I make no apologies for posting this one again. It comes from November last year and I couldn’t find the photo until I stumbled on it this evening. In fact the picture doesn’t match the story at all – it was taken at Christmas the previous year. But hey, who’s going to let the facts get in the way…
You get to an age when you don’t approach attractive young women any more.
For one thing it’s pretty pointless and for another I just can’t take the rejection.
As a Network Marketer, I should be used to rejection – but it does cause a bit of inner turmoil because attractive young women make particularly good Network Marketers. Get them started in any kind of Multi-Level Marketing or Direct Sales business and they just tend to fly.
So there I was on my way to the big leadership conference. I had been talking non-stop on the hands free to the team. I was, as you might say, “In The Zone” when, walking into the Motorway Services for a bite of lunch, I was confronted not by one attractive young woman but by four of them. I just remember this overwhelming impression of wall to wall big eyes and sparkling teeth and red lips and …. well, you get the idea (and, of course, the big booming voice in my head saying: “Don’t look there, don’t look there…”
And all of this would have been fine had it not been for the leader of the pack latching onto me as effortlessly as a lioness brings down an ageing and infirm old Wildebeest.
Whatever it was she said brought me to an abrupt halt. I have no idea what she did say because at the time all my senses seemed to be fully occupied with the big eyes, sparkling teeth and red lips at close range. Also by this time she had her manicured and painted hand on my arm.
Over the next few minutes I became vaguely aware that my wife and daughter would be forever grateful if only I would take home to each of them a miniature black carrier bag. This was modeled on the sort of thing you see being loaded into the back of Bentleys in Kensington – only small enough to dangle from her polished index finger.
It was difficult to believe that anything so small could be worth £160 but that was what she said the make up inside it should really cost – but I could have it for nothing…. provided I bought this small black cylinder with a brush which popped out like something in a Christmas conjuring set. The small black cylinder was priced at only £27.99.
It was only now that I found my tongue (I have a horrible suspicion that it might have been hanging out all this time). Anyway I was able to mumble something about my wife and daughter never forgiving me if I presumed to buy make up for them…
But once I managed to get the mouth working again, of course it went onto auto-pilot: “I must say you’re really good at this. Have you been in sales for long? Really? Well actually I’m always looking for good sales people. Tell me, have you ever thought of using the skills you’ve got in your spare time? You could earn a really good extra income – just as long as it doesn’t affect your full-time job, of course…”
And she said: “Is this Network Marketing?”
“It sounds as though you know all about it…”
And she did. She had been to presentations by two other companies and thought the concept was brilliant. It was just that this was her own company she was promoting – the three other attractive young women were her employees being trained up to run their own stalls in other motorway service areas. Next month she was off to America…
“But I do want to get into Network Marketing one day,” she said. “Maybe in two of three years when I can get someone to manage this for me…”
And she put down her conjuring set and took my phone and tapped away with her painted fingers and we’ll talk again in two or three years time.
I’d like to make that two…
As excuses go, this was quite a novel one: The new distributor said that his family wouldn’t talk to him and he didn’t have any phone numbers for his friends.
Instead we were going to call on them. It would be a nice surprise.
Maybe they weren’t really friends. Maybe it was having me in tow… maybe it was just too early on a Saturday morning. Anyway, it didn’t go very well. At the last door we got a “No” even before we got inside – one of those definitive, belligerent “No’s” that you don’t argue with.
It just made me so grateful for the Cold Market: While the new distributor was mumbling apologies and saying he couldn’t understand it, I said: “Don’t worry. I’ll find us someone to talk to.”
It did involve a 20 minute drive to the other side of town because that was where I had delivered my Written Invitations. With the air of a confident conjurer, I announced: “I want to show you something…”
And we walked up to the first door and rang the bell. Within two minutes we had made a new friend (not a belligerent one) and had his wife’s name and phone number because she deals with what we have to offer.
Now I should add that we knocked on a further five doors and got nowhere – and by that time it was starting to rain hard.
“Never mind,” I said, pulling another rabbit out of the hat. “Let’s ring up some old numbers.”
And so we did.
I have a lot of old numbers – I think about 3,500 and the vast majority of them are very badly organised. If there is an electronic equivalent of the bran tub that you find at the best kind of village fete, that is my Customer Relationship Management system. Anyway, I plunged my hand into the microchips and came up with a name. It appears I last spoke to him on December 2nd 2008. Never mind, I poked at the number on the screen and it began to dial: “I don’t know whether my name rings a bell…” I said brightly as I do a dozen times a day.
A bell did ring somewhere in his memory – and no sooner had I launched into my Magic Minute than he came up with the name of the company – not particularly difficult because it appears that no sooner had I prospected him as a distributor all those years ago, than someone else came along and signed him up as a customer – which he has been ever since.
However what they had not done – for which he will doubtless be very cross when he realizes what he has missed – is show him how the money works. I have a date to do that on Monday week.
My new distributor sat in the passenger seat while all this was going on. I’m not sure what he was thinking but I fancy it might have something to do with the question of why a pair of total strangers are happy to do what a long-standing friend plainly won’t.
I don’t have the answer. I guess it goes under the heading of “Isn’t that interesting…”
Do you ever kick yourself for making the same mistake over and over again?
Why do we do this? Don’t we ever learn?
I used to stand up in my Network Marketing Company’s training sessions and tell the delegates: “It is essential that you have all the decision-makers present. It is a complete waste of time to show your presentation to Sid by himself – only to have him say: “That looks very good. I’ll tell Doris.”
The fact is that if Sid had attended the training session, he might have make a passable job of showing the products to their best advantage. Instead of which your fabulous presentation is going to be reduced to “Jim came round with some health pills” or “Sally wants to sell us gas and electric”.
“Do not risk it,” I would tell them. “Make sure they understand you are expecting them both to be there and if they are not, you must – I repeat, must – explain politely that you will have to call again at another time. When’s best for them – both of them?
Come on, you have taken the decision to start this business, you have steeled yourself to pick up the phone and make the appointment. You can do this!
Yup – and you can do the other…
I had met the Penny when she entered my Prize Draw. “Oh, you must talk to my husband,” she had said. “He deals with all those sort of things.”
And sure enough, once I was sitting at his kitchen table and asked: “Will Penny be joining us?” He confirmed: “Oh, she has to go out. Anyway she won’t be interested…”
And so we began.
After about ten minutes Penny popped her head round the door to say she was just leaving. Her parting words were the following: “Now don’t go signing anything while I’m not here!”
And she was gone.
“Sorry, but I thought you said she wouldn’t be interested…”
– Well, she’s not really but I wouldn’t make any decision today anyway.
And time stood still. The Earth paused on its axis. The pendulum of the antique grandfather clock in the hall hung at an impossible angle and I had my chance to say: “Ah, right… well, you see we operate in a very highly regulated industry and it would be quite improper for me to show you what we have unless all the relevant parties are present. So I am afraid we will have to leave it there for now.
“So when would be a good time to continue when Penny will be available? I can manage tomorrow at 10.00 a.m. or, failing that. I have a slot at 4.30 on Friday…”
Instead I flunked it. The moment passed and sauntered off into that parallel universe in which people say: “Well that’s very interesting. I’ll pass that on to Penny and we’ll let you know…”
… and the answer, when it came was: “Penny’s decided we’re alright as we are. I know we’re paying a bit more (£1,100 a year, actually) but we don’t want to make any changes…”
Now it would be very unfair of me to end this post on such a somber note. A NetworkMarketingBlog post – just like a satisfying novel – should leave the reader feeling uplifted and empowered and all that good stuff.
So let us ask ourselves what is the best thing about what just happened?
Well, we have learned what not to do (yes we have … and no we won’t do it again…)
And it has driven us out out into Cold Market again to go and find another prospect because we do not care what Penny and her husband decide to do. There will be no embarrassment next time we meet them at a family party or the Social Club summer barbecue. In fact in all probability we will never, ever, see them again.
At least that was what I told myself as I set out with my Prize Draw forms once more and – as you will see below – got myself another three people to talk to.
|11.02.16||Car Park||1147 – 1205||13||14||1||1|
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Here in the UK we’ve just had Storm Imogen come a-calling. She brought down power lines, disrupted trains, closed roads, blew off the chimney pots and – best of all – gave the British a real reason to talk about the weather.
In the middle of it all I was due to go out with a team-member and follow up some Written Invitations. At the cross-team meeting I had been explaining how much I enjoy this and how efficient it is at finding the right kind of people (all you have to do is find the right kind of houses and guess what: The right kind of people will be in them).
We were due to meet at 3.00 p.m.
At 11.00 a.m. the sky was growing dark. The dog was being blown off the sea wall. By lunchtime the BBC forecast was offering winds of 50 miles an hour.
It occurred to me that maybe we should put off following up the Written Invitations. After all, was anyone going to want to open their door on a day like this? But then I thought of Art Williams saying “Just do it!”.
… well, what I mean is I went to the rendez-vous. And waited. There was a bit of confusion about the time – which is useful for making phone calls and then came an SMS message “Held up at work. Can we do it another day?”
Sure, we can always do it another day – any other day, quite frankly.
And then I looked at the houses. People were switching lights on as if to say: “We’re warm and cosy in here. We don’t want to open the door and let the storm in.” I could go home too. The fire would still be burning in my office. I could make some tea. I had a feeling there were some hot cross buns in the bread bin. Tea and hot cross buns and strawberry jam while Storm Imogen raged outside…
Or just do it.
Out of 15 houses, only three people answered the door. The first was not interested. The next two invited me in. Of those the first was interested but not serious.
Then I knocked on the last door. They watched my two-minute video. They asked me to go back and do an assessment for them on the 24th.
All the way home, I could hear Art’s voice ringing in me ears: “Just do it and do it and do it – until the job gets done.”
And you know what. It’s great when the job gets done. In fact it was so great I wanted to taste that again – more than hot cross buns with strawberry jam. So I made a little detour on the way home to someone who had said “call me on Monday” – only for me to find that I hadn’t written down enough digits of her phone number. So I knocked on her door too – even though it was now dark and raining as well – and her husband came to the door and I told him why I was there and he said “of course” and sat me down on the sofa and watched my two minute video … and asked me go back on the 23rd for an assessment.
I never did have a hot cross bun. But then I didn’t need one.
- You can see Art Williams’ inspirational 1987 speech at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU7Y6HiLXto
It was only in the last post that I reported the result of a half an hour’s prize draw in the street when a passer-by listened to what I had to say and responded: “That’s sounds fantastic!” In no time at all she agreed that I would go round and show her and her husband what I had to offer.
That was supposed to be this morning. But on Sunday morning, I received this SMS message: “Good morning. We arranged for you to visit on 8th Feb at 1100 hrs to give us a quote for utilities. We have decided we would like to cancel this appointment and make contact with you if we decide in the future to explore changing. Many thanks.”
Well we’ve all had something like that happen and, working in the Cold Market as I do, I need to have 15 appointments cancelled every month just to ensure the other 15 actually happen.
But it was a bit of a surprise that someone so enthusiastic should change their mind so suddenly.
Except that it should come as no surprise: After all, what do you suppose happened? She got home and told her husband that I was coming – and no matter how enthusiastic she might have sounded, what he heard was: “I’ve invited an energy salesman to come round.”
What gets me is that this happened within hours of my sending out the latest Cold Market Academy Update. These are sent free of charge to Network Marketers who have purchased the Online version of the course (see the tab above). Anyway, here is just one paragraph from the update:
I really have been getting far fewer cancellations this way. Of course if I have spoken to only one half of a couple, it makes sense to call the other half and give them the Magic 30 seconds over the phone…
Further to the earlier post, I should add that I have a new chart at the back of my book. It has 31 spaces down the right hand side and it is my intention to fill each space with a name of someone who has agreed to an assessment in the current month. The intention is to enter a name for each day of the month (29 this month).
However although I have a date to call the woman in the apron from this morning, that does not count as a firm appointment and today is the sixth and I only had five names down the right hand side … so I am behind already: I needed to do half an hour of Prize Draw while walking the dog this afternoon.
As you will see below, I struck lucky with the very first person I talked to.
Now, it did occur to me that it was chilly down by the car park, late-ish on a Saturday afternoon with not many people about… was it worth carrying on? Well obviously it was worth carrying on – if only for the Pebbles in the Pot [see relevant post].
… and it turned out to be most definitely worth it. The first prospect didn’t think I could help her. She had invited someone from my company to her home a couple of years ago and they couldn’t help her. I said: “That’s OK. I just arrange to do 30 assessments a month. Half of those get cancelled so actually I only do 15. Of those 15, usually six say No to what I have to offer – which leaves me without about nine every month who say Yes. If you like you can be one of the No’s. I’ve got to have somebody who says No…”
The second person who stopped was a soldier from the local army base. Home was in Worcestershire but his wife had just had a baby and might prefer not to go back to work so they’re looking at the opportunity and I’m to call him tomorrow.
Number three watched the two minute video with rapt attention and exclaimed. “That’s brilliant” so I don’t really need to add anything to that.
Good day really. Maybe not so boring after all.
|06.02.16||Car Park||1532 – 1555||13||1||1||1|
|1545 – 1555||10||17||1||1|
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A reader contacted me recently to say how much inspiration they received from reading about the small details of a typical day and how a Network Marketing business can be fitted into it.
Frankly I only bother with this stuff if something unusual comes up – after all why would anyone be interested in what happened today. Anyway Tony, this is for you:
There was a bit of confusion over who was going to take our 18-year-old to catch the Athletics Club coach to Lincoln and I had stayed up late last night so it seemed reasonable to go back to bed afterwards – which meant my day didn’t really start until 10.00 a.m.
Then our 13-year-old was very rude about finding the power cable for the X-box (it was in his room) and without it our 15-year-old couldn’t employ technology to bridge the language barrier with the 14-year-old French student we have staying this week.
Result: 13-year-old left in a huff to go long-boarding with his friends and (deliberately?) left his helmet behind. I set off in the car to deliver it and found no sign of them on the usual hill. I determined to lay in wait.
It so happened that I had delivered Written Invitations in this neighborhood so I spent 15 minutes following up. The second door was answered by a woman in an apron. Since this was a big house, I read her the Magic Minute instead of the Magic 30 seconds. Here is what she said (from memory, admittedly): “Look, I don’t want to put you off and I really would like to know more about it but this really isn’t a good time. We arrived home half an hour ago from Florida where we’ve been visiting my son for two weeks and we’re just having breakfast…”
So I wrote down her name and cell number on my street log with a note to call her on Monday or Thursday evening (and that reminds me, I must put her in the Database with a reminder).
Then Tamsin rang to tell me that the 13-year-old was only out on a penny-board not a long-board and so, didn’t need his helmet (she knows these things). This meant the search could be called off and I could return to my letter to the insurance company informing them that their proposal had missed out a speeding conviction. Since it was such a short letter and looked a bit offhand, I thought it would be nice to add a friendly postscript.
So I wrote:
P.S. I’m always looking for good people from the Insurance industry who would like to earn an extra income using the skills they have in their spare time. Contact me if you’re interested.
There now. It must be lunchtime. I always look forward to Saturday lunch…
I just thought I’d share this with you to show what’s possible in the Cold Market if you just follow a simple routine.
I am not halfway through my morning cup of coffee and already I have logged four new people into my database. They all came from half an hour of prize draw in the street yesterday (see the statistics below).
For the record here are the details:
1: “Would you call my wife tomorrow”.
2: Appointment for Monday 11.00 a.m.
3. Just exchanged contracts on a new house. Check in a month for a moving date and – most important – get a cellphone number.
4: Elderly, tired and didn’t want to stand for a two minute video so call for appointment today.
|04.02.16||Car park||1235 -1245||10||16||1||1|
|1254 – 1301||7||1||1||1|
Can you a fit a Network Marketing business into a busy life (even if all your friends give you the cold shoulder)?
We had a home meeting round at my place tonight. The prize draw came up. A colleague revealed that he had spent six hours in B&Q offering shoppers the chance of a fabulous prize if they filled in his questionnaire – and he didn’t get a single taker.
Now, not only had he needed to give up six hours of his time but he had to pay for it too because B&Q is Britain’s best-known do-it-yourself superstore. You can’t just rock up there with a promotional stand and start pitching their customers without giving them a cut (and of course they don’t wait until you’ve got a customer before they take it – you have to pay up front … which meant my friend was down by probably £20 or £30).
And I know how long an hour can be in one of those places. However, in all the hours I spent there, I never walked away without a single form filled in. All the same I can believe it.
In Network Marketing as in any other business, what worked once does not necessarily work forever. We used to send text messages to numbers from the Yellow Pages and get a 20% response rate – not any more…
And maybe doing a prize draw in the street will not work forever. But it did work today. This was not a planned exercise. In fact it was hardly a conscious decision at all: I needed to retrieve my bank card from the shop where I had left it, the dog needed a walk and it was due to rain after lunch.
As you will see below, I devoted just 30 minutes to the draw. The first two people weren’t interested – and on closer inspection I decided I wasn’t interested in them either. But then a woman came along pushing a supermarket trolley which insisted on turning right.
“It wants to go that way!” I called out. She looked and saw me smiling. She smiled too and made the sort of remark people reach for when inanimate objects take over.
“Never mind,” I went on. “I have just the thing for you. It’s a free prize draw…”
We made an appointment for Thursday and I would like to claim it as proof of my superior system. But as I advocate in The Cold Market Academy it was necessary for me to ring her husband and read him what I had just read to her. When I did so this evening, he wasn’t interested.
Ah well; as you can see, it was only two “No’s” later that I got my next “Yes”. This was a woman who had started off with a polite “No thank you” but changed her mind when I played the charity card. This time it was her idea that I call her husband (he deals with all the bills) and when I did, he was just on his way out. He was quite apologetic about it. He asked if I wouldn’t mind calling again tomorrow evening.
After that it was just another 26 No’s to finish off the 30 minutes.
The point I would like to make is that the whole exercise barely interrupted my day, cost me precisely nothing and may yet have gained me a customer.
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This is me before the start of the 1988 Single-handed Transatlantic race – posing for the Evening Standard photographer. I was a newspaper reporter in those days and the paper had given me the time off in return for reports about my experiences on the way.
It took me 32 days and I came 65th out of 96 starters. I was rather pleased with myself – at least I got there.
The reason I mention this is because of the post a couple of days ago (The Alternative, Jan 30th) which mentioned sailing – and I hope that something I learned then will stand me in good stead as a Network Marketer today.
Now, you may remember that I said I had qualified for my company’s January prize. To do that I had to sign up four top-class customers and four new distributors. Well I got the distributors – in fact I recruited five but out of my six customers one was second class (nothing wrong with him but he couldn’t take enough services to be top-class) and another cancelled – which left me with exactly four. Four is enough but it’s not enough for a safety margin. One thing I’ve learned about these competitions is that you always need a safety margin.
In fact to be sure of four, you need six because if you have five and one cancels you end up biting your nails hoping another one doesn’t do the same. Six is comfortable. Six is good.
And today was the last day of the month. How did I know my fourth customer was not going to cancel. I didn’t think she would: I had done everything right. I even sent her a card to arrive the next morning. I think she liked me. I felt fairly certain she would stick.
But how could I be sure?
Today it occurred to me that what I needed was a “pebble in the pot”.
The idea of the Pebble in the Pot was something I came up with more than 40 years ago when I started serious single-handed sailing. If you were a reader of Yachting Monthly or Yachting World in the 70’s and 80’s you will know how this happened (sailing from Poole to Brittany and finding the landfall covered in fog, I kept going and ended up in Spain). It took three or four days and for the first time I experienced that strange sensation of being completely content with being completely alone in the middle of nowhere.
This is when you can spend hours at a time just looking at the sea. An entire afternoon can pass without you having any idea what you’ve done with it.
And this, of course, is dangerous: It is all too easy to slip into an endless reverie during which the boat sails on, placidly heading for who knows where. And a boat sailing for 24 hours a day is a breeding ground for small problems which – left unchecked – can rapidly develop into disastrous ones.
But no matter how fastidious the skipper might be about watching for chafe and tightening shackles and scanning the horizon, he still needs a measure of luck. I found mine in the shape of an enormous metal cylinder. It was about 20 feet long, covered in rust and barnacles and streaming long skeins of seaweed. It looked like some part of some bigger structure and it was floating just beneath the surface as I sailed swiftly past it at a distance of about three feet.
I suppose that when I talk about the luck of finding it, what I really mean is the luck of not hitting it. If I had run into it – powering along as I was with a hatful of wind behind me – it would have punched a hole in the hull that would have sent the boat to the bottom in a matter of minutes.
Thank God I had been putting pebbles in the pot.
You see the pot is an imaginary earthenware container that looks a little like a miniature chamber pot but without the handle – and every time I got up out of my warm bunk to investigate a strange noise on deck or stood up to have a proper look round instead of just glancing up while lying on the foredeck watching the dolphins play under the bow – then I was tossing an imaginary pebble into the pot… for luck.
As long as there were enough pebbles in the pot, then to my way of thinking, we would sail past the dangers instead of into them. And when we did, of course the pot had to be emptied into the sea and the whole game had to begin again.
And so today I went out to put pebbles in my Network Marketing pot. It was Sunday and rather damp and there were a dozen things I would rather have done (and dozen more I certainly should have done). But from lunchtime until five O’clock I followed up Written Invitations.
And no, I did not get another customer. I did make two appointments for next week and I have half a dozen people to call in the future.
But more than that I filled up the pot – right to the brim.