From The DSEF: Today we’re delighted to bring you a guest post by Direct Selling Association President Joe Mariano. Joe and his team at the DSA work tirelessly to protect, serve and promote the effectiveness of member companies and the independent business people they represent. The DSA also works to ensure that the marketing by member companies of products and/or the direct sales opportunity is conducted with the highest level of business ethics and service to consumers.

“These people are … incredible.”

That’s what one direct selling CEO recently emailed me during her conference. I know exactly what she meant. After 26 years working at the Association, I’ve seen more than just a few company meetings. Each company brings its own unique style and expertise to its get-togethers, but they all have one thing in common: the passion, enthusiasm and love that the salesforce brings to our business. There is nothing more exciting, invigorating and gratifying than to get out into the field and see this reflected in the eyes and voices of our salespeople.

In recent weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to speak to thousands of company salespeople, from Philadelphia to Columbus to San Francisco. They are hungry for the messages that DSA, DSEF and our World Federation are uniquely suited to bring—the spirit of the industry, credible industry statistics and information, identification of our opportunities and challenges, a validation of what they do, a report on the government regulations that may affect them, and finally—a sense of being part of something truly phenomenal. Something larger than just a kitchen table crowded with receipts and paperwork, larger than their neighborhood party, larger than the sales organization they are working so diligently to build. Larger even than their great companies. They are part of a remarkable industry that is changing lives and helping people across the country and across the globe. A true phenomenon, 100 years and more in the making, that is offering an income opportunity to struggling people, that is changing communities, that is making unparalleled charitable contributions, that is capable of changing lives.

When we talk at these meetings of some of the 16 million people in the U.S. and more than 70 million across the globe, heads nod and notes are scribbled. When we tell the story of the direct selling representative floating down the Amazon River to sell her goods, or someone embracing entrepreneurship in China with the economic opportunity that direct selling provides, a collective “Ah” rises from the audience. When we describe the single mom who found her calling and herself in direct selling, a smile spreads across the listeners’ faces. Each of these sellers knows this story. Each of these sellers has seen this story reflected in his or her own life, and the lives of the people they have touched through their direct selling activities.

And when the remarks are done, the audience cheers. They cheer for themselves and everything they know they have accomplished and will accomplish. Each of you has probably seen this played out in some way at your own company events. I truly wish each of you could join me at all of these company meetings so you can see you are part of something even beyond your own great company. That you, as part of this great industry, are changing lives. That you are part of a community coming together through DSA. That all of these people are … incredible.

Joe Mariano is President of the Direct Selling Association. He also serves as Vice Chairman on the Direct Selling Education Foundation Board of Directors, and Chairman of the World Federation of Selling Associations (WFDSA) Global Regulatory Affairs Committee.