Top 6 Direct Sales Methods (+ Helpful Tips)

If you are a direct sales agent that is not making sales that match your effort, you could be using the wrong direct sales methods. There are numerous direct sales methods that can help drive sales – we will discuss them individually in this post, along with their pros and cons; and helpful tips to maximize each. 

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Types Of Direct Sales Methods

Photo of methods of direct sales

1. Person-to-person sales

Also called personal selling, person-to-person sales is the most common way to convince customers to buy your product. For this method, the salesperson employs a personalized approach unique to the customers’ needs and describes the products in a way that will be best beneficial to them. 

For the person to person sales, customers have the privilege to ask questions after the direct sales agent has told them all about the product.

Pros of person-to-person sales

  • Flexibility: Salespeople are not restricted to one kind of presentation to suit all their customers and can adjust their presentation to suit their customers’ needs and behaviors.
  • Strong impact on specific target market: Unlike general advertisement where the advertiser sends one message to a large target market, personal selling minimizes waste efforts by being specific on the target market, connecting with them, and using a little effort to create a strong impact leading to a sale.
  • Direct impact on individual customers: The salesperson is in a great position to encourage the customer to buy. During a one on one discussion between the salesperson and customer, the salesperson can effectively respond to the customers’ questions, increasing their likelihood to buy.
  • Easy customer service: Besides being able to dial impact the customer to buy your product, a salesperson can perform multiple actions like product returns, product repairs, receiving feedback on their products and product upsell.

Cons of person-to-person sales

  • High cost: Since there is a high level of competition, salespeople have to travel more to meet new customers, sometimes they have to lodge in different hotels to meet up and close sales. 
  • Lack of uniformity in sales techniques: Some sales agents do not see themselves as a part of the company, so they coin out their direct sale techniques and message strategy to get customers, which may be different from the company’s. 
  • Inconsistent income: The amount of money made from person-to-person sales differs, depending on a direct sales agent’s level of motivation and how well they are able to convince customers to buy. 
Photo of two women; person to person sales is one of the direct sales methods

Tips for the person-to-person sales method

  • Mention the product benefits: The most persuasive selling point of any product is its benefits. Nevertheless, before listing the benefits, you must understand the buyer’s motives and explain the benefits to suit their needs.
  • Demonstrate how the product works: Some customers may be discouraged from buying a product if they feel like the product is technical or complex. By demonstrating how the product works, this will make them understand how it is used and how they can use it to solve their problems. This works mainly for home appliances.
  • Engage in conversations: You must talk directly with your customers to know their concerns, and how you can help them solve them. You can only do this by engaging in quality conversations with them to gain insight into their buying choices and personality. 
  • Behave as a consultant: Customers trust people who behave as experts in their fields. So, you should be highly knowledgeable in the product you are selling. This way, you will quickly gain their confidence and build stronger relationships with them. 
  • Be concerned about customer satisfaction: Gain your customers’ loyalty, and confidence by sharing your accomplishments with them. Always have a list of your customer reviews and testimonials to show your new customer that you are equal to the task. Also, after completing business with the customer, ask for their feedback to improve your services.
  • Tell a story: Persuade your customers with stories about your personal experience with the product. Tell them how the products improved your life and how it can improve theirs. 

2. In-house presentations or party planning

The in-house presentations or party planning involves arranging gatherings to showcase products and get people to buy them. This strategy has existed since the 1930s and has proven to be very successful in direct sales.

Photo of a party; in-house presentations/party planning is one of the popular direct sales methods

Pros of In-house presentations or party planning

  • It allows you to tell many people about the products at the same time
  • You can sell a wide range of products with the method
  • Since we do not need office space, the overhead costs are low
  • You do not need warehouse space because you can store your products at home and ship it directly to the buyer when they order for it
  • It is easy to recruit a team when they see how much the product sells during the party, thereby increasing your sales exponentially
  • Depending on your company, you can get many perks, including free vacations, cruises, gifts, and other bonuses.
  • Compared to other direct sales methods, this is an exciting way to make sales; imagine your workplace being a party!

Cons of in-house presentations or party planning

  • The party preparations can be a stressful process
  • Without an exciting presentation, some people may lose interest 
  • You may not make enough sales to recover the amount spent for throwing the party

Tips on how to throw a successful in house presentation or party

  • Before selling the product, first, sell yourself. You must act professionally to give the best first impression to your guests. This involves displaying your product in a neat, organized, and beautiful manner
  • Mingle. Spend quality time mingling with your guests to know the people who could have the slightest interest in joining your team. This could be a person complaining about their job, or a mom complaining about leaving her children from 9 to 5 to work, or someone having financial issues. Offer a solution to change their lives by inviting them to join your team of direct sales agents.
  • Start the party on time. One mistake hosts make is allowing their guests to wait for latecomers. That is rude and unfair. So, when you have a handful of people, start the party and others will join up.
  • Use more visuals than text. Texts have to be read, but visuals like pictures and videos are self-explanatory and exciting. So, if you choose to use a slide during your party or presentation, ensure that it is primarily visuals with clear graphics highlighting the main points.
  • Ask for feedback to keep your prospects engaged. When talking about your product, you may lose out on some prospects. But how can you know those that are willing to buy from those that are just being nice? It’s by asking for feedback. 
  • Finish strong. Many people give great presentations but end poorly with phrases like “that’s all”, “that’s all I’ve got”, “it’s over”. The end of your presentation is your final chance to drop a good reason your customer should patronize you. So, you could end with something like, “I’m sure that this product can solve X, Y and Z problems.”

3. Door-to-door sales

A door-to-door sale is a canvassing technique used for direct selling in which the sales agents go to their potential customers’ homes to get them to buy the product or services. There are different stages involved in door-to-door type of direct sales. These are:

  • Finding new potential customers
  • Identifying their needs and the product that solves their problem
  • Making an offer and telling them how it’s going to help solve the problem
  • Asking the customer to purchase the product or service
  • Getting the customers’ contact to ensure they get what they ordered for and every other support.
Photo of a sales agent knocking on a door; door-to-door selling is another direct sales method

 Pros of the door-to-door sales

  • There’s a saturated market out there, and even the best marketing campaign gets lost in the noise of advertisement. Door-to-door sales bypass this noise and get directly to the customers.
  • Many people hate ads and simply ignore them. However, with door-to-door sales, an agent has a better chance to be heard and understood. They have an excellent opportunity to pitch to their potential customers and receive first-class feedback, which works well for market research.
  • Sales agents communicate one on one with their customers through door-to-door sales and pick all the nonverbal clues to know how to adjust their speech and close the sale. Also, there is a higher possibility to make a sale with a personal demonstration of the product.
  • For products that are not widespread, door-to-door sales increase awareness, convincing the customer of the product’s benefit almost immediately.

Cons of door-to-door sales

  • It is stressful and expensive to get to locations when you are not even sure of the returns you’ll be getting
  • For companies that offer a straight seller arrangement, the commission will be based on sales. This can be small compared to the stress the agent goes through. 

Tips for being a great door-to-door salesman

  • Understand your products, their benefits, how it works, the challenges, and how customers can manage them.
  • Provide customers with details that cannot be found with ordinary ads
  • Have a positive attitude even when you’ve been rejected many times. No one welcomes a negative sales rep into their home.
  • Even when tired, be persistent and diligent in explaining to each customer without cutting corners.
  • Manage your time correctly. Since door-to-door sales require much effort, recognize your best prospects and focus on them.
  • Keep proper knocking records. There are numerous tools to help you record cues you get from customers during your door-to-door sales, like the most important questions they ask and their responses. This record will give you insights into what to do next.

4. Online shopping

Almost everything is done on the Internet now. People love to order products and services from the comfort of their homes and have them delivered there. Because of this, numerous brick-and-mortar stores have adopted online selling methods to improve their sales.

Photo of two computers depicting online sales; one of the easiest direct sales methods

Pros of online sales

  • The cost for setting up the business online is lower than an offline business.
  • You can run your business from anywhere as it takes away the geographical restrictions you could face if you had an office.
  • Online businesses are more scalable (easy to grow) as they quickly determine the most in-demand product to sell. Also, you can easily keep track of your customer base, sales, and profits.
  • Your customers are open to making orders 24 hours since there are no opening time restrictions. This means more sales.

Cons of online sales

  • With this direct sales method, your sales will be halted if your site crashes
  • Customers cannot try products before buying
  • Customers are exposed to numerous options
  • If a customer has someone around them that offers the same product, they will be impatient to go through buying online.
  • There can be lengthy shipping times, and some customers prefer to have products right away.

Tips for growing your sales with online marketing

  • Create a website for your product and services or tap into already established websites with a vast customer base like Amazon, Craigslist, etc. 
  • Use content marketing. Whether through a social media platform, email list, or blog, create content educating your customers about your products, giving them reasons to buy.
  • Have clear images of your products and use demos. Like the door-to-door marketing where you go to people’s houses to demonstrate how the product works, you can still show your customers how the product works by adding demos.
  • Give promotions and put deadlines on them. People tend to purchase products more when there is a sense of urgency. When the availability and discounts on your product seem time-bound, it will attract more customers.

5. Venue sales

Sales reps include the use of venues as a means of meeting new clients and advertising their business. It allows sales reps to promote their products and services, generating new leads from event kiosks or booths.

Pros of venue sales

  • It is better than paying for ads or paper advertisements. People who advertise online or on paper have to wait for those who see they asked a vendor. Meanwhile, with venue sales, You can target your clients, make a move yourself, and have a high return on your investment.
  • Can boost sales periodically. Having a booth in a trade fair or any trading event can sporadically boost your sales during that period.
Photo of vendors at an outdoor booth; venue sales is a popular direct sales method

Cons of venue sales

  • Your sales may be limited when not combined with other direct sales methods
  • Without a good follow up, you could lose the clients you got from the booth

Tips for success with venue sales 

  • Print enough business cards and drawing slips, and give them to a targeted audience.
  • Employ all the skills of person-to-person sales mentioned in this post to get your potential customer interested.
  • Follow up your customers, and recruits – if possible, add them to your email list.
  • Take your business past the booth. You can add online shopping to make it easier to have more sales.

6. Multi-level or network marketing

Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a strategy whereby people sell their products and services through a pyramid-shaped commission system; it is a very popular type of direct sales. The MLM marketing system is also called referral marketing, or network marketing.

MLM companies usually implement this marketing structure by encouraging their existing direct sales agents to recruit new agents and add to their downline. Most MLM companies allow existing distributors to earn some percentage from the sales made by their recruits.

Pros of multi-level marketing

Some of the advantages of the MLM strategy include:

  • Distributors have sufficient flexibility to make extra income when they have people in their downline. 
  • Even without selling a product, distributors of an enthusiastic team earn good commissions from their recruits.

Cons of multi-level marketing

  • Recruits in the lower tiers don’t make as much money as those in the upper tiers
  • It takes time to have a good downline
  • Some sponsors are not good mentors, and this can affect your success in the business


Though some direct sales methods are easier than others, you should only go for what suits you and your target audience. 

When starting out as a direct sales agent, you may want to try two or more of these methods to see which works best for you.

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