Sunday, September 21, 2008

Interview - Direct Sales expert Nancy Sutherland

20 Ways To Make $100 A Day Online

Interview with Nancy Sutherland Direct Sales Marketing Coach

Nancy is an Independent Sales Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics. She received top honors and prizes in her career. You can read about her interesting journey to the top on her blog. Nancy now also coaches direct sales people and gives them the benefit of her experience.

Nancy's blog:

Q: You started your career with Mary Kay in 1986. You earned your first Career Car in 1987 and your first Pink Car in 1988. That is very fast success. How did you make it happen?

A: I really started my career to enjoy some time with other women while spending time with my children at home. I immediately fell in love with the business and discovered what it had to offer me and my family. When my youngest son started school, I made a commitment to work towards a leadership position in the Company. By setting a goal that had a reason behind it followed by a plan of action, you can achieve success!

Q: Your personal story on your website certainly is inspiring. Do you think you would have been just as successful if you did not have your personal problems?

A: I believe that everyone has challenges in their life. It’s a choice that each and every one of us makes that is whether the drama is going to make us bitter or better. I have always made the choice to be a victor rather than a victim. By being transparent in sharing the difficulties in my life, I hope to inspire and encourage other women.

Q: I talked with another successful direct sales consultant recently. She told me that in her experience people going into a direct sales business must have a love of the product and the need to make money. Do you agree?

A: I agree that the love of the product is crucial. That part has always been easy for me. The need to make money is not always a motivator in a direct sales business. Some people can’t handle the financial pressure in the beginning if they don’t work another part time job until they get their business off the ground.

Q: We always hear about the people who make a lot of money in direct sales. We also know that most people do not earn anything close to six figures. What does it take for a person to make an honest living, say $40,000 per year, in direct sales?

A I will tell you that it is simple, but not always easy. It really takes consistent effort, each and every week. In my business, that would be just a commitment to hold two appointments a week because of the advantage of the great reorder business. In addition, it is necessary to stay in constant contact with your customers in whatever manner that they prefer, phone, email, work, etc.

Q: You started with Mary Kay in 1986 before the Internet began. How did you manage to become successful without the Internet?

A: The internet is a great tool, but what you are doing is building relationships, one at a time. Word of mouth is the easiest way to grow any business. I have found that it works online, but we have been doing the same thing before the Internet.

Q: Direct sales have a high dropout rate. Do you think it is too easy for people to start their own business since the advent of the Internet? In other words, are there too many people who probably should not be in their own business because entry fees are relatively low?

A: I have always felt that it is better to try and fail than to fail to try. You never know if it right for you unless you try. When a new consultant comes into my unit, I ask her to give it a year of honest effort before she decides if it is for her. Because of that commitment, I have women in my unit for over a decade, and a few since the very beginning of my business!

Q: in today's marketplace, what single marketing method is most important to promoting your direct sales business? Second place?

A: I believe that face-to-face marketing is the single biggest business builder followed by superior customer service. That creates loyal customers.

Q: Some people just want to sell products and not build a team. Do you think this is a good model for profits?

A: Many people want to just sell products. I would say about 80-90% of the women in my unit fall into that category. Having a strong leader to teach them the skills to grow their personal sales is crucial. That is what I have always strived to do.

Q: What is the biggest road bump for direct sales people?

A: The biggest obstacle for most women in any business, especially direct sales, is handling their emotions. The fear of rejection is probably the most common, but you can learn to overcome this with a great leader.

Q: You now focus on coaching people in direct sales. Do you think people in Internet Marketing or other areas can benefit from your coaching?

A: Yes, absolutely! I have teamed with Carrie Wilkerson, the Barefoot Executive and others to help get the word out. Carrie has put together a Barefoot Boot Camp that starts this week. I will be one of the teachers in this telesummit. (

Q: Are you still active in Mary Kay?

A: Yes, as a matter of fact, last year I coached one of my consultants to first runner up in the National Court of Personal Sales! I am in qualification now for my tenth career car and still have a very strong personal sales business. I will be in this business for life!

Q: Generally speaking, why should a direct sales person seek your coaching help?

A: I believe that there are many people who have the desire to make it in direct sales and not the resources to learn how to be successful. Having a good mentor who is active in the field TODAY makes all the difference in the world.

Q: What can a good coach do for a person who is lucky enough to have a helpful, experienced leadership in their direct sales company?

A: A good coach can provide more specific training on the skills necessary to build a solid business for life with practical, relevant applications.

Q: I am glad we met on Twitter. But social networking is still in its infancy. How important is social marketing on sites like Twitter, Facebook and others in your coaching business? How can direct sales people benefit from social networking as well? Is it worth the time and effort you need to put into it?

A: Social networking has been extremely helpful for me to build new relationships and very successful collaborations. There must be a balance in the time that you spend building your business online through social networking and out in public.

Q: Would you recommend blogging to direct sales people? Why?

A: Blogging is a very popular way to become transparent and share with others gaining visibility along the way. As always, people want to do business with those that they know, like and trust. If this is another way that you can do this, it will benefit your business. Not everyone likes to write, but it is fun for those of us who do!

Q: Most of us have heard about The Secret. Do you think "positive attitude" gets too much hype?

A: There is no real secret. The harder you work, the luckier you get! But having a negative attitude or allowing yourself to spend time with those who are negative will definitely hold you back..

Q: Please explain about "list building." Do you think a direct sales person would benefit from this activity?

A: List building is a way of being compliant with the CAN-SPAM regulations. It is a tool to allow your potential customers to get your up to date newsletters and sales offers. I don’t have much experience with this. My company provides the tool for my customers to opt-in to regular news.

Q: If you had not found Mary Kay and the coaching business that resulted, what do you think you would you be doing to make a living now.

A: I would probably still be teaching cosmetology students

Q: What are your plans and goals for the future?

A: My plans for the future are to continue to enrich women’s lives.. I plan to continue to do this through my direct sales business. I also plan on holding seminars, workshops, speaking engagements and conferences. My husband Alex and I would like to retire in Texas in 10-15 years.

Thank you, Nancy, for spending time with us. I am sure many will benefit from your experience.

Greg Cryns
How did Michael Phelps get his start?


  1. Wow! Great interview! Nancy really seems to gel with my philosophy on business - people are the most important aspect to any business.

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