Tag Archives: leadership

Ironic skills

I read an interesting article on Quartz this week:

(excerpt)

“What most employers want, [LinkedIn CEO Jeff] Weiner says, are written communication, oral communication, team-building, and leadership skills. “

Isn’t it ironic… the latter three skills are developed by building a network marketing, direct sales, party plan, multilevel, or leveraged income business. And some of those directly incorporate written communication by the customer or distributor in the final product.

The four skills listed can be described as portable skills, which means they are learned in one arena and are applicable in another.

Know someone who needs a job? Send them the link to the article. If they ask for a way to build those skills, offer your business plan as a possible solution.

–LYnn Selwa, “The Rocket Science Coach” ™

#lynnselwa #therocketsciencecoach #irony #ironicskills #leveragedincome #partyplan #directsales #multilevel #networkmarketing #mlm #NWM #linkedin

 

 

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How to build “cred” when you don’t have any, Part 1

Imagine you’ve been an employee, and you just clicked “Submit” on the distributor enrollment form.

You have been an employee all your adult years. You have zero credibility and zero experience as a business owner with your potential new teammates and potential clients.

You also have a second “zero cred” situation: within your own company structure.

How can you build your credibility from scratch?

Let’s look at the inside-your-company situation first. (I will address ideas for the other situation in another post.)

I will share 7 ideas in this post.

This will be long, and I feel it will be worth your time. You might want to bookmark this entry, read the numbered subject lines, then read the details about the sections that apply to your situation.

  1. Have high rank or experience running a successful company
    Credibility inside a company comes most obviously from someone who has achieved a high rank. This can be a top-notch field leader or someone in the C-suite (corporate officer such as COO, CEO, CTO, CFO). If you ran a successful business before, you likely have some credibility. However, if you’re starting at the beginning distributor level with no experience, you score zip (zero) here.

 

2. Submit suggestions for internet or other company process

Submitting thoughtful suggestions for improvement to your web site or company process is another avenue.  This is powerful when you have personally experienced the situation.

Basic Rule: Experience or observe other people’s experience, THEN submit the idea.

Notice I didn’t mention “improvements to the compensation plan.” If you reach out with ideas about the comp plan as a newly enrolled distributor, your suggestion will likely be dismissed out of hand. So make notes of such ideas and save them for when you have advanced a rank or two.

Find out where distributors are welcome to submit suggestions to the corporate office or field leader. This is likely an email address or a web-form in your distributors-only section of your web site.

As a new member of the team, hopefully you are using the company web sites, Slack conversations, social media discussion groups, Zoom conferences, etc., on a daily or weekly basis. While using these tools, notice if something seems awkward, a button or link on the web site is not working properly, etc. Please make notes right away (write or type it, that way you’ll remember it!), and use the company-provided suggestion-collecting method to submit it (AND A SOLUTION if possible).

Here’s a suggested wording for submitting a suggestion , and a possible solution:

When I [specific action, such as clicked on specifically-named link or button and its location], the system did [result]. Can we please have a [item] that [describe the desired result]. [If you have expertise in that area, you might include a possible solution: A possible solution is____________]

Sincerely,
Your name
Your Distributor Number
Your city and state (or other location)

Notice you didn’t gripe. (No one likes people who complain!) Instead, you stated a cause and effect, and described a fix or the desired outcome. This prevents people from feeling defensive if it was their idea in the first place. And you identified yourself as a person who sends respectful and helpful suggestions.

People who send respectful suggestions will build a positive reputation. It sends the signal that you care about the company as a whole, and that you are a solution-focused person, instead of a complainer.

 

3. In technology communications, add value (and don’t add to the negative)

More and more, companies use technology (social media, Slack, email chains, etc) to make announcements, let distributors ask questions, and let other distributors discuss solutions.

Use these online forums to be a calming and respectful influence. (Please note: Don’t spend umpteen hours surfing these forums. However while you are engaged in them, simply watch for ways you can contribute something of value.)

For example, if someone has a question, direct them to where the answer is located. If you see some negative discussions happening, don’t contribute to the negative; instead, alert the group administrator of the situation.

If appropriate, occasionally share a link to a positive article of interest (such as a third-party praise of the profession or product), an inspiring quote, or a public thank you to someone behind the scenes (observed at your local in-person event or on your customer service line).

 

 

4. At in-person events, fix a small problem immediately

Did a sign tip over or fall off the wall? Set it back up, or find some tape and put it back in place.

Seeing someone in a walker or wheelchair struggling with a too-narrow aisle? First ask if they would like assistance, and if they say yes then make the walkway wider or find another route for them.

Someone looks lost? Walk up, smile and shake hands, and ask how you can help.

You get the picture. And don’t make a big deal about it. More than likely an event coordinator saw you do it. And solving small problems can lead to …

 

5. Submit suggestions AFTER an in-person event

If your company has weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual in-person events, attend as many as you reasonably can. When you attend the group events or post in the discussion groups, you will be noticed as your face becomes more and more familiar to the leaders who are running these events.

Pay attention to what bugs you, to how the event can be run more easily, to what questions seem to be asked multiple times, etc. Make a quick note about these sticky points when you first notice (otherwise you won’t likely remember them by the end, when the situation becomes “normal” from multiple occurrences or by sheer mental overload from absorbing the information or excitement).

Important: Don’t mention a “we should do it such-and-such way next time” to anyone running the event, during the event. They are focusing on the logistics and situation happening in front of their eyes, and they will almost likely view your idea as a criticism.

So, AFTER the event, send a message to the appropriate decision maker or suggestion-collecting method.

Here’s a formula:

Hi (decision maker/event coordinator name), I attended the (describe the event or events). Thank you for (something they did well during that event. Everyone likes authentic and sincere praise.) I have a suggestion for next time: When (describe situation), can we do (your idea)? I think it would (how it would improve the event for the attendees, guests, or coordinators). (and if applicable: “I would be happy to help implement it.)

Sincerely,
Your name

Your Distributor Number
Your city and state (or other location)

Three things are happening here.

First, you are acknowledging their role and contribution to the event, which means you respect the skills and work necessary to plan and run it. You would be shocked how few people receive ANY praise, even simple sincere thanks, about their role. (Just ask anyone helping at the event, after the fact!) The typical attendee only speaks up when they’re displeased, so you will immediately stand out in a positive way.

Second, you show that you attended the event. This demonstrates your commitment to the public/group aspects of your business, and leaders appreciate those who show up to attend the event they took time to plan and hold. If you show up consistently, they WILL notice.

Third, every leader appreciates someone to step forward and offer to implement a new or different procedure. Leaders can drown in a flood of complaints and suggestions. If you are given the approval, then do it. Your leadership reputation (and hence credibility) will grow.

 

 

6. Contact the event leader one week early and offer to volunteer

Volunteer to help out at in-person events: arrive early to set up or stay late to help clean up, be an usher, assist at the registration table, introduce yourself to distributors who seem alone and introduce them to the leaders (if this is within your company guidelines). Volunteering is especially helpful if you have attended one or more of this specific event, so you are familiar with the basics of how it is run, so no one will have to spend long minutes describing the basic event flow to you.

By contacting the leader a week early, it gives the leader time to figure out where they need you most and to get you trained so you are a helpful member of the team. If you ask on the spot, you are catching them off-guard because they are no longer in future-planning mode, they are in what-needs-my-attention-right-now mode. Your on-the-spot offering is kind, yet likely distracting to the people who need to focus.

Be humble when you are assigned a specific role for your first volunteer session. Do what is asked, provided it doesn’t adversely impact your health (don’t set out or stack chairs if it might throw out your back!). And if your talents are better used in a different role, suggest it several days after the event or during the planning stages of the next one.

Through the simple act of helping run some aspect of the event, your personal credibility rises among the leader in charge AND with any guest you bring. You are demonstrating your willingness to contribute to the group’s success, and that success is exactly what a constructive leader aims for.

 

 

7. Fill out the after-event survey

Does the event you attended hand out or send out a survey/suggestions form? Be sure to fill it out and submit it. Nearly everyone will “not have the time”… and by filling out this form authentically and respectfully, you will be among a TINY percentage of people who do this. The leaders who run the event will know and remember your name for doing this.

During my years of assisting at and running weekly public business presentations and distributor trainings, I craved hearing honest opinions: what we did well and how we could improve to make the event more valuable to the attendees. I felt we did a good job, and also that there’s always room for improvement. The more relevant your event is, and the more distractions or problems you eliminate for your attendees, the more successful your result will be.

 

That’s plenty for now! I will publish a Part 2 another week, which will focus on building credibility with people who are looking at the business or product.

–LYnn Selwa, “The Rocket Science Coach” ™

#lynnselwa #therocketsciencecoach #credibility #growingcredibility #part1 #thisoneislong #longpost #howtobuildcredwhenyoudonthaveany

 

 

The powerful ear

Systems aren’t perfect, things break, and websites need fixing.

Those things happen in every company, occasionally.

But where do you complain about the flaws?

On your personal social media? In a distributors-only forum? With the home office department that takes responsibility for implementing changes?

All three speak to powerful people.

The first avenue speaks to the public: the ones who were part of your company or who have yet to join. They might hear an unspoken message of, “This doesn’t work, we’re a so-called ‘hot mess,’ get back to us after we’ve figured out this crisis.” You run the risk of reinforcing any existing stereotypical negative images of your company and profession. In this case you’re impacting the long-term future of the company in a negative way.

The second avenue speaks to the distributors in your company, and the most tender ears there are the newbies. Their responses will likely be more extreme than the seasoned distributors. You run the risk of scaring them away because of your momentary frustration. In this case you’re negatively impacting the immediate and short term growth of the company.

The last avenue speaks to the people who can fix the problem. I know they prefer when people report the cause-and-effect chain of events instead of using inflammatory words to merely complain about it. Like the first avenue, you’re impacting the long-term future of the company. Only these ears are the ones who can implement a solution. So the effect is positive.

Long-term positive wins my vote every day.

–LYnn Selwa, “The Rocket Science Coach” ™

P.S. Leaders: Your clients and distributors should be told about known pitfalls they are likely to encounter. But how can you tell if you are informing versus complaining? See if you agree with my definitions.

#lynnselwa #therocketsciencecoach #thepowerfulear #leveragedsales #networkmarketing #mlm #directsales #partyplan #mindset #leadership

 

 

Whom should I tell?

Imagine your company’s web site botched your end-of-week order. You feel angry and frustrated. You have the urge to TELL SOMEONE.

The biggest question to ask yourself is, “Is this complaining, informing, or working toward a solution?”

Complaining: This awful thing is happening! It isn’t fair! Why didn’t someone anticipate this?? (Said with the intent to broadcast far and wide in order to – consciously or not – garner sympathy or stir outrage)

Informing: The website is not functioning correctly. Here’s what to expect and how to work around the issue. (said in a more focused and non-inflammatory way, concentrating on channels used by current users of the site)

Working toward a solution: Hello, I’m using the ABC feature, and when I do DEF, it does UVW. I would like it to do XYZ. (a private and calmly-worded communication from you to the Information Technology department, using details and sequences of events)

The more your communication is private, calm, and feature-focused, the more likely it is to be working toward a solution.

It’s true other distributors should know any pressing issues (relative to their experience level and likelihood of encountering them). However, take care that you are informing them instead of merely stirring up emotions.

–LYnn Selwa, “The Rocket Science Coach” ™

#lynnselwa #therocketsciencecoach #whomshoulditell #complaining #informing #workingtowardasolution #partyplan #directsales #distributors #mlm #networkmarketing #leveragedsales

Are you stealing?

You may have heard this advice.

Comparison is the thief of joy.        –Theodore Roosevelt

Some sponsors tell this to their distributors, to keep the newbies from feeling depressed about “not moving fast enough in the business.”

(I have even heard top 10% income earners in several businesses make the same complaint about their personal enrollment and personal customer gathering efforts. It’s a common feeling of frustration.)

So, you may have given this advice to your team… but do you follow it?

Before you answer, there’s an angle you might not have considered…

Let me explain with a story.

It was my first network marketing company. I had to build the confidence and skills from scratch. It took me more than a year to gather my first 20 customers. I asked certainly more than 100 people, including all my relatives who had households of their own or ran a household. (This was a one-per-household type of product.) I persevered through a lot of outright no’s, a large helping of promises-not-fulfilled, and plenty of brush-offs.

I attended the Wednesday evening business presentation and Saturday training every week for the entire time. As I got closer and closer to the magic 20, the company started bringing the newly-accomplished distributors to the front of the presentation room each week, to shower them with praise for completing this milestone during the past seven days.

It gave me the fuel to work even harder to finish.

Then came that awesome day when I did. I jumped around excitedly in our apartment and took special care with how I dressed for that next presentation meeting, prepared to be brought to stage with the other distributors who accomplished the goal during the past 7 days.

With a huge grin on my face, I showed up early and reported to the stage manager with the other smiling faces.

“I gathered my first 20 customers!”

“Great! What’s your name?” he asked, slightly hunched as he wrote the pertinent information on a palm-sized folded paper with his ballpoint pen.

“How long did it take?” as he lifted his head a little, locking eyes with me with a smile and an expectant look on his face.

I told him.

He took the pen away from the paper and stood straight up. His smile of excitement fell off. And what he said took away mine.

In a slightly condescending manner he said in a low voice, “Accomplishing the goal should be reward enough.”

Now I felt confused. “But, you announce the distributors every week, and I accomplished the goal, just like they did  (and I thought, ‘just like the other people standing here who are hearing this’).”

He said in a much firmer voice, “Accomplishing the goal should be reward enough.” And then he turned to the next person, effectively dismissing me.

Color me mad.

He was the highest ranked distributor in the room and was in charge of the meeting. There was no one else to appeal to.

When time came to congratulate the newest batch of 20-customer-gatherers, I graciously applauded for them.

But I sat there thinking, the way I was treated was “How NOT to be a leader in network marketing.”… and I promised to remember how I felt, to use this lesson to guide me when I became a leader.

It also made me wonder: What other goals in this company will be highly praised for some but brushed off for others reaching the same milestone?

Let’s talk about how this lesson applies more than 15 years later.

When a new (or seasoned) distributor has not reached a goal, do you directly or indirectly scold them for “moving slowly?”

Do you compare people in a destructive way, saying things like “If you were serious about the business, you would already have accomplished ____________. So-and-So has (no network marketing experience, 9 children, 3 full-time jobs, only 5 minutes a week to work the business, etc.) and THEY already did it!!”

Don’t steal a distributor’s joy of progress.

Much like how we don’t criticize children by harshly comparing the beginning violin student’s squeaky bow work with the smooth mellow tones of the child prodigy. The fact that the personal milestone was reached, the skill was increased and a definite improvement noticed, is reason enough to celebrate. A newbie gathering their first 5 customers IS, I repeat IS, a big deal. Even if it took them 6 months and you did it in 6 hours.

Now let’s talk about the more typical goals of our profession: the customer gathering tally, rank advancement, team volume level.

No matter how long it takes your distributor to accomplish the goal, please celebrate it with as much enthusiasm and pride as you do for the fastest moving distributors on your team: One-to-one and in team meetings. With their permission…on their social media page.

Reaching the destination is what matters. Not the speed, not the flash.

Sure, you might make a bigger splash about the people who reach the goals super-fast. Those might be the people to whom you give a speaking role at the regional meetings and company conventions.

I’m not suggesting you give the equivalent of “participation trophies.” Just don’t make the mistake of making only a private, lukewarm acknowledgement ( or a brush-off) to the ones who move slowly. Such a reaction gives the impression you are dissatisfied with their actions.

The distributor is looking to you, the leader, to demonstrate expected response of leaders in YOUR business. They are asking themselves,

“This is how I feel. Am I being

Respected?

Appreciated?

And Rewarded Appropriately

for accomplishing this goal?”

Such a seemingly dissatisfied reaction from the person they look up to (you!) collides with their newly-won sense of pride. Your comparison, through what you omit, has the strong potential to steal their joy.

Distributors will notice when you seem embarrassed by them … and don’t be surprised if they leave for a team, a leader, a company that celebrates their success.

–LYnn Selwa, “The Rocket Science Coach” ™

P.S. I went on to gather more than 100 personal customers with that company.

#lynnselwa #therocketsciencecoach #trsc #areyoustealing #joy #volume #goals #participationtrophy #rankadvancement #leveragedsales #networkmarketing #partyplan #directsales #mlm

First applause

One of my colleagues achieved her first rank advancement a few days ago.

In her 5+ years with this company, I have witnessed her ongoing heartfelt praise and use of our products. She gathered many customers and uses the products herself on a daily basis.

Her journey to this point has been challenging. She handled many overlapping episodes of family emergencies that required her focus, a yearlong marketing project known well in her own county, and several private struggles. For more than 3 years she marketed her business in a weekly business referrals group that has mandatory attendance rules. She has excellent communication and presentation skills. And finally her business has acquired the necessary number of distributors in the necessary arrangement and the required sales volume.

She paused when necessary, yet she never quit.

That’s why we are excited as we wait for the weekly announcements of the new rank advancements. She will receive an individual post praising her accomplishment, including her photo in a meme and a unique message (not just changing the name) from the vice president of field operations. (She will also receive a mailed physical certificate and lapel pin in the coming weeks.)

It’s her first company-wide applause from the corporate office.

It’s a big deal.

What is your company’s procedure for a PUBLIC acknowledgment of the first rank advancement? Do they provide sharable social media announcements as well as tangible “bling?” Do they honor such people at your annual convention?

What do you do for your team members when they rank advance? Do you give a speedy acknowledgement (perhaps a text, Message, or social media post)? Do you treat slow accomplishments with as much respect and fanfare as achievements by fast-moving distributors for achieving the same rank?

Bear in mind many people don’t advance quickly. Don’t act embarrassed by how long it takes someone to rank-advance. Instead, create a culture of loud and immediate acknowledgement. Your future team members are watching and asking themselves, If I put in the time and effort at a speed that works for me, will I receive the same respect?

The “unicorns” will always get their praise. Those who move quickly or dramatically are readily acknowledged. Many distributors dream of being a unicorn in their company, but many remain merely human. Be sure to give them the same respect as everyone else who achieved the rank.

As a leader, I feel the first rank advancement should be a HUGE deal, regardless of how long it takes to achieve it. As the saying goes, “What is rewarded is repeated.”

Care more about the rank advancement than the speed of its acquisition.

–LYnn Selwa, “The Rocket Science Coach” ™

#lynnselwa #therocketsciencecoach #leveragedsales #networkmarketing #partyplan #mlm #residual #residualincome #firstapplause #rankadvance

Echo and Praise

Do you pay more attention to someone’s rank than the quality of their ideas?

This week I challenge you to pay close attention to people in your company who have an equal or lower rank than you.

Listen for an idea that can improve the company in a meaningful way.

Or for an idea that helps the lower-ranked people get promoted faster or eliminates a frustrating bureaucracy step for them.

Then use your star power.

Echo the idea and praise them by name on social media.

(You might choose to do this within your company’s distributor discussion group.)

Use the “Share” feature or copy-and-paste their words. Tag them in the post, or at least mention them by first and last name.

Even if your influence is at a peer-level, you are helping their idea gain traction.

Show them that you’re listening, you use the power you have to get good ideas heard, AND you give the credit to the creator.

That’s what great leaders do.

–LYnn Selwa, “The Rocket Science Coach” ™

P.S. On Facebook, writing a comment on a post gives it a higher priority in the Newsfeed than a quick click of Like or Love. So when you see a good idea, take 10 seconds to write a comment. Even a quick “good idea!” comment can help their idea gain traction.

#lynnselwa #therocketsciencecoach #echoandpraise #leadership #facebook #leaders #networkmarketing #mlm #residualincome