Just Say YES!

On the way home from the school drop off this morning, I was practicing my personal efficiency and stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few items needed at home.  In my community there are four Sprouts Farmer’s Markets and I stopped at the one on the way home from school.

You know how it is, you go in there for one or two items and end up buying more than you planned because you think of other things you are low on.  I stopped by the meat counter because Iove this Chicken Parmesan Sausage they make.  In the past I have been able to purchase this sausage in bulk because I don’t particularly care for the pork casings, and I can do more with the bulk sausage.  They didn’t have any available in bulk so I asked the man at the counter if they had any in the back.  “No”, he replied “We don’t sell it that way any more, I changed that, I’m the new manager.”

“Seriously?”  I asked, “I have always purchased it in bulk.”  “You shouldn’t be able to”, he stated.  He went on to explain to me that they no longer sell the product that way because they “rarely sell any of it.”

Now I am a customer standing there asking to buy the very product they “rarely sell” and I am thinking is this guy out of his mind.  He should be thankful I chose to shop in his store today. Has he not heard that the economy is in a bad place.

I felt the blood rushing into my head, so I walked away because I was truly afraid I would explode right there in the store.

If you are just living life there are lessons everywhere and this experience is no exception.  By the time I drove home I had this blog article already written in my head.  So here we go.

One of my mentors regularly asks me the question “Can I buy?”  I have learned to always answer “YES!”  Think about that for a minute, if a customer is standing there with money in hand asking to buy your product, and you are a sales person standing there trying to sell a product, what should your response be? I think it should be “YES”, followed quickly by a response like “How many would you like to buy?”

Sales are the bottom line to every business, and without customers you don’t have a business because no one is buying.  If I were the store manager at the store in question, the meat department manager would be job hunting right now.  How can any business expect to stay in business when their managers are driving customers out the door.  I am no expert, but it occurs to me that retail operations send me sales fliers every week highlighting store specials to bring me into their store so I will “BUY”. I can only image the amount of revenue that is expended weekly on marketing to me and all the other consumers in my zip code.

Trying to give the meat counter manager the benefit of the doubt, he was probably trying to cut expenses in lost product due to shelf life etc.  He could have offered me a special, or offered to go in the back and make me some sausage while I completed my shopping.  Both options would have been good customer service, and I would not be sharing this story with you.

Sales is about choosing to do what is best for the customer. Interestingly there is a related skill in sales often referred to as customer service.

“Great customer service isn’t just a plus.  It’s a survival strategy!” Clay Stevens

If you are like me, you work hard for your money, so when you choose to spend it on something it is because you really want to purchase it.  No one likes to be told that they can not buy a product. I have been taught that the function of business is to “get and keep” customers.  When a department manager fails to keep a customer the marketing department is wasting their money on marketing to get those customers in the door.

This experience drives home a couple of very important points that I would like to highlight for you.  First, in today’s market no one can afford to turn away a customer for any reason.  Basically, if someone wants to buy your product you should be running to serve that person, not turning them and their cash away.

Secondly, and even more importantly, that poor man had no idea I would go home and blog about this experience.  I wish I would have had the presence of mind to take his picture with my iPhone so I could insert it into this article.

You reach more people than you think!

I seriously considered never shopping in that store again.  Instead I chose to leverage my vast network of clients, customers, colleagues and associates to tell my story.  Which sadly will reflect badly on both him and his store.

The lesson here is that a happy customer will tell 3-5 people about their experience.  But an unhappy customer will tell the whole world.  In today’s social media rich environment telling the whole world is easy to do.

My advice to you–JUST SAY YES when a customer wants to buy!

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Choose Your Habits

One of my mentors says “You don’t choose your future, you choose your habits, and your habits determine your future.”

When I consider that statement, I wonder does that transfer into my business? Does it transfer into my relationships? Does it affect my family ties?  The answer, a resounding YES.

Since this blog is about business, let’s connect some dots along the lines of habits and business.  I work with people involved in Direct Sales and Network Marketing (aka the MLM industry).  This is an industry where relationships with other people are often disrupted because of poor habits.

In the MLM industry it is essential that individuals become effective at building solid and lasting relationships with people.  From these relationships business transactions often occur.

Here is an example:  I recently spoke with one of my friends who is involved in this industry.  This individual has traveled many roads in the personal development journey over the last ten years.  I have silently watched as our friendship turned into a business relationship, and painfully into a constant commercial.  You see my friend has not learned the habit of being a friend.  My friend has replaced friendship communications with business commercials.  I can no longer have a conversation with this person, I must just sit and listen to the commercial and then the meeting is over.

Maybe you have never experienced this, but in my business I see it every day. This behavior damages relationships, no matter which side of the situation you are on.  I no longer seek that person’s advice and counsel as I once did because while I desire constructive feedback, I also want to know that the relationship is intact.

In business we need to have the HABIT of connecting with people.  It is one of the 50 skills that I teach and encourage.  Another HABIT we need to develop is contacting.  These two HABITS (or skills) are essential relationship skills.  But there are other HABITS which come into play as well:

  • Use of People
  • Relate-ability
  • Language
  • Listening
  • Encouragement of others
  • Service

When we connect with our friends, family, colleagues etc., we utilize all of these HABITS. How we manage our use of these HABITS determines our future success.  All of these HABITS are the underpinnings of another HABIT: Trust.  Trust is a Leadership HABIT. Trust leads us to influence and influence leads us to persuasion.

Each person aspiring to achieve the influential position of “team leader” in a network marketing company must develop the ability to build trust.  Trust causes people to follow you, but you better be trustworthy, because there are huge consequences to your relationships and your reputation if you are not. I have found that when someone truly invests their trust in me I am empowered by them to lead them anywhere I want to go.  They just follow.  This is a huge and awesome responsibility to carry. When you are a leader operating in the “TRUST FACTOR” you can empower or destroy, so you must be held accountable by your HABITS–Because your Habits determine your future.

To determine your personal effectiveness in these HABITS and others take the Personal Effectiveness Profile Assessment.

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Mixing your Drinks

Mixed Drinks

When people are new in their business a common mistake they make is to “Mix their Drinks”.  By that phrase I mean mixing their product story with their business story in the same conversation or event.

One of my clients called me recently to ask for some advice along this line.  She was concerned because she had been invited to instruct a group of people in a series of lessons.  She is an expert in her field, but since she is new to her MLM company she wanted to bring her up-line to the meeting with the hope that the topic of the MLM product would surface and hopefully lead to a sale.  This is what I mean by mixing drinks.  Thankfully her up-line refused to go along–but because my client is tenacious, she chose to call me for advice.

After carefully listening to the situation, I agreed with the up-line, who made the correct decision in the situation.  Mixing a class with a product can work in some situations, but in this one the timing was all wrong.  The class was an introductory class which my client can instruct blindfolded.  She didn’t need her up-line to come along for moral support. And how would the client have felt about having this unknown person along at the meeting?  My client had not considered this either.

I regularly attend MLM opportunity meetings so I can help my clients.  It is at these meetings that I meet their up-line mentors, learn more about their product and compensation plan, and keep my finger on the pulse of the industry.  One thing I see very often is someone at the front of the room spending a ton of time on recruiting everyone present without asking the audience a single question about why they are there.  I often leave in a state of confusion about the focus of the meeting.  I hear a lot about the product, and a lot about the opportunity, but nothing that connects that to me.  In other words, I find nothing there to help me “connect the dots” between why I came and what I should do next.  Rarely does the leadership approach me and ask me about me.

I wonder, don’t they want to know why I came?

A better approach is to keep the focus of the meeting singular.  That is, in an opportunity event, focus on the opportunity.  You will have to briefly cover the product information so the audience knows what they would or could be selling, but keep the focus on the opportunity. Focus on the business model, industry information, your niche’ market, and the compensation.  Leave some time for people to ask questions.

If you are doing a product meeting, then focus on the product and lightly mention at the end that there is a business opportunity here for those who might be interested, then offer to stay a bit longer to answer those questions individually.

I encourage all readers to try this method and see if the results are better.  I welcome your comments after you have tried it out.

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What are you Making Possible?

I just got a new car, kind of a cool thing to do once in a while. I have been enjoying driving it around and all the new things it does. When you get an upgrade you like to explore a little, but today I found out what the gearing system is all about. You see I got my new car stuck in the snow at the mailbox today. I tried all the usual techniques to get unstuck, but still my wheels were spinning round and round in the ruts in the snow.

True the snow was deep, but I didn’t know what my new car was capable of doing, so I resorted to plan “B”–call the husband! Fortunately he was home, (meaning in town and actually at the house) and he came to my rescue immediately, stepped into the car and clicked a button on the steering wheel that put the car in “low gear”. Honestly, I had no idea there was a “low gear”.

Watching him get my car out of the snow reminded me of the business principles I share with people every day, one of which is product knowledge.

You see, when we sell a product or service it is in our best interest to be completely aware of everything our product can do. We use this information to educate our customers. My husband relied on the salesman to educate him about the little button on the steering wheel of my car, then he read the owner’s manual and learned a lot of other things, which to his credit he tried to teach to me.

There is nothing quite like experiential learning to drive home a point (pun intended). Each person who joins a direct sales or network marketing company gets some type of “owner’s manual” included in their kit when they join up. In my experience, few take the time to thoroughly read it and practice the principles it recommends.

In your company manual you will find things that will help you:

1. Your marketing materials
2. The technology that supports your business.
3. Product Research that gives you credibility.
4. The history of your company and its founders.
5. Special manufacturing processes used to produce your product may be included as well.
6. Customer service, warranty and return policy information, etc.

The list goes on, but you get the idea. You will also find suggested verbiage to use when talking to your prospects.

There will be an overview of your business opportunity included here as well. Some companies provide an online version of these manuals as well for your convenience.

Reading, understanding and sharing this information effectively with your prospects is vital to your success. Becoming well versed in this information is essential to building the trust necessary to inspire your prospects to become customers or associates with you. They need to know that you are able to inform them and answer their questions about the company’s products, services, customer support and so on.

The product or service you provide allows you to connect with your potential customers. However, what you make or sell is less important that what you make possible for the person you are talking to in that particular conversation. You have a solution to their pain. First, you must discover their pain in order to show them how your product or service will offer relief. You see it is not what you make, it is what you make possible that makes all the difference.

Here are a few ideas to help you climb the learning curve of product knowledge:

  1. Read and study your company’s marketing materials.
  2. Listen closely to your up-line mentor and other associates when they discuss the company.
  3. Attend Training Events.
  4. Call your company’s customer service line yourself, and see how you are handled.
  5. Research your product, industry and the direct selling industry online.
  6. Play the Residual Income Business Simulator® with your team members to gain relevant emotional practice with your marketing materials.

Comment if you find this information helpful.

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