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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Direct Sales vs MLM - I Found a Breath of Fresh Air

Have you ever pondered the difference between M.L.M and Direct Sales? Well, actually, all MLM companies are also considered Direct Sales companies, but for the purpose of explanation here, I am going to consider "Direct Sales" to be companies that lead largely with a retail/party plan culture.

My particular company is a "hybrid mix" of Retail/Direct Sales with a Network Marketing type of pay plan for long term residual income. It doesn't have monthly quotas like most party plan companies, and the actual product line does create a 30 -50% profit on retail sales.

So, in an effort to improve and develop our company's retail/home party training guide I've been poking my nose around online, searching for some good insight from those successful Direct Sales experts!

Wow! Talk about a whole new world. I have to say what I found was a breath of fresh air, to say the least.

Not one website that I encountered screamed of "Make Big Money Doing Nothing!" No one promised to build anything for me. No one promised me that "The Donald" was going to revolutionize my business if I just joined his new company.

None of that. No flashy cars or big homes on the hill. And, some of the women I encountered have flashy cars and big homes on the hill. They just don't feel inclined to pitch it as a primary part of their opportunity.

I have to give a shout out to a few ladies who I encountered who really inspired me -

Jennifer Fong

Karen Phelps

Julie Anne Jones

So, it made me wonder. Should I continue to associate myself with the "MLM" world? Network Marketing? Or shift to a Direct Sales approach?

OR, should we just all work together in Direct Sales and MLM/Network Marketing Profession to clean things up a bit?

After all, aren't you a little tired of the hype and constant pitching? I sure am!

I would love to hear your thoughts!

EXPECT Success!

Jackie Ulmer


Jennifer said...

Thanks so much for the shout-out.

I am so with you on avoiding the hype, and sharing why direct sales (or MLM if you prefer, although I feel that some tactics used by a few have tarnished that term) is a legitimate business opportunity.

I wonder if we're going to need to re-examine our entire language in this industry, moving away from some of the phrases that cause people to run in the other direction, worried that they're going to be "sold", and instead focus on creating value for the consumer, which is a more long-term approach that breeds long-term success.

Keep the conversation going!

Jennifer Fong

jnjsumner said...

This has given me a whole new idea on how to approach our business with my prospects. I get a little intimidated when I say "MLM" and I see people try so hard not to roll their eyes. Jennifer is correct when she says that some have tarnished the term and I have been looking for a way to change it.... it was so simple I didn't even think about it. Why not go for a direct sales approach? It is what I love most about our company.. the 30-50% income turn around and the value and quality of our products. I am so glad you shared this with me!

Lorian Rivers, Educator said...

Jennifer Fong is the BEST! She take Direct Sales and MLM and Social Media and combines them all to create a way of doing "business" that finally makes sense!

Bravo for your shout-outs to all 3 of these great ladies!

I'd like to add Kim Klaver to your list. Her "100 customers" training gives a whole new outlook to Network Marketing.

gale said...

Hello Jackie,
I found your blog! My mantra is "run your business like a business." I ran my own retail business for 10 yrs before getting into Direct Sales. I took those business skills and applied them to my DS business and like you built a six figure income. Start with a Business plan. Set goals and action plans and focus on offering the best value for your customer.

Rasul said...

Hey Jackie,

Boy, did you hit the nail on the head! This whole industry has a lot of real fantastic things going for it, but the hype is a real deterrent, not just for those looking at joining the industry, but those in the industry as well. Everyday I get a pitch in email, twitter and Facebook of riches to be had for doing nothing! Ha! (as you would say.) that doesn't exist in the Universe.

It's so nice to have real professionals like you, who practice authenticity and who have really prospered, to lead the way. Thank you for practicing our industry with integrity and highlighting others who do as well.


Rasul Davis

funfelt said...

There is certainly room for both MLM and party plan. Have you read the article on the DSWA site explaining the difference?

I believe the key is training direct sellers on basic values that can be conveyed in business just as strongly as in the rest of their lives. The DSWA helps with that!
Karen Clark

Jackie Ulmer said...

Thanks for your participation and this thread seemed to have struck a chord with many, and in a good way.

Yes, there is plenty of room for Direct Sales, which encompasses MLM, certainly.

I have always been a fan of leading with opportunity, as that is how I was trained when I started in the profession in 1994. (Yikes, how old am I?)

Yesterday, I attended a DSWA luncheon and again, it struck me the difference in those who lead with big money as opposed to those who lead with product and enthusiasm there.

I'm still studying and exploring along with you all.


EXPECT Success!

Jackie Ulmer