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When working with field leaders, I’m often asked how to sponsor “good” people – ones who aspire to become leaders.  And on occasion, a leader tells me she only talks to people who “prequalify” as a solid prospective consultant. Ouch! I believe, without hesitation, that we can’t tell if someone will be wildly successful. We can have a hunch, for sure. But too many times I’ve worked with new consultants who just needed encouragement and someone who believed in them. What a rush to see them succeed! I would hate to eliminate them from the start. So I always respond by saying, “Sponsor everyone because you never know – you just never know.”

Recently I learned about an informal field test from Shelley Whitmarsh, VP of Sales for SimplyFun. When Shelley was in the field, she and a fellow team leader noticed that Shelley’s team grew proportionately faster so they set out to determine why. Was it personal sponsoring? No – they sponsored about the same number each year. Was it the amount of time they dedicated to building their business? No – that was also roughly the same. Yet when Shelley’s team tripled in size, her friends team doubled.

Here’s what they came up with. When Shelley presented the business opportunity – to everyone – she presented it as just that – a business opportunity. Her friend had a different approach. When she presented the business opportunity – to everyone – she positioned it as a part-time job. That “full-time vs. part-time” mentality worked it’s way through their organization. In Shelley’s team, more aspired to become team leaders, which led to overall team growth. Now, when asked if there is a secret ingredient to sponsoring future leaders, I’ll say, “Sponsor everyone and tell them about the advantages of building a substantial business from the start –because you never know – you just never know.”

.With over 25 years of direct sales experience, Lori develops training packages for start up companies and works with established companies to update sales training and methods.  Lori is an accomplished speaker and specializes in creating presentations tailored to meet each company’s specific needs.

Hmmm, I never thought this would be a high priority topic – or even a blog topic at all.  But a recent incident made it come front and center. I was working on a training project out of town, and realized that I needed a car. Since I was already at the office, the company arranged for a car to be picked up at a nearby hotel. How convenient.  My colleague and I headed over and found a very small rental counter tucked in a corner of the lobby.  The representative looked over the paperwork and said she just happened to have a 2-seat convertible sports car for only $19.00 a day more.  We didn’t mean to offend, but we chuckled at the thought of pulling up to the office in a bright red corvette, hair flying in the wind. “No thanks,” we said.  “The car that was ordered would be just fine.”

The representative asked how much luggage we had because our car would only accommodate a few pieces.  A larger one would only be $14.00 a day more. “No thanks”, we said. “The car our company ordered would be just fine.” “GPS?” she asked. “Only 13.00 a day more.”  We declined and asked if she would kindly give us car that was ordered. “Sure thing”, she said.  And I would imagine you want insurance, right”? Only $6.00 a day more.” We held firm and said we were a bit behind schedule. “Let’s just finish up then, she said.  But I highly recommend prepaying for gas.”

At this point, I was finding it hard not to laugh, so I started writing a talk in my head about the danger of excessive upselling. In the background, I heard that something would only cost $2.00 a day more. Then I found out just how far my friend could be pushed when she screamed “NO. JUST GIVE ME THE CAR!” The representative said she had the perfect one for us, but I think I detected a smirk.

Did you know that a top rental car agency still has at least one car with hand crank windows and manual door locks?   I sent a picture to my kids so they could see what it was like in the good old days. “Yes, she got her laugh, but I was ahead of the game because I walked away with the framework for a talk, inspiration for this blog and some wonderful nostalgic memories.  Yes, we do want our sales force to upsell. But let’s make sure they don’t go overboard!

Lori Moser

With over 25 years of direct sales experience, Lori develops training packages for start up companies and works with established companies to update sales training and methods. Lori is an accomplished speaker and  specializes in creating presentations tailored to meet each company’s specific needs.

Do I have your attention? Sure hope so.  Because whether you are a sales representative in the field, a corporate sales leader or simply checking out the industry, this tip will serve you well.

While exciting new products, elaborate trip promotions and “raise the roof” conventions can increase performance; the best overall strategy to build sales and recruiting is to focus on finding and nurturing Prospective Team Leaders.

A Prospective Team Leader is one who is working to reach the first level of leadership as outlined in the company’s compensation plan. This typically involves a personal sales, sponsoring and team sales requirement. When these performance minimums are met, the Prospective receives a new title and substantial bonus increase.

Why are Prospective Leaders so important?  Because they need to sell more and recruit more in order to reach their goal. And when they succeed, their increased activity will be reflected in your company’s overall performance.  It’s a simple concept but one that can easily get by us.

Now, how do we find those prospective leaders?  Stay tuned…

Image Credit: pasukara76

With over 25 years of direct sales experience, Lori develops training packages for start up companies and works with established companies to update sales training and methods. Lori is an accomplished speaker and  specializes in creating presentations tailored to meet each company’s specific needs.

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a lovely sales consultant: “Do you know what my biggest problem is? I have terrible party attendance.”  And before I had a chance to respond, she said, “I just have to get better at host coaching.”  And I agreed.  Host coaching is a very important skill to learn and master.  But it was too much of a pat answer.  There had to be more.  Let’s think about it.

What is the point of host coaching?  What are we trying to accomplish?  The goal is to:

  • Build rapport with the host
  • Demonstrate how dedicated you are to her party success
  • Help her establish a reachable party sales goal
  • Teach her who to invite, how to invite and when to invite
  • Make recommendations about refreshments
  • Discuss delivery details

Oh, and you also talk about outside orders – how to take them, how to calculate the totals, what the current promotions are, when to close her party and more.   And when you do it well, your host will have a fun, well-attended party.  The sales will be high, her rewards, plentiful.

But that seems to be a very large answer to a very specific problem.  How do you get people to the party?  I posed this question to several colleagues and here’s what we have come up with so far.

  1. Ask your host how she’s going to invite her friends – what will really entice them to come.  If you feel you have more to offer, ask if you can make a few suggestions.  My concern is that sometimes, in our effort to help, we barrage our host with do’s and don’ts.  So let’s give her a shot first, and then ask for permission to tell her more.
  2. Explain that you don’t have party invitations.  You just have reminders.  I love this one.  To me, it really demonstrates the importance of personally inviting – once you’ve explained that e-invites just aren’t effective.
  3. When inviting friends, tell them that chocolate will be served.  I think this is my favorite.  It would certainly get my attention.

And then there are the oldies but goodies:

  • Suggest that her friends “bring a friend”.
  • Offer a small gift for a specific number of guests who place an order.
  • Recommend that she tell each friend why she feels they will benefit by attending.
  • Suggest that she carry some reminders in her purse so she can invite people on the spot.

I love the idea of looking at, “How to Build Party Attendance”, as a topic unto itself. And wouldn’t it be great if we all put our heads together and came up with a hefty list of suggestions?  So do you want to play?  If so, leave a comment so we can all learn more!

Lori Moser built a personal sales organization of thousands, and now helps direct selling companies put the salesforce training in place they need to succeed.  Lori can help your organization by both creating and delivering training that brings results!  For more information, contact her at lori@luceandassociates.com.

image credit:NatalieMaynor

Starting the new year is the time to start fresh: new goals, new growth, and new people.  Anything is possible.  So how does that happen?  Start NOW – get the momentum going!

Bookings are easier when people are chatting and laughing in the company of friends.  Recruiting is easier when people watch how much fun you’re having (and notice how much you’re selling!).  So get people together NOW.

Lead by example!  Your team members will take their cue from you.  If you get busy right away, your team will too.  The momentum of your entire organization begins with your activity. NOW!!!

Below are a few momentum starters:

  1. Contact your previous hosts to a hostess appreciation party and ask them to bring a friend
  2. Contact your best customers to host a party as early in January as possible
  3. Hold an open house (in your home, community center, office, etc.)
  4. Have a party with your team with each team member inviting their hosts and presenting their favorite product and why it’s their favorite

2011 Momentum – Success Starts With You NOW.

Chris Clark

Chris Clark is consistently dedicated to the success of our business.  No project is too big or small for her to tackle and she completes each with professionalism, timeliness, and enthusiasm.    We always enjoy working with Chris.  - 

Marcia Negro, President-Essential Bodywear

luceandassociates.com

image credit: manoj8555

 

Last week I wrote about the 3 little words—“Did you know”– that can help improve your customer service.  I’d like to conclude this series by sharing the one word that can make just as big, if not a bigger difference. 

Drum roll please!  And that one word is… LISTEN!

As customers, we want to know someone is listening.  The easiest way a Customer Service Rep can do that is by summarizing the customer’s inquiry, something like this:

CUSTOMER SERVICE REP:  “Let me make sure I have this right.  You say your order, number _____, was short one item, item number _____.  Is that right?”

This lets the customer know they’re really being heard and the Customer Service Rep understands the situation correctly. Once that is established, the exchange should be successfully resolved with something like:

CUSTOMER SERVICE REP:  “I see that item was shipped separately on November 1 and is scheduled for delivery today, so that should solve our problem.  Does it?”

This approach is especially effective If the customer inquiry is made on a phone call rather than email.  Summarizing the customer’s inquiry allows the Customer Service Rep to take control of the call and get the information needed to resolve the situation in an efficient manner.

The use of questions (even if the answer is apparent) and repetition is key.  The Customer Service Rep should say things like:

  • May I ask you a question?
  • Let me make sure I understand…
  • Okay, so what I’m hearing is…
  • Do I have that right?

But what if the inquiry does come via email?  In that case, include a summary in the first line of the email response.  This confirms to the customer the Customer Service Rep understands the inquiry.  It also eliminates the customers’ frustration when they don’t think their inquiries were understood.

We all want to know we’ve been heard – customers and Customer Service Reps.   Listening… and letting your customers know they’re being listened to… is the way to do it!

Chris Clark is the real deal.  Whether you’re a veteran or a rookie in direct-selling, she can help you take customer service to the next level.  And she’s one of those rare consultants who won’t try to shoe-horn your contact center into some cookie-cutter that garners more applause on the lecture circuit than “on the floor”. You can count on Chris to listen and ask lots of questions before she offers any advice.  And when she does offer advice, it’s based on an appreciation for what you have that’s a competitive advantage-and how you can kick it up to notches unknown! – John Cronce, Director Jockey Person to Person

luceandassociates.com/chris

by Lori Moser

When you’re in this business long enough, you’ll begin to hear the same training over and over again.  And you can never be quite sure who said it first.  But I do know who taught this to me first.  Thanks, Francine. 

I’ll tell you up front. I can in no way do this justice in a few short paragraphs, so I’ll probably revisit this one.  But here it is – the best training tip I ever heard. Whenever you hear an objection – whether it’s for booking a party or learning about your business opportunity – someone saying, “No, I just can’t because….” Don’t try to overcome that objection, simply solve the problem. 

This mindset made all the difference when I was in the field and has helped many others since.  See, no matter what company, no matter what product, one of the things direct salespeople have in common is that we don’t want to be _________.  Yes, you got it – we don’t want to be pushy.

And another thing we have in common, no matter what company, no matter what product, is that we like to help people.  And both come into play when we look at an objection as a problem to solve – we’re not being pushy and we’re helping someone.   And that’s why, for me, it’s the best training tip I ever heard.

http://luceandassociates.com

Image credit: kfarwell

So far we’ve covered four basic steps to improve customer service.  This week I’d like to share another tip–one of the most effective, and easiest, ways to reinforce what’s cool, controversial or just plain current. 

It’s simply this: create a section of the newsletter or weekly/monthly communication entitled “Did You Know.”  The title itself arouses the curiosity of the reader.  They’ll read to find out what they do or don’t (or should) know.

This section can be as simple as:

  • Outlining the most recent promotion
  • Providing the most frequent questions with the correct answers
  • Offering step by step instructions to clarify a process
  • Reinforcing the information to include in emails (id#, name)
  • Re-emphasizing the correct process to return product

It’s important to keep the section short and simple.  Make it quick to read, simple to understand and easy to retain.

Where does the content come from for this “Did You Know” section? Your Customer Service Reps! They’re the best source because they have to answer the questions.  So ask your Customer Service Reps :

  • What are the most frequently asked questions you received this week?
  • What was the most difficult situation you had to handle this week?

Then be sure to keep the responses to these questions.  They may be useful to include in other communications.

This simple inclusion will provide immediate results with the Salesforce and the Customer Service Reps. Who knew!?

 
 

Chris Clark

Chris Clark worked her magic with our warehouse as well as our Consultant Care team. Chris had a hands-on approach and used her extensive experience to guide us towards what worked best for our particular business. Chris had great follow up, always checking back to be sure we were comfortable with any changes and to answer questions. I felt I had a true partner in the changes we made and that Chris was as excited about our success as we were. I would recommend her to anyone in the Direct Selling field! – Pat Difani, Private Quarters, Director of Sales Operations

http://luceandassociates.com

 by Lori Moser

A couple weeks ago, I had my regular dental checkup. The news was pretty good. My dentist told me that I had a small cavity and that at my next appointment, it would only take an hour of my time.  Something about that seemed strange.  I knew I needed to have the work done, no matter how long it took. And I hadn’t said anything about being busy.

After I scheduled the appointment, my dentist walked by and said, “I’ll see you next Monday – it will only take an hour of your time.”  Again, kind of strange, but oh well…

On Monday, my schedule was more hectic than I expected, so I looked at my calendar to see what I could dump or postpone.  Well, it would have been that dentist appointment had it not been made very clear that it would only take an hour of my time. 

The  number one reason a host decides to postpone her party is because she feels overwhelmed or too busy to do it justice.  It’s our job to help her understand that hosting a party doesn’t have to be a big deal or require a big time commitment.

Hats off to my dentist for anticipating that problem and taking care of it in advance.

Lori brings a clear understanding of the building blocks necessary to create an active and thriving sales force. Her commitment and passion for the direct sales industry comes through in every assignment, and translates those projects into results with clear and lasting value for the client. She has an excellent intuitive skill set that allows her to extract the key components of a company’s strategy and turn them into actionable steps to build training and promotional programs for the sales team.

And best of all, she helps companies build relationships in the caring and supportive way that brings the best out of each and every individual member of the sales force.  We love her!

Patty Pearcy

Simply Fun

It’s basic party plan knowledge – when booking a party, try to schedule it within the next two weeks.  Otherwise, it’s more likely your host will lose her enthusiasm and postpone or cancel her party altogether.  But during the holiday season, booking a party two weeks out is still too far.  Schedule a couple parties from that one – book them two weeks out and that’s it – holiday delivery cut-off – time’s up.

Years ago, I heard something that really stuck.  Most people don’t know what they’re doing 2 weeks from now, but they do know what they’re doing the next day or the day after.

I remember when that really hit home. I had scheduled a party –a couple weeks out – with a lady named Jeannie. And during those two weeks, I have to say, I did some mighty fine host coaching – textbook host coaching.  And it showed, because 18 people came to that party.  

Afterwards, I asked Jeannie how she did it. Actually, I wanted to know what in particular, I did or said to make it happen.  OK, I was looking for a pat of the back. Jeannie said, “Now, don’t get angry, but I didn’t do anything you said.  I didn’t even remember I was having this party until yesterday, so I just called everyone last night and this morning and told them to come over.”

 From then on, whenever someone said she was too busy to host a party, I suggested that we just throw something together in a couple days. All she would have to do is call some friends and ask them to come over. It would be informal and easy. Then, I would tell her the story.  And it worked – time and time again.

Now, more than ever, it pays for your salespeople to compress their business.  My advice?  Think easy, think informal, and book them in very, very close.

Lori brings a clear understanding of the building blocks necessary to create an active and thriving sales force. Her commitment and passion for the direct sales industry comes through in every assignment, and translates those projects into results with clear and lasting value for the client. She has an excellent intuitive skill set that allows her to extract the key components of a company’s strategy and turn them into actionable steps to build training and promotional programs for the sales team.

And best of all, she helps companies build relationships in the caring and supportive way that brings the best out of each and every individual member of the sales force.  We love her!

Patty Pearcy Simply Fun

Lori Moser