Leadership techniques: Know your prospects

posted in: leadership, Uncategorized | 8

I’ve noticed how people react to different leadership techniques.

I thought about this today when the pastor made an interesting observation during his sermon. He pointed out the difference between cows and sheep.

Creative Commons License photo credit: qhienle

Cows, he said, have to be prodded. Cowboys herd them in a direction by yelling, shouting and carrying on in various ways to make the cows move in a certain direction.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Antikris
Sheep, on the other hand, prefer to be led. They know the shepherd’s voice and follow him where he wants them to go.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with cows. That’s just the way they are. Similarly, sheep act the way they act because they’re sheep.

It got me thinking about how prospects act when presented with a home-based business opportunity. Some are like cows. They have to be cajoled into joining. Others, like sheep, are open to new experience and are willing to follow someone they know, like and trust.

This reminded me of two important keys to success in MLM or in most any business endeavor.

First, recognize when someone is hesitant. Trying to herd them into your opportunity probably won’t work. Even if you convince them, they’re likely to regret it later and either quit or shy away from doing what’s needed for success.

Realize, also, that there’s nothing wrong with folks like this. They often just need to make a decision on their own time. They might need more information or just need to think it over.

Second, be willing to lead when someone is willing to follow. If you’re open, likeable and trustworthy, it’ll show in your actions, your attitude and your voice.

As time goes on, these folks will need your confidence until they realize the success they need. There’s nothing wrong with these folks either. They just need you to show the way.

Using these important leadership techniques will greatly increase your chance of success.

Steve DeVane

Make the pitch, then play the field

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

Earlier today, I was out in my front yard doing my best Johnny Bench imitation.

It wasn’t a very good impersonation, but first my son and later my daughter needed someone to help practice pitching. I managed to keep the ball in front of me most of the time and give each pointers along the way.

I Play Catch A Lot
Creative Commons License photo credit: Bee Skutch

One thing I noticed is that my son’s baseball pitching and my daughter’s fastpitch softball pitching both got better when they focused on my glove. When they kept their eyes on the target, the chances of hitting it greatly increased.

There is an obvious lesson that in our lives and in our business we should focus on the goals we want to achieve — the targets we want to hit.

But less obvious is what happens after the pitch. During a game, once a pitcher has let go of the ball, he or she must immediately prepare in case the ball is hit.

Of all the players on the field, the pitcher has the least time to react to a hit ball. The ball often comes back toward the pitcher as fast or faster than he or she pitched it.

What can we learn from that?

First, concentrate on one thing at a time. When the pitcher is pitching, that’s what requires focus. If he or she starts thinking about fielding while pitching, a strike is not a likely result.

In our lives and in our businesses, we often get ahead of ourselves. We waste time by focusing on things that might or might not happen.

Similarly, we get often spend too much time worrying about what we did in the past. While we need to learn from our mistakes, dwelling on them unnecessarily drags us down.

Second, know when to change your focus. Once the pitch is away, the pitcher has to immediately get ready to field the ball if it is hit.

In life and business, we often run around from one unfinished task to the other. We’re often lured by the latest, greatest strategy, when mastering earlier tasks would gain us more ground on the road to success.

Steve DeVane

Married to marketing: MLM sponsoring rules

posted in: Uncategorized | 2
Whenever I’m at a wedding reception, someone always comes up to me with a video camera and says something like, “Don’t you want to say something to the bride and groom?”

I got tired of saying something lame like, “Congratulations! I know you’ll be very happy!” So I thought about what I wish someone would have said to me when I got married. Here’s what I say now:

“There are two rules to a happy marriage. Only two. The first rule is to realize that it’s not your spouse’s job to make you happy. The second rule is to act like it is your job to make your spouse happy. Do this and you will have life.”

Those two principles have helped me, although I admit I’ve still got work to do on rule number two.

It occurred to me that variations of those two rules apply to sponsoring in network marketing. After all, the best sponsors have good relationships with those they sponsor.

The first rule might be to realize that it’s not your sponsor’s job to make you money. Many networkers are constantly thinking that the next person they sponsor might be the one who makes them rich.

Such an attitude tends to dehumanize those you’re trying to recruit. Moreover, you tend to prejudge people and often unfairly give too little attention to those who likely need your help the most.

The second rule would be to act like it is your job to make those you sponsor money. Think about how different your relationship with them would be if you were willing to do whatever it takes to make sure they are making money.

And think about how much better your business would be if all those in your downline were making money. We can’t do the work for them, but we can be sure they know what they have to do to make money. The best way to do that is to show them. Once they see it, they’ll believe it and achieve it.

Do this, and you’ll have business.

Steve DeVane

Teamwork builds a business

posted in: Uncategorized | 2

Teamwork is one of the leading indicators of a strong network marketing system.

Paper Chain Men
Creative Commons License photo credit: ArtemFinland

I considered that recently while reading “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,” by Patrick Lencioni. The book, which is described as a “leadership fable,” is a fictional story about how a newly hired CEO leads the executive staff of a troubled technology company.

Lencioni then follows the narrative with an overview of the model it describes. As a strong proponent of using teamwork to build a network marketing business, I appreciated his work.

According to Lencioni, dysfunctional teams have an absence of trust, a fear of conflict, a lack of commitment, an avoidance of accountability and an inattention to results. Or, spoken positively, functional teams trust each other, engage in unfiltered conflict about ideas, commit to decisions and action, hold each other accountable, and focus on achieving results.

As I read the book, I was struck with how the characteristics applied to network marketing.

Trust. In network marketing, people have to rely on each other. When you sponsor someone, that person has to be able to trust you.

At times, you might want to sugarcoat something your company has done. It’s especially tempting to make network marking seem easier than it really is. As my sponsor likes to say, “There’s a reason they call it net-‘work’ marketing.”

If you want to be a good upline, be upfront with folks. No matter what’s happening, it is what it is and they’ll probably find out eventually anyway.

Conflict. This one might seem counter-intuitive. Most people think conflict is bad. But conflict can be good if it’s centered around ideas and not around personalities. Healthy discussion and debate is a good thing.

When someone on your team is on the wrong track, call him or her on it. The person might not appreciate it immediately, but later on, if you’re being truthful and trying to help, they’ll realize it and be grateful.

Commitment. One of the most important factors that will guarantee your success is to decide that you won’t quit until you’re successful.

When you make that kind of promise to yourself, the way you conduct yourself will show it. You’ll be confident, because you know that success is only a matter of time.

Accountability. One of the best things you can do for your business is to find an accountability partner. Once you have someone who will recognize your excuses, you’re less like to make them.

After a while you’ll even start making those excuses to yourself.

Results. Many times in business, we feel like we’re like spinning our wheels. Often it’s because we are spinning our wheels.

One key to success is learning the difference between busywork and efforts that bring about results. If it’s not clear to you, talk to someone who’s already successful. Chances are, they’ll set you straight.

Any successful networking system will be run by a well-functioning team. Find such a team and you’re on your way to living your dreams.

Steve DeVane

Moving day for the blog

posted in: Uncategorized | 3

I moved the blog to a new server today and learned a lesson along the way.

The move was not as simple or as easy as I’d hoped. To be honest, it was kind of intimidating. Numerous times along the way, I’d read the instructions for what to do and say to myself, “Huh?”

Several times, I wanted to just stop and forget it. Have you ever been trying to accomplish something and a little voice keeps telling you that you can’t do it, that you ought to just give up? That’s what happened to me over and over.

But I knew that moving the blog made good business sense. It was something I needed to do.

So I stuck with it. It wasn’t simple. It wasn’t easy. But I got it done.

The move in that way symbolized my recent business life. There have been times when a part of me wanted to give up, but I kept going, knowing that it’s the right thing to do.

In due time, I’ll be rewarded.

Steve DeVane

Winning the race, one goal at a time

posted in: business, goals, MLM, network marketing | 0

The other day, I was reading a story about NASCAR driver Kyle Busch. He’s not my favorite, but I admire his will to win.

In the story, Busch talked about what motivates him.

“What I use is the car in front of me. If there’s a car in front of me, I’m going to chase him,” Busch said. “… I want to pass that guy. If I’m the leader, there’s another car in front of me, he’s going a lap down. The more guys you get a lap down, the more you don’t have to deal with at the end of the day. There’s always some motivation to go forward. There’s always somebody ahead of you that you can pass that’s going to mean something. Even if you are the leader.”

I thought that was a pretty good motivational strategy for anyone in business. It’s good to set goals. I’m a big believer in the importance of having lofty aspirations.

Sometimes, however, those high expectations aren’t enough. If that’s all we have, making progress might seem like we’re not accomplishing anything.

So, in addition to high, long-term goals, we have to stay focused on what’s going on now. Like Busch focuses on the car in front of him, concentrate on being the best at whatever you’re doing.

I once heard a speech by an Air Force officer who had reached the rank of general. In his comments he said his goal was always to be the best officer he could be, no matter what his rank.

Likewise, we should focus on being the best business people we can be. If we do this, we’ll reach our highest goals.

Steve DeVane

Give yourself a hand

posted in: business, MLM, network marketing | 0

The other day, my wife was talking to our daughter about how her day at school went. My daughter talked about an exercise one of her teachers had the students do that day.

The teacher asked the students to join their two hands together, interlocking their fingers. She then told the students to look at their fingers to see which of their thumbs were in front.

When people put their hands together like that, they almost always do it the same way, the teacher said. She asked the students to try to do it the other way to see how it felt.

I put my hands together several times. Sure enough, they went together the same way every time. I had to make an effort to bring my hands together the other way. But after a while it started feeling comfortable either way.

Later, I thought of how similar the exercise was to many things in life and business. Often we are faced with issues that call for us to readjust the way we think or the way we do things.

Sometimes such small changes will feel uncomfortable at first, but will eventually feel fine. When that happens we need to be flexible. Our lives and businesses will benefit.

Steve DeVane

A runaway conversation that gets you nowhere

posted in: MLM, network marketing, relationships | 0

One evening last weekend, my daughter wanted me to go jogging along the beach with her. I had taken a long walk with my wife and son that morning, but I was still up for a nice relaxing run.

Unfortunately, a storm came up before we started. So we decided to jog the next morning instead.

Bright and early, we headed out on the sand. It was beautiful.

We had barely got started when I told my daughter we should go till we were even with the next beach house and turn around. I thought she knew I was joking.

A couple of minutes later, she said we could run about three more houses down and turn around. I knew she hadn’t been feeling very well, so I figured she wasn’t up for much of a run that morning.

I said, “OK,” and a couple of minutes later we turned around to head back.

Later, back in the room, she said something about not running very far. I said that we could have run further.

Eventually, I figured out that she thought I was serious about stopping shortly after we started.

It made me realize the value of clear communication. I should have let her know I was joking. I didn’t. As a result and pleasant Sunday morning run along the beach was cut short.

Communication is key in business and in life.

In business, relationships are vital. Miscommunication or too little communication can make it difficult to make those connections.

Here’s a few tips to help you communicate:

Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. If your business partner makes a statement that you don’t understand, see if he or she will explain it further.

Listen attentively. When the other person is talking, pay attention to what they’re saying. Don’t make the mistake of thinking about what you’re going to say next while they’re still talking.

Talk it out. When a disagreement arises, discuss it until you agree or at least reach a point satisfactory to you both.

Notice more than just words. Some people will say they’re OK with something when they really aren’t. They’re body language will let you know they’re true feelings. Better to talk about their issues sooner than later.

Be flexible. Realize things won’t always go your way. Knowing that up front will improve your communication and your relationships.

Steve DeVane

Surfing toward success

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

While taking a walk along the beach the other day with my wife and son, we noticed a fellow surfing in the Atlantic Ocean.

I spent the first few minutes watching the guy thinking about how cold he must have been. Water temperature in the area averages about 55 degrees in March.

But the more I watched, I noticed the way the surfer would time his attempts to ride waves. As a suitable wave approached, he’d paddle with the wave before standing up and trying to ride it.

Of course, this didn’t happen often. The waves weren’t very large. He had to wait several minutes just to find one large enough to try to ride. We watched him for about 15 to 20 minutes. He only tried to ride five or six waves and only managed to stand up on his board two or three times.

The surfer reminded me of a couple of good lessons for life and business.

First, you have to recognize when the time is right. If you’re thinking about starting a home-based business, now is a great time. When economic woes hit, home-based businesses often thrive.

Second, you have to realize when the right business comes along. If you’re ready to start a business, find an opportunity and company that gives you the best chance of success.

Remember these tips and you’ll be riding the wave of success.

Steve DeVane

Walking with a new perspective

posted in: goals, MLM, network marketing, perspective | 0

I recently spent a weekend in North Myrtle Beach with my family. One morning, I went for a walk on the beach with my wife and son. We walked to the Cherry Grove pier.

The walk was pleasant even though it was a cloudy day. We made it to the pier and turned back toward the resort where we were staying.

About halfway back, it occurred to me that the walk going to the pier seemed much shorter than the return trip. It made me realize the importance of perspective.

When we were walking toward the pier, we had a fixed goal in mind. Walking back, our goal was not as visible. Moreover, we realized that we had walked a long way to the pier and now faced a long walk back.

I learned was re-reminded of a couple of good lessons for life and business.

First, always set clear goals. Write them down and celebrate when you reach them.

Second, if you don’t like the way things are looking, it will probably help if you change the way you’re looking at them.

Steve DeVane