Archive for February, 2010
Don’t ever get run-flat tyres. The idea is great – you never have a flat tyre.
Or at least the tyre never looks flat and you can still drive to get it fixed. But if it never looks flat, how do you know it is flat… until you’ve been driving on it for so long it’s ruined and you have to buy a new one for £120. I’ve had my free Mini for just over two years and I’ve now had to fork out for three new tyres.
Also the tyres are a bit of a rarity so this time I had to leave the car at the garage while they ordered a new one. Still, it meant that I got to talk to the taxi driver.
Interesting chap: His usual business was harvesting potatoes for Walkers Crisps. He has a huge machine costing millions and he and his sons drive it 24 hours a day throughout the potato season. The rest of the year, he drives taxis.
“It’s not the same any more, though.” he said. “Now the lorries pull onto the field, drive alonside. I shoot the load into the back and they’re off. I never even talk to the drivers.”
“Do you like talking to people.”
“Well it’s what life’s all about, isn’t it – talking to people.”
“You ought to look at what I do…”
He thought it sounded great. So now he’s got a DVD.
Then of course, I had to take another taxi back in the afternoon to pick up the Mini with its new tyre. Now, admittedly the driver didn’t speak very good English but I don’t know if I’ve ever witnessed a greater contrast.
“Nice car,” I said.
“Not mine. Belong to company.”
“Would you like your own car?”
“I know how you can get one. You could do what I do. Just tell your passengers about our brilliant club that saves them £1000 a year and you get given a free car. How great is that?”
“Free car. They send me free car?”
“Well, you have to go and collect it.”
“Where collect car?”
“London, just at the bottom of the M1″
“What, you wouldn’t take a train up to London to collect a free car worth £12,000?”
“Don’t like train. Car is better.”
I like to think there are very few occasions when I am struck dumb. However this was one of them. The rest of the journey was completed in silence.
- until we reached the garage and I paid him. He then looked at me for what seemed the first time: “You give me information about free car?”
Yes, I gave him information about free car. Heck I’ll give anyone information about free car.
But I just hope he never rings. Maybe he has a cheerful chatty friend…
If the object of the exercise is to talk to people then anything that gets you doing more of that must be a good thing, right?
So it suddenly dawned on me that it was not so bad that I had ended up “doorstepping” my new distributor.
This is a term from my old newspaper days. It means sitting outside someone’s front door in the hope that they will either come out or – if they’re already out, that they will go in – and on the way, do or say something newsworthy.
The front door in Ilford was slightly different because I was there for Meeting One with my new distributor and he wasn’t home. Also I had driven for more than an hour to get there so there was the potential for feeling miffed.
However I always give people half an hour and so I turned the car round to face their front door and sat there making phone calls. After five minutes someone tapped on my window: Did I know this was a one-way street and I was facing the wrong way?
No I didn’t. Thanks very much. By the way, have a piggy card…
Five minutes later the same thing happened… and then again five minutes after that.
By the time half an hour had gone by, two things had happened to persuade me I should stay for another half an hour: I had given out six cards and had proper little conversations with the people who had taken them. Also I had called a woman in Croydon who sounded interested and we just happened to have a meeting in Croydon in three hours’ time. So it made sense to hang on while she looked at the website.
As it turned out, she decided against it. But never mind, my new distributor turned up an hour late. You have never seen anyone so apologetic. He didn’t know his wife had made arrangements for them to go his mother-in-law’s. He had raced back as fast as he could. He kept on saying how sorry he was. In fact we had a really good meeting. You should have seen his eyes shining as he described the kind of life he plans to give his baby daughter (she’s going to be spoiled rotten).
Moral: Patience is a virtue!
For our first meeting my new distributor suggested the “18th Century splendour” of his local country house hotel.
It was closed. We ended up in the Little Chef.
This was not, I hope, an indication of his potential for making money in this business. But it’s strange the way things turn out. We sat there for an hour and a half over cups of tea while I explained things, drew diagrams, told him how the money worked. As the time went by he became more and more excited – which is what usually happens.
The place was empty apart from a handful of staff and from time to time they came by and offered us refills. But apart from that I’m afraid to say I took very little notice of them.
But then, when I came to pay the bill, I asked the man at the till: “Is it a long day for you?”
“Not too bad,” he replied. “I started at one and I finish at nine. It’s only part-time.”
“Really,” I said, aware of my new distributor watching carefully. “What do you do the rest of the time.”
“Nothing. I was made redundant.”
It turned out he had been a production manager but the factory closed. Now he was looking for another job.
“Maybe you’d like to look at what I do…”
And we left him with a DVD. The following day I spent half an hour on the phone with him. He became equally excited. I think I left him fired up enough to watch the DVD (he had the usual excuses for not having watched it).
I’ll let you know if he signs up. It would be nice if he did – if only to prove to my new distributor that opportunities are all around us.
It’s official: The Badge has magic powers.
On my previous post today I said I was wearing the badge even though I was at home on a Sunday morning. In fact I put it on just so I could say so.
But then what happened? I didn’t take it off and within an hour, I received a call from someone saying he’d had a missed call from me.
This was Harry who owns a couple of shops and is always looking out for new ways of making money. He told me he would definitely sign up as a distributor… but somehow he never did. Life got in the way. I left a couple of messages and in the end I put him on my “No for now” list.
Well, now it seems to be “yes”. We’re going to get together on Wednesday.
It can be embarrasing, the badge. After all, how many people would feel entirely comfortable wearing a bright yellow proclamation on their lapel: “Save Money… Make Money – Ask Me How!”
Or “Lose weight now!”… or whatever it is your company happens to do.
But there comes a time, after a while, when you’re more embarrassed about not wearing it. That day comes when you realise just what network marketing can do for you.
You see, to begin with – maybe for the first two or three years, you don’t really know.
Oh, you think you know – you’ve read the company compensation plan, you’ve seen the leaders get up at the conventions and talk about their sports cars and homes abroad – but you don’t have that deep-down conviction that it’s going to happen to you.
There will always be a small voice telling you not to make a fool of yourself. There will always be moments when you feel awkward about dropping your business into the conversation. You talk about something else instead – as if, deep down, you believe that the real way to long-term wealth is to have a job like everyone else and this network marketing thing is only a game.
Until one day when you look at your commission statement and it dawns on you that network marketing does work. That this is going to pay you more than any of your friends who rely on ordinary jobs – and it will pay you in a way they will never get paid… forever.
I have someone in my team who had a badge made which says: “I have the best job in the world”. When people ask him why, he looks them straight in the eye and says: “Because I get paid forever“.
And he puts such passion into the word “forever” that they just have to know more.
It’s as if this is not a badge at all. It’s a sheild and it gives him a magical protection from all the negative people he’s going to meet during his day. It makes him invincible.
On Friday I discovered exactly what he means. I had an appointment fixed for the afternoon – a couple I had met at our “Win-a-Mini” in the garden centre. They said they wanted to enter our free draw. They were happpy to answer my six quick questions – and they ended up saying they would like me to come round and show them how to shrink their household bills by 30% or more. They even said they were serious about shrinking their bills.
And then they got cold feet: “”We’ve thought about it and we don’t want to change,” said the husband on the phone.
Now, I could have let that spoil my day. But I had my badge – and if anyone asks me why I wear that stupid badge, I tell them: “This badge recognises the fact that I’m in partnership with the top-performing company on the premier stock exchange in the world.”
(I’d like to add “and what do you do?” But I want to make friends not enemies!”
One way and another it did’t bother me that the man from the Win-a-Mini had changed his mind. But, more than that, the magic of the badge was still at work. Ten minutes later he called again: “I’ve spoken to a friend and it turns out that she’d a member of your club. She says it’s brilliant. So you can come round after all if you like.”
So I did. And of course it’s the converts who make the most enthusiastic members. We went through our Cashback Challenge and worked out that he would save 40% on his bills – and that was without the extra 20% he reckons he can get when he introduces ten of his friends.
Then it turned out that the retirement he had been talking about doesn’t start until June – and he works as a painter and decorator… and of course B&Q is one of our Cashback partners. Did he think he could buy all his paint there?
I reckon that between now and June there will be some months when my new member joins the 200 who pay nothing at all for their gas, electricity, phone, broadband or mobiles.
And in June he’s going to think about being a distributor as well.
And yes, even though I’m sitting at home on a Sunday morning, I’m wearing my badge. Why not? It makes me feel good.
They say you never know where your next distributor coming from. What they don’t warn you is that sometimes the distributor doesn’t know either.
It was late in the evening and I was doing nothing more productive than trying to find the email confirmation from Amazon – had they received my son’t faulty Christmas present? This is tiresome stuff and any distraction will do. The red light on the Blackberry started flashing: An email saying that somewhere someone had downloaded an information pack from the personalised website my company helpfully provides for me.
I rang the number immediately. For one thing it would be more fun than chasing Amazon. I found myself talking to a man in High Wycombe.
And here’s an interesting point. When I started, I would always give people an hour to read through their information pack. The trouble with that is sometimes you never get them on the phone at all. And this was a classic example.
“I see you’ve downloaded an information pack,” I said brightly.
Yes, you were on the internet looking at our business opportunity… a way of making money in your spare time… working from home…”
“I don’t know…”
- We’ve got a right one here…
“You left your details on my site.”
“Well I’ve been surfing the interenet. I looked at lots of sites.”
I took a deep breath: “Well are you interested in making some extra money.”
So we started from basics and I told him what I had. And as the conversation developed it transpired that this person was not an idiot after all. He owned two shops. He began to get ahead of me. He asked questions that revealed an astute businessman. When I asked him what he would do with, say, an extra £500 a month, he replied – quick as a flash: “Pay my tax bill.”
Idiots who surf the internet late at night leaving their details on websites with no more thought than a vandal in a hoody spraying his name on a wall, do not have tax bills.
So now he is looking at the website – and on purpose this time. We’ll talk again this evening.
And here’s the point of this little parable: Was it pure luck or as it what I like to call “forces at work”. As Cal says in Titanic: ” A real man makes his own luck” and I know exactly where this one came from.
On Monday night I had been driving home from Cambridge. It was late and I stopped for petrol. I gave the people behind the tills a piggy card each. I was anxious to get home. But I had something to do: On my Business Developmen Plan (see the panel on the right) I had set myself a target of giving out two DVDs during the day – and here we were at 10.30 at night and I’d only given out one. And I only give DVDs to people who for some inexplicable reason strike me as likely to make good use of them.
So I sat in the car and waited. It was a full five minutes before another car pulled in. The driver got out: Unshaven, overweight, scruffy. He paid for his petrol and returned to his car with an armfull of crisps and chocolate bars. People with no self-discipline do not make good distributors.
I continued to wait.
Then up comes a new Audi. The man in the driver’s seat was in shirtsleeves and a tie. on a hook behind his head was his jacket on a hanger. I stepped out and went over: “Good evening, I wonder if you could do me a favour…”
“If I can.”
“Every day I give two of these DVDs to people who I think may watch them. It makes me rich and famous and so far today I’ve only given out one. If I gave this to you would you watch it?”
He looked at it: “What’s it about.”
“It’s about money.”
“Well if it’s about money, I’ll watch it.”
Now I am quite sure that he is not the man who surfed the internet and ended up on the phone on Tuesday night. But I am equally sure that in some peculiar way, if I had not put in that ten minutes of extra effort on Monday night, then Tuesday would not have reaped its rewards.
Just call it Forces at Work.
If you want to know what I get out of this business, read this: It comes from someone I talked to on the phone. She had visted the website, we had talked about how the money works. This is what she wrote:
“Just thought I’d thank you again for all the information you’ve given me this morning and how much I appreciate you answering my questions honestly and frankly- it makes a refreshing change to the people I usually deal with!
“I am very interested in this opportunity and impressed with the company, the earnings potential and franchise scheme. I look forward to finding out more at the conference on the 10th!
“Look forward to meeting you then! Take care.”
Now isn’t that heartwarming? Isn’t that an anti-dote to all the people who think that if you’re in network marketing, you must go around bludgeoning everyone into listening to you drone on about your opportunity every time there’s a pause in the conversation?
It quite made my day. In fact I was still humming to myself with contentment when a man joined me in the queue at the bank.
“Welcome to the queue,” I said. “Everyone who joins the queue gets a little pink piggy.”
I gave him one.
He looked at it. He went on looking at it. I said: “Are you interested in money?”
He said: “I’m interested in making it.”
I asked him if he had ten minutes. If he did I’d buy him a coffee and tell him all about it.
So we walked up the street while I told him my story and then we ended up in a little cafe where one old man ate a baked potato very slowly and I told my new friend what I had to offer. He was one of those people who grasped it immediately: “I’ve got an enormous customer base,” he said at one point. “Imagine never having to worry about money ever again!” he breathed to himself.
We were only in there for ten minutes. I was in danger of being late for my music lesson. But that was all he needed. In fact he was so grateful that I’d taken the time that he paid for the coffee.
As I left I paused by the table of the old man with the potato: “I don’t know how much of that you overheard…”
“Well, quite a lot actually. It all sounds very interesting.”
So he got a piggy too.
I love this business.
This was the third iron in a couple of years. OK, so we have a lot of clothes in our house – and a wonderful babysitter who irons once the children are in bed. But iron lasted only seven months before steam started spurting from unlikely places.
And there began one of those wonderful episodes that restores your faith in human nature (and does wonders for your network marketing business).
I couldn’t find the receipt. But since we get a discount on our household bills by buying electrical stuff from Comet, I took it back and there I found one of those rare and really helpful shop assistants. Betweeen him and the computer we found my purchase. He looked up the price I’d paid and deducted that from the price of a new and even grander iron. Then he gave me another five percent – and then of course I paid with my Cashback Card and got a further five per cent!
It all generated such good vibes that I said: “I haven’t seen you in here before. Have you worked here long?”
It turned out that he used to be a football coach at Ipswich Town (I never knew they had more than one). But now he was getting paid to play by some minor league club, he needed his Saturdays off. Ipswich Town wouldn’t give them to him – but Comet would.
And guess what that meant I could say: “You ought to have a look at what I do. I get time off whenever I want it.”
“Really,” he said. “What do you do?”
What else could he say? Actually, what I could have done - instead of just giving him a card as the manager came bearing down, sensing extra-curricular activity – was to say: “I just talk to people.”
- like for instance the demonstrator offering cream cheese in Sainsbury’s or the man in the queue at the checkout: “I always give one of the of these to people next to me in queues. It’s about money.”
The next thing you know, this man told me all about how he paid off his mortgage in only six years. He expounded on debt being the curse of modern life. He boasted that back in the days of high interest rates his neighbour’s mortgage increase had been more than his total payment…
Once you get used to it, all this chatting seems very effortless – but never so much as when the man behind the counter in the petrol station said: “How do I make money then?”
What? Oh yes… I was wearing my badge – the one that says: “Save money… Make money – Ask me how?” I don’t even notice I’ve got it on any more.
I left him writing his name, email address and mobile number in my little notebook while I went back to the car to get a DVD.
And if anyone asks me if all this ever does any good, I can tell them that today, the company’s computer sent me two emails telling me who had downloaded informatiion packs from the website…