What Do You Say to 'My Spouse Won't Let Me'
Tuesday night. The Holiday Inn South. It's your regular opportunity meeting, and there's a good crowd tonight. Everybody is looking sharp and wearing a happy face. `Course, you know that most of them are just as frustrated as you are. It's not easy, this Networking thing.
You nod to some friends as you walk through the lobby and stand by the door. How many times have you been stood up here, you wonder-- waiting for prospects who said they would do their best to show up, and never did?
Tonight is different, though. The woman you have lined up this time is about ready to sign up. She "sees" it, and you know she's going to be perfect for the business. She has already been to two opportunity meetings, has met your upline, loves the products, and thinks Network Marketing is the wave of the future. You fill with pride as you spot her walking across the parking lot.
But something is wrong. She stops just outside the door and motions for you to come outside. "Hey," she says abruptly. "I just wanted to come and let you know, I'm not going to be able to come to the meetings anymore."
Disappointment isn't a strong enough word for the way you feel. "But why?" you ask. "What's wrong? I thought you were all ready to go. We need to start you working on a list of names."
She looks away. "Well, I really like the business and all. I think it's terrific. It's a good opportunity, I know that. But my husband won't let me. He really doesn't want me to do this."
"I can appreciate that," you say, fumbling for words. There is a pause.
Now, what do you say? -- Coy Barefoot
BJ Kendall is a full-time distributor with Mannatech. She is very familiar with the "unsupportive spouse" problem.
I understand this issue personally, so I say:
"Oh, I completely understand that. I have been married 39 years, and my husband has always been very supportive. But not with my Network Marketing business. He just doesn't "see" it yet. He loves the product, but he just can't see it as a real business. One thing that has worked for me is to partner with a friend in my upline. She has been very supportive. It would be wonderful if your business partner could be your spouse, but if that isn't possible right now, for whatever reason, your upline is always there to work with you."
It still requires some deep personal resolve, because if the person you live with and share your home with isn't supporting you-- possibly even sabotaging your efforts, subtly-- you have to draw on all your inner resources to help you. It takes a huge personal commitment to do anything without the support of your life partner. I absolutely believe that a healthy marriage is not built on someone telling the other what to do. It is built on mutual respect and love, so I feel very comfortable pursuing my own business.
A nine-year veteran of the industry, Todd Burrier is now a Two Star Diamond with Life Plus.
The first thing I do is try to find out if that's really the issue. A lot of times someone will say `my spouse won't let me' as a smokescreen for some other concern. But if it's really true, at what level is it true? My goal at this point would be to get to the root of the problem and find out exactly what's going on. The thing I ask most is `what do you mean by that?' That way I'm not making any assumptions that could be wrong, and the prospect is really giving more thought to what their concerns are. So I'll say:
"What do you mean, he `won't let you'-- is he against you using the products or building the business?"
If there's no problem with using the products, then that is an option to pursue. Another question I would ask is:
"Do you mean that your spouse won't be involved in building the business with you? Or do you mean that you can't do this unless your spouse says you can?"
Many times I'll find out to what extent the spouse even knows what's going on, because lack of information is usually the ultimate problem here:
"Did your spouse review the information? If not, would they be willing to review the information and talk to me about the business, before saying you can't be involved in something that could benefit your family?"
Upline Master Jan Ruhe has been in the Network Marketing industry for 18 years.
If someone is truly excited about getting involved in Networking, and not just saying `my spouse won't let me' as an excuse, then I usually suggest some things they might say to their spouse to help them. I recommend that they sit down with their spouse and have a serious conversation with them, and say something like:
"I am really excited about this business. I'm passionate about this. Even though you don't honor and respect what I want to do right now, I honor and respect that you feel that way. I am going to ask you to give me one year. You don't have to support me or help me, but at the same time, don't stand in my way and bring me down. Let's give this one year; let me see where I am after 12 months; and then let's sit down again and reevaluate it. Is that fair? And you can always do the business with me. The door will always be open for you."
From my experience, a spouse who is against the business is usually operating out of fear-- fear they will have to spend a lot of money to get a business started; fear they will have even less time with their partner; fear they will be left baby-sitting the children all the time; fear their spouse will be gone to meetings and might meet someone else. There are any number of real concerns out there that we deal with every day, and most times, it all comes back to fear. Our challenge as Networkers is to listen, to find out what fear underlies the concerns; then to educate, to reduce that fear with the facts.
A Diamond in Amway, Bo Short's Networking enterprise reaches 22 different countries. He has been involved in the industry for almost nine years.
"What part of it won't your spouse let you do-- make an extra $2,000 a month or retire early? Oh, your spouse doesn't want you inviting people to meetings and showing the business to friends? Well, I'll tell you what. Give me a list of names, and I'll invite them and show the business for you. Who do you know...."
"You will find that a lot of people on your list are interested in the business, but they are not in the same situation as you, and their spouse will support them. As I help you build your business, you will find that your spouse becomes more supportive of you. Nine times out of ten, a spouse just needs to see the business in motion, needs to see how it works and that I'm really going to help you, before they can get excited about it. So who do you want me to call first?"
Share your best "What Do You Say?" with us! Send your, or your team's, proven Networking one-liners, phrases, questions and answers, to Coy Barefoot at the Upline address, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We just might include them in a future publication. Be sure to include your name, company, and a little neat information about who you are.
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Reprinted with permission from Upline, What Do You Say - November/December 1998, 888-UPLINE-1, http://www.upline.com