Why Your Direct Sales Pitch Falls Flat

I posted a snapshot of my favorite feline friend on my Instagram story, mostly to let my real life friends and followers alike know about Oscar’s illness. Several friends and a handful of followers reached out to me.

But.. then came the DMs. No, not the DMs from followers who sent their well wishes to Mr. Osc. Not the text messages from friends and family who knew how worried I’d be about my cat’s condition. I’m referring to the fellow bloggers who responded to my story with a MLM pitch.

“Hi Teresa, sorry to hear that!!! Have you heard of doTerra? I’d love to send you some samples and hear what you’d think about joining my team. :)”

I thought I was pissed off then. I thought it might just be a one off issue with a couple people who maybe missed the social cue of “Don’t respond to a sick pet post with a MLM pitch, even if you know that person. Separate those two thoughts, perhaps.”

But then the DMs kept coming on my skin biopsy post, a post that I had to rewrite three times because of the level of vulnerability vs useful info for readers never felt quite right. I was working from home on Wednesday and glanced at my phone seeing that someone had followed me on Instagram. Great, can’t complain about new followers! Then there was another notification: That same person 10 seconds after following me sent this message:


“Hi Teresa I read your post about your skin biopsy, so scary! I was wondering if you had heard of Beautycounter?”


This person, this individual who had followed me for less time than it takes to heat up a Hot Pocket, thought it would be a great idea to send a first impression message to me and immediately pitch me on a product.

So, to the seven strangers who pitched me MLMs on Instagram in a 24 hour time period, let’s have a chat:

I am very happy you joined a company that fulfills your bank account and your values in one fell swoop. You can work from home? Awesome, I worked from home today too due to the icy weather. Can we agree it’s fantastic to be productive without having to wear real pants?

And I get working in sales: I’ve worked two media sales jobs in my career, and I applaud a solid hustle and creativity in prospecting customers. Do you know what makes the best salespeople, whether it’s B2B or direct sales? A sales funnel, where you build a level of trust with your customer and the product. You learn their needs, you build a relationship, you illustrate how their lives would be benefitted by your product.

In other words, don’t go straight for the sale. That’s exactly how direct sales people get the rep of “That friend from high school who sells wraps on Facebook.” If you’re just throwing out a pitch at anything that sticks, you end up losing the short game. It comes off desperate and that’s not how you want to be positioned.

The next time you feel inclined to respond to someone’s post, especially if it’s about a sad or personal matter, maybe try one of the following first:

  • Used good judgment: Is this the time, place or message I want to send?
  • Read about the sales funnel or take some time to finesse your sales strategies.  Lynda.com has great learning opportunities.
  • Started your sales funnel from the top, introducing yourself or building rapport.


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