From Flim Flam to Focus

Post #2 in a series, History of Network Marketing


Direct selling is not a new concept. It has been around for centuries.

The jingling of the harness from the old swayback pinto, pulling the cart of the “Flim Flam Man” reverberates like an echo across the silence of of the past.

It was a welcome sound to the lonely homesteader.  When the wagon hove into view everyone gathered around to touch and smell the treasures offered. There was everything from candle wax, gingham cloth, needles and thread, lotions, potions, horse liniment, rope and shovels. All was snatched up with enthusiasm because it would be many months before he would come this way again.   cabin

With the advent of the car came the door to door travelling salesman. He sold everything from pots and pans, Fuller brushes, Watkins and Rawleigh products, Encyclopedias, Books of Knowledge and even vacuum cleaners.

Money was scarce in those “back then days.”  There had to be a way to make it easier for the customer to buy. Welcome the new credit plan. The ability to pay a few dollars at a time, over a few months, was an incentive for even the most frugal individual. Direct selling to the consumer was also a welcome convenience. Farmers did not have to take their valuable time to drive to the General store or into town to shop.

Soon stores lined the streets of the small towns and cities. Dress shops, grocery stores, meat markets, shoe stores, coffee shops and usually a couple of garages formed the community.

Then came the Department stores. How convenient! One stop shopping!

mallEventually malls evolved. Space was leased, franchises were the norm. Real Estate became hugely expensive. Corporations were formed to own and lease office space and store fronts. While we went away from delivering goods straight to the customer, and through evolution of the business world, we chose to involve third parties, which significantly impacted the end price of products and services.

Small business owners found themselves working 60-80 hours a week, or more,  just to make ends meet. They found they had simply bought themselves a job, and, without any perks.

Now we find the world changing again. With the introduction to, and the explosion of, multi media, working for a company for forty years and  retiring with a gold watch and a substantial retirement plan is a thing of the past. Albeit, the recent past.

The huge advantages of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and more, have totally changed the face of business. We are reverting back to the direct sales method of moving products directly to the consumer, AND we can do most of it online.

Dell Computers, for example, sells their product much cheaper to the customer by skipping the middle man, and allowing the customer to buy direct from the manufacturer.

Warren Buffet (billionaire  investor) says “The best investment I ever made” referring to “The Pampered Chef” a direct sales company which he owns.

Many Fortune 500 Companies are now focused on direct sales and relationship marketing. Business analysts are continually saying “This is the wave of the future”

An old expression says “what goes around, comes around.” and it is certainly true pertaining to Direct Sales!

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