Most of us have had the experience—we’re innocently scrolling through social media and see a friend’s post, “Have you heard about my new direct selling opportunity?” Generally, we don’t trust friends and family who try to sell us something. We think they care more about their business than their relationship with us. Is it possible they can care about both? Sometimes.
Regardless of how you know any salesperson, honesty and integrity are essential to forming a trusted relationship—especially with someone representing a direct selling company. With a few tips, it’s easy to spot those interested in your well-being and building long-term relationships versus those who are trying to bring in a buck at your expense.
1. Look for the human side.
Your friend in direct selling will value the relationship over the sale. You’ll feel their authenticity and their excitement for what they’re selling. They won’t try to push their business opportunity, but they’ll tell you all the nitty gritty details if you’re interested.
Ask yourself these questions to verify your trust:
- Will they tell their story? Telling a heartfelt, true story is part of building their brand and allows them to connect with you. Watch for genuine storytellers who’ll offer personal details about how certain products benefit their lifestyle.
- Do they follow up after the purchase? Both representatives and companies who care will contact you after your purchase, whether through a thank you email, order confirmation, or tracking information. Authentic, trustworthy representatives want you to know they appreciate your business.
- Do they care about your satisfaction? Nobody likes to be ghosted. You should feel heard, understood, and cared about—without exception. If you have a problem with something you purchased, the return policy should be convenient, clear, and generous. For example, USANA Health Sciences offers a 100%, unconditional, 30-day money-back guarantee to all retail customers.
- Are they consistent? If a company has consistently good service, you’ll keep doing business with them. Their message about the brand, products, and customer care should also be clear, believable, and reliable.
2. Find their passion for the products.
A friend you can trust in direct selling will genuinely believe in the products and the company. They’ll want to tell you what they buy and how it’s served them. They’ll also have recommendations for you while pointing out the benefits. But don’t stop there, look for reviews online. Order a few products at retail price and test them for yourself. If you’re impressed with the quality and customer service, explore more.
3. Gauge honesty and transparency.
If your friend is more of an acquaintance, you’ll want more reassurance about the business they’re in. When you ask them about the direct selling company background, mission, and products, you should get a clear and believable answer. If you’re confused or suspicious, walk away.
A quick online search will verify if the company has solid ethics. Ensure the company is a member of the Direct Selling Association (DSA), which “promotes, protects, and polices the direct selling industry while helping companies and their sellers be successful.” The DSA monitors over 200 companies. Many have proven track records of product quality and integrity—like Mary Kay, USANA Health Sciences, and Tupperware. USANA’s core values are central to everything they create and distribute—Excellence, Community, Integrity, and Health.
You can explore more of these reputable companies here.
4. Question income claims.
If you’re interested in selling products, direct selling offers some great earning opportunities. Income requires hard work, relationship building, and consistency—you should expect to earn from the effort you put in. So confirm a company’s income claims early on, and don’t trust an opportunity promising you’ll “get rich quick.”
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) strictly regulates income claims from direct selling companies. Claims must be supported by data and included in an income disclosure statement, which should be easy to find online.
5. Assess the sign-up fees.
If you’re ready to join your friend’s business opportunity, ask about the sign-up investment. An attractive perk of direct selling is a low startup cost—you’ll likely pay for a starter kit and may want to invest in additional products. But be wary of unexplained fees or inventory requirements. You shouldn’t have to carry a large amount of inventory, if any. Plus, expect a couple other business expenses like setting up a home office.
6. Consider their customer service.
Even when dealing with a direct seller you know, sometimes customer service depends on what the company allows. The most obvious way to measure a company’s service is through a return policy. Policy terms and conditions should be easy to find and understand. A reputable company also provides a customer service number you can call with questions and concerns.
The Real Deal
Ultimately, you need to go with your gut when it comes to dealing with a direct selling friend. But when a direct seller and their company are trustworthy, they have nothing to hide. They’ll show genuine concern for your satisfaction, offer a fair return policy, and give you a clear path to how you’ll earn by selling products.