Most experts would agree that network marketing, multi-level marketing, and social marketing are all a part of the direct selling concept where products or services are offered on a one-on-one basis and sold directly by the salesperson to the consumer.

However, the two approaches offer very different benefits to the salesperson.

Direct sales companies are known as “seller-based,” which means they give more income to the distributor when he or she makes a sale at retail. Direct sales companies usually market higher-ticket, one-time-sale, durable items such as vacuum cleaners, air and water filters, cookware, home accessories, etc.

With the direct sales business approach, the majority of the available profit designated for the salesperson’s commission goes to the person who makes the retail sale.

That person usually earns a significantly higher percentage of the designated sale commission than does the sales management that may be supervising his or her work.
Unless they have been appointed as sales managers, successful direct sales people are paid based on their personal sales rather than on building an organization of other salespeople. And since most products marketed by direct selling companies tend to be durable goods rather than consumable goods, there usually is limited potential for residual income. Obviously, there are exceptions, such as the residual income experienced in insurance sales, but usually, when the sale is consummated, the salesperson is moving on to the next person and potential sale.

Immediate commission checks are usually higher than in network marketing.

If you want to build a long-term residual income, however, you should consider network marketing.

Network marketing companies typically offer retail commissions that are much lower, since more of the available commissions are directed toward bonuses paid to various upline management people in the sponsor tree.

In turn, you can also sponsor a downline of distributors that not only sell but also consume products, making them your customers as well. If the company has high-quality products that are fairly priced and offer obvious benefits, the distributor has the real opportunity of building a “lifetime customer.”
Ongoing customer use creates residual income. Residual income is money you earn from your initial sales and reorders and the sales and reorders made by those you recruit and the ones they recruit, etc. This process continues to generate earnings for you long after your day-to-day attention to the “sale” or your sponsoring efforts has ended.

Consumable products such as vitamins, personal care, cosmetics, etc. are more compatible with the network marketing business model, since reorders create the residual income driving the program.

In order to simplify the network-marketing model they use such features as:

  • Preferred Customer Programs
  • Auto Ship Programs
  • Loyalty Customer Programs
  • Retention Programs
  • Advanced Compensation Plan Designs

We have found it easier to attract people to a network marketing opportunity for a number of reasons.

Residual income is one; here are some others:

  • It usually costs less to get involved. Other than samples of the products and an at-cost distributor kit, there is usually no investment. Customer orders can be drop-shipped by the company, and customers can usually reorder company direct or on the company Web site with the designated bonuses going to the person that made the original sale. Consequently, this doesn’t require major inventory. And that means …
  • More people can become involved, since the concept embraces the part-time salesperson along with the full-time career builder.
  • There’s potential for exponential growth. Distributors can leverage their energy and efforts through a small number of people they train who manage to in turn train and manage their own people and so on. In this way, sales create bonuses for the sponsor and upline.