One of my attempts at mustering the vital virtue of Courage met with the Closed Mind of a long-time friend this week. I’ve known “Susan” for 20 years, and she prospected me for her “new” opportunity the other day to enroll under her with a 4 year old company that recently hit $1 Billion in cumulative sales with a very narrow product line in the skin care arena.
On her call to me, I mustered the courage to ASK HER a lot of questions, including about whether her company had a solid Customer Acquisition and Retention program in place that was working well. That courageous question surprised her, and she fumbled for some sort of answer. (Most companies don’t have ANY program in place for delighting and rewarding Customers.)
It’s a really important consideration these days — given this past year’s action by the FTC (US Federal Trade Commission) to close down and seize all the assets of Vemma, contending that they operated an “illegal pyramid scheme” — especially because the FTC felt that their ratio of their Customers to Distributors was very inadequate.
Bucking the strong odds against them (95% to only 5%), Vemma managed to reopen for business 6 weeks later, but only as direct sales company, essentially, with a newly and vastly discounted product line. Virtually all of their leaders and most teams then left Vemma to seek better paying opportunities elsewhere. See any lessons there?
Susan’s experience in MLM is solid – she’d earned over $200K a year with the company we both used to be with 18 years ago, and she’d had strong success in recent years with the jewelry company she’d joined 10 years ago. But they changed owners along with the materials that their jewelry was made from, so she was annoyed (plus, her residual income there wasn’t solidly growing), and, without exploring any other options, she jumped at the enthusiastic prospecting efforts of her long-time lady friend, “Jane,” who has been out of network marketing for over 11 years, but was all “a gog” about 1 “new” product. After a few follow-ups, Susan joined up with Jane, and started building anew right away under Jane . . .
So now, Susan is investing her credibility (and some money) and lots of time in a fairly young company, with strong sales, so far; but they have NO built-in Customer acquisition & retention program AND their product line is very narrow.
If you’ve ever looked closely at the short list of network marketing companies which have reached $1 Billion in sales AND have then GROWN beyond that, they ALL have a fairly WIDE product line — which enables many more of their customers (and a slew of “fairly inactive” distributors) to remain interested and delighted with that company’s offerings, even if those folks aren’t building a biz with that company.
Think about this, cuz that LIST of big, long-term-success companies with over $1 Billion in annual sales includes: Amway, Herbalife, Avon, NuSkin, Forever Living Products, Mary Kay, USANA, and Melaleuca. NOTE that they ALL have a wide product line. So, apparently THAT MATTERS a LOT.
But not to my friend, Susan. At least not yet . . .
I know that her job in prospecting is to collect decisions, so I extended the speedy courtesy today of calling her back myself — to tell her “thanks, but no thanks.” I told her that I respect and admire her and that I am concerned about her real ability to achieve what she says she WANTS (a long-term flow of passive, residual income, that grows and stays strong).
I could have ended the conversation there, but I risked riling her emotions . . . because I chose to muster the courage to point out to her (as gently as I could) that her new company’s very narrow product line and their lack of a viable Customer acquisition & retention program were potential signals that her desire to build strong and long with them could hit some serious obstacles. I was walking now on thin ice . . .
We both knew that she hadn’t explored any other options but this one company that her friend, Jane, had invited her to join. I reminded her that she had stronger leadership skills and more success experience than Jane, but even though she accepted my invitation to look at what I was currently doing, she insisted that she was “probably too invested right now” to reconsider the path that she was now on.
I understand. Cuz for her to look more objectively at a different option would have required a LOT of new courage from her, which, we now see, she isn’t yet willing to muster/invest. Here’s her (pretty speedy) text back to me this evening, after our chat late this afternoon:
“Art…. Thank you!! I came home, thought about ALL that you said to me, prayed and talked to (her husband) “Bruce!” I am not interested! It would be a waste of my time and energy to view what you sent esp since I have meetings tomorrow and Sunday with potential brand partners and a launch with a big networker on Tuesday! There is no need for further discussion! I respect you and I will pray for countless blessings with your business! Thank you for considering (my company)! Disappointed?? Never! I would not have been nor will I ever be in the disappointment of a ‘no’. Onward and upward! God bless you, my friend!!!😊. Hugs to you, too!!!”
I count 16 exclamation points there (= lots of emotional reaction, I sense). I understand that my unexpected, audacious and (I thought) kind offer was too annoying for her to seriously consider at this time. She’s telling me that she’s now refusing to access and review any educational resources about what I sincerely believe is a better, safer, and probably much more lucrative and long-term option for her.
So, I’ll tell her that “I understand” and that “I’ll be happy to help her down the road, if I can be of service to her later on.”
What else? What would YOU do? I’ll just keep the door open and move on.