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Direct Seller

Direct sellers demonstrate and sell products such as books, candles, clothing, cookware, cosmetics, craft supplies, gourmet food, home care items, toys and vitamins.

  • Avg. Salary $34,501.00
  • Avg. Wage $22.13
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 4,700
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Product Demonstrator, Salesperson

NOC & Interest Codes
The Direct Seller is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Direct Distributors
NOC code: 6623.1
METHODICAL

Interest in copying information to present sample products and catalogues, and to explain desirable qualities of products

SOCIAL

Interest in persuading customers by soliciting sales of goods and services directly to individuals or at sales parties

directive

Interest in handling merchandise to canvass prospective customers; may develop lists of prospective customers or follow leads supplied by management, and may distribute advertising literature and provide samples

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Direct sellers sell a particular manufacturer's goods but are not employees of the manufacturer. They are self-employed. Often, they travel to potential customers' homes to demonstrate and sell products. They also may show, describe and sell goods or services at exhibitions and trade shows, or at special demonstration stands in shopping malls and stores.

Duties and responsibilities vary in this occupation but, in general, direct sellers:

  • set up displays or demonstrations
  • show samples or product catalogues, and explain the functions and desirable qualities of products
  • write orders and accept payment, or pass orders to others to process
  • buy products from companies at wholesale prices
  • deliver goods to customers or monitor orders sent directly by the company 
  • distribute advertising literature or leave samples
  • demonstrate how orders can be placed online
  • attend meetings about new products, sales techniques and special promotions.

To identify potential customers, direct sellers may contact people by telephone, use a person-to-person approach or sponsor events for groups of friends. They generally do not sell products door-to-door.

Direct sellers who use a person-to-person approach:

  • identify and approach new customers through their network of personal contacts and encourage customers to recommend them to others
  • show product samples (for example, books, household cleaning products, cosmetics, costume jewellery, foods and vitamins) to friends, relatives and people they meet through other activities
  • may be assigned an exclusive territory or, more often, are allowed to find customers anywhere.

Direct sellers who use a sales party or educational approach:

  • establish a party or teaching atmosphere at small gatherings in people's homes and display or demonstrate products (for example, clothing, cookware, cosmetics, toys, crafts and hobby items)
  • thank hosts for organizing parties, classes or shows by giving them merchandise or providing other benefits
  • encourage participants to host similar events for their friends.

Direct sellers generally are expected to recruit new direct sellers and help them start their own businesses.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Direct sellers may work part time or full time. Most work part time from their own homes. Travel to customers' homes and conventions may be required.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Direct sellers need the following characteristics:

  • self-motivated
  • enthusiastic
  • willing to learn about the goods they sell
  • enjoy working with people
  • able to manage their time well.

They should enjoy presenting products and catalogues, encouraging people to purchase items and taking responsibility for projects.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

There are no minimum education or experience requirements for direct sellers. However, experience in customer service or sales, and fluency in more than one language are definite assets.

Some manufacturers offer training programs, sales support, contests or promotions that are designed to help their direct sellers increase sales. Training programs and materials usually are supplied free of charge or for a small fee.

Before agreeing to represent any company, people considering this occupation should learn as much as possible about the company. This especially is true if some form of financial investment is required. Factors to consider include company reputation, number of years in business, business record and product or sales integrity.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Self-employed salespersons such as direct sellers may be required to obtain a municipal business license.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Above-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Most direct sellers operate home-based businesses. They are self-employed and therefore must pay costs such as vehicle and travel expenses. 

Advancement opportunities for direct sellers may take the form of additional or better sales areas, or recruiting other direct sellers who work under the direction and supervision of the person who recruited them.

Direct sellers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6623: Other elemental sales occupations. In Alberta, 80% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 5,400 Albertans are employed in the Other elemental sales occupations occupational group. This group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 97 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover. Note: As direct sellers form only a part of this larger occupational group, only some of these newly created positions will be for direct sellers.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Direct sellers' earnings vary from month to month, and year to year, because they are based on commission. Commissions may increase with sales volume. Direct sellers may receive additional income based on sales generated by any new direct sellers they recruit. 

Direct sellers are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 6623: Other sales related occupations.

According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Other sales related occupations occupational group earned on average a top wage of $39.87 an hour. The overall average wage was $22.13 an hour. For more information, see the Other sales related occupations wage profile. 

Related High School Subjects
  • Business, Administration, Finance and IT
    • Management and Marketing
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Direct Sellers Association of Canada (DSA) website: www.dsa.ca

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Apr 09, 2014. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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