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Finding Success in Independent Sales

Updated on September 30, 2012

Direct Sales

Most of us have worked as sales clerks at one time or another during our lives.  Many people spend entire careers working at retail stores.  Retail sales clerks generally are paid by the hour, and punch a time clock.  Hourly salaries are sometimes low, and bigger paychecks are dependent on commissions from sales made.

Direct sales are different.  Usually, paychecks are totally dependent on sales commission.  Sales are made independently.  There is no time clock to punch, and selling is done person to person, or person to business.

The success you achieve is up to you...

Do Your Homework

Read everything you can, before choosing a new company.
Read everything you can, before choosing a new company.

Choose the Right Company

If you are searching for a sales representative position, do your homework.  Do not just take the first thing that pops up.  While it is often difficult to find a classic white collar career position, manufacturer's rep. positions, and direct selling opportunities abound.

In a manufacturer's representative position, you will work most often for commission only.  You might have only one or two products to sell, and a specific market to target.  If you choose the right product, you can make a very good living.  If you don't, it's on to the next thing.

With direct selling, you are usually an independent business owner.  You pay a fee to join the company, and get a kit of products to sell.  Examples of this are Avon, Tupperware, and Amway.

Develop a Plan

Every commissioned sales representative needs a plan.  You might be working for yourself, your father, or be part of a large company, .... you still need a plan.  Even though you are not officially punching a time clock, you will probably find yourself putting in many hours each day.  The hours you choose to work can be more flexible, though.

Make a list each evening of what you plan to accomplish the next day.  Check off each task as you complete it.  Keep all your contacts, and phone numbers organized.  Jot down notes about your contacts after you meet, so you will remember something about them when you meet again.  Keep a calendar handy, whether digital, or handwritten.

Set weekly, monthly, and yearly goals.

Mirror - Mirror

Be Professional

At home, you might enjoy lounging around in sweat pants, or pajama jeans.  If you are meeting clients, though, it is time to shine.  It doesn't matter if you are twenty, or forty, or sixty, you need to look the best that you can.  Your hair should be neatly trimmed, your clothes stylish, your nails clean and short.  Confidence in yourself will help you to make sales.

If you are making phone calls, work to develop a professional phone voice.  If you are working from home, make sure your television is off, and the dog is in another room.

Know Your Products

This seems obvious, but enthusiasm can sometimes trigger us to jump in too soon.  Study everything that is involved with your products.  A pharmaceutical representative has to be able to discuss side effects with doctors and nurses.  A person selling hospital beds has to know how to work them.  If you are selling a computer program, you better be able to teach the clients how to use it.  If you are selling insurance, you need to know all about the different plans and benefits.

Knowledge of your products, especially if you truly BELIEVE in the products, will always help you to boost your sales.

Radiate Enthusiasm

Enthusiasm is contagious. If you are happy, people will enjoy talking to you. If you meet clients, and act unfriendly, sad, and depressed, they are not going to want to talk to you for long.

As I said before, it is very important to believe in what you are selling. You should have a personal testimony related to the product. Choose carefully what you decide to sell.

Below are some links to a few sales opportunities.


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    • susansisk profile image

      susansisk 4 years ago from Georgia, USA

      Thank you for reading, and your comments. I agree, there are lots of good products out there. I have seen some of the best stuff at small craft fairs.

    • Lilleyth profile image

      Suzanne Sheffield 4 years ago from Mid-Atlantic

      Great hub ! I very much enjoyed being a gift sales rep with about 20 lines until I was injured in a car accident which negatively affected my feelings about being out on the highway. If I ever overcome my fear of driving long distances I might start gift repping again as it is so enjoyable finding lines and seeing the results when a retailer tells you how happy they are after a new product flies off their shelves. There are tons of creative people with products they need a rep to sell. The Internet may have hurt us "road warriors" but I still think showing up with a WaWa coffee in hand for a client is much more enjoyable than ordering things you cannot see and touch. I'm old school!

    • susansisk profile image

      susansisk 5 years ago from Georgia, USA

      I have changed companies since writing this. Sometimes I feel that I work more now than when I had a regular job. Good luck with your Avon sales!

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 5 years ago from USA

      Hi susansisk

      This is a great article. Thanks for writing. Yes, remaining enthusiastic is very important. I see you've listed Avon. That's what I sell:).


      Journey *