As a business, the only way to be successful is to make sales. The more sales, the better. Therefore, companies are always trying to figure out ways to make more sales, both directly and indirectly. Direct sales means that you sell the product or service directly to the customer. Indirect sales means that you sell the product to someone else who will get it to the consumer.
For example, Nabisco sells to Walmart and Walmart sells to you. So, in a way, one is a business to customer and another is business to business. Another example which will be familiar to online business owners is recommending affiliate products to people who have purchased one of your products directly.
The best sales strategy includes both direct and indirect sales methods. Let’s look at some examples of how you can incorporate both methods.
- Sell Your Own Products Directly
Let’s say you sell information products. You have a product A that you market to customers. Once they buy it, they get on your email list. You’ve identified a few affiliate products that this audience will be able to use. For example, let’s say your information product is "How to Build a Website". Now you promote various website builders and WordPress plugins to them, or you’ve partnered with another company to build the websites for the readers of your information product.
2. Upsell More Products to Customers
During direct sales, maybe you sold a product to someone directly called "How to Lose Weight & Get Healthy". So now you promote a coaching program directly. Within the coaching program, you recommend your favorite exercise tracker software, special cooking equipment, vitamins and other products from a third party company.
3. Sell Your Own Service Directly
A lot of people think service providers can only do direct sales. After all, they perform services directly for the customer. But, they can get involved with indirect sales by offering solutions.
For example, let’s say you’re a virtual assistant for a life coach. You notice that she’s spending a lot of time and effort creating her own lead magnets, graphics, and her project management is suffering. You can recommend to her something like JigsawBox.com and make a commission. This is especially awesome if you can set it up for her. You’ll make money setting it up and residual income from her monthly fee.
4. Upsell More Services to Customers
Another example that demonstrates using both direct sales and indirect sales to increase your bottom line is that your customer buys ten hours a month from you (using the VA example) and you offer them an upsell to get five more hours at half price. They take you up on that offer and in your new duties during that five extra hours, you notice that they really need a membership option on their site to make everything work better. You’re an affiliate for aMember.com so you recommend and they purchase it.
5. Recommend Someone Else’s Product to Your Customers
Essentially, when you recommend someone else’s products or services to your customers, you’re engaging in indirect sales. This is an excellent way to create more income for you and to even learn more skills if you want to offer support to them for purchasing through your link.
It’s clear that most business owners can benefit from engaging in both direct and indirect sales. But, not all business owners need to engage in direct sales. You can start an entire business niche where you recommend only other people’s products and services as a consultant and as an affiliate.