What exactly is direct selling you might ask? Well, direct selling is the sale of consumer products or services, person-to-person, away from a fixed retail location. It’s a retail channel used by large, global companies and small, entrepreneurial brands to sell all types of goods and services, including nutritional products, cosmetics, jewelry, housewares, giftware, utilities and much more!
In Canada, direct selling companies rely on a salesforce of over a million independent consultants to deliver their products and services to consumers. This independent work model adds value to those who choose to pursue it, to the economy and to society.
The products and services sold through direct sales aren’t usually found in typical retail locations, which means finding a distributor, who may be a friend, family, colleague or social media contact, is the only method for consumers to access them.
The Different Types of Direct Selling
There are a variety of sales structures that companies can choose to bring their products to market via the direct selling channel. Potential independent entrepreneurs should look for the opportunity that best suits their lifestyle, skillset and aspirations.
Single-Tier Sales – In single-tier direct sales, each ISC (Independent Sales Consultant) reports directly to the company with which they are associated and works on their own. There are no sales teams to build and lead – you’re an individual entrepreneur making direct contact with your customers and are generally paid a commission based on sales.
Multilevel Marketing (MLM) – Multi-Level marketing is a form of direct sales where independent sales consultants have the opportunity to sponsor new ISCs and build their own sales team. As well as being paid commissions for sales of the company’s goods or services, sponsoring ISCs also generally receive additional income to compensate them for the work necessary to lead a team of salespeople.
Party Plans – Party Plan is the term used to describe one of the most popular forms of direct sales, whether through multi-level marketing or through single-tier sales. An ISC will help their customer plan a home party, where products or services are showcased. Attendees view a demonstration of the goods and have an opportunity to purchase them. The host generally receives bonuses as a reward for her/his efforts in organizing the party.
With more and more people going into business for themselves, as they focus on family, leave the corporate world or look for a “side hustle”, the direct selling industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in Canada.
These independent entrepreneurs enjoy:
- Flexible hours and increased family time.
- The opportunity to work from home.
- Income tied to effort.
- Potential for personal and financial growth.
- On-demand support and training from an established company.
- Control of their own destiny.
Here are a few tips to help you get started and help you make the best of this new and exciting opportunity:
- Look for the logo – Look for the DSA Canada logo on websites and sales materials. The DSA logo serves as a clear identifier that the company you’re dealing with is a member in good standing and has agreed to abide by the DSA’s Codes of Ethics and Business Practices.
- Find a product you love – Getting involved with a company that offers products you love and a culture you enjoy will help to make your experience even more rewarding. You can view DSA Member companies by product category here.
- Learn – Take advantage of the training and resources the company and your team have to offer. Learn from those who have been there before you.
- Don’t give up – This is a business and businesses take time to develop. Give yourself the time to learn grow and develop your new business.