Proselyting is a term used in direct selling to describe the attempt to convert one or more salesforce members from one company to another. The ethics and legality of efforts to attract salespeople from one company to another is a subject of frequent and intense discussion by the industry.

Proselyting Guidelines

It is considered to be an improper practice when Company A, or its representatives, specifically and consciously targets the salesforce of Company B with the intent of persuading Company B’s salespersons or employees not only to sell or work for Company A, but also to cease selling or working for Company B, thereby interfering with Company B’s business or contractual relations. This is not intended to encompass the occasional incident or two, but it does apply to situations involving more than several persons, where the pattern, approach and timing of Company A would clearly indicate an intention to adversely impact on Company B. If Company B sends correspondence to Company A regarding alleged proselyting activity, Company A is expected to appropriately respond within 30 days after receipt of the correspondence.

An Open Letter to Direct Sellers from
DSA President Joseph Mariano

Occasionally, direct sellers in the field will be approached by other companies or their sales leaders with solicitations to join those companies. Sometimes, these solicitors present misinformation and denigrate the company you are with. Those solicitations can be inappropriate, unethical, misrepresentative, or even illegal and may be at odds with the Proselyting Guidelines of the Direct Selling Association (DSA). Under those guidelines, it is considered unethical behavior throughout the industry for one company to target the salesforce of another company in an attempt to lure salespeople into their own organization and stop selling for their original company.

It is unfortunate when such behavior reflects poorly upon the direct selling industry and results in misinformation about our business being spread throughout our salesforces and the public. That is why we urge current direct sellers, or anyone who might be interested in a direct selling opportunity, to evaluate those opportunities on the basis of facts about the company doing the recruiting. Rumor or innuendo about other opportunities often prove to be just plain wrong. So when you’re recruited, examine the appeal of the products offered, the attractiveness of the earning potential, and a company’s commitment to the ideals and obligations embodied in the DSA Code of Ethics. Those are the factors most important to you in evaluating your current company or any future opportunity you may pursue.

All members of DSA are bound by our Code of Ethics and should follow our Proselyting Guidelines, which constitute our industry’s ethical standard. To review our Code, please visit our website at We wish you strength, success, and growth in your direct selling career.

Proselyting FAQs

  • What is proselyting?
  • Are the Proselyting Guidelines part of the DSA Code of Ethics?
  • Is proselyting restricted or prohibited by the DSA Code of Ethics or Proselyting Guidelines?
  • Is proselyting illegal in the United States?
  • Why can’t the DSA prohibit member companies from proselyting?
  • What can a company do if it thinks it is being targeted for proselyting?

Already a DSA Member? Login for more information.

Inventory & Salesforce Segmentation

Salespeople should not be encouraged or required to purchase products which they cannot reasonably be expected to consume, use or resell.

DSA’s Code of Ethics requires that member companies take clear and reasonable steps to ensure that independent salespeople are consuming, using and/or reselling inventory they may purchase.  It is important that individual salespeople are not burdened with inventory they cannot resell or consume themselves.  

Direct selling companies are encouraged to meet this requirement by putting in place procedures which adequately demonstrate that products they market and sell are being used by actual consumers.

 Such procedures could include, but are not limited to categorical descriptions of:

  • Those individuals joining with the intent of purchasing products and/or services for resale,
  • Those individuals joining to sell products and/or services to consumers, who receive the products/services directly from the direct selling company,
  • Those individuals joining with the intent to purchase products and/or services at a discount for their own consumption or use,
  • Those individuals purchasing products and/or services directly from salespeople for their own consumption or use and
  • Those individuals purchasing directly from the company for their own consumption or use without joining.

 Adopted by the DSA Board of Directors June 3, 2017