Direct Sales Dictionary

As a party plan company, PURELY™ is part of the $36 billion direct sales industry that more than 20 million Americans participate in to earn income. [1] But what exactly does “direct sales” mean? In a field this big, it’s important to know some key words and their meanings. Make sense of the jargon with this abridged Direct Sales Dictionary of crucial concepts.


direct sales – any act of selling products or services that takes place away from a fixed storefront or retail location

Wow, that’s a really broad definition! You can even count most e-commerce operations as a form of direct sales. It’s helpful to remember that lots of different businesses fit under the direct sales umbrella. There are many techniques and approaches to making sales and they often overlap or work together to create success. Each method has its strengths, weaknesses, and appeal but that’s a whole other blog post!



network marketing – a method of direct sales involving one-on-one selling to your network of family, friends, and contacts (also known as relationship marketing or word-of-mouth marketing)

party plan – a method of direct sales involving group presentations to demonstrate products, make sales, and develop leads (also known as home parties or trunk shows)

social selling – a method of direct sales for the 21st century that uses social media to connect with customers online



single-level marketing (SLM) – any form of direct sales in which you earn income only based on your own personal activity

multi-level marketing (MLM) – any form of direct sales in which you earn commissions from both your personal sales and the sales of others you recruit

In today’s direct sales world, most companies have moved to an MLM compensation plan as it pays more commissions to more people. This form of earning is so widespread the term has become synonymous with network-marketing and direct sales in general. It’s important to remember that MLM is a form of getting paid and is different from how you sell product.



advisor/consultant/distributor – the salesperson who has enrolled to work with the company to sell products and earn commissions. These are the three most popular terms companies use.

sponsor – the person who invites you to join the company. You enroll under them and are part of their downline. You can be a sponsor too and build your own downline by asking others to join and share in the success of running their own business!

back office – the online operations center for your business lets you enter orders, track sales, review training, stay updated with company news, and perform other business functions (also called a virtual office)

replicated site – a personalized website managed by the company to enable your business to have an online presence and accept e-commerce orders


Are you ready to join the direct sales industry and build amazing relationships? We would love to have you come join the party and have fun with PURELY™!