Whether you’re interested in selling products through a direct selling company or purchasing high-quality items through a distributor, aligning with brands who value connectivity, honesty, and integrity is the key to success.
Whether you’re the type to offer trust freely or a bit of a skeptic, it’s nice to have a quick way to evaluate a company and its distributors. You’re looking for product quality, excellent customer service, and lasting relationships.
Taking time and effort to ensure you can trust an organization and its representatives is easier when you know what to look for. Use these tips to get to know the company, its products, and people:
- Look for the human side.
Trustworthy direct sellers are excited to build relationships. They’re authentic, love what they sell, and can easily share details about their company.
Ask yourself these questions to verify a company’s trustworthiness:
- Will they tell their story? Most direct selling companies and distributors have a story to tell—it’s part of building their brand and connecting with customers. Watch for genuine storytellers who will share how the products benefit their lifestyle.
- Do they follow up? Companies and distributors that care will contact after your purchase. You may get a thank you email, order confirmation, or tracking information. A reliable company and its 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 for all retail customers.
- Are they consistent? When the quality of service is consistently good, you’ll want to keep doing business with them. The message about the brand, products, and customer care should be clear, believable, and reliable.
- Find their passion for the products.
One of the first signs of a trustworthy company is a direct selling distributor you can trust. You’ll notice they genuinely believe in their company, and when you research online, you’ll also find positive reviews and recommendations. Once you’ve found these, order a few products at retail price and test them for yourself. If you’re impressed with the quality and customer service, explore more.
- Gauge honesty and transparency.
Modern consumers are smarter and less likely to trust blindly. A direct selling company must be open and honest about their origin story, mission, and products. Distributors should answer questions promptly and clearly. If you’re confused or suspicious, walk away.
A quick online search will verify if the company has solid ethics. Ensure they’re 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 with proven track records of product quality and integrity—like Mary Kay, USANA Health Sciences, and Tupperware. Explore some of these reputable companies here.
- Scrutinize all income claims.
Direct selling offers great earning opportunities, and it’s easy to confirm income claims by looking at a few details. Income from direct selling comes through hard work, relationship building, and consistency—you should expect to earn from the effort you put in. But any “get rich quick” promises are red flags and should be avoided.
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.
Compensation Plan Basics
If you’re ready to sign up, look for a generous but realistic compensation plan. You may earn money in one of the following ways:
Commission. You’ll receive a percentage of what you sell, whether in person or online.
Team commissions. You’ll earn a percentage of your enrolled team members’ sales, providing you’re an active seller. Team commissions are the fastest way to earn.
Bonuses. You may be eligible for “matching” bonuses based on the growth of your team’s sales or “leadership” bonuses. Top earners are usually eligible for elite bonuses.
Incentives. Contests, incentives, and rewards are incredible motivation for some. You could earn exotic trips, valuable prizes, and even extra cash when you meet qualifications.
- Assess the sign-up fees.
An attractive perk of direct selling is starting a business at a low cost. Your initial investment should be reasonable—you’ll likely pay for a starter kit and may want to invest in additional products. Evaluate each charge and be wary of unexplained fees or inventory requirements. You shouldn’t have to carry a large amount of inventory, if any. Expect a couple other business expenses like setting up a home office.
- Consider their customer service.
Outstanding customer service is the secret sauce for building lasting relationships and earning your trust. The most obvious way to measure service is through a return policy and, for sellers, the business offerings.
Return policies vary widely. Policy terms and conditions should be easy to find and understand. A reputable company also provides a customer service number for customers to call with questions and concerns.
If you’re thinking of selling products, look for a company that offers business tools included with your commitment. They should be easy to navigate and use for growing your business. They may include:
A personal website—an online shopping experience with your profile displayed where customers can buy product, and you receive the commission. Some companies also offer an app for on-the-go shopping.
Marketing resources—digital marketing resources like advertisements, email templates, and social media posts boost your online presence and send customers to your online store.
Training—learn about the products, responsibilities, and opportunities available to you.
The Real Deal
A trustworthy company and its distributors 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.
Whether you’re interested in buying or selling, spotting an honest company is simple with a little research. Remember what your grandpa always said, “If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” and “Trust—but verify.”