Direct sales opportunities include those for independent business people to sell a variety of products and services to both businesses as well as individuals. Business-to-business direct sales opportunities often involve the sale of products and services needed by businesses or their employees, and these sales efforts typically take place through phone or in-person appointments. Business-to-consumer direct sales companies, on the other hand, encourage sales representatives to sell their products directly to their social networks through several channels, including paper and web-based catalogs, as well as live demonstrations. A wide variety of products are sold through direct sales methods, but in many cases the products sold lend themselves well to personal sales demonstrations in which a salesperson can provide instruction in the use of the product to the consumer.
For many people, direct sales opportunities provide a way of going into business for themselves without the financial investment usually required to source inventory, develop promotional material, and secure training. For a very small investment, a direct sales representative can begin selling on behalf of a company with an established product line and support services. Although the sales representative typically does not receive normal employee benefits, such as unemployment insurance or health care, she has an unusual amount of freedom to conduct her business as she sees fit, setting her own hours and working free of quotas.
Business-to-consumer direct sales opportunities often enable direct sales representatives to choose one or more different sales methods. One of the most popular is the so-called party plan, in which the representative persuades a friend or family member to host a party at which the products are demonstrated. The representative can show the guests various ways of using the product in hopes that the guests will make the purchase and become regular customers. Other sales options include one-on-one consultations, fundraisers, and both catalog and Internet sales.
In business-to-business direct sales opportunities, a representative may choose to sell a product with which he is personally familiar and feels that he can effectively sell to others. Similarly, representatives of business-to-consumer companies often choose to sell a product after attending a sales demonstration and becoming an enthusiastic user. Some of the most common product lines sold through direct sales include nutritional supplements, cosmetics, and kitchenware. Other successful ventures have included businesses that sell jewelry, clothing, and even food products. Representatives have the chance to receive training in the sale of these products and to develop in-depth product knowledge that can help them assist potential customers in finding products or services that they need.