Top Five Things I Learned About Direct Sales

If I haven’t messaged you yet, you must just be meeting me for the first time. Because, in addition to everything else I like to juggle, I am now a consultant for Beautycounter.

I’ve been working in public relations for almost two decades and thought nothing could be harder than relentlessly pitching the media only to be met with stony silence.

Knowing this is part of why I had always been reluctant about adding a direct sales arm to my business. But after dipping my toe into the right company – and then fully submerging myself – I’ve learned that public relations and direct sales offer similar struggles – but are both worth the rewards.

In my public relations work, I carefully craft a message about a brand I support and make every effort to get media outlets as excited as I am. Sometimes a pitch is super successful, but, due to the increasingly difficult nature of the media, more often than not it takes a tremendous amount of persistence to land a story. And even if that story lands, it’s hard to determine how that press is directly affecting sales.

With direct sales, I can use the tools I honed in public relations to reach people personally, making sure the message is delivered precisely the way I want. Not everyone will be receptive to the message, but at least you can be your own conduit and respond to any inquiries directly. Of course, I’ve been selling my book directly and indirectly for some time, but this is the first circumstance where I can actually see direct revenue and results – which is truly rewarding.

Here are some surprising things I’ve learned with this endeavor:

  1. Acquaintances will often be more supportive than close friends and family.
    First I will say that a few family members and close friends have been super supportive and loving the brand. However, allegiance to you does not always translate to support of whatever you are hocking. (Unless it’s Girl Scout cookies which, apparently, if you don’t buy cases of you are Cruella Deville.)When I first started, I vowed there was no way I would send direct messages to elementary school and camp friends. It would seem awkward and desperate. But then I got over it. And it wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Some people were super receptive. Some ignored me. Only one person was rude and that was someone I was still in touch with. Just frame your message in a respectful and helpful way and you can send it to anyone.
  2. It’s OK to follow up with people who ignore your first message
    When met with silence, I assumed that meant move on. After all, I spent years of pitching media who would constantly reiterate how much they hated being asked “did you get my press release?” Well, apparently that’s not always the case with direct sales. A one month follow-up message to the silent folks brought me two immediate sales and several “thank you for the reminder, I forget everything, so keep bothering me.”
  3. A “no” is better than a non-answer.
    This is another rule that echoes my media experience – I can’t tell you how useful it is to simply get a reply with, “thanks, but this is not for me right now.” So I sincerely apologize to everyone who has ever sent me a personal or professional pitch which I have ignored. I will get better about my “no, thank yous.”
  4. People will give you ridiculous excuses – when there are plenty of perfectly acceptable reasons to say no. Having been the giver of many “nos” myself, I am happy to take and embrace no for an answer. Acceptable answers include but are not limited to “I can’t afford this,” “I love my products and don’t want to switch,” and a simple “I am not interested at this time.” Answers that make my eyes roll are, “I don’t use products” when you recently showed a mutual friend a $500 receipt from Sephora and “No, I will not support your fundraiser but here is some information on how you can support mine.”
  5. Patience is a virtue I was not blessed with – but I am working on it. So much of both PR and direct sales is timing. If someone has just purchased a three month supply of skincare products from another brand, they are not going to be interested in buying anything else for some time. Keep notes on when would be a good time to follow up with people who show interest, but can’t make a purchase at the moment.

Also, no matter how much passion you have for the mission of your products, you have to be able to laugh at yourself a bit. I will always remember this episode of my actual favorite show Designing Women where Charlene becomes a Lady June Belle and the others have to come rescue her. If you have 25 minutes, share it with an MLM friend. And then buy her shit.

So here’s my pitch, what do you think?

As you may have noticed, I’m working with this incredible fellow B Corporation called Beautycounter. I have been working in the natural beauty industry for years, promoting different ways to help people switch to safer products. So it was an ideal fit for me to partner with this skin, body, hair, and cosmetic company creating safer products as well as doing larger advocacy work for broader safety in the personal care industry!

Through the end of March, I am donating 10% of all proceeds to McCall, our neighborhood public school. It’s an extra middle finger to Betsy DeVos, and much-needed funds for my children’s awesome school.

Anyway, please consider me a resource if you have questions about harmful ingredients in cosmetics or need help finding safe skin care and cosmetic products. I’ve included my personalized link below if you want to take a look. I’m happy to answer questions you may have, match colors or share some of my favorites – and you know that I would never steer you wrong. http://www.beautycounter.com/paigewolf


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  • Francis Giron

    “Oh I’m sorry I stopped showering though will you please buy some jewelry from me though”
    This is so spot on! Loved it!

  • You were made for this.

  • paigewolf

    Thanks Betsy!! Have you tried Beautycounter?

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