Published March 26, 2007

Direct Selling Methods: Single Level & Multilevel Marketing

Direct Sales went through important changes in the United States. It first began with Yankee peddlers selling their goods to the colonies. When new business forms developed, peddling declined, and retail outlets came into existence. However, manufacturers were not satisfied with this retail form of business, so they introduced direct sales into their sales force to promote their goods.

The men involved in direct sales were very organized, and they believed they could compete with the retail market, as retail establishments were incapable of providing adequate services and also could not provide good quality. Direct selling took over the retail market on the basis of their product advantages, convenience to the customer, and because they had specialized knowledge of their distributors. Many existing direct sales organizations, including the giant Avon Products, trace their origins from the late nineteenth century.

Direct selling benefits individuals who desire an opportunity to earn an income and also build their own business, and it benefits customers who seek an alternative to regular shopping methods. It also offers an alternative mode of earning to those who want to increase their household income, or to those whose circumstances don't allow them to have a regular part time or full time job. Direct selling companies market their products through the person-to-person method, away from retail locations, through a network of independent sales people.

Some common types of direct selling methods are telemarketing, direct mail, and direct response.

  • Telemarketing - This is one of the chief direct sales tactics prevalent today. There are different methods used to get your sales flowing and also make customers happy to take your calls. You should be very pleasant and stay on the point while making your sales pitch.
  • Direct Mail - This is marketing conducted exclusively through mail. Direct mail may vary in format, but usually conforms to standard mailing requirements. A direct mail package includes a letter, brochure or even both.
  • Direct Response - This is an advertising technique that urges consumers to respond in a certain manner, usually to buy a product, and also provides them the means to do so. A business reply card is a direct response tool.

Direct selling companies include two types: Single level marketing (SLM) or Multilevel marketing (MLM).

  • Single Level Marketing - Rewards the sellers for their personal sales activity. They cannot sponsor any other distributorship or sales personnel. Income comes only in the form of commission or bonus.
  • Multi Level Marketing - In this strategy, the seller recruits other distributors or sales people, and also receives commissions and bonuses on the sales they make. Downliners are necessary to increase the sales force, and thus generate a huge number of sales.

    Direct selling is an art - you have to master it with a lot of dedication. If you want to be successful in this art, you must be humble, sincere, outgoing, persistent and honest, as these are the keys of a successful salesperson. A good sales person should not be afraid to talk to anyone to get him or her interested in the product.

    No one is born a top selling agent or consultant. To be a success in sales, you must learn not only the basic techniques, but also the way these should be applied. It takes consistent effort, vision and also focus. As they say, when you love what you do you will never lose interest; this applies to direct sales. You must believe in what you are selling and be passionate about it, so that your customers feel your excitement and are in turn enthused. By truly caring about your consumer's best interests, you will be able to succeed in direct sales, and build a group of loyal, lifetime clients.