Posted on August 28, 2019 by dragonspitapothecary
Every book I’ve read about sales and direct marketing says you have to be consistent in everything you do. The more you are consistent the more likely you will eventually see progress and growth in your business. Without consistency you are floundering and disorganized leading to being unprepared for when opportunity shows up. The philosophy is that just by being consistent you are outperforming a lot of people in this type of business. I believe they are right about this concept of consistency.
The fact is more people will start and then stop a direct sales business than any other type of work they take on in their life. It’s easy to start a direct sales business and it’s equally easy to stop them. There is little monetary investment so people have the freedom to say this isn’t working well and give up. Too often though they give up before they have even given it a chance.
We are uncomfortable when things get hard or challenging. We didn’t have a lot of time to give to this business anyway and it becomes a pain to keep up with especially when there is so little incoming new business . We get bored with not seeing progress. We get frustrated at the time and money it takes to bring in fresh leads and generate new sales. We realize we don’t have all the answers, skills, strengths and patience to keep it going so we turn off the sign and go back to our normal life. I believe even the most consistent and focused person will soon enough give up if they’re not seeing any progress. Let’s face it at some point in time after trying and trying and trying again there may be a time when enough is enough. Sometimes this is the right decision and sometimes it isn’t.
In direct marketing, direct sales or MLM, whichever you prefer to call it, there are millions of people who start out with a casual interest in what it could mean to start their own business, make loads of money and live life on their terms. This is a beautiful energy that can really change lives. Too often though we quickly become disillusioned because we realize it’s not as easy as we thought and there is actually quite a bit of work to making it come together successfully. There is a huge time commitment as well as strategy, approach and investment that we must personally do to make it successful. The beauty and challenge of direct sales success is that everything is up to you to manifest. If you don’t like responsibility, accountability and challenge then right upfront you know this probably isn’t for you.
The majority of us are working full time in jobs that we rely on for our pay, insurance, retirement accounts and paid vacations. These jobs are super important to our basic livelihood so if you have this little small business that isn’t bringing in some form of return for your time, money and energy sooner or later, probably sooner, you’re going to realize you need to put your time, money and energy somewhere else. There isn’t the luxury in so many cases to keep pouring what we have into something that isn’t giving us at least a little something back. Hence why so many quit this type of business and say it is bad, not worth it and don’t want anything further to do with it. But is it really the business that is bad or is it our own situation, investment, commitment and interest for what it really takes that has failed? Did we take on more than we realized but realize it’s just easier to blame something else than admit we were not poised to make the most of it?
I believe this give up and anti-MLM position comes from a couple different situations. First, the person who started their small business thought it was going to be “easy money.” When that didn’t happen quickly or was even a little bit of work or outside their comfort zone they washed their hands of it and said it was not worth the investment of time, money and talent. Second, when it turned out to be work and more work than they had interest, time or money for they gave up and said it was a scam. Unfortunately, these trains of thought cause a lot of stir that works against those that continue to press on in this business and those that have figured out how to make it work.
Again, it’s not the MLM that was at fault in those situations but our own naivety that overlooked the details of what it really means to start up and run a small business of this type. You can say MLM is not a real small business all you want but ask anyone who has succeed what they did to make that happen and then ask a person who opened and runs their own brick and mortar boutique. Guess what you hear? Their stories of what they did, how they marketed, how they sold, what business skills they used, how they budgeted, what they worried about and tracked will be remarkably the same!
There will be times in all businesses where things look bleak. Sales are down, people are not interested and you are pouring more into your business than you get out of it. If you want to be successful, you have to make the decision to be absolutely consistent despite that. You have to make the decision to stay true to your belief this is what you want and you will figure out a way to make it work. You have to put in the work consistently to foster that shift from bleakness and wanting to give up to seeing even a baby step forward. It is possible but it is entirely on you to make that happen.
For me, that has meant waking up early to write this blog before I have to start my job each day. It has also meant spending weekends and evenings away from my family to meet with prospects, teach classes and provide service to a customer. It has also meant hours creating courses to teach and provide to people with meaningful content who want to learn more. It has included my family helping to package samples and stuff envelopes. At times it has dominated my every waking thought and taken over my schedule. At times it has proven unsuccessful because people didn’t show up, didn’t respond and didn’t become my customer. It has driven me crazy and it has brought me joy. Yet I press on every day with trying it again, tweaking things along the way and creating new ways to shift those results when they are less than desired. I have created a consistency through determination that even though at times I’m not successful in meeting the sales goals I set I still put in the work with the expectation this will turn profitable and be what I dreamed it could be. That’s the difference in mindset between those who complain and those who are consistent.
I believe consistency is a close partner to showing up. You have to show up to those appointments, classes, parties, social media and other connection points even when no one else does. You have to be prepared, organized and feeling that this is the most important appointment or activity of your small business even when they don’t call to tell you they can’t make it. That is incredibly hard I know but I’ll tell you that is how you keep the small business going so please read that again and know you have to do it even when they don’t.
There have been so many times I have set appointments, scheduled a class, rented a space and spent hours preparing just to have no one show up. It is incredibly disheartening and frustrating. It literally makes you question why you are even trying this business or what makes you think you could do it at all. It can also easily give you a high intolerance of people that makes you not want to work with them at all. Some will say this no-show situation is the result of not finding the right people to invite in the first place.Others will say you didn’t follow up enough in advance. In some cases that’s true and I believe there is an element of responsibility you have in these situations but that’s not all of what’s going on here.
I recall the time I rented out a space for $50 to host a class where I invited dozens of people. People I was actively working with as well as existing customers and those that had expressed interest. This was a beautiful workshop I was offering and great way to bring people together for support and experience with essential oils. I even worked with others on my team to have them help and invite people they were working with to participate. I showed up early, setup the class, started a diffuser so the room would smell nice, made sure there was a sign in sheet and cold drinks for everyone. I adjusted the chairs for comfort to my guests and I made sure everything was absolutely perfect. And then I sat. I sat for 2 and 1/2 hours and not a single person showed up. I sat and I cried at once again having a class that no one could take the time to show up for after saying they would. I cried at the time I had lost with my family on a beautiful Sunday afternoon and here I was sitting in an empty building for nothing…. yet again. A space I had even paid for! Trust me I really wanted to give up that day. I wanted to never open another essential oil bottle in my life! This was not the first time this had happened either and I was so incredibly hurt by it all.
The next day I personally called everyone I had invited and attempted to connect with them. Some gave me apologies and excuses for not making it, others didn’t answer the phone at all. However, 1 person said though she couldn’t make it she was very interested and we set up a time to meet for coffee. When she met, she enrolled and is one of my local builders today. It wasn’t a stellar outcome for renting a space to spend 2 1/2 hours by myself but it was business I wouldn’t have otherwise had if I had given up that day.
You never know what is going on with people. Even if you call or text them an hour before you are supposed to meet most will still probably not show up. I have never understood this myself but that’s my own personal code of how I don’t like to treat people and I realize not everyone has that same outlook. This is something you have to learn to accept and still put on the positive attitude that this is ok. It truly is them and not you as long as you have done your best in setting the appointment, confirmed, followed up and executed all you should to try and set the importance of that meeting or appointment. Most importantly never wash your hands of that person in these situations but rather keep your lines of communication with that person in place where you do have a continued conversation going. Unless they truly are not your desired customer and then determine if you want to continue that conversation. I promise it can turn out positively. It takes on average 7 to 12 times of talking to someone before they make a purchase. Think about your own purchase and shopping patterns. How often do you look at something and then look at it again, wait a little to see if it goes on sale or if someone else has it, look at it again and think about it before you make a purchase? Sure in this case you have literally been stood up but as long as there is a continued conversation and you are showing up to keep it going you have possibility.
Interested in more?
There are multiple ways to have a successful direct sales small business that can reduce the impact of having no shows. These are not tricks but they too will require strategic thought, investment of time and perhaps money and your commitment to consistency and showing up.
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