to set up a display. Those are very task oriented activities. But teaching someone a second language takes a lot of work and time. Also parties have a beginning and an ending date. You set it up, you do it, and you close it. Internet marketing is ongoing. You can’t just do it a little and expect favorable results (just like exercising!)
The short answer to the question “How do you work your business online?” is simply: Internet Marketing. If you know IM, then you know what that means and what it entails. If you don’t know what that means, then perhaps working your direct sales business online isn’t the right platform for you right now.
You can still work your business offline while you learn internet marketing, just be prepared to view it as being in college to earn a degree or learning to speak a foreign language and you’ll have to work your homework daily.
Unfortunately a lot of consultants and prospects don’t get that above concept and needed time commitment. I can’t tell you how many prospects have contacted me and asked if I could teach them IM. I explain that I can certainly HELP them in their IM efforts, but it’s not realistic to expect a sponsor to have the time to “be a college professor to teach this degree program.” Internet Marketing coaches get paid big bucks to share their knowledge, skills and abilities. It’s a full-time business for coaches. I certainly can’t mentor my team/group full time and teach IM too.
I’d rather be authentic and upfront about that than tout unrealistic promises just to get them to sign on the dotted line.
I’ve lost a handful of prospects to other sponsors because apparently other consultants have “promised to teach them internet marketing.” Though, those same people are still Escential consultants after a year. So I guess it didn’t necessarily work out as they had hoped.
Notwithstanding, within my group team training page, we DO talk about social media. We do discuss how Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, SnapChat, Tumblr and others can help your business. We do talk about blogging and marketing vs. advertising. I’m not suggesting I’m not sharing information with my team. I’m only successful if they are successful. I’m merely saying there is a lot of self study needed to work your business this way.
I encourage everyone to shop around for sponsors to find a good fit before joining. But I would also caution anyone who gets a promise from a potential sponsor that they’ll be taught IM. Contact other existing consultants in her/his downline and ask them how much internet marketing coaching they received from their Sponsor. That’ll be the true litmus test.
Lastly, I am often asked for suggestions or recommendations on how consultants can start learning about IM. Some names you may want to search out are: Kelly McCausey, ClickNewz and BuzzBlogger. That should give you a good start.
About the Author: Laurie Ayers is a Michigan work from home mom and a Superstar Director with Scentsy Wickless Candles. She enjoys helping men and women start and maintain a home based business in the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Germany, Ireland, France, Spain, Austria and the UK. To download a FREE Start Up Guide which provides more details about how to start a home business as well as to learn about our compensation plan go to www.thrivingcandlebusiness.com/how-to-start-a-candle-business/ or for updates on Facebook LIKE www.facebook.com/ThrivingCandleBusiness and twitter @directsalesblog