Seven Questions to Ask Before Joining a Direct Sales Company

About a dozen years ago, I was having my first child. Millions of women before me had gone through the process of having a baby, so this should be a piece of cake, right? That’s what I thought. But at my first appointment the doctor asked me if I had any questions. It was almost like the world starting moving in slow motion and you could hear crickets in the room as I drew a complete blank. I could not think of a question to ask. I didn’t even know enough about the process that woman before me had gone through to formulate a single question. It was a little embarrassing and I vowed to never get caught in a situation like that again. Ever been in that place before? I have met loads of new people joining a direct sales company that have had a similar experience. They didn’t know enough about the company or the direct sales experience to even formulate a question. And really, you don’t know what you don’t know.

Maybe you are even in that spot right now. You might be looking into starting your own direct sales business or have signed up already. There are millions of people who have their own direct sales companies and sell products. If millions are doing it, it should be easy, right? Well, like having a baby, there are some questions you can ask to find out what you need to know as you start. And instead of trying to figure them out for yourself, I am going to tell you what you need to know.


Before I dive into the questions to ask, you should know that there are usually a couple of really good places to go to get answers. The first is your upline (the person who’s team you want to join). They have been there and done what you are about to do so they are a great resource. The second is the customer service department at the corporate or home office. There is usually a team of phone or email representatives that work for the company that can help you. And finally, check your starter kit or the corporate website. You will likely find a lot of resources that can answer some questions.


But what is it that you need to know?

Question 1: Find out about the compensation plan. This is basically how you get paid. How much money (usually a percentage) will you make on each product you sell? How often will you get paid for your sales? What other things can you do (like adding people to your team and how much can you earn when those team members begin to sell products and build their own teams?) to then earn even more money or advance in title? Compensation plans can get complex, especially as you get farther along in the business, so just focus on these three questions and then learn more as you go.


Question 2: Does the corporate office have a monthly promotion? Most home or corporate offices provide a monthly special on a product. This is fantastic because you won’t have to come up with your own promotion or sale ideas. They usually provide images and ads that you can use in a newsletter or post on social media. The corporate office will usually announce those sales to you ahead of time so you can prepare and plan how to advertise the promotion. So, find out when you will be told what the sales are and where you can go to get the images or ads to promote.


Question 3: Does your corporate office offer a quick start or fast start program? This a program for a person who has just signed up with the company to help get them started. The company usually gives you an incentive to start working your business. Sometimes it is a financial bonus or free products.  Since you are already planning on selling the products, you should take advantage of the program and get the added bonus! Find out if your company has a program like this and what the requirements are that you must meet to get the bonus or free product.


Question 4: Do you have your own website to sell the products? You may have already seen your upline’s website. If you haven’t take a look. Your upline’s website is probably in an email sent to you or on a business card. Then, find out how to get access to your own website. Find out if the company charges a fee for the website or if they offer it to you for free. You will probably be able to customize an “about me” page so start thinking about things you may want to tell people. A good thing to share on an “about me” page is the reason why you joined the company or your “why” statement.


Question 5: When do new products become available for sale? New products announcements will always give a boost to your sales. Customers love to buy new things and frankly so do the people who sell them. Most corporate offices are on a cyclical business plan, that means they plan to announce new products at a consistent time each year, each quarter or even just once a year. Ask when that is for your company, all companies vary. Often the product may be available to you before it is available to customers. Most companies want you to buy and try and love it before you sell it to someone else. So find out when you can get your hands on new products.


Question 6: Does the company provide training materials for you? Most corporate offices want you to know about the products you are going to sell and they have a training program available to teach you. Your upline may also do team trainings as well. Ask to be part of these trainings. And, of course, you can always come to Decoding Direct Sales to get training. We want ALL representatives at any direct sales company to succeed because this is an important industry. Check in with us often because we provide you training as well.


Question 7: And finally, find out if your company provides events or conventions and conferences. If they do, plan to attend! There is something magical about being around like-minded people, sharing ideas, and receiving in-person training and product announcements from the corporate office. There is usually a cost to attend, but generally you will leave with lots of products, training, swag, and new friends. You may need to pay for travel and lodging but many companies try to secure reduced fares for hotel rooms. So take advantage if they do. Plan to reinvest some of your sales earnings into a ticket to the event. It is worth it to experience an event in person.


These are some of the important questions to ask as you first start. Many of these will give you a jumping off point to ask more questions and get more information when you are talking to your upline or the corporate office. And more information specific to your business will come out as you talk these through.


To make it easy to remember what to ask, here is a free downloadable. Print it off and have it in front of you as you talk to your upline or the customer service department at the corporate office. This is a handy checklist with room for notes to help you know what to ask. Simply provide your name and email and click the button to get your freebie! 


Author: Stacy San Juan is a marketing maven who has worked in the direct sales industry at the corporate level for multiple international companies for nearly a decade. She specializes in marketing, training, and new product development. Because of her roles inside the corporate offices she gets why direct sales companies do what they do. And because she has interacted with thousands of direct sales representatives in her roles, she has seen what works for a representative and how they can get the most from their business experience. Not only does she have a passion for marketing, training, and new products, she also loves her family (her husband and two daughters) and her home in American Fork, Utah. And of course, Netflix, online shopping, and Diet Coke.