Share what you know

If you spend much time around children, you have probably heard the phrase, “they are like a sponge.”  It is an American statement that means children willingly accept and soak up whatever is around them.  Typically, it is a positive statement and refers to learning. As adults, hopefully we continue on that trend and remain sponges throughout our life, but we have to make sure that there is a direct correlation between what goes in and what comes out.  Have you ever used a sponge in the kitchen and forgot to wring it out?  A sponge can become saturated and if it sits, it will sour.

As leaders we have to make sure we are constantly learning and sharing.  We can become caught up in the fact that we are not confident enough or competent enough to share what we know so we sit and soak.  The longer we sit, the more we soak.  Eventually, we will sour.

As you learn things, share it with others.  Try it out, talk about it.  You might get questions but that should fuel you to learn more!

Never become stagnant.  If you do, you will no longer be leading.  As Baudjuin said,

“No matter how hard you work for success if your thought is saturated with the fear of failure, it will kill your efforts, neutralize your endeavors and make success impossible.”

 

Rarely do I promote events, but today I wanted to let you know about an event that can be extremely beneficial to you if you are starting an mlm, direct selling or party plan business.  Our company, along with several other top industry leaders have partnered together to bring you an event that will educate and give you insight that you might miss otherwise.  I hope you will take the opportunity and go the Symposium.  At ByDesign, we are all about providing you a lot of value for your money and I think you will definitely find it here!

Direct Selling Symposium™

The Premier Educational Experience for starting and growing a direct selling company – MLM or Home Party.

  • Learn from the “A team” of direct selling specialists
  • Held in the Direct Selling Mecca – Salt Lake City, Utah
  • NO SELLING – All learning
  • Over 250 years of direct selling experience
  • Team members have consulted with 54 of the 100 largest direct selling companies in the world

Date: October 19-20 (9am-6pm), 2012 – optional tour of direct selling company on October 18, 2012 (3pm-6pm).

Location: Salt Lake City – Salt Lake Marriott Downtown at City Creek – 1-800-228-9290

Fee: $195 (second attendee just $150). Add optional company tour for $95 per person.

Included:

  • Free Startup Guide Book
  • Two full days of intense training from industry experts
  • Lunch both days
  • Networking social the evening of October 19th
  • Individual consultation sessions with faculty members from 3pm-6pm on October 20th

You can find more information and register here: http://bydesign.com/events.aspx

I travel the interstate a lot and have had my share of flat tires as well as being surrounded by others who have had flats.  There are different kinds of flat tires; the slow leak, tread shred, and the full tire fall-out.  Below, I will address flats and how to handle those as a leader.

First, let’s address the slow leak. Within an organization, the slow leak is the hardest to detect.  Typically, it is the person on your team who is slowly withdrawing into themselves and is no longer engaged. The leader must be actively aware of everyone in their organization.  Truckers and Airlines inspect their vehicles every trip looking for leaks and damage.  As leaders, we must do the same. If we forget and get busy with our daily activities, the slow leak can turn into a flat that hurts our organization very quickly.

Second, tread shred is a major problem.  Drive any interstate system in America and will see pieces of tire on the side of the road.  An outer layer of tread has fallen off the vehicle but the good news is there is still another layer. Unfortunately, if you are behind this vehicle, you are going to get hit with tread.   I relate this to the teammate who unloads on you.  You are minding your business and going through your day and Ka-boom!  You are hit with tread shred.   As a leader how you handle this problem, sets the tone for your entire organization.  My suggestion is to pull the person aside and speak with them privately.   Sometimes, people don’t even know they unloaded on someone.  We all have bad days.   Try to figure out what caused the problem (are there issues at home, is work too stressful) and get them patched up and back on the road.  You might have to address the person who got hit as well.  Tread shred is tough, but if everyone is open, you will be able to move on rather quickly.

Full tire fall out is a tough one.  About six months ago, I was driving down the interstate and a tire came completely off the vehicle in front of me, bounced, hit my hood and rolled over the top of my vehicle.  Clearly, this situation caused lots of swerving and an immediate stop.  (Thankfully in my situation, no one was hurt).  This is the most dangerous type of tire failure for a vehicle and your organization.  This is not an issue with the tire but with the components that make the tire move.  There are times, when situations outside of your area will cause a slow down or even a stop.  No one wants to bring their project to a halt but these areas must be addressed.  Again, I think it goes back to being vigilant and watching for clues.  If we are paying attention, we notice the bumps, the squeaks and the hints that things are not going well.  If we address issues early on, we are able to circumvent serious issues that will derail our projects and plans.

A leader handles flat tires (in all their many forms) by being alert, constantly and consciously checking the known systems and being on the lookout for impending danger.  Following these suggestions won’t always lead to an easy drive to success, but will guide you there faster and safer than if you ignore them.

Mobile is a Necessity

The Direct Sales Industry has seen a number of different training and communication methods with their sales force, over the years.  These methods have reamined consistent with the technology changes by keeping the sales material up to date and in a format that is most easily used by their field, for example:

•             Printed Materials – Printed materials have been around since the early stages of Direct Sales and are still a popular format for delivering sales tools and marketing materials to consultants.

•             Tapes and CDs – Audio has been around for decades in Direct Sales, starting with audio tapes and being replaced by audio CDs.  This format is still extremely popular for training audios and sales tools, especially internationally.

•             DVDs – DVD’s are a popular choice for  product, opportunity and training videos.

•             Email – Once email was widely adopted, mass email blasts quickly became an efficient way for Direct Sales companies and leaders to communicate with the entire field or downline at one time.

  • Texting-texting is used in a similar format as email as a way to update the field

•             Internet – With high interest sites like YouTube and Twitter, along with the high adoption of broadband connectivity, Internet distribution of content has become extremely common.

  • Social Media sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Google+ have created a new form of media as well

 

When looking at sales tools, one of the keys to high adoption and usage throughout the sales force is the ease of accessing content.  This has kept printed sales tools extremely popular, as it’s something consultants can give out to friends and associates that are interested in their product or opportunity.

A drawback to print media, CDs, and DVDs is the cost associated with updating content.  Given the fast-paced nature of our industry, consultants are likely to continue to distribute outdated content after its expiration date.  Many companies encourage the consultants to purchase catalogues and this cost can cause be a deterrent.

Email is a great way to deliver time-sensitive and important messages, but you can no longer be sure that your message is being received.  With the rising challenges of bloated inboxes, spam filters, and ISP blacklisting, clicking the send button can be challenging.

As internet video has become easily accessible, companies have been able to quickly publish new content.  This has allowed for a faster rate of communication with the consultant and the potential consumer.

Mobile has been a game changer for our industry. The mobile platform combines real time access to information with simple ease of use, making it an appealing tool for direct sellers.

According to PewInternet ‘s 2011 study (http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Smartphones.aspx)   85% of Americans now have cell phones and 42% of those are smartphones.  Considering the demographic of direct sellers (entrepreneurial business owners); these statistics are likely much higher in our industry.

Direct Selling should Capitalize on mobile in the following ways:

•             Training and Presentations – A consultant can have all of the company’s training and presentations in thier mobile phone or tablet, anywhere, anytime.   If a consultant runs into an acquaintance and they start talking about business, they can share their informational videos directly from their mobile device.

•             Access to Back Office – Consultants can access to their back office throught their mobile device.  This helps keep them informed while they are on the go.

•             Keeping Consultants Engaged – With text messaging and push notifications consultants are notified instantly on their mobile device when a person in their downline ranks up, or when action needs to be taken in their business!

•             Order Entry -Consultants can take orders anywhere

 

The uses can be specific to your company.  When companies started a long time ago, there were some that thought they could do it without a catalogue.  Some companies today still believe they can succeed without mobile access.  Direct Selling companies will soon be required by their consultants to have mobile.  It is quickly progressing to a place where it is not an option.

ByDesign Technologies was the first direct sales provider to have a mobile app for the industry.  They have taken the desires of the field and made it reality.

Do people love your product?

Adoption rates are huge in any business.    No matter what you are selling, if people don’t buy, it is worthless.  So how do you get people to “buy in” to your product?  Unfortunately, there is no secret sauce.  You must focus on the basics.  Below are some helpful hints that may help you get started.

1) Consider your audience-Seems pretty clear cut, doesn’t it?  Many times, companies move on the whim of a designer, CEO or a programmer, rather than actually listening to their buyers.  Many companies that are very successful, like Starbucks, have idea labs where they allow customers to submit their ideas and thoughts.  Then, (don’t miss this!) they actually read and respond to some of the ideas!!!  Good stuff!! Whether you are a rep for a party plan company or own a big business, listening is key!

2) Cheaper is not always better-While most people want a good deal, they also want something that will last. Value is important.  Access what value your product brings to the consumer and use that to your advantage.

3) Develop your brand-What is your brand?  What are you offering and why should people buy your stuff?  I know plenty of teenagers who buy strictly based on a logo.  How can you convince people they need to buy your product?

If you are able to master these three basics, I think you will find you are on your way!!

 

Live your Dreams

Every successful person is someone who has failed

but has not regarded himself as a failure. John Maxwell

Another four years have passed and I find myself again staying up much later than normal, glued to my television, hoping that people I do not know will achieve their ultimate goal and receive a medal.  What makes us love the Olympics?  There are multiple things that drive one to watch, but mostly, I believe that we see a little of ourselves in each of them.  I could never fly through the air like Gabby Douglas or swim like Michael Phelps but there is something intriguing about them.  They are wholly dedicated to their sport.  They are driven, determined and passionate.

When you have a dream, you must follow it.  I remember almost 12 years ago, when my husband came to me and said he had a dream.  He wanted to build a MLM software company that would be reliable and a good value.  It took quite a bit of time and convincing on his part to win me over.  Ultimately, it came down to believing in his dream.  I am a realist and I knew that failure was a huge possibility.  I had a new baby, was not bringing in a salary and we had limited savings.   But when someone you love has a dream, you must support that dream.  I knew that if I said no, I was limiting his future and I could not live with that.

Twelve years later, I can look back and say, “Whew!  Good choice!”  But a dream does not come without failure.  We have done so many things wrong.  Thankfully, we have had some great teammates who have stuck with us as we have waded our way to success.  Many families of Olympic athletes make hard choices to support their child’s dream; they allow them to move away to train with a coach or they settle for a smaller home to pay the bills.

We all fail.  The important part comes after the failure.  Do we take a breather and hop back up on the balance beam?  I certainly hope so!  Those are the ones the world is cheering for!!