Proof That Follow-Up Pays
Probably every single Networker knows at some level that follow-up is (or is supposed to be) an important part of the business. For the few of you who might not really buy it, and the many who buy it but don't do it consistently, forget the philosophy-- here are real life stories that provide real life proof that follow-up pays off. You'll find that every one of these true scenarios is totally different from the next in detail, and absolutely the same in result. -- UO
The Customer Who Doesn't Want to Sell
Pat Davis spent 25 years with Nutri-Metics, both in the field, where she built a multi-million dollar organization, and in a corporate position. She is the CEO of Millionaires in Motion and lives in San Diego, CA.
Marcia was one of those great customers who ordered every month and just had great potential for success in the business. I thought she'd be great, and when I delivered products I'd frequently tell her, "You really should do this, you love the products, you have a great personality, you'd just be so great at this." Every time, she'd respond, "No, I just like the products, I don't want to sell, I can't do this," all the typical can't-won't-shouldn't-wouldn't-couldn't reasons. She didn't need the money because her husband was a retired fighter pilot and they already had a big beautiful home.
This went on for years, and in the course of that time we developed a friendship. I took good care of her as a customer-- I'd give her good specials, throw in free samples-- and she appreciated the service. One month there was a sponsoring contest in my company and the reward was a pair of diamond earrings. Now, I'm an achiever so I felt obligated to win any contest the company set up, and besides that I'm a confirmed diamond-aholic, I leave my nose-print on the window of every jewelry store I've been to; I take complete delight in diamonds.
So yet again I asked her to consider the business, joking with her that I really wanted these earrings and not expecting that she'd say anything different from what she'd said every other time. It just so happened that that month was right for her and she said yes-- but only if I let her wear the earrings! At first I thought she was probably just doing me a favor, but I soon saw that there was a different kind of interest. Her kids had just left home, things had changed for her, and she started asking the right questions. She'd been watching me all those years and saw that I enjoyed what I did and always made it fun. She'd come to my car parties whenever I got a new company car, and she'd seen me go off on company-paid trips. In the end, it was those things that made the business appeal to her, not the money, and when the timing was right, she came in and became a car achiever who produced several other car achievers in my organization.
Sometimes people don't follow up because as long as they don't call the prospect, then they always have a chance with them. I know that there were times in my early Network Marketing days that I wouldn't call all my leads on purpose so that when my sponsor called and said, "Do you have any leads you're following up on?" I could honestly say, "Oh yes, I've got some very good prospects and I'm calling them right away." In truth, I hadn't gotten to all of them because I feared negative results and decided to "save" them. Prospecting is a process, not an event, so don't fear hearing no on your first call. Call your best prospects and if they say no, follow up!
The Business Acquaintance Who'd Be Perfect
Eileen Silva, with her husband Taylor Hegan, is the number one distributor in First Fitness International. She lives in Southlake, TX.
Ann Black is someone who started out as a business acquaintance-- we met at a women's entrepreneur speaking series where I was a speaker a few years ago. We liked each other, she came by to see me, and she actually bought some of my product and liked it, but the timing wasn't right. She was involved with other things, but we continued to stay in touch. I wasn't calling her every month asking her if she'd changed her mind, we were just staying in relationship.
In getting to know her, I saw that while she was living the vision she had at the time, she wasn't living the life of her dreams. She was frustrated in her career, her time constraints, her financial limitations, and she'd had a negative experience in Networking before, so there was a fear factor, too. That was fine with me-- I could see that she was the kind of person who needed to really develop a belief in the products and gain trust in my husband and me as business partners who would give her the kind of mentoring that she needed to take her efforts to the next level in the industry.
It must have been a full three years from the time I met her to the point when she actually entered our business. Today, she has started running a weight loss center and is one of my most explosive distributors-- she already has 14 serious leaders in her group and is moving extremely rapidly with huge things on the horizon.
Many people have a bad impression of Network Marketing, not because they've ever even joined a company, but because of how Networkers followed up with them-- by selling, persuading, and not listening. That's a common mistake. Instead, whenever I'm talking to someone, I keep the Deepak Chopra question "How may I serve?" first and foremost in my mind. I don't need to worry about making a sale. I know without a doubt that if I meet people's needs, they will make a buying decision.
So when I follow up with people, I'm not focused on the business, I'm focused on strengthening the relationship. I never feel a scarcity of people to do business with, so I never need another person per se. I've personally sponsored hundreds of people into my company-- it's just like breathing to me. I don't sit around scheming about how I'm going to get people involved with me, it just seems like the natural evolution of a fulfilling relationship for someone to take it to the next level and to go into business together. There's no place I go where I don't come back with people in my business, and I never leave home thinking "I should really recruit somebody while I'm out there." When you think cold market, think warm-market-to-be, because we're in the people business-- cold market contacts are people who can become your friends. I love making a difference for people, and the money I make is a barometer for how many people I'm helping. It's very rewarding when these relationships come to fruition, because then I've really passed the torch and I have an extension of other people who are going to be out there in the world making a difference. That makes me feel good.
Years back when I was first entering the business I spent all my time studying sales techniques-- closing, presentation, ambiance, mood setting, you name it, I was probably studying it. I've long since quit doing that. I don't even go there. What we do now is focus on personal development work, and that's what we encourage people in our organization to do, too. It doesn't take techniques to succeed in Network Marketing-- it takes supreme self-confidence and the ability to be your own best boss.
Family Who Don't Support You
Peggy Long is a successful Networker with Legacy USA who splits her time between Cave Creek, AZ, and an Eastern Canadian island.
If I say "You deserve a break today," what does that remind you of? Even vegetarians know that's McDonald's, and that's a 14-year-old slogan. Why do I mention that? Because that's exactly what follow-up does. It doesn't matter if it's two days, two months, two years, or longer. Prospecting is the backbone of Network Marketing, and follow-up is your financial future. I have seen this proven true in the course of my Network Marketing journey time and time again, but what sticks out most in my mind is the case of my sons.
When I first started, both of my sons supported me as a mother but did not support me at all in Network Marketing. I'd drop them things in the mail and call them, but they wouldn't touch it. In fact, they were downright rude about the choice I'd made. It was only after he saw his aunt and uncle, who lived in a very small town in Oregon, and his 80-year-old grandfather become extremely successful in the business that my youngest son gave it any consideration. That was three years after I'd first invited him to join me, but when Jordan finally did come into the business, he became one of the highest paid people in the company-- in three months!
I've noticed that many Networkers seem to feel as if they're interfering with people or bothering them when they follow up. I come from the place of intervening. Don't fool yourself into thinking, "Well, if they change their mind they'll come calling me." People say that, but I don't have any experience that makes me think it actually happens except in the smallest percentage of cases. Intervening means an effort towards improvement, betterment, which is quite different from interfering, which is hindering, or being involved where you shouldn't be. It's an important distinction to make in your own mind as you relate to people.
When someone joins the business, I always say "You can count on me." Those are the most important words that can ever come out of your mouth in this business, and people blow it by not following up-- they don't realize they're giving the message that they can't be counted on. It only needs to be a phone call now and again, a postcard from a trip-- a technique, by the way, which has worked with a number of people I've sponsored. I'm light with people, I say "I want you to know I'm not going to give up on you unless you tell me in no uncertain terms not to call you again." There's always some way to reach out and touch. You're not calling to brag, just to say, "I'm still thinking about you."
||``New distributors often think that just because someone signs up means they're destined to be a big leader, but the act of signing up alone doesn't mean a person's `in.'"
The Cold Market Lead Who Stays Cold
Connie Dugan is a Master Director with Oxyfresh. She lives with her family in Hilton Head, SC.
I ran an ad back in November of 1996, and a gentleman called me from Florida expressing definite interest in the business. He signed up but didn't do anything and wouldn't return calls. Nevertheless, any time we had business meetings in his area or if anything came across my desk that was related to a business-interest story-- he was a real estate broker-- I would send the information his way. So every couple of months I'd make contact in one way or another. Years went by and nothing changed.
Then several months ago, I was in Tampa for a meeting and called to let him know I was in town. Interestingly enough, he wanted to meet, and it was the first time we met face to face. I certainly didn't expect anything-- after ten years in this business, I take a wait-and-see attitude with people like him. But there's no substitute for talking in person, no matter how great you are on the phone, and he left committed to building the business.
Today, he's advancing in the plan, he's spending time and money to travel to the company and training events he needs to educate himself, and he's a great example of someone who would have been really easy to assume was a dead lead. On the contrary, things change for people, and while I don't devote much energy to people until they are committed, I always keep the relationships going. Because I did, I now have a new active distributor succeeding.
He later told me that the way I didn't write him off and kept in touch with him was one of things that impressed him about me. I now know that in the course of those years when he wasn't returning my calls, he was in the midst of a major career upheaval while suffering the death of a spouse. In this case, either of the two most common pitfalls-- assuming someone a dead lead and never calling them back or nagging the living daylights out of them-- would have been a mistake. New distributors often think that just because someone signs up means they're destined to be a big leader, but the act of signing up alone doesn't mean a person's "in." In a way, you are still following up with them until they are actually committed and taking action.
The Old Friend You're Sure Will Do It
Steve Spaulding is a 25-year Networking veteran living with his family in Scottsdale, AZ.
My first experience of how important follow-through is came very early in my Networking career. It was my first time every trying to build a business and I'd only been in for about two or three weeks. I decided to call an old buddy to join me in the business-- I knew that the place he was working was a dead end, and I figured as soon as he saw the benefits of Network Marketing he would want to get involved, go to work, build an organization and make me a lot of money.
So I called him at work. He hung up on me about a minute into the conversation. I called back and tried again, but he hung up on me again. When I called him back the third time, I said, "Hey, it's Steve," and then hung up on him because I thought he was being a jerk. You can see that my follow-through technique was quite polished at this stage of my career.
Now, my friend thought of me as just a hippie friend of his, so the idea that I was doing meetings was something totally new and almost unbelievable to him. He didn't take me at all seriously, and since he wouldn't give me the time of day about the business, I started to follow up with him in a third party way. By contacting friends of his or people he worked with, I made sure that he continued to hear about what I was doing. He was in a supervisory position where he worked so I started inviting some of the people who worked in his area to meetings. I'd say, "Tell him you need to leave a little early so you can get to Steve's meeting on time" and they would.
About seven weeks later, he happened to stop by my house just after I'd received my first real bonus check-- about $3,000. At the time, that seemed like all the money in the world to both of us. I'd also gotten a haircut since the last time he'd seen me. At this point, he was ready to listen to what I had to say. I think, in fact, he ended up joining because he thought to himself, "If Steve can do this, I know I can do it."
Truthfully, I didn't just take it lightly when he refused to listen to me. His attitude didn't change my opinion about the business because I knew he was just rejecting something he didn't understand, but it still made me mad. Sometimes it's hardest for people who've known you a long time to get it if you haven't been successful in business before. He didn't hold me as a businessperson-- to him I was Steve Spaulding the forklift driver-- so when I first started talking, he didn't hear me. This is extremely common, of course, and since it can be painful, many people give up. I have to say, though, I'm glad I didn't because my friend went on to build a huge organization. You might be familiar with him, too-- that friend was Richard Brooke.
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Reprinted with permission from Upline, Follow-Up Feature - September 1999, 888-UPLINE-1, http://www.upline.com