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Direct Sales: Shedding the Stereotype

This February marks FOUR years since I joined a direct sales company. If you would have told me in college, that I would be putting my marketing degree aside to sell skincare, I would have laughed at you. Back then I thought ALL direct sales companies were pyramid schemes and full of sleezy salespeople.  But that all changed in 2013 when I decided to put my pride aside and become a consultant. (No I am not trying to sell or recruit any of you, I promise! I won’t even tell you the brand I sell for.) 

The point of this post is to help all of us shed the stereotype of Direct Sales by sharing two different perspectives with you because odds are if you are reading this post you are either 1. Someone Currently Working in the Direct Sales Industry or 2. Someone who has a friend who is in the Direct Sales Industry. 

Someone Currently Working in the Direct Sales Industry

Likely you never thought you would join something “like this.” You are maybe doing this to get a discount, help pay off debt, send your kiddos to private school, or maybe you are aiming HIGH and want to replace an income.  Whatever your motivation, I want to offer you some wisdom that may go against some of the training you have received.  (Again, this is coming from my perspective so take it with a grain of salt.) 

AUTHENTICITY IS KEY.  People (including me) see STRAIGHT THROUGH copy/ paste emails, messages, and social media posts.  You need to find YOUR unique voice and try to let your market know what it is about XYZ that caused you to pull the trigger and try this business model out.  

BE OKAY WITH NO.  Once you have been doing this long enough, you change your mindset from selling stuff to helping people. If your products or business could do that for someone, reach out authentically.  If they say NO… LET THEM SAY NO. Do not be pushy. Do not force them to do anything. I have learned the hard way that when you push people into something they aren’t ready for, they are likely not going to be successful or happy in it.  In contrast, if you let them go about their life, often times, when the timing is RIGHT they will come back around to you. 

HAVE OTHER INTERESTS.  Some of the most irritating people to me are those who only talk about their business and products. They can’t go on a play date or sit through a ballet class without trying to pitch the products or business to whoever is sitting beside them.  You have GOT to be able to talk about other things.  So keep your conversations and social media accounts BALANCED.  Trust me on this one. 

Someone who has a friend who is in the Direct Sales Industry 

I literally lost friends when I joined this business.  Why? Because they made fun of it to my face and behind my back. Never asked me about it. Did not support me or encourage me AT ALL and thought the whole thing was a sham.  

Lean in here really close and hear me…

Just because your friend sells XYZ doesn’t mean that you have to BUY ANYTHING FROM THEM but as a FRIEND,  I would expect for you to ask about how things are going and celebrate with them when they hit certain goals.  

The fact that people are so “turned off” by the industry that they allow it to affect their friendships is so immature to me. In the same way that you would ask ANY friend how their job was going, give your friend the same respect. Why is the direct sales industry any different? 

Don’t make assumptions.  You never know WHY someone is doing direct sales. It may be because they have no other choice, childcare is too expensive, and they need to help contribute to the family in some way.  Most of the women on my team didn’t grow up daydreaming about going into sales (I know I sure didn’t).  They have a deeper reason for pursuing this industry so out of respect for them, find out what that is so you can help support them instead of assuming you understand the whole picture. 

Don’t make fun of them.  Honestly. Be a good person.  Not all direct sales companies are the same.  

Honest Disclaimer:  Some people after they join probably get a little bit too enthusiastic, but just recognize that they are on an adrenaline high, really want to be successful, and are doing exactly what they are being coached to do.  

It takes awhile (at least it did for me) to find my own unique voice and get over the learning curve.  Here I am four years later and I am able to coach our new people on how vital it is to be themselves. So just chuckle to yourself, keep scrolling  and realize that she will most likely cool off in a few months. Truly she is just excited. Let her be excited and cheer for her! Don’t you want your friend to succeed? 


I love the quote: Girls compete. Women EMPOWER.  I would love nothing more for us to EMPOWER each other instead of tear each other down. Let’s rally this Dallas Tribe of ours and show LOVE and SUPPORT to one another regardless if we are the CEO of a billion dollar company or a Stay at Home Mom who sells lipstick on the side.  We are all on the same team here! 

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3 Responses to Direct Sales: Shedding the Stereotype

  1. Susan February 13, 2017 at 5:21 pm #

    Very well written, great job explaining both sides. Can I respectfully add one more to the Seller’s List? Please be honest about what you are doing. In the past six months, two of my friends in the Direct Sales industry invited me to events titled “Busy Moms Crockpot Recipe Swap” or something similar… but they then proceeded to start pitching their shakes or supplements as soon as the first recipe was posted. Please don’t try to trick me into participating in anything – I won’t be buying what you’re selling if that’s the pretense of your sales, and our friendship will suffer from your dishonesty. Thanks!

  2. Keitha February 15, 2017 at 10:58 pm #

    I agree with this 100%. I’ve learned these very same things in direct marketing. It took me over a year, but nevertheless, I am finding my way. Thanks for this great read!

  3. Jana February 16, 2017 at 10:47 pm #

    Here’s why I have a problem with direct sell friends. It’s all relentless. And often no isn’t taken As an answer. Not to mention how nauseating the multi level marketing plan is to me. When friends are pitching “financial freedom” to me when I know what they really are after is that one level where they get the car…. I just can’t. I also completely can not support a company that bumps up the retail price far over the product worth. And don’t get me started on the lack of transparency so many of these companies have. I’m sorry but I would never stop being friends with someone or make fun of them behind their back but my heart sure does break knowing that chocolate protein shake they are selling is going to crush their metabolism causing them and others to yoyo diet like crazy and that it’s all natural ingredients aren’t so all natural when you dig deep enough and find the full list via other country’s transparency laws and websites.

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