Direct sales is a growing field among those who want to work from home. There is a difference, though, between a direct sales business where you work for another company and a direct sales business that you run yourself. If you’d like to start your own, here are some beginners’ tips.
1. Start-up costs
Before you venture into any new business, there are going to be some costs involved. Starting businesses via the internet is much cheaper than in the old days, when you had to rent a venue, buy all your product, and sink thousands of dollars into the business before you even started. Still, some start-up costs are inevitable, such as:
* Equipment for your home office – You will need a computer with a high-speed internet connection if you want to be competitive in the online market. You can also hold parties online to showcase your product, and the internet is a good place to advertise.
* The product itself – You may decide to purchase something in bulk and then sell it, but of course the original purchase will cost money. If you are making something yourself, the cost of materials and the cost of your time need to be considered.
* Hours you plan to work – You need to have specific work hours so that you get things done more efficiently, and also so you don’t get overwhelmed by working all the time.
2. The product
Whatever you are selling, be sure you know it inside and out. If you are making your own products or offering your own services, this is a no-brainer. But if you are purchasing products yourself and planning to sell them, you need to be sure you know and love the product to sell it well.
3. Identify your target market
Your target market is composed of the people to whom you want to sell. The more focused this group is, the better. Research the needs and wants of people in your demographic, and be specific – “women over 30” is too vague a demographic. Most sources agree that you need to hone in on your target market and tailor promotional efforts toward their specific needs.
4. Be a good host or hostess
Direct sales often involves giving parties. You can invite people to your home or other venue, or host online parties. However you choose to do it, being a good host or hostess is important. Make your guests feel comfortable with low-pressure and fun party games (ice breakers), and make sure to have freebies and giveaways. You want to be offering your prospective (or returning) customers something at your parties, not just trying to sell them something.
5. Marketing plan
It’s a good idea to develop a basic marketing plan. This can be as simple as adding a mailing list to your website or as complex as having multiple affiliates, but you need to have some sort of beginning plan. You can actually hire a professional to help you in this regard, and he or she can guide you regarding the specifics of marketing your business.