5 Common Mistakes Made By Direct Sales Companies #4

Hiring Inexperienced Staff

One of the problems that I’ve seen with start up companies is the hiring process. Sometimes the company may grow faster than expected, and the owners may make mistakes during the hiring process. At this point, there is not enough time to look for people with experience in direct selling, and you may end up with people who don’t have a clue. Also, to get the most out of your hiring buck, look for employees that can start off as assistants-just a fancy way of saying “jack of all trades.” In other words, these “assistants” can answer the phones, take orders, label products (if they’re handcrafted), create newsletters for the reps; I’ve even seen one of these “assistants” assist in writing the training manual. Basically, if you’re going to hire someone, at least hire someone experienced enough to perform any task that is needed for your company.


5 Common Mistakes Made By Direct Sales Companies #3

vlogo5-2.jpgSorry, that I’ve been away for a couple of days. I know that you have been eagerly anticipating Mistake #3. The last few days have been busy and exciting! For starters, I have a new niece; she was born yesterday, 8 lbs and 4 oz. And, my client at Multicultural Direct Selling Alliance member, Eden Body Works, was on Oprah yesterday! You’ll be hearing a lot more about this company really soon.

Now, back to the subject at hand, Mistake #3.

Do Not! Conduct your Own Conference Calls

Big mistake! Yes, you want to be personal with your representatives, especially during the start up phase. But, being on the calls every week diminishes your authority. It can also cause you, as the owner, to feel so pressured into pleasing your representatives that you end of making bad business decisions. I was on a conference call with one of my clients, and the reps kept asking about the introduction of certain products and other business related matters. My client not only got overwhelmed with having to answer politely, but ended up saying yes to some things that she wasn’t ready to say yes to nor could her company afford it at that time.

I’m not saying to become this impersonal, god of a CEO that totally unaccessible to the people that’s making you money, by no means! But, hiring an expert to conduct the calls or training one of your employees to do so will make your life much easier. Most major companies have persons in charge of training and the owners will usually show up two to three times per year as guest speakers. That way, the reps will get a special treat-the chance to hear the wisdom of the CEO.

Remember, you hold the business plan, and it’s your investment.

Mia Bella Candles A Safe Way to Smell

Contact Consultant
Brandi Tekell

I recently received a couple of votive candles from Brandi in one of my networking groups. I was please , to say the least, since I am a die-hard fan of soy candles now. I have experience in skin care ingredients since I often do product development coaching with bath and body companies. But, when I received a client who had her own candle line, I didn’t realize the difference between soy and paraffin wax candles. Now, I’m hooked- it’s all about the soy, baby!

About Mia Bella
Mia Bella has been around for awhile, so you probably don’t have to worry about this candle company incinerating to ashes and flying off into the wind. I would think that the generous 50% commission might have something to do with it. It’s fairly easy and cheap to get started with them, but you may not be thrilled with the drop ship requirement in order to be a consultant. If you don’t mind spending around $40 per month to be a representative, then you’ll fit in fine with Mia Bella.

I received 2 votives in Tahitian Spiced Vanilla. At first, I really didn’t want to burn it (thank goodness that I had two), but when my in-laws decided to come over for the super bowl party, I had to break out my good stuff. The candle had a beige, caramel color with flicks of shimmer, really beautiful. And the smell is oh so wonderful! In fact, she placed different scents in these small ziplock bags that’s used for jewerly beads. Great tip, direct sellers! She just shaved some of the candle in the little bags, and stapled her business card to about 4 different bags with scents like, Lemon Verbena, Sweet Orange Chili Pepper, and Coconut Lime.

Overall, It’s a good company with great products.

Downfall, the candle melted really fast. It wasn’t as thick and heavy as other soy candles. I’m not sure if it’s mixed with other vegetable waxes or not, but it was different from other soy candles that I’ve burned.

And of course, the $40 a month obligation in order to be a representative; I’m not feeling that either, especially since the company doesn’t allow you to choose your own scent! You have to take what you get! But, if you’re a die-hard candle lover, those monthly packages from Scent-Sensations may be right up your alley. If so, please give Brandi a call.

5 Common Mistakes Made by Direct Sales Companies#2

2. Be In Business At Least 1 Year Before Launching As a Direct Sales company.

A huge mistake is to launch as a direct sales company before you’ve had a chance to be in business first. You can develop your line gradually during that first year, and you’ll be able to work out the kinks beforehand. You don’t need the pressure to fulfill your obligations to your consultants while you’re working out your issues. Major issues such as shipping and suppliers need not to become big issues during the start up phase of your company. You need to know if you’re going to use Fed Ex, UPS, or the Post Office well before you launch as a direct sales company. If you look at major direct sales companies, there is usually a shipping chart on the consultant master order form and on the sales receipts for the customers. Consultants need to know this information BEFORE sign up so that they can decide if they feel that the expense is worth it. Shipping and other internal problems will severely affect your consultant’s business, thus affecting the business of your company.

5 Common Mistakes Made by Direct Sales Companies #1

As mentioned yesterday, I am going to share a few tips to help your company avoid some of the pitfalls that Marlo Quinn and others have made. Over the next 5 days, you see these mistakes addressed.

1. Do Not Allow Your Representatives to Decide How You Will Operate Your Company.

I know that this may not sound reasonable, after all, if it wasn’t for the reps, the company wouldn’t be in business, right? Well, on several conference calls with Marlo Quinn, I did hear the owner say that she did not intend for this to be a direct sales company but more of an affiliate program. But, after several requests from the reps, they turned it into a direct sales company.

Direct Sales companies are different from affiliates because of the FTC regulations and the tax and legal issues involved. An affiliate program does not have the same obligation as a direct sales company, therefore, it’s less hassel and expense. As an affiliate program, you’re basically giving reps commission for promoting your website. But, as a direct sales company, you’re more of a wholesaler but having to be responsiblie for taxes on behalf of the reps and must abide by certain government regulations. So, when Marlo Quinn changed directions mid-stream, they were in another field altogether. If they didn’t get in trouble as soon as they did, they probably would have eventually had they violated FTC standards or other regulations.

So, if you are a direct sales company, make sure that any suggestions made by your reps are entertained, but get with your accountant to make sure that your company can afford to make the transition. Adding new products a couple of months after launching is not a good financial move-no matter how bad the reps want them. This company could not afford to keep up. Remember, you’re the one holding the business plan, not the representatives. When your doors close, they’ll move on to the next opportunity, and you’ll be sitting in the ashes.

Marlo Quinn bites the dust!




Marlo Quinn closes its doors. Sorry about the harsh way of putting it, but I saw it coming. From day one, I saw the possibility of this happening. But, if these companies didn't make the same mistakes over and over again, then my organization (in its start up stage) would have never been born.

I created the Multicultural Direct Selling Alliance as a way for these start up companies to utilize resources on a shoestring budget. My inspiration came from a company, who will remain nameless, that I had signed up with as a consultant about a year ago. They were a start up direct sales company; they had everything together-or so I thought. After seeing the company from the inside, I began to realize that the owners-to put it bluntly-didn't know what they were doing! I offered suggestions based on my 14 years of direct sales experience because I believed in this company, and I loved the products. I wanted it to work. But, my comments were entertained, but wasn't taken very seriously. Then a few months later, I get a letter from the company that they would no longer do business in my state. Uhum, I thought that was odd. Then a few months after that, I could no longer access the website. They had gone out of business! I looked back at the mistakes they made and knew that if they had at least tried to do things differently, then maybe they wouldn't have reached a dismal fate.

I too jumped at the chance to sign up with Marlo Quinn and was an affiliate for awhile. By the way, I did get all of my commissions. But, I didn't get a chance to order anything, thank goodness. There were some things that I observed that could have contributed to their downfall. And for the record, I did offer my consulting services when I first saw these mistakes but was told that they had some of their representatives experienced in direct sales that was helping them. And just to think, I was willing to barter for a consultant kit because I wanted this company to work. Too bad she didn't take me up on that offer; we may still have Marlo Quinn.

Stay tuned over the next day or so to find out the common mistakes that are often made by direct sales companies that don't last.