1. Don't be cheap with business cards.
I was once approached by a woman who asked if she could share some information about her company with me. She smiled and looked professional and waited patiently for a moment when I wasn't busy. I liked her approach and wanted to hear her out. She gave me her spiel which ended with offering me her card. Turns out she worked with a rival company. While she didn't ask me if I used her products, she actually didn't ask me anything at all, I told her that I worked with a company that sells similar products and although I personally didn't use that brand I wouldn't mind taking her card and passing it on to someone who did. She paused, thought about what I said, then closed her card case and as she put it back inside of her bag she said that she wouldn't give me a card then because she didn't want to waste it. I'm guessing she then realized how that sounded and said she only works with people she knows.
WOW! I was thinking 3 things.
- How many times do we approach a person about our product and they say that they prefer to use something else? How many customers or team members do we have who do work with more than one company? Wouldn't a customer who might sell rival X appreciate it if you in turn patronized her business by helping her find customers too? How great would it be if you could help a customer who said sorry I only use rival X connect with one of your team members who sells that product too. Networking is another word for "its not about you"!
- The second thing I'm thinking is that this woman doesn't realize the power of referrals. She's limiting the size of her customer base to people she meets personally.
- The third, but most important thing that I'm thinking is, "Did she really just say that she doesn't want to waste her card on me!"... Waste? How is having someone offer to get your card into the hands of a client a waste? Yes, I've been in situations where I didn't want to give out my card for whatever reason but I would never say that out right.
Eventually she did give me her card. We talked a bit about both companies and she decided that that I was worth it, but the damage was already done. I no longer felt comfortable passing on her info to one of my connections. Sure enough, this past weekend I ran into a customer who was looking for the products this woman sold.
2. Don't hijack other people's presentations and events.
During an event I organize regularly, on three separate occasions, by 3 different network marketing companies actually, I've had a conversation with a prospect interrupted by someone who was trying to sell/sign them up for something else. This confuses and overwhelms the prospect, ruining the conversation. After disrupting my conversation and chasing away my lead. That person then preceded to try to start a presentation with me too. Needless to say I was not interested. Why would I want to do business with someone who doesn't respect others and may have just cost me an on the spot sale/registration. They gave their company a bad name as well. It's already rude to hijack another person's event without permission don't make it worse by being intrusive.
Be patient. If you're not going to organize your own events at least have the decency to allow a prospect to move a few feet away before you approach.
3. Don't be vain
On a similar note I've also been interrupted during presentations by people trying to get me to join their company. Would it kill you to wait for me to finish my conversation? You may not mean this but what your body language is saying is that what I'm doing is less important than what you have to say. Not to me it isn't! I've also had people give very long presentations to me while I'm trying to manage an event or clients. Similar body language- stop what your doing, I have something important to tell you. Don't do that! Respect other people's time. Get in, and get out. Follow up later.
Try saying something like "I wanted to share something with you but I see that you're busy. Can I leave some information with you and get your opinion in it later? What's the best time for me to contact you?" In, out, done.
4. Don't be insulting.
I've never seen this method carried out successfully but some people insist on selling their product by downgrading their prospect. Let's not confuse this with using fear to encourage a purchase- ie "Your skin is exposed to harmful rays that cause cancer and skin damage, our product protects your skin from those rays and even repairs existing damage." I'm talking about walking up to a stranger and saying "Your skin doesn't look so good. Look how beautiful my skin is. You're not using the right product. It's not working for you. You should buy this product from me." In my opinion, while you've probably succeeded in making your prospect self conscious, you didn't ask what they currently use, why their skin doesn't look the way YOU think it should, or even if they felt like they had a problem in the 1st place. I once saw a sales person pick on someone about their freckles only to find that the person liked that attribute (I too thought they were adorable). I was also told a story about a pushy sales person who targeted a client about blotches on their skin which turned out to be a result of a medical condition that couldn't be treated with the product being marketed anyway. There is a difference between "being the expert" and offering expert advice and "being a busy body know" it all giving unwanted advice. Wouldn't you prefer to work with someone who shares not someone who criticizes and belittles?
5. Do not offer your business card then reject the card, coupon, or brochure of the other person.
So you may not have a need for that product or service at this moment but you might find someone who does. Offer to pass the information on even if you don't plan to review it yourself. I don't feel that NETWORK marketing is a give and take business but more like a give and get business. Try to give more than you take and you will get very far.
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Georgiana Haynes is an architectural designer, Avon Independent Sales Representative, coach, and trainer. She is known for ad campaigns "Beautiful Stories" for Avon Products and "Boss Life" for New Avon, LLC, as well as the training and mentoring she shares with representatives across the US. To learn more about Georgiana, and to read her weekly blog posts, visit her at www.BausLadies.com.