Direct sales is one way that a company can offer its products to the consumer without using retail or other methods. A direct sales representative is the individual that actually sells the products. His or her duties can vary somewhat between companies, though they typically include finding and following up on leads, qualifying potential customers, and using a number of different sales techniques to convince people to buy certain products. In some cases, these representatives can also be responsible for delivering products to the consumers, though that is often accomplished through mail or shipping companies instead.
Many companies that employ direct sales representatives do so to the exclusion of other channels, such as retail. These businesses are often known as direct sales companies due to the unique way that they do business. Rather than sending product to retail stores or inviting potential customers to come to the business location, representatives are sent out to meet with people at their own homes or places of business. This can place a great deal of focus on these representatives, as they can be responsible for everything from initial customer contacts to selling products and maintaining long term client relationships.
The way that a direct sales representative operates on a day to day basis can vary between companies, though each salesperson will often have a distinct territory. Within this geographical area, he or she can attempt to locate potential customers. Various techniques can be used to find new clients, including cold calling, canvassing, and customer referrals. In some cases, the representative may also be provided with leads that were generated by canvassers employed by the company.
Actual sales can take place one on one or via a method known as the party plan. One on one sales typically involve the direct sales representative making initial contact, qualifying the lead over the phone, and then making an appointment. The representative may then meet with the potential customer anywhere that is convenient in order to show or demonstrate the available products.
The party plan method typically involves selling to a large number of people at once. This method usually begins with the sales representative approaching a friend, acquaintance, or business contact about hosting a party. That social event can then be used to demonstrate the available products to a large group of people, potentially generating sales or new business contacts. In some cases, the direct sales representative may have items in stock for immediate sale, though orders are often placed to have the products shipped.