How an independent Direct Selling contractor contacts his/her customer base is known as the sales method or sales approach. The process of selling goods face-to-face away from a fixed retail store location, and eliminating the need for middlemen– wholesalers, advertisers, and retailers–Direct Selling meets customers wherever they are in the world. The practice is productive in building long-lasting customer relationships and for many Direct Sellers, is a genuine means of growing a flexible, low-cost business.
Direct Selling meets customers wherever they are.
Following are some of the more common Direct Selling sales methods:
– Person-to-person sales: Making individual appointments with customers to deliver presentations, demonstrate new products or organize product tests or fittings.
– In-house presentations or ‘party planning’: Arranging parties and at-home gatherings to present products
– Door-to-door sales: Approaching homes and businesses–via appointment or unannounced–to leave catalogs and offer goods or product demonstrations
– Online shopping: Harnessing the power of e-commerce. Websites and email lists featuring online ordering facilities are used to build customer networks
– Venue sales: Generating new leads and promoting and selling products from event booths or kiosks
– Multilevel or network marketing: Earning commissions both on personal sales and on sales revenue made by sellers recruited into one’s distributor network.
Depending on the company and product sold, Direct Sellers will often combine some of the above approaches when targeting new and existing customers. While most products and services are presented directly to customers in their homes, it is not uncommon for sales meetings to also take place in offices and cafes, instead of in retail outlets.
Direct Sellers will often combine approaches when targeting new and existing customers.
Direct Selling, Literally
Selling products directly to customers, as outlined in through person-to-person selling, party plans and door-to-door sales offers many advantages:
– Explaining or even demonstrating complex products and services
– Establishing initial contact with key and targeted customers
– Building customer rapport and connecting with buyers
– Learning firsthand about what customers want
– Using one’s sales skills and ability to convince customers to make a purchase
– Running one’s business flexibly
Face-to-face Direct Selling also has its disadvantages. Generally speaking, this sales method is not considered cost-effective for low-value sales. (Under this scenario, distance selling, over the internet or using telesales, would be a better value proposition). Finding and reaching new customers could also be problematic.
Travel time and costs can also add up. A traveling distributor might spend most of the day on the road for a single meeting.
The costs of face-to face sales may outweigh the value of an initial order. Expenses are justified, however, if a customer makes several repeat purchases. Storage and delivery logistics are other factors for consideration when looking at a face-to-face approach to Direct Selling.
Despite such disadvantages, industry insiders, and customers at the coal face hope to see the face-to-face aspect of Direct Selling respected and universally recognized for what it is: an excellent means of marketing to consumers.
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