Here you are all set up and ready to embark on your chosen side hustle… Wait a minute, you have this great opportunity or product but…. Who do you share it with? Who is going to see the potential and the value of what you have to offer as clearly as you do? Where do you find them? How do you get them interested? When do you follow up and close the deal? So many questions! What have you gotten yourself into? Never fear – These waters have been navigated time and time again by many others before and you can tap into their successes and failures to make your ride a bit less bumpy.
Undoubtably, you have a contact list in your phone, a friends list through your Facebook account, a contact list through your LinkedIn profile, etc… It is time to dust off that new version of the “Rolodex”. For those of you too young to remember a “Rolodex” – It is a contact list with names and numbers on paper – written down. Archaic huh? Anyway, let’s start with your personal contact list.
This list might just consist of your nearest and dearest friends – but, more likely it dates back to high school and has names and numbers from everyone you have ever known up to this point in your life. You will want to start by dividing your list into three categories. First, Close friends and family members – Next, Friends that maybe you haven’t been in touch with lately – but, that you have history with, then lastly – Acquaintances, or people who you haven’t talked to in 10, 20 years (or longer) but, who would recognize your number if it showed up on their caller id.
Connecting with the people that you are current with is easy because they will want to know what you are up to. Chances are they already do. These are the prospects that are close family members and friends that are perfect for you to try out your presentation and samples on. Maybe they will be interested, or, maybe they won’t – Regardless, they will be honest with you and keep taking your calls – even when you are annoying. Thanks Mom.
The group of non-current friends, is a still a group of people you have history with. Work mates, neighbors, etc… Start pacing your approach here. Remember, People engage with other People – not Companies. Build your report with these individuals. Find out what is going on in their lives, what are they currently doing for work, what is weighing on them, what goals do they have professionally and personally, etc… Once they have moved from this category up to the current friends category – then you can share what you are doing and see if it is a fit for them. Odds are you will have a feel for this through your conversations and reconnecting with them and their current circumstances.
Then, we have the trickiest group of all, the Acquaintances. Please learn from the mistakes of those who have gone before. Myself included. You are so excited about what you can offer them because it will make their life so much better, and of course they want to know all about it… Hold On! Don’t hit that send button. Think about it for a minute. Chances are very good that you have received a message like the one you are about to send. Out of the blue, strange and unexpectedly, you hear from the kid you sat next to in kindergarten. Do they care what is going on with you? Are they interested in you personally? Or, are they out to “sell” you? How did you react? Well, you ignored it, maybe didn’t respond at all – or responded very briefly, and probably not as friendly as they were hoping for. Don’t let that happen to you. Coming across “salesy” to these people in this group is the kiss of death to prospecting them. Think junk mail and trash folder. This is the destination for your communication.
On the other hand, a different outcome is likely if you reach out and make contact to find out about them and what is important to them, first. Ascertain their circumstances, show a genuine interest in what affects their daily life and what their concerns are. People join other People – not Companies. Be a real person. You can’t fake this interest – It will be obvious and you might come across as a used car salesman. Not an attractive prospect. This process takes time.
The analogy that is generally given is that of farming. You plant seeds in one season to reap a successful harvest in another. Most acquaintances will ask you reciprocal questions about what is going on in your life, what are you doing for work, etc… This is where you plant your seeds – Tell them what you are doing but, do not present the opportunity to them – unless they specifically ask about it. Then let them lead the conversation and follow along with brief answers, not overwhelming them with all the facts and figures you can cram in. Generally, when you are planting it is one seed at a time. You aren’t likely to dump the whole bag in one hole. Likewise, plant one seed at a time. Spread them out. Make sure you water – not drown them. As you do this, the sun will come out and you will see sprouts – patience will win you the day.
If someone you know is genuinely not interested, respect that. Just let them know that if they ever have any questions regarding the product or opportunity that you are their contact person and would be happy to help them out. Still continue to check in with them so that they stay in your current friend category – Then you will be the first one to come to mind if they do have questions. Plus, it is always great to reconnect and add a friend to your life – win, win.
Now that you have your first field planted- next on the prospecting list is reaching out to people day-to-day as the opportunity presents itself. The woman at the grocery store, your delivery driver, other mom and dad’s at daycare – are all ideas of people that would potentially be interested. You need to be prepared to hand out a card or a sample. Have them readily available. You never know when you will run across someone who will be the next rockstar on your team. Another suggestion is to have an electronic business card on your phone. Then when someone expresses interest, you can offer to text them your information. Once you do that – Bingo, you have their phone number to follow up on that initial interest.
Of course, prospecting can certainly have a ripple effect. You will undoubtedly hear from friends of friends. When you receive messages or emails from interested parties – Do not let them sit. Respond as immediately as possible. If you are busy, tell them that and arrange a time to reconnect with them. People are not patient creatures. If they want answers and you are not available there is always another representative eager to present the product or opportunity to them. Not being malicious – just a fact of the business.
These are just a few prospecting processes and suggestions for you to get going on your journey in the wide world of direct selling and network marketing.
* Review your various contact lists and divide it into the 3 categories we have discussed
– Current friends and family members
– Not so current friends and family members
* Be prepared for informal contacts in day to day life
* Follow Up Promptly
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