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.
- 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____________]
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.“)
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” ™
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