Fact Checked

What Are the Different Types of Direct Sales Opportunities?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen

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.

A one-on-one consultation is a popular type of direct sales opportunity.
A one-on-one consultation is a popular type of direct sales opportunity.

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.

Direct sellers may sell beauty products.
Direct sellers may sell beauty products.

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.

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Discussion Comments


@Moldova - I think that many people that go and start a direct sales business may not have realistic expectations regarding their earnings.

Most people make very little money and those that do well usually create marketing plans and network at most events in which their typical customers would normally attend.

Getting your first customers and setting up your first direct sales party can be a challenge which is why the marketing plan helps because the more people you see the more potential sales and potential recruits you will get.


@Sneakers41 - I agree and I wanted to add that you could also look at the direct sales association website in order to find the right company for you. A lot of these companies offer training support and seminars to help their representatives perform better so you are really not alone.

Most of them also offer sales incentives like cars and trips for the best performers so it does give you something to shoot for.


@Comfyshoes - I think you are being too hard on yourself. I think you could just work on your personal sales and not worry about building a team if that makes you more comfortable.

The only thing is that you do earn a percentage of your team’s sales so having a team would bring you a lot more money. But there are a lot of people that work for multiple direct sales business opportunities so they can enjoy the discount and not recruit additional representatives.

The important thing is look for a product line that you would buy yourself because it makes the sales pitch at the direct sales party easier because you would tell your attendees what attracted you to the line and that should help you break the ice a little.


I wanted to add that I always thought that a direct sales business would be really fun, but I was always intimidated by the direct sales recruiting that usually follow most of the compensation plans.

It seems like the more people you have on your team the more money you earn, but I don’t where I would start in terms of the recruiting. I think that am a little shy for this business because you really have to have a thick skin because I am sure there is a lot of rejection.

I think it is great for people that do well but I don’t think I could.

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    • A one-on-one consultation is a popular type of direct sales opportunity.
      By: WavebreakMediaMicro
      A one-on-one consultation is a popular type of direct sales opportunity.
    • Direct sellers may sell beauty products.
      By: sherrie
      Direct sellers may sell beauty products.