Maybe you were already considering a side hustle. Or perhaps recent events have shown you how critical a work-from-anywhere business could be to your family’s stability. Whatever the reason, you’ve been looking at a few direct-selling opportunities and trying to decide which offers the best fit for your lifestyle—and the biggest opportunity.
Before you sign up, it’s essential to know what you’re signing up for. If you’ve tried and loved the company’s products, that’s a great start. Now it’s time for a deeper dive. What will it take to be successful if you decide to join? An experienced sales rep that wants to sponsor you should be able to give thorough answers to each of these six questions.
1. How passionate are you about the product you’re selling and the values of the company behind it?
Your Sponsor’s passion likely is what drew you to consider joining their team, so this might seem like a softball question. But asking specific questions about their experience with the company and the products can help you assess their experience level, commitment to growing their business, and the authenticity of their claims. Ask how long they’ve used the products and what kinds of experiences they’ve had with the company. Have they ever attended an in-person company event or met any of the leadership? Do they have examples of how the company demonstrates its values?
2. How does the compensation plan work?
Every company’s compensation plan is different, but most work using volume, levels, and ranks. Your Sponsor should be able to tell you the basic commission rate, when you get paid, and also explain what you would earn from some example sales. He or she can also walk you through how much you’d need to sell to hit specific income targets.
In most direct-sales companies, your potential for earning increases as your rank increases. A well-designed compensation plan builds in rewards for helping each other succeed. Instead of everyone looking out only for themselves, this kind of compensation encourages cooperation, team spirit, and a stronger sense of community among sales reps.
Some companies also offer trips, prizes, and cash bonuses for hitting specific sales goals. Ask your rep if they have ever earned one of these incentives and if the reward was as good as promised.
3. What kind of support and training can I expect from you? From the company?
Not only will you need to understand how you’ll earn money, you’ll need to learn about the products and policies to be an effective salesperson. Ask your Sponsor what kind of resources the company offers to get new reps up to speed and how much time they’ll be able to spend answering your questions or coaching you.
Some sponsors are happy to answer your call. Others have created startup guides or private social media accounts to provide their team with ongoing support, training, and motivation. To avoid disappointment and lost time, it’s vital to get an idea of how much you’ll need to do on your own, and how much your Sponsor will guide you.
4. How have you been successful? Do I need to follow the same path to have your support?
Marketing and sales strategies vary significantly from one brand to the next and from one rep to the next. Ask your Sponsor what her winning strategies have been. If those steps are things you can’t picture yourself doing (maybe you can’t leave home to do in-home parties) ask about alternatives.
Get a picture of your Sponsor’s typical daily tasks as well as any weekly or monthly recurring tasks. Understanding the habits that have made any mentor successful is often the fastest way to model their success even if your methods differ.
5. What are the company and team culture like?
We all like the idea of earning more, but money can quickly take a back seat if our experience with a company makes us miserable. Ask about the culture of the company and of the team you’re thinking of joining. Some questions to consider are:
- What are the company’s values, and who leads it?
- How do they treat their sales team? And their employees?
- What is the team dynamic? Is there a high level of cooperation and encouragement, or does competition drive it?
- How much participation is expected to be part of the team?
- What percentage of new team members are still active after a year?
6. Who Handles Inventory, Shipping, and Customer Service?
It’s critical to know if your Sponsor expects you to stock inventory to be successful. It’s far safer for your bank account to look for companies that let your customers order directly while giving you the commission credit. But there’s more to consider:
- Will I have to be involved in entering every order?
- Will my customer’s order be shipped directly to them, or will I have to ship/deliver it?
- What if there’s a problem? Does the company have a customer service team my clients can contact to process returns and exchanges?
- Where can I read up on the returns and warranty policies before I start selling?
7. Will marketing resources be available to me?
Each company will have a different policy on rep websites, marketing literature, and social media. Usually, these policies are in place to protect their brand’s consistency and integrity, but they may conflict with your vision of how you planned to market your new business. To make sure you’re prepared, ask about the marketing resources your Sponsor uses and which he or she has created on their own.
- If time is a high priority, look for a company that offers ready-built resources for low fees.
- If you have an abundance of time and creativity, ask to review their policies on creating your own materials or website.
Millions worldwide have found success in direct sales. But, just as success doesn’t mean the same thing from one person to another, neither are all direct sales opportunities the same. To find your success, look for a company with products you believe in, values that align with yours, and a sales model fits your lifestyle. Then, seek out a sponsor you would enjoy having as a mentor and start learning everything you can.