People who work in direct sales are often accused of scamming others. In some cases, these accusations have some merit. There are direct sales companies known for overcharging for sign up kits, placing unreasonable demands on their salesforce, and forcing people to pay to attend meetings and conferences only to line the pockets of the corporation. And you will find some people perfectly willing to go along with this in the hope of lining their own pockets. But most people who sign up to sell products for a corporation are just trying to make some money, improve their confidence through gaining sales experience, earn some free products, or widen their social circle. These people are often the target of scams.
“Invitations” to join groups that require you to pay to play games or participate in a program that will result in exponential sales growth for your products.
Joining any online group for direct sales representatives will generate a little crowd of people who seem to like everything you say. They like you so much, in fact, they think you would be “perfect” for their game group. It’s great fun. You pay to play a game, and if you win, somebody is going to place a huge order through your company webpage.
Other versions of this scam are presented as business courses. They tell you how perfect you would be for their program. All you have to do is sign up, and they will teach you all the secrets to selling your products, or building your downline.
These do not result in increased sales. The “games” exist only to collect entry fees from people. You aren’t going to win an order. The business programs are completely unnecessary. The company you signed up to work for will have their own training materials, included with the fees you already paid or have agreed to pay when you signed up. Never pay out any money to anyone outside your company to sell their products.
Texts asking you to email a potential customer to discuss an order
I am a mostly personal use Avon representative. While I do not actively sell the products, I do post my digital brochures online, mention Avon in passing, and make the occasional post or reference to it in the hope that a few people will place orders. Avon is one of about three cosmetics brands that I can use without having an allergic reaction, and my goal is to earn the eyeliners, mascara, lipsticks and glosses, and fragrance I wear for free.
Because I am not passing out brochures, setting up booths at craft or community fairs, or approaching people and striking up conversations designed to sell Avon, I make my phone number and professional email public in case someone wants to ask me if we have purple eyeliner or which moisturizer I like best before they place their order. Sometimes, I get these expected questions. Then there are the texts that give me what looks like a potential customer’s email address. The sender tells me they are planning to make a major purchase from me, for an important event, and they need me to email them to discuss the order.
These may look like real customers, but they are in fact scams. The person you are talking to has no intention of buying anything from you. No matter how important the event, someone buying Avon…or the products from any other direct sales company....would be perfectly able to ask the sales representative any questions they might have in that first text itself.
Responding to these messages with your email address will only give the scammer the opportunity to send malware designed to gain access to your computer's contents. This can include your login information for your bank and credit card accounts. On your screen, the email you get back from this person will still look like a message from a legitimate customer. It may have questions about products, or a note thanking you for being willing to fill such a large order. But you will never hear from them again after that, and no order will be made. You won't even know the email contained malware until you see the evidence that someone has hacked into your computer.
Customers who use your complimentary services and samples as a form of dishonest couponing
Representatives/consultants who host offline sales parties are especially vulnerable to this one. Direct sales have been around long enough for it to be common knowledge that booking a demonstration/party of a company’s products can provide low cost, or even free entertainment. They can gather a group of friends at their house, invite a representative from a company that sells cosmetics over to do a sales presentation, and everyone gets a free makeover or facial. Someone selling household goods might provide free snacks. Salespeople from companies that sell clothing, lingerie, or other products customers might be embarrassed to purchase in stores might find their sales demonstration doubling as anything from a fashion show to a bachelorette party. While there is nothing wrong with this, it is dishonest for someone who knows that they and their guests will not be making a purchase to pretend that they might in order to get the free event.
Another version of this scam occurs when a person simply pretends they're planning to buy from you, gets as many samples as you will give them, and then never makes a purchase.
There will be nothing you can do about this scam the first time it happens. After all, you cannot force the attendants of the party to make a purchase, and you will have no way of knowing the person who asked you for a bunch of samples has no intention of buying from you the first time they ask. But you can refuse to book a second party or demonstration with the client, or to give them any more samples.
Scams can happen to anyone, in any industry. These are just a few of the scams you may encounter if you decide to work in direct sales. Look out for those in your upline and downline, your friends and family, and yourself.
by Jess Szabo originally published on Artist Cafe Utica www.artistcafeutica.com