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Motivation in Direct Sales- Part 1

Article by: Wendy Green
December 10, 2014

Motivation is what compels some people to hop out of bed every morning eager to start the day. A lack of it makes others dread the sunrise and desire to forever remain within the confines of their bed. A solid, positive drive makes some people happy to live each day but its reverse leaves others wishing they were dead.

So what exactly is motivation and how can we inspire it in others?

Business Dictionary defines motivation as “Internal and external factors that stimulate desire and energy in people to be continually interested and committed to a job, role, or subject, or to make an effort to attain a goal.”

According to the Direct Selling Association, the industry experienced a surge of new direct selling independent representatives at the height of the recession. “The size of the direct selling sales force increased 5.7% to 16.8 million in 2013, a record high.”

What’s the motivation for these millions to pursue network marketing? Research shows there are three basic reasons people seek careers in the multi-level marketing industry: money, product appeal, and professional recognition.


When compared with other companies, MLMs offer a strong financial motive—limitless income. A salary often represents the maximum profit earned from doing one’s job. MLM compensation plans are designed to reward any effort whether big or small. The saying, “Do a little, earn a little. Do a lot, earn a lot” often rings true.

MLM blogger Brad Campbell shared that his main motive for pursuing a career in the network marketing industry was money.

“I saw that the top leaders were making anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000+ per month, and that’s all I needed to see. I didn’t go around asking those leaders how likely I’d be to make that much. Or what my chances were. That’s nuts—my chances were whatever I wanted them to be…and I decided on 100%,” he said.

Product appeal

Dana Lombardi is a Presidential Diamond Executive Distributor with It Works! Global. She was attracted to the company after using the product at a party.

“I…had amazing results and knew that if this product does on everyone else what it just did on me, I had found a gold mine. And I was right! I got started by ordering my business kit and telling everyone I knew about this product. I hosted three launch parties at my home and it’s history from there,” she said.

While enthusiasm for the product is a draw to the industry, understanding the product results in the soonest, greatest success. In her article, “Understanding The Product Creates Sales Success,” self-proclaimed sales expert Wendy Connick says true success in sales lies in the difference between knowledge of a product and understanding it.

“The best way to make the leap between knowledge and understanding is to use the product yourself. If your company gives you access to your products for free, then by all means take as many as you can and use them as much as possible. If you can also get copies of your competitor’s models, so much the better—you’ll be able to explain exactly how your product is different and (hopefully) better,” she said.

While enthusiasm for a product can attract people to selling it, the motivation to continue is more likely to be maintained with true understanding of the product which increases the effectiveness of the sales effort itself.

Professional recognition

Shark Tank entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran shared how the offer of a gold ribbon inspired one of her new salesmen to achieve outstanding results. She put the gold ribbon on display and it inspired many to strive to follow his successful example.

Let me tell you, [recognition] drove the sales force to think differently. And so…I learned to use recognition again and again to build people up,” she said.

Corcoran also shares the story of one of her top sellers who had a huge display case in her living room that featured several cheap gold-plated trophies she’d earned through professional efforts. Those trinkets of recognition were prized possessions and took up the center of her living space in her penthouse apartment.

In a recent TED talk, Duke psychology professor Dan Ariely said that the ability to see progress was an extremely important motivator.

“Ignoring the performance of people is almost as bad as shredding their effort in front of their eyes,” he said.

Successful network marketing requires regular motivation. In Part 2, we’ll discuss the way network marketers can avoid the pitfalls of motivation challenges.

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Wendy Green

Wendy Green is the new associate editor of! She will be helping to provide new, original content to our website.

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