Direct Sales and Word-of-mouth Marketing Overview – Usana’s distribution model

Article by Andy Greg Smith

As well as marketing the products, an Associate may recognise the benfits of promoting the business opportunity, finding new team members for the company. When an existing Associate personally introduces someone new to the business, they become the new Associate’s Sponsor or business coach. That new person will also be an Independent Distributor for the company and will be placed in their Sponsor’s team. Both Distributors will receive a commission based on the customers that the new Associate introduces to the products. For some people the number of potential customers that they personally known may be limited, hence there are vast benefits to building a team of Distributors to promote the products alongside them, reaching more potential customers and opening new distribution avenues.

This process can then continue for any business partner. Associates are able to build a customer base of thier own and receive commissions on the orders placed by any new and repeat personal customers, as well as the customers of the Distributors in their team. The original Sponsor will receive commissions from any sales generated within their team. The structure and commissions will vary from company to company and pay plan to pay plan, but the principle is the same.

The Network Marketing business model offers Individuals the opportunity to generate income like an Entrepreneur. What I mean by this is that income is not calculated by the number of days personally invsted. Payment is made based on the quantity of products sold by the individual’s team. The money they earn is determined by the productivity of everyone in their organisation. Therefore, if you are able to show your organisation to be more productive then you will earn more money! You have true leverage in your business when your downline members are fully trained and are capable of finding new customers and Distributors without your personal involvement. This requires a sound knowledge of your business and strong leadership ability, but the pay-offs are more than worth it!

In retail distribution, the product is produced and is purchased by the wholesaler. The wholesaler supplies the products to various retailers, who sell the product to the consumer.

As a customer / consumer, you will typically pay around 2 to 3 times more for a product than the wholesaler paid the manufacturer for them. Say for example a product cost ?10 to manufacture, the wholesaler may then pay ?15 for each unit and the retailer then purchases them for ?20 from the wholesaler. The retailer will then sell the goods to you for ?45 to account for their expenses for staffing, utilities, advertising, etc. and still make a profit. Therefore you are paying ?45 for a product that the manufacturer sells for ?15, because everyone in the distribution chain must make a profit on your purchase.

In the Network Marketing model you order directly from the manufacturer. Therefore, less of your money goes to the middleman. The products you purchase are generally a higher quality than retail products, due to the company’s emphasis on research and development of the product. Network Marketers may be paid up to 30% on the sale of a product, but the customer will still pay significantly less for a higher quality product.Network Marketing businesses are typically managed from home, often on a part time basis and promotion is traditionally done via word of mouth marketing. Hence, overhead costs are lower. Also, people are generally more likely to trust the recommendations of a friend, family member or work colleague than any other form of advertising. In addition, customers have much closer contact with the company through the Associate who introduced them to the company.

The purpose of both distribution models is to reach new product consumers, whilst serving existing customers. However, rewards and commissions are awarded differently in the two approaches. In retail, the owners and managers of the wholesale and retail companies are rewarded on the productivity of their staff and in Network Marketing, the Distributors earn commission based on sales generated by their organisation.

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