Archive for December, 2009
Have you noticed what an emotional business this is?
There hasn’t been a post for the last 48 hours because the author has been on an emotional roller coaster and really not fit for publication.
Let me explain: In my company we are now at the end of a 90 day promotion. All we had to do was introduce 12 members to the club (just one a week) and we would receive a £200 bonus. Small beer in monetary terms but vitally important if we are to demonstrate to our teams that it can be done – after all I did one a week for a year to get on the company cruise: Of course it can be done.
And I had done it this time. In fact I had 14 people signed up and the promise of one more who said she would definitely do it online by midnight – enough of a safety margin, I decided.
This way why I set off with a light heart on Monday for a leadership development training session to learn how to grow my business faster. These sessions have gone through a bit of a transformation lately as new people have blasted their way through the pay plan with ideas and systems which have quite simply “blown this business apart”. For five hours I sat there thinking: “Why don’t I do that?”
I hit the road back at the end of it convinced I was going to take my business to a new level.
Then several things happened at once: A lorry turned sideways on the A14 and fell over. Then two of my 14 new members cancelled – and, as I was to discover later, the friend who had promised to sign up online had found something more important to do. Worst of all, I still had a mass of emails to write, the dog to walk, I needed to eat or faint … and I really should have written the blog.
Except there wasn’t much to write. I had given out some of the piggies and a couple of Independence newspapers but the plan had been that the bulk of them would be shifted on the way home – instead of which I spent most of the time motionless, sending texts to builders vans in the next lane. At 1.30 in the morning, I considered going out to stuff things through letterboxes but decided that (a) I was just too tired and (b) I would probably get arrested.
So I left it until today: I marked up my business development plan with noughts in the relevant boxes and told myself I would do better.
And this I did. First I went into Woodbridge for an appointment with another solicitor (I seem to specialise in solicitors) who wanted to sign up as quickly as possible – we did it in 15 minutes complete with a discussion about what he was going to say about the company when he brings us up at the partners meeting. Next I shifted the rest of yesterday’s piggies, Independence newspapers and DVDs which took another 20 minutes and incidentally put a couple of window cleaners onto the prospect list.
Then it was home in time for the piano tuner (the new one since I didn’t see the point in keeping on the old one if he didn’t want to support my business the way I was supporting his). This one took a DVD for his wife who’s a teacher and really would rather not be.
By the time I really got started on the day’s activity it was three O’clock in the afternooon. But on the other hand, I was in Ipswich. I shifted all 49 cards, ffive DVDs and 10 Independences in an hour. At least half the piggies disappeared at the door to the shopping precinct in about five minutes flat.
That left me with one DVD and just one piggy.
It’s funny when you’re down to one. The last one seems to be gold-plated. You don’t feel like giving it to just anyone.
I scanned the crowd, dismissing one person after another as too old, too young, too scruffy…
And then I saw a Sikh. Now this may be a huge and possibly racist generalisation but has anyone ever met a lazy Sikh? I haven’t. I gave him a card. I said: “It’s all about money. .It’s absolutely brilliant.”
I went on: “Are you interested in money?”
“Always interested in money.”
“Well I can’t tell you about it here. I could give you some more information or if you’ve got ten minutes, I could buy you a coffee and show it to you now.”
He said he didn’t mind so we went to Starbucks and had two gingerbread lattes with cream. You have to drink them with a spoon…
And there I practised what we had learned on the leadership development course. I got him to tell me awhat he wanted while I sat and nodded, my tongue firmly between my teeth. What he wanted was Financial Freedom. At the moment he was chained to his convenience store. He hadn’t been back to India for three years. He couldn’t see any end to it. When he looked at the future he saw himself working until he died.
I showed him how the money worked and asked him what difference that would make to his life. I could hardly catch his reply. It was as if I had packed all the answers to all his problems into a small cardboard box and casually pushed it across the table between the empty latte mugs.
It would be convenient to end this story by saying that he signed up there and then. However not a lot of people do get out their credit card for total strangers who accost them in the street. But will he watch the DVD? Will he come to the opportunity meeting on Thursday.
We shall see.
The elderly gentleman on the phone had been talking to his son. This is always a bad sign. The young are predisposed to talking the old out of doing anything new.
This is basic psychology – all of us are programmed by nature to protect the ones we love – and the best way we can do that is to protect them from the unknown. Or in other words stop them signing up for my club!
Of course it was my fault. I had asked for referrals, the old boy had given me his son’s phone number and I had written in my welcome letter: “And please be sure to phone Chris and warn him I’ll be calling.”
You can imagine the coversation: “By the way, I’ve joined this club…”
“Dad, what have you done now?”
So, hearing all this, I said to the old chap. “Tell you what, why don’t I ring your son and explain it.”
Which is what I did – and we left it that Chris was going to phone the office and join up as well – which would give his parents an extra discount.
So – not really such bad news after all…
In fact, triumph out of adversity – I hope.
And talking of adversity, how on earth was I going to give out 50 piggies by the end of the day? I had a seminar to go to over lunchtime and then a networking event straight afterwards. I could have said: “Well I’m just too busy doing other useful things”. However the great benefit of writing a blog is that I’m accountable. In fact at the seminar I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen for ages and he mentioned that he read it – I didn’t even have to prompt him. This really made my day (and seeing people leaving comments makes my day too).
Anyway, there I was walking back to the car and scouring the empty streets for someone to take a piggy from me.
I turned off down a side street. Then another…
And then I found myself in Cardinal Park. This is the modern version of a city-centre park: A 14-screen cinema, half a dozen huge chain restaurants and a car park – and all apparently deserted at 23.30 in the afternoon.
But wait… there was someone in Nando’s.
I nipped in. I whipped round the tables.
“Have one of these. It’s about money. … Look, I won’t disturb you. I’ll just give you one of these. It’s about money….”
And at a table for six: “Hey, would you like to pass these around. It’s about money…”
I was out of there before the manager even knew I hadn’t come for lunch.
It occurred to me, as I moved on to Frankie and Benny’s that this was advanced stuff. When I started giving out five a day and felt really nervous about it, I would have died at the prospect of being so brazen. But isn’t it amazing what you can do in small steps.
As one of my company’s great trainers once said to me: “Are you the sort of person who deserves to earn £50,000 a year in network marketing? Of course not. If you were, you would be. But can you become the sort of person who deserves to earn £50,000 a year in network marketing? Absolutely. All you have to do is learn what to do and do it.”
And did he mention passing exams or taking out a second mortgage to invest in the business?
“Would you be open to looking at new ways of making money in 2010?”
“I certainly would. I’m being made redundant in March.”
Now could I have known that? This business gets more peculiar every day.
The piggies and I were out on the streets of Colchester. We’d just been to sign up the solicitor from yesterday’s networking breakfast meeting (and he says I’m going to get a call from the partner who deals with the office). Out on the pavement again, I started dispensing the piggies. There’s a new record for this. I just heard about it: 50 piggies given out in 14 minutes. I had a good half an hour to play with: “Have you had one of these… here take one of these… it’s about money… it’s absolutely brilliant.”
And people who a moment earlier had been staring at the ground, their expressions apparently matching their hopeless thoughts, suddenly smiled and said: “Thank you.”
And then I looked through the plate glass window of a building society and saw a young man sitting at a desk near the door. He wasn’t there to deal with the money. He was the “accessible” member of staff; ready with advice or to help you open a new account – and he looked as if the world was about to end and he’d got all his money in fixed-term bonds. I pushed open the door.
“I’ve come in on a whim,” I said, sitting down opposite him. “Tell me, would you be open to looking at new ways of making money in 2010.”
And that was when he told me about the redundancy.
Now isn’t that strange. “I came in on a whim,” I told him. “I get them sometimes. Now isn’t that peculiar… Anyway, let me tell you what I’ve got here…”
And I did. I showed him the company and I showed him how the money works. I was in and out within within ten minutes. Now I wonder if I just changed somebody’s life?
Back on the street the piggies flew out of my fist – and so did a couple of DVDs: These were what we call “quality prospects” – a couple of street canvassers handing out leaflets about whether I’d made a wil… but I wonder if you can spot my big mistake?
“I have made a will. But you know, I’m always looking for people who are good at talking to the public. Do you enjoy your job?”
“Oo yes,” she said. “You have a laugh.”
“That’s what I thought. Tell me, are you open to looking at new ways of making money in 2010?”
And she was. And so was her friend. And now they’ve both got DVDs and invitations to our meeting on the 17th.
I even remembered to tell them to join first so they could bring their friends. But I’ve just realised my big mistake: I never took one of their leaflets about the wills – will writers make excellent distributors…
“Ah yes, I’ve heard of this,” said the man sitting on my right.
We were at one of those business breakfasts that work so well for network marketers – lots of small business people all wanting to raise their profile and increase their profits. Unfortunately this was one of those where they give you place cards. This meant I had the misfortune to be sitting between somebody on my left who I had already met over coffee – and, on my right, a solicitor. Which is usually bad news.
Sorry about this, solicitors – but in the main, the one who gets delegated to the networking breakfast is likely to be the junior associate who doesn’t even know which partner is the firm’s decision maker. They might even be still living at home where Mum makes the decisions. But then I looked again and realised that this one had grey hair. Indeed, he went on: “Yes, I went to a networking breakfast at the Rose and Crown and there was a chap there who did a ten-minute slot about this. It sounded brilliant.”
Good news. Clearly he was already half way to signing up. Bad news for the distributor at the Rose and Crown. Why didn’t he sign him up? Apparently my new prospect had even looked at the website and meant to sign himself up. How much encouragement would he have needed to accept an appointment. But did he even get a call…
Well now he’s got a appointment – this afternoon with me.
In fact my early morning trip was worthwhile for another reason. On the way back the phone rang: A redundant advertising salesman had passed me on the way and seen the business opportunity plastered all over the back window of the Mini. “What’s that all about?” he wanted to know.
So I told him.
Then into Ipswich for a couple of errands. Normally this is an opportunity to give out double my quota of cards but for some reason, I didn’t have a spare stack in the car. Never mind, I could afford to be choosy about who I gave them to – picking out those people who looked as though they had “a bit about them”. It was startling to see how few people did look as though they had “a bit about them”.
But the salesman in the menswear department of Marks and Spencers looked at my badge: “How do I make Save Money and Make Money, then?”
“Well, which do you want to do, save money or make money?”
“You serious about that?”
“Yeah, of course.”
“Right then ,” I told him. “Because you’re serious, I’ll give you one of these. Take that home and watch it tonight. If you like what you see give me a ring.”
Then we walked round and established that, like Debenhams, M&S won’t have any blazers until the summer stock comes in. And as we parted, he waved the
DVD from across the rails of suits: “I’ll watch this tonight. Thanks.”
Maybe he really will. People do. On the way home my newest distributor had been doing the same and called to ask me how to fill in the form for his first distributor.
It’s wonderful to see the business growing – and all from talking to people. How easy is that?
Or else I could
Of course, I was forgetting: Everything is different now.
I had imagined that if I was going to spend the morning doing my Christmas shopping, I would actually go to the shops. Then it dawned on me what a waste of time that would be if the shops I visited didn’t have what I wanted.
The fact that we all used to do this all the time before the invasion of the microchips, never seemed to occur to me. Instead I naturally headed for the screen and started checking shops for Tamsin’s present. (Now, I don’t think she reads this but you never know – so I won’t say what sort of shops). Anyway within half an hour I found one which promised to order what I wanted. So in the end I didn’t need to go anywhere.
This left me with just a trip to the Post Office and the haberdashers (yes, we have a haberdashers in Woodbridge) to buy red ribbon for the Christmas cards – and talking of cards, I had 50 piggies to dispense.
I was in the middle of doing this in the main street when my mobile rang. The voice on the other end said: “You gave me a card in the Shell garage the other day.”
Now, there was a time when I would have talked to him for half an hour, nurtured and cajoled him. Now I can’t be bothered. People either want to join or they don’t and I’m not interested in the ones who don’t, so: “The first thing you need to do is check out the website. That saves me telling you all about it. Have a look at that and ring me back and tell me what you like best, OK?”
Twenty minutes later we talked again and I took him through the money. It turns out he’s a door-knocker for a double glazing company. He says he’s going to sign up on Tuesday after he gets paid. We’ll see.
But the strange thing is, sometimes things do work out. Take the case of Ted and Hazel. Ted is a lovely old boy I met in our Win-a-Mini stand. He wanted to win a car and so we got talking about what we could do for him. I went round to see him and he signed up. But then he suddenly decided that he wanted to discuss it with Hazel after all. That was almost two weeks ago and I’ve been trying to get to see Hazel ever since.
After a while you get a feeling about these things: He didn’t really want to join but didn’t like to tell me. Hazel was just an excuse – in fact I was beginning to think that Hazel didn’t really exist at all. Until today, when I got home and dialled the now-familiar number – and Hazel answered.
“Oh Ted deals with all these things,” she said – and handed the phone to him. I might have guessed…
Pinning on a cheerful expression, I began: “Hello Ted. So we’re ready to go ahead then?”
“I suppose we are,” he replied.
And so we did.
This was extra good news because my company will pay me another £200 if I have 12 new members by December 14th. I hadn’t been counting on Ted and Hazel (would you?) but suddenly there they were – the 12th customer.
Of course, I wouldn’t feel comfortable about having just 12 in case one drops out at the last moment. But I have another couple who’ve filled in the form but decided they wanted to consult her brother who’s a financier. I’m due to ring them tomorrow.
So that left just a trip to Focus to get some more hooks to hang the ribbons. That took care of the last ten piggies – and then across the car park to Bennetts to discuss a new video camera to take skiing. The fact that I will buy it from Comet with the company Cashback Card is neither here nor there. But the salesman was very knowledgeable and most helpful.
“Say, I’m always on the lookout for people in your line,” I told him. “Are you open to looking at new ways of making money?
“I’m always up for more money.”
… and then I reached into my pocket and found there were no piggies left. I must have been too conscientious.
However, being that conscientious, I was no more than six inches from my time planner – and in there I always keep some DVDs…
So we’ll see what he says.
I’ll let you know…
Did you ever have a prospect say they didn’t have the time to do this business. Well I don’t either – not at weekends.
Weekends to me are family time. But then again if the opportunity presnts itself…
Today was a fairly typical Saturday: Tamsin took Theo to the next round of his unstoppable journey to the county cross country championship – which meant I had Hugo to get to his athletics training at the sports centre. Fortunately this is in the same complex as the arts centre where Owen and Lottie were already busy with their drama classes.
The only difficulty was that they all finished at different times. For instance Lottie and I would have to hang around for half an hour before Hugo finished – and then there would be another half an hour before Owen came out of his class.
The plan was that in these “wasted” intervals, I should walk the dog. She was spayed last week and so walks round with a ridiculous cone on her head and isn’t supposed to be off the lead.
So Lottie and I took her for a saunter round the houses. We walked, we chatted, the sun shone and we came to a man walking towards us.
Instinctively I reached into my pocket and gave him a piggy card. Then I looked at the houses and their letter boxes – and asked Lottie if she wanted to post cards. When you’re nine years old this can be quite exciting – and by the time Hugo was ready to finish his athletics, we had dispensed about 20.
Hugo, of course, wanted to put cards through letter boxes too. So I suggested we do it properly: I would get some flyers out of the boot of the car and I would pay this child labour properly (it’s tax deductable).
Lottie, who had been quite happy to do it for nothing, was delighted with the idea of 5p a letterbox. But Hugo instantly started to negotiate. In no time at all he had me up to 10p a flyer. This struck me as fairly steep but I would far rather they earn their pocket money and anyway, I thought it was a good lesson for him to drive a hard bargain and get what he wanted (I know I will regret this when it comes to bedtime)
Anyway, off we went down the road: The dog got her walk, the children earned some money (to buy Christmas presents of course) and I had the satisfaction of seeing 40 flyers being distributed. Add that to the cards Lottie had done for nothing and you have 60 pieces of information that went out into the world today – and all without “going to work”.
Isn’t proof a wonderful thing! No matter how much we tell our new distributors they have to believe in the business before they see the results, there is no doubt that physical proof just adds that little extra committment.
Take yesterday, for instance: Yesterday was the day I realised that three people I didn’t know had signed up on my website in the last three weeks just because I had given them a piggy card.
Now, I’ve been giving out 50 cards a day for several weeks – although there have been times when I’ve found it a struggle. In fact if it hadn’t been for the fact that I knew I would have to confess all in this blog, then I bet there would have been times when I would have shrugged and not popped out in the evening to buy something I didn’t really need from the supermareket, just so I could shift the last 20 cards to the other shoppers.
But yesterday was different. Yesterday it was as if I was a character in an old Hollywood musical, with a spring in my step and a song in my heart. With just 20 minutes between my appointment with the printer and my clarinet lesson, I dumped the Mini in the car wash and hit the streets: “Have you had one of these? It’s about money. It’s brilliant..”
And then I dropped the phone – did I mention that I was talking to one of my team at the same time? The phone still worked but a vital bit for navigating the screen had fallenl out.
That meant I was now permanently on the phone ordering a new one while I gave out the piggies with the other hand – and do you know what? It was a whole lot easier. Now I didn’t have to say anything – yet people still took them. They even smiled and nodded at my predicament.
And how many of them went home and signed up?
I love this business!
Did you spot it? There was no blog yesterday.
Events conspired against us. On Wednesday the Piggies and I started out with the best intentions but what with one thing and another…
However, you don’t want to know about that. This is not about what we didn’t do. This is a positive start to the day. So let me tell you about my business breakfast meeting yesterday.
Once a week I go and have a very good breakfast at a local hotel with my Refer-On group: A dozen or more of us get together to discuss our businesses and make new contacts. Yesterday the visitors were a building project manager and a printer and it turned out that the printer was part of a nationwide organisation which had printed the Piggies – so obviously we got talking.
“But you’re too late,” he said. “One of your colleagues has already signed me up.”
“That’s great. And are you going to be making money as well,” I asked him. “Are you going to be a distributor… oh, you should. As a printer, I expect you have lots of customers starting their own businesses and wanting their stationery. You could offer them all 0800 numbers.”
(We provide 0800 numbers for £1 a week in my company).
This was not something he had considered (and, I might add, not something the other distributor had mentioned).
And now I’m going to see him this afternoon to show him how the money works.
In fact the Piggies were on a roll. When I got home for a meeting with a new distributor (who had also been a guest at Refer-On) I wanted to show this newcomer the company website where I could see what all my customers were doing – and there at the bottom of the list was a new one whose name I didn’t recognise. When this happens there is only one explanation: This is someone who has been onto my website and signed up without my knowledge – someone, in other words, who had a Piggy.
That makes three in the last three weeks. Does this mean that giving out 50 Piggies a day gets you a customer a week without even having to talk to them?
And of course, I help too. Remember a couple of days ago I gave someone a Piggy and they said they were interested in making money and we went and had a coffee… and I was so excited about my new “skills” that they ended up wanting to be a customer instead. Well now we’re going to have another cup of coffee next Wednesday so I can sign her up!
My nine-year-old daughter’s school reading book is a biography of Richard Branson.
A good choice for year 4 – but there’s something about this Heineman Profile by Bob Alcraft which is irresistable for network marketers as well. Dotted throughout are Branson quotations and every one is a nugget. I’ll offer just a couple:
“My general philosophy is, if you decide to do something, throw yourself into and and do it well. And enjoy it as much as you can.”
And how about this:
“The one secret of our success is people. If you can find the right people, look after those people, motivate those people, you can achieve pretty well anything.”
Now isn’t that exactly what we’re about in this business? Isn’t that what I set out to do every day with the Piggies – find the right people.
Yesterday morning was devoted to the Win-a-Mini stand in the garden centre using the new system our company has designed for showing people what we’ve got. For the second day running someone signed up on the spot – and, of course, all the people who didn’t sign up got a Piggy. But I don’t know whether it’s the fact that a garden centre on a weekday tends to attract older people or it’s just the luck of the draw, but hardly anyone said they were interested in earning extra income.
And besides, I still had about 30 cards left at the end of the day so I popped down into town to shift them: “Have you had one of these… I see you’ve got children, have one of these they’re brilliant… Excuse me but we seem to be the same sort of age, I found this fantastic…”
And suddenly a woman looked at the card and said: “Hmm, Make Money – Save Money…”
“Are you interested in money?” I asked her.
“Certainly that’s why I’m in business.”
It turned out she was a business coach: “Right. Do you have ten minutes now? What I suggest is that I buy you a cup of coffee and show you what it’s all about.”
And so we went into the coffee shop and I made my mistake.
What I should have done – and what I would have done until the company introduced it’s new “skills” system, was give her a 30 second explanation of what the company does and then take a piece of paper and show her how the money works.
But instead, I was so excited by my new “skills” that I showed her the benefits of signing up as a member rather then a distributor.
And that’s what she wants to do!
Of course being a member is good – and she will be the 11th of the 12 I need by December 14th in order to claim my £200 bonus under the company’s current promotion.
But that’s not quite what I set out to do…
And so I thought it would be good to end with another Branson quote to illustrate the point – but I couldn’t find anything appropriate in the book.
Now would Richard Branson give up and end one a lame note? Certainly not – he started out wanting to be an editor. He would Google “Richard Branson Quotes.”
So that’s what I did – and this is what I got:
“Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.”
Seven piggies left and they were burning a hole in my pocket.
The little piggy-shaped business cards were the last of my 50-a-day to be given out and this was the end of the day and clearly a crisis.
They say the thing about this business is that it’s easy to do and easy not to do. If I didn’t get rid of the last seven, my upline was not going to be waiting for me with a rolling pin when I got home . Nobody would sack me tomorrow morning. In fact nothing at all would happen.
And it was exactly that – “nothing at all” – that would describe the growth in my business if I shrugged and thought: “I’ll just add them to tomorrow’s quota.”
Already I had spent three hours doing a Win-a-Mini event, giving out information to people who didn’t have time to stop and talk (and giving out information to those who did).The Piggy cards were supposed to be on top of any other activity.
And here I was sitting on a bench in the sports centre while my seven year old son cavorted on the judo mat and I thought: “This is embarrassing.”
The father sitting next to me watched his own child. I considered leaning over and giving one to him. But this wasn’t like handing a card to someone in the street and never seeing them again. The judo class still had 55 minutes to go. What if he said he didn’t want a card: I would have to sit there next to him for the rest of that time knowing he’d rejected me.
This was getting ridiculous. The more I sat there, the more panicky I became.
I’m confessing all this now in order to show you that the awkwarndess every new distributor feels about approaching strangaers – or even their friends – is not unique to them. We all feel it.
So how is it that some people are hugely successful? Are they just thick-skinned? Don’t they feel normal human anxieties?
No, they just have a big “why”.
The big “why” is the reason they’re in the business. The big “why” is what drives them on when the going gets tough – for whatever reason. And this was one of those moments when I had to remember why I was in this business and was never got to let anything stop me succeeding at it.
So I sat there on the bench thinking “This is embarrassing” and suddenly heard this voice in my head.
This is what the voice said: “I’ll tell you what’s embarrassing. What’s embarrrassing is having to work in Tesco’s filling shelves at two O’clock in the morning for £7.50 an hour.”
Because I know that at my age that’s what I’d have to do if I needed a job. If you don’t believe me go and look in your local supermarket in the middle of the night. Count the number of men in there who should be retired and home in bed.
So I leaned over to the father sitting next to me and said: “Can you do me a favour?”
“Yes,” he said – as anyone would – “What can I do for you.”
“Just take one of these. I make sure I give out 50 and day and I’ve still got seven left. If you like I could tell you all about it but otherwise you could just take it.”
He looked. “I’ll just take it if that’s all right.”
“That’s fine,” I said. Suddenly it didn’t seem so hard any more. I got up and wandered out into the lobby and did the same twice more – with the same response – and I would have done the same with the last four but when the time came to go, my son insisted we go over to the regisration desk and put his name down for the competition the Saturday after next – and there were four people there.
Now I was on familiar ground. This was the usual embarrassment-free situation I was used to.
“Here,” I said to the woman who had written down my son’s name. “I’ll give you one these because everyone gets a Piggy.
“What’s that, then?”
“It’s about money.”
“And one for you, and one for you… and one for you.”