MLM and Direct Sales

Difference Between MLM And Direct Sales

Understanding the universe of multilevel marketing and direct sales can be challenging. The purpose of this post is to further understand the connections and distinctions between MLMs and direct sales, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Direct selling is an advertising and distribution strategy involving selling items and services through independent dealers or agents. 

Rather than building a retail store, distributors usually engage in individual sales. Many direct sales organizations, if not all, employ a multilevel marketing strategy that encourages sales associates to find and recruit young distributors.

What Exactly Is Direct Sales?

Direct sales, often known as direct selling, is a form of distribution that depends on individual salespeople who offer customers items and products outside a typical store atmosphere.

An orange question mark with a black backgroundUnlike highly paid or recruited salespeople who a company pays to sell goods in a retail outlet or over WhatsApp, these delegates are self-employed and must purchase their advertising material and pieces, establish their timetables, and pay the income tax to both state and federal revenue authorities. 

A producer or wholesaler sells things to an actual shop or an e-commerce corporation, then resells the product to the end client. 

Agents in direct sales do not supply from a physical location; however, many have websites where they promote their services and products or draw sales opportunities.

A direct salesperson often offers items and services to neighbors, relatives, and colleagues. A good representative builds up their consumers through connections and marketing initiatives. Here are some examples of how reps sell to their clientele:

Personal Demos

Many direct sales reps provide clients and consumers with personalized trials. These demos often occur at the customer’s or representative’s residence and allow the consumer to experience the item or watch a session given by the salesperson.

Home Gatherings 

House parties allow individuals to demonstrate to several persons simultaneously while creating a fun social atmosphere.

Brochure And Direct Shopping 

Salespeople can also hand out catalogs or refer consumers to their websites to introduce items and take orders.

Products And Services Available Through Direct Sales

Direct sales are used to sell a variety of items and services, including:

  • Beauty products
  • Kitchenware
  • Food preservation
  • Decor for the home
  • Apparel
  • Items for home hygiene
  • Supplements for your diet
  • Health coverage
  • Services related to utilities
  • Gadgets
  • Journals

Most of the most famous direct sales firms, such as Avon, Watkins, and Shaklee, sell consumable goods, including cosmetic products, grooming, vitamins, and home cleansers. 

These items are often inexpensive to manufacture but may be marketed at a reasonable profit. Furthermore, because these items are consumable, users must repurchase them frequently. This can generate a consistent flow of sales for reps.

What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Direct Sales?

Direct sales offer both advantages and downsides as a company model:



Direct sales allow those who like sales and are passionate about a product order to make money by marketing it to others.

There are no hefty licensing fees, no properties to lease or own, and typical initial expenditures are mainly limited to buying product samples and information and a small quantity of stock in some situations.


Many direct sales options allow reps to begin selling right away. Representatives can acquire product material and a pre-designed web page from the firm, freeing up their time to focus on selling rather than commissioning sales materials or setting up the website.



The direct sales business strategy dates back to the nineteenth century. Many individuals needed easy access to consumer items at the time, especially if they resided in a distant or small town.

Manufacturers saw the benefit of recruiting and supporting a group of independent salesmen who might bring the shop to the customer, collect orders, and then deliver them. 

Nevertheless, customers in the twenty-first century have various consumer products, whether through traditional retail establishments, big-box retailers, or internet merchants. 

Complicates relations with close people

Due to their sales activities, many direct sellers claim that their connections have been affected.

Direct salespeople are urged to offer their goods and services to family and friends first. Unfortunately, this strategy adds a transactional component to relationships, which may be painful for both sides, especially when a potential client refuses to buy an item or arrange a demonstration in her house.

Failure is common

Many individuals who enter direct sales businesses never make any money. This is due to a variety of variables, such as the fact that many persons who become direct sales representatives have no training courses or expertise. 

Furthermore, many individuals prefer to buy through merchants or manufacturers, making it difficult for reps to reach clients.

What Exactly Is Multilevel Marketing?

When an individual representative hires another seller, the finder may be paid a bonus on the sales of that salesperson and any salespeople hired by the recruit. 

What's The Actual Difference Between Multilevel Marketing And Direct Selling?

Direct sales businesses only allow agents to make a percentage on things sold. Others include a multilevel compensation model in which salespeople receive commissions on the orders of the representatives they enroll.

Pyramid Scheme vs. Direct Sales

Many enterprises claiming to be direct sales companies have faced legal measures because they are running an unlawful pyramid scheme. 

People are enticed to “invest” a set amount of money into an institution with the promise of making a profit by hiring new investors who recruit new participants. 

Pyramid schemes are banned in the United States, but that hasn’t stopped certain businesses from functioning as pyramids underneath the pretense of a direct sales organization.

Organizations that have been examined or convicted for conducting a pyramid scheme often have the following characteristics:

Expensive Product 

The product or items offered by distributors in a pyramid are priced higher. For example, a firm may charge three times the price of a bottle of multivitamins that women anticipate spending at a pharmacy. The inflated prices are needed to pay rewards to numerous tiers of sales representatives.

Recruiting Over Sales 

Reputable direct sales businesses assist representatives in generating sales to clients. Unethical businesses prioritize encouraging reps to find new salespeople.

Representatives Urged To Spend More Money On Inventory 

Another aspect of pyramid-style direct sales organizations is that they push representatives to buy vast amounts of merchandise irrespective of how effective the person is in selling to end-users.

A reputable direct sales organization allows representatives to earn a decent living by selling things to others. 

Businesses that do not provide this chance but instead encourage the accumulation of unsold products and constant recruiting may be a pyramid scam, which you should beware of.

The Perks Of Direct Sales Organizations vs. MLMs

A scale to help demonstrate the differences of direct sales and MLMSo, what separates one from the other? Should you launch a direct sales firm or enter an MLM if you want to work in person-to-person sales?

Direct sales and MLM employment have many advantages or at least claim to deliver similar advantages, such as:

  • You can work from home. This is an excellent benefit for new mothers or anybody who wants to work remotely.
  • Freedom. You set your working hours.
  • The entrance hurdle is low. No specific education or expertise is necessary, and getting started is typically rather inexpensive.

However, some advantages are only available through direct selling.

  • There is no need to recruit. The greatest advantage, in our opinion, is that you don’t have to recruit individuals when you join a  direct sales company.
  • There are no strained connections. Similarly, if you do not need to recruit, you’re least likely to stress relationships with colleagues, neighbors, and relatives by convincing them to enter your MLM.
  • Commissions are greater on higher-priced products. Direct sales occupations typically sell high-priced, long-term commodities such as vacuum cleaners or kitchenware. Because the things are more expensive, the seller obtains a greater commission; consequently, they don’t have to try to convince their mother or closest friends to help them make more income.


Direct sales might be a wonderful business possibility for you if you’re ready to put in the effort to offer items or services to individuals other than your acquaintances. You’ll work flexible schedules and serve as your supervisor, but it may take more time to earn money. So be sure to research heavily on both subjects before you get involved/start an MLM or direct sales company, as a lack of knowledge can always lead to disastrous results.