‘Tis the season when most companies begin their Leader Retreat events.
These are the rallies and propaganda fests where the company leaders can celebrate their accomplishments, learn best practices and get a glimpse of some of the new products for the new year – and maybe even bring some home with them.
But you know what? Even if you’re not ‘qualified’ to attend, you may still be one of those consultants that’s out-performing your leader. All it takes is a little passion.
That’s what happened to me.
A few years back, I qualified to attend the leadership getaway that my then-company hosted for their leaders. I had been encouraged by my upline leader to strive to attend, reach all the goals laid before me, and work like heck to walk across the stage at Leader Retreat.
I’m not one to do 20 parties a month, so I figured I’d shoot for the goal of $5000 in sales during the first 6 months of the year, which were usually the toughest months of the year in our company.
I think I ended the period with about $7800 in sales, doing about 8 or 9 shows during that time. There were several people on our team that also achieved that $5000 goal, but because they weren’t leaders, they couldn’t go to Leader Retreat.
One consultant had over $15,000 in sales and missed qualifying as a leader by one recruit.
It was disappointing to me that other people who out performed me were not able to attend the event and celebrate their success. Imagine my surprise when my own leader didn’t even walk across the stage with me.
Talk about “faking it”! Here she was pushing (and I DO mean pushing) all of her team to achieve these goals, get qualified for on stage recognition, and all the while she was barely doing the minimums to keep her title. She did, however, earn a nice chunk of bonus compensation for all the work we did to help her keep her title.
One of the nice things abotu Direct Sales is the compensation leaders can earn for helping their teams achieve levels of success. I have no problem with that. However, there’s a problem when a leader is doing “just the minimums” and encouraging her teams to go for the gusto.
There’s no congruency. She got paid despite the fact that several of her personal recruits out-performed her and eventually promoted above her. Consultants began to talk, and in less than a year, many of her recruits had lost faith in her, stopped attending her meetings, gave up, or left the company completely.
When people find out you’re faking it, it’s just too much of a let down.
Why was it that our team was able to achieve a goal that our own leader did not?
First, we believed in our leader. She was a little on the pushy side, but we believed that she had our best interests at heart. Once we learned she was faking it – putting on a good show to bump up her tea numbers, but doing the minimums herself – we weren’t as keen to be workhorses for her next big award.
Second, we caught the vision of an idea that was greater than our circumstance. We wanted the recognition that we thought would come from achieving something remarkable. It set us on fire. We became passionate – about our goal, our product, and about getting the message out to as many people as we could. Those of us that achieved those goals went on to bigger things within the company.
Our leader? Not so much. She was content to talk a good game, but when it came to playing the game, she was riding the bench. Ultimately, that leader left the company for what she thought were greener pastures. But her problems followed her. She was looking for other people to do the work for her. Instead of leading by example, she was ligthing the fire under her recruits, and sitting back to watch how far they would take her.
That was the final realization for me that not every leader knows more than I do when it comes to growing my business and defining my success.
In direct sales, like in life, faking it only works for so long – either your recruits pass you, or they give up on you and look to other leaders in the company to give them solid direction and advice. That’s what happened to my leader. Imagine how much more successful she could have been if she’d been practicing what she was preaching!
It’s one thing to be passionate about something and actively share it with your team and the world. It’s something else to just “talk a good game” and not work your business with enthusiasm. People talk, and it’s only a matter of time before you’re found out.
If you’ve been in the business for a while, and feeling like the passion is fading, here are a few tips to help you re-kindle the romance with your direct sales biz:
1. Remember what it was like when you were brand new. It was a time of discovery. What are ways you can tap into that sense of awe and discovery in your business? Try a new product, find a creative use for an old product. Talk with someone you DON’T know at the home office.
2. Share your favorites. You have a list of products you love (if you don’t, why are you in this business in the first place?). Think of other people that would love them for the same reasons and invite them to experience the product – no strings – in a complimentary session. Woo your customers back (maybe a few that you haven’t talked with in a while) with a free sampling, or a thank-you event that doesn’t end with a sales pitch.
Alternatively, if it’s appropriate, make a donation to a local shelter – anonymously – of your favorite products. The gratitude will be overwhelming.
3. Bring in the kids. If it’s appropriate for your product, invite the kids in and shoot a video of THEM doing a presentation with your products. talk about FUN! You’ll not only get a good laugh, you’ll get to see how your KIDS view the way you do business.
These are just a few ideas you can use to bring back some of the fun and excitement to your business. Seeing the way you build your business through your new consultant’s eyes can often refresh a leader that’s gotten a little complacent or jaded in their business.
A little passion (that’s genuine) goes a long way. Eventually, if you’re faking it, you’ll be found out.
© 2009 Lisa Robbin Young.
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Lisa Robbin Young is a certified direct sales marketing coach, teaching direct sellers to grow their business like a real business instead of an expensive hobby. Sign up for her free weekly ezine at http://www.homepartysolution.com