Direct sales sponsoring is one of the scariest and most difficult aspects of running a direct sales business. Which is kind of funny, because growing your direct sales team doesn’t have to be scary or difficult.

It just takes some real thought and strategy.

But you may notice that I very rarely, if ever, use the word recruit. You may have wondered why I stay away from that word even though so many direct sales companies use the word recruit in their messaging and pamphlets. So I am going to go ahead and spell out for you direct sales sponsoring versus recruiting and what the differences are and why understanding the difference between sponsoring and recruiting helped me become the top sponsor in my company and hang onto that top spot for years.

What Is The Difference Between Sponsoring And Recruiting In Direct Sales?

So, what is the difference between sponsoring and recruiting in direct sales?

The idea of recruiting entails giving someone a bit of information, convincing them to sign up for an opportunity, and then leaving them to deal with the aftermath of their decision to join, whatever that aftermath may be. In other words, you get someone to sign up for your direct sales company as a consultant, and then you never really talk to them again. There’s no training, you don’t answer any questions for them, you don’t provide any resources, and you really only talk to them inside your team group when you are letting them know about whatever announcement your company has passed on to you.

The relationship between you as a consultant and your recruit is fairly closed off and somewhat distant. Even though you might be the best of friends outside of your company, inside the company that friendship is not really carrying through into guidance.

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Which Leads me to Direct Sales Sponsoring.

Like recruiting, direct sales sponsoring entails convincing someone to sign up as a consultant for your company and join your team. The primary difference, however, is that this is just the beginning of your relationship with them.

Rather than consultant or upline and recruit, this relationship is much more of a mentor or guide and sponsor. You are there to help them find answers, you are there to help them find resources, and you are there to help them find success— whatever success looks like for them.

Now, before you get all scared and start thinking that you don’t have a whole lot of resources or answers to offer, chill out and re-examine the words I used: you are there to help them find answers and you are there to help them find resources. That doesn’t mean you have to have the answers.

I am well aware that many direct sales companies out there offer incentives if you start sponsoring new members and growing your team right away, many times even before you have finished training on their back end or really before you have had a chance to even look at many of their products. It’s annoying and scary but this is also one of the times in which almost everyone is the most excited about being a part of that company and wants to share the opportunity—the companies know that so they are taking advantage of that excitement rather than promoting or incentivizing learning about the company and it’s products for a more informed sponsorship.

But that’s for a whole other post. The point here is, of course you may not have all the answers.

But you do know more than they do. You had information in your hands before you approached them, small though it may be. And you can use that information to look up and find the answers you need and the answers they need.

Every time a new sponsor asks you a question, that is an opportunity for you to grow your knowledge about the company and its products and about running a business and develop that knowledge into something you can provide the rest of your team. Every time you come across a new resource, workshop, or group, that is an opportunity for you to expand your resources and share those with your team.

They may not always take you up on it or follow through with it, but it is an opportunity for you to help guide them.

Five Tips To Help Level Up Your Direct Sales Sponsoring Game:

  1. Remember why you are trying to sponsor anyone. What value are you providing and what benefit is there to joining your team with this opportunity?
  2. Stop pre-judging your prospects. I know that not everyone is going to say yes to your opportunity, but you never know who is going to say yes until you ask him.
  3. Treat direct sales sponsoring as a priority task that must be done. Set aside dedicated time consistently to work on your team’s growth. Your team is not going to grow on its own.
  4. Change up your messaging here and there! If you sound like a broken record, you will sound fake and scripted (and if you use scripts, people will know). Different people respond to different conversations, so make sure you are talking to them in a way that matters to them.
  5. Stay authentic to yourself, to your friend, and to your team. Do not get your messaging twisted around, don’t make promises that are untrue, and don’t change up your messaging because you’re afraid someone is going to say no to your opportunity. Be authentic, and your sponsors will appreciate you for it.

Of course direct sales sponsoring is going to feel weird to you, especially at first. You probably never had to go out and sponsor people before, certainly not growing an entire team and certainly not each of them running their own business and offering their own value aside from what you’re offering. You’ve never been in a position where you’ve had to help someone find their value.

And anytime you start doing something at first, it’s going to feel a little weird, a little forced, and a little awkward.

But that doesn’t mean that it has to be difficult and it doesn’t mean that it’s the wrong thing to do. As long as you remember the real value of what you were offering, your personal brand, and as long as you do so from a place of service and helping the person you are talking to rather than from a self-serving place of need, then your direct sales team is going to grow.

It might grow pretty slow at first while you get used to the mindset shift that you are going to have to make while you are still setting up your systems, but it will grow. You just have to water the seeds.


Brenda Ster in a circle frame sitting at her desk with her phone in both hands with the words "Sponsoring vs Recruiting What's the difference" for the blog post Direct Sales Sponsoring Versus Recruiting

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