Direct selling has come to stay. It is a profitable business model that has fast gained popularity. Direct selling (also called direct sales) takes place outside the walls of a store – products are delivered from a company directly to its customers leaving out intermediaries.
The company often has individuals that reach these customers on behalf of the company and are paid a percentage of sales made. These individuals are referred to as sales representatives, sales consultants, agents, or distributors.
Though direct selling is regarded as an effective means of boosting sales, it may have very little impact if it lacks a direct selling marketing strategy that can guide how results will be achieved and measured.
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Before probing further on what these strategies are and how effective they can be in increasing sales and profits of distributors – let’s dwell a bit more on what direct selling is.
What is Direct Selling
Direct selling can be described in simple terms as a selling strategy that gets products directly to the consumers. To achieve this, organizations hire independent consultants sometimes referred to as distributors or agents who represent the company to sell the products. These agents are rewarded with a percentage on sales made, known as commission.
Some of the benefits of the direct sales model include;
1. Direct sales agents can become their own boss and work based on their schedules.
2. Sales representatives are able to understand the marketing strategies that work and what doesn’t.
3. The elimination of middlemen causes a reduction in the prices of products, thereby increasing the purchasing power of consumers, which translates into more sales.
4. Customers’ satisfaction can be easily and quickly measured.
5. Advertising costs are eliminated or greatly reduced as you relate with the consumers one-on-one
6. Independent contractors or sales representatives can make extra income and get bonuses for more sales.
Direct Sales Business Plan
A direct sales marketing plan is a documented pattern of how you intend to achieve your marketing goals. It can also be described as one that contains the activities that will be engaged in to achieve the set goals of a sales agent.
However, to attain real success, proper strategizing is important and these strategies will rely heavily on what is contained in a marketing plan before they can be implemented.
A proper direct sales marketing plan is divided into sections with each section focusing on addressing an aspect of the entire marketing goal.
The first section of your plan should;
- describe your product in detail
- its point of attraction.
- why it is the only option to be considered by your target audience
- describes your competitors and their strategies of penetrating the market.
- what differentiates your product from your competitors
The second section of your plan should reveal;
- how you will reach your prospects
- direct sales methods selected
- why the method selected is the best option.
The third section captures;
- The advantage of your price over your competitors.
- How the price will be introduced into the market.
- The expected results are based on the price of the product.
The fourth section should show;
- where your customers are located
- how you will advertise the products to your target market.
After developing a robust direct sales plan, the next step is to implement. Below are some ideas of direct selling marketing strategies to include in your plan and implement.
Direct Sales Marketing Ideas
This is the entire approach of turning prospects into customers. Here are some of the helpful tips that will bring about conversions.
- Organize Events
Organize events like loyalty programs to bring existing and potential customers together. Loyalty programs offer discounts, rewards, and some other incentives to encourage customers to keep patronizing you and also attract new customers.
One of the popular loyalty programs is the accumulation of points where customers earn points on every purchase made which is convertible to gift, cash, or access to more of your products.
Remember you aren’t the first person to start the line of product you have chosen. This means that for you to penetrate the market and get the needed attention, you need unique strategies and one of which is ”Giveaways”.
Running a giveaway promo for some months will not only cause attention for your product but will make it easier for you to generate leads.
It is one of the easiest ways of building a customer base because people love free things and are always attracted to them.
- Send Emails Periodically
Sending emails to prospects creates a bond between a seller and the buyers. However, these emails should not be too frequent to avoid clogging their mail boxes. An interval of 1-2weeks is ideal. This way, your customers will gradually become conscious of your brand.
It is one of the cheapest direct selling marketing strategy systems that you can apply. It is also simple to set up.
- Create Social Media Sites
Having a presence on social media and sharing valuable content on various social sites can build trust for your brand. As a sales agent, you can easily reach more customers faster. Also, when you make it easy for customers to access your products online, you will generate more sales with less stress.
Leveraging social media is a cheap way of connecting with both existing and potential clients.
- Introduce Referral Bonuses
For every customer that you have, there are about ten other persons connected to them which include their friends and families.
By introducing the referral bonuses, they will be encouraged to bring in these relations of theirs so that they can partake of the bonus and do not forget that every additional person that is brought in also has a list of other people that are uniquely connected to them and the list is endless.
A referral bonus is therefore an effective way of encouraging existing customers to introduce prospects to you. Although it may cost money to pay referral bonuses, you will experience a good turnover at the end of the day.
Aside from the giveaway strategy, this is also an effective direct sales marketing strategy.
- Own A Website
With a website, you will be able to reach a wider range of prospects. However, for you to enjoy increased sales through the website, you must keep an eye on SEO.
SEO consists of factors that influence your ranking on the search engines so if you can create your content having SEO in mind; you have a greater chance of ranking well when prospects search for products similar to the one you sell.
- Story Telling
Storytelling is a powerful tool of communication. People are attracted when they realize that someone somewhere has overcome a challenge they are currently in by simply using the products that are being advertised.
It forms a base of connecting with new customers who have the problem the product can provide the solution to.
- Free Trials
Free trial is a unique direct sales marketing strategy that every seller needs to try out. It allows a prospect to prove the ability of a product before making a financial commitment.
Free trials allow potential buyers to reach a point of conviction by themselves. It is a very effective means of advertisement because the product speaks for itself.
The only challenge is that it will cost you since you are not getting paid for the product tried but once people are convinced, you will generate sales that will overshadow the expenses you might have incurred.
- Database Marketing
Database marketing is the form of marketing that involves the use of information generated from existing and potential customers to help you understand how best to communicate your product to them that will guarantee their patronage.
- Outdoor Advertising
Outdoor advertising has to do with making your products known to prospects outside their home. It exposes customers more to the product, making them more familiar with it. This can be a tool to convince them to purchase the product which turns out to increase your sales.
- Mobile Advertising
These are adverts pop-ups on mobile phones. This direct sales marketing strategy helps you to reach your customers wherever they are as long as they are actively using their phones. You will be able to reach more people at the same time.
- Online Adverts
The online advert is the type of marketing you run on various social media sites. This will cost since you will have to pay the ad networks to have your products advertised. However, you will be able to reach more audiences with it and also increase sales.
Coupons are discounts on goods given to encourage customers to purchase more of the products. It is usually time-bound and can be used if you desire to make a particular amount of sales within a specific period.
- Magazine Adverts
Adverts put in a magazine to make the users of the magazine aware of a product are known as magazine adverts.
A flyer is a handbill that can be handed over to people on the streets, or placed in other public places like hospitals, banks, and places of worship.
Advertisement done through flyers aims at ensuring that people who come around to that location can easily pick up a copy and have a basic knowledge about the product. Usually, contact addresses are printed on the flyer to get more information from the seller.
- Promotional Letters
Promotional letters are a form of written note to persuade the readers to buy a particular product. Its content contains all that the products can provide and helps the reader to see how it will benefit them.
- Phone Calls
Phone calls made to advertise a product are referred to as cold calling. You will be able to reach prospects easily.
- Catalog Distributions
A catalog contains a list of goods a sales agent has available for sale. Pictures of the products are displayed so that potential customers can glance through the various available products.
- Advert Placement On Your Car
Adverts placed on your car are a good and effective direct sales marketing strategy that speaks about your product as you go around with your car. As more people get to know about the product, there is a tendency to connect with interested persons who can turn out to become loyal customers.
How To Promote Direct Sales Business
Let’s do a check on how to promote your direct sales business. These few tips will help;
- Relate with your potential customers on the various social sites they belong to.
- Love your product and show your followers practical ways to use it.
- Create VIP groups but make sure to seek the consent of your followers before involving them
- Don’t focus on promotional posts only, rather include other educational tips that will improve the knowledge of your followers.
- Dress well when taking selfies and live feeds to look professional always. Check out other direct selling skills that will help boost your sales.
Being creative is key in an industry where several people are doing the same thing. This is also applicable to the direct sales industry.
Even though direct selling is becoming quite common, the above listed direct selling marketing strategies will make you stand out and help you to achieve measurable and real results, translating into more sales and profits.