When we think of direct sales, we all think of sales skills and communication skills, but often we forget about the business skills that can and will help us in direct sales. I'd like to share three business skills I believe every person in direct sales should have.
1. Understanding some basic software programs.
a. I've always used a database. There is no one database I recommend. My personal choice has always been FileMaker Pro by Claris. However any database can store and manipulate data. I use a database to keep track of customers, keep track of leads and keep track of income tax information. In past years, I've kept track of where I've placed ads and the results of those ads.
b. I've always used both Microsoft Word and also Word Perfect. Each of these word processors has different strengths have helped me with different tasks. MSW is wonderful for creating documents and mail merges. Word Perfect is my choice for creating data source documents. I also use these programs to create flyers, create letters, write my newsletter drafts and create forms.
c. I use Microsoft Excel almost daily. In fact, I recently attended a seminar to learn how to better use this program. I use a spreadsheet to keep track of passwords, keep track of my articles, keep track of where my articles have been submitted and much more. I am by no means an expert in Excel, but I do know how to create simple workbooks and then manipulate the data.
2. Being able to create a business plan. I've always equated a business plan with a road map. In order to get from point A to point B, you must know where you're going and how to get there.
I have folks come to me often and say "I really want to have a large customer base" yet when I ask them about their plan, they come up empty. It is absolutely wonderful when customers find us and come to us unexpectedly but the vast majority of the time we'll need to find them and bring them to us. We need a marketing plan to accomplish that.
We also need a business plan to be able to see how much money we'll need in a month or a year to run our businesses. One of the things I love most about direct sales is that it is a fraction of the cost of running a franchise or retail business. However, there are still expenses in running a direct sales business. A business plan helps us know exactly what we can expect to spend. You can find basic business plan templates online through a web search.
3. If you are in business, you must have some basic time management skills. For many of us, we have spouses, children, an outside job and even some personal hobbies and interests. Time management is crucial in succeeding in direct sales.
If you want tips on time management, I strongly suggest you find a few books, a seminar, or even a few articles. I personally use day planners. I've used them for over 25 years and for me they are a wonderful fit. I know others love the calendar that comes with Microsoft Outlook. Others find a to-do list to be the best fit in time management. Regardless of the system you use, you'll need some basic time management skills.
I believe with these 3 basic business skills, you'll set yourself up for success in direct sales.