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What is Direct Sell | Definition, Examples and Best Strategy | 2024 Reveal


Astrid Tran 24 December, 2023 9 min read

What is Direct Sell? When a company or a person sells products or services directly to customers, without going through a store or a middleman, we call it by several names, such as direct sell, direct selling, or direct sales. It has proven to be a successful business model for many companies for centuries.

So why is it so successful? In this article, there is a comprehensive insight into the art of direct sell, and an ultimate guide to becoming excellent direct sellers. 


Is direct sale same as B2C?Yes
Another name of Direct Sale?In-person sale, D2C (Direct to Customer)
Who invented Direct Sale methodology?Rev. James Robinson Graves
When was Direct Sale methodology invented?1855
Overview of Direct Sell
What is direct sell
What is direct sell ? | Source: Shutterstock

Table of Contents

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  1. Type of sale
  2. B2C sales
  3. Enterprise sales

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What is Direct Sell?

Direct selling, a direct-to-consumer strategy (D2C), means selling directly to end customers without intermediaries such as retailers, wholesalers, or distributors. A company or a salesperson contacts potential customers directly and offers them products or services, often through in-person demonstrations, home parties, or online channels.

However, direct sell has been controversial and criticised over the years. It raises a concern that some companies may operate as pyramid schemes, where the primary focus is recruiting new members rather than selling products or services.

What is direct sell
What is direct sell | Source: iStock

Why Is Direct Sell Important?

Direct sales is an important distribution channel for many companies both domestic and international, and here are some reasons why it is extremely important.

Personalized Service

It provides personalized service to customers, as salespeople often demonstrate products and services to the customer in person. This allows customers to get a better understanding of the product and its features, and salespeople can provide recommendations based on the customer’s specific needs.


These sales techniques also help companies avoid the costs associated with traditional advertising, such as TV, print, and radio ads, and can instead focus on building a relationship with their customers through direct selling.


It also allows salespeople to work on their own terms, giving them flexibility in terms of working hours and the amount of effort they put into the business. This can be an attractive option for people who want to earn income while maintaining a work-life balance.

Job Creation

Many job opportunities have been created in direct sales businesses for people who may not have formal education or training. It provides them with a platform to earn income and build a business, regardless of their background or experience. Nu Skin and Pharmanex brands, with their products sold in 54 markets through a network of approximately 1.2 million independent distributors.

Customer Loyalty

This method can lead to customer loyalty, as salespeople often build personal customer relationships. Customers are more likely to buy from someone they trust and have a good relationship with, which can result in repeat business and referrals.

What Are Examples Of Top Direct Sellers?

What are examples of direct distribution? Direct sell has a long and rich history, dating back to the earliest days of commerce. The practice of selling goods directly to consumers without the use of intermediaries such as retailers or wholesalers can be traced back to ancient times, when traveling merchants would sell their wares directly to customers in marketplaces and on the streets.

In the United States, the term became popular in the late 1800s, when companies such as Avon and Fuller Brush began using this sales technique as a way to reach customers who were difficult to reach through traditional retail channels. These companies would employ salespeople, known as "Avon Ladies" or "Fuller Brush Men," who would go door-to-door selling products directly to consumers.

In the 1950s and 60s, D2C context experienced a surge in popularity as new companies such as Amway (focused on health, beauty, and home care products) and Mary Kay (which sells cosmetics and skincare products) were founded. These companies pioneered new sales and marketing techniques, such as multi-level marketing, that allowed salespeople to earn commissions not only on their own sales, but also on the sales of others they recruited into the business.

Nowadays, Amway, Mary Kan, Avon and a young company like Nu skin enterprise, are among top 10 direct sales companies in the world. For example, Avon Products, Inc reported their annual sales worth $11.3 billion and has over 6.5 million sales associates. They are the best examples of successful direct sales business even though this sales technique has undergone significant transformations in recent years, largely due to advancements in technology and changes in consumer behavior.

What are the three types of direct sell?

Companies might use certain sales approaches to broaden their market and target more customers. There are several types of direct sales that companies commonly use:

Single-level direct selling involves a salesman selling products directly to customers and earning a commission on each sale. This is a simple and straightforward approach, often used by those who want to earn extra income.

Party plan direct selling refers to a method of hosting parties or events where a direct seller presents products to a group of potential customers. This approach can be effective for products that require demonstrations or explanations.

Multi-level marketing (MLM) focuses on building a team of salespersons who earn commissions not only on their own sales, but also on the sales of the people they recruit. MLM can provide opportunities for growth and passive income, but has also been subject to controversy and criticism. The top two MLM global markets United States and China, following by Germany and Korea.

What is direct sell
What is direct sell - MLM approach | Source: Software suggest

5 Keys to Successful Direct Sell

Running a direct selling business in today's competitive market can be challenging, but here are some tips to help increase your chances of success:

Focus On Customer Satisfaction

In today's ever-changing market, customer satisfaction is key to retaining and building a loyal customer base. Providing excellent customer service, timely delivery, and high-quality products can help differentiate your business from competitors.

Companies might offer customers some incentives like hosting an online takeaway event. Customize your direct online sales via online event with AhaSlides Spinner Wheel, you can engage with your customers and potential customers, showcase your products and services, and increase sales for your direct selling business.

Related: Prize Wheel Spinner – Best Online Spinner Wheel in 2024

Embrace Technology

Utilize technology to streamline your operations, improve communication with customers and team members, and stay up-to-date on industry trends. This includes using social media, e-commerce platforms, and other digital tools to expand your reach and grow your business.

Offer Unique Products Or Services

Stand out from the competition by offering unique products or services that meet a specific need in the market. This can help you attract new customers and retain existing ones.

Develop A Strong Brand

A strong brand can help differentiate your business and build trust with customers. This includes creating a memorable logo, developing a consistent brand message, and establishing a strong online presence.

Invest In Your Team

Your team of direct sellers is critical to the success of your business. Invest in their training and development, provide ongoing support, and recognize their achievements to keep them motivated and engaged.

If you want your team members to be more engaged and interactive in training sessions, why not add live polls, quizzes, and games into your presentation. AhaSlides comes up as the best solution for supporting virtual training.

Related: Ultimate Training and Development in HRM | Everything You Need to Know in 2024

What is direct sell training
What is direct sell training | AhaSlides quiz template

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it direct sales or direct sales?

"Direct sell" and "direct sales" can refer to selling products or services directly to consumers.

What is direct selling to customers examples?

In-person sales, in which salespeople visit customers in their homes or workplaces to demonstrate and sell products. Examples include Tupperware, Avon, and Amway.

How do I become a direct seller?

If you're interested in becoming a direct seller, you can find world's top direct selling companies to start. Make sure their company culture aligns with your values and interests. 

What is the skill of direct sales?

Effective communication is essential for understanding customer needs, presenting the benefits of products or services, and building trust with potential customers. A skilled direct seller must listen actively, ask relevant questions, and respond appropriately to customer inquiries.

What are direct sales and indirect sales?

Direct sales involve selling products or services directly to customers through face-to-face interactions or online sales. On the contrary, Indirect sales involve selling products or services through intermediaries, such as retailers, wholesalers, or agents.

Why is direct selling good for business?

It allows for a personalized approach to sales, is cost-effective, allows for faster feedback and market research, and provides opportunities for entrepreneurship and flexible work arrangements.

Is direct selling a marketing strategy?

Yes, it can be considered a marketing strategy as it involves selling products or services directly to customers, often through personalized and targeted approaches, to build customer relationships and increase sales.

What is direct sales vs MLM?

Direct sales is often associated with multi-level marketing (MLM) or network marketing, where salespeople earn commissions not only from their own sales but also from the sales made by the people they recruit into the sales force. 

What is online direct selling?

Online sales: Companies sell products or services directly to consumers through their own websites or social media platforms. Examples include LuLaRoe, doTERRA, and Beachbody.

Bottom Line

Today, direct sell remains a thriving industry, with billions of dollars in annual sales and millions of people employed as direct sellers worldwide. While the methods and technologies used in these sales tactics have evolved over time, the basic concept of selling goods and services directly to customers remains the core value of the business.

Ref: Forbes | The economic times | The Wall Street Journal | Software Suggest