The Blind Leading The Blind

Recently someone asked me the question, “What’s the key to successful growth in direct sales?

Now, there are plenty of short, bullet point answers to this question. A few that come to mind:


  • Be consistent
  • Set goals
  • Take action every day
  • Don’t give up


My answer, however, centered on the thing I’m most passionate about (and that I’m known for): Systems.


If you have consistent systems in your business and you can teach them to other people, you’ll be successful. I know this because, when I started my business, I had virtually no systems in place at all. I was a mom of two young boys and I really didn’t know what I was doing. I started out doing three parties per week and very quickly found myself overwhelmed and my life out of balance (and rapidly spinning out of control).


At my first national convention with my company about 9 months after I joined I remember walking the stage again and again at the awards banquet, winning award after award, and honestly not even realizing what I was winning them for. At the end of the night, I remember sitting in my hotel room looking at a stack of awards and the beautiful blue topaz ring I had won (for being #1 in the nation for personal sales within my division) and feeling nothing but sheer panic. Not only did I have no idea what I had done to get there, but I had no idea how to teach others how to do what I was doing. The small team I had built was depending on me to teach them how to succeed and I had no idea what I was doing to succeed myself. How could I possibly teach them? It was literally a case of the blind leading the blind.


What I took away from that experience was the knowledge that I needed to create systems in my business (and soon). Out of that chaotic time my systems were born. I made a lot of changes and I became very aware of what I was doing. Then I broke it down into doable steps and taught those systems to my team.

I’ve thought about what I did all of those years ago to define my systems and I came up with a list for you:


Figure Out Exactly What you do Every Day in Service of Your Direct Sales Business


That means cataloging your activities and making sure that the things that you’re doing are consistent on a daily weekly and monthly basis. Ask yourself “What do I do during my office hours, what do I do during my parties, and what do I do when I’m coaching my hosts that makes me successful?” Then keep a detailed list for at least a week or two so that you are literally writing down your systems as you go.


Make Sure Everything You’re Doing is Duplicatable


This one is very important. Even if you’re doing something that’s bringing you success, if it doesn’t translate easily to someone else in my opinion, you have to stop doing it. If the key to success in our industry is systems then you need to make sure that you can teach your downline your systems. Doing something that’s too difficult to teach isn’t going to work for you long-term.


Be Open to Changing Your Systems


Finally, make sure that what you’re doing is working and if it isn’t, be willing to change it. This can be the most difficult step of all but it’s very important. If you’re a regular reader of this blog you know my motto, “Change is Good.” Take a good hard look at your systems and then be willing to change or even completely eliminate them if they’re no longer serving you.


So, that’s my answer to the key to success in direct sales. Like I said, it’s a loaded question and even my answer requires lots of commitment on your part. 


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Julie Anne Jones is a direct sales corporate consultant, coach, and trainer, and the CEO of Julie Anne Jones, Inc. She is known for her authentic and easy-to-use scripting and specializes in specific systems, language, and tools for success in direct sales. To learn more about Julie Anne and her products and services, and to read her weekly blog posts, visit her at