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BE A DIRECT SELLING SUPERSTAR
Achieve Financial Freedom for Yourself and Others as a Direct Sales Leader
By Mary Christensen
AMACOMCopyright © 2013 Mary Christensen
All rights reserved.
Find Your Passion
You cannot be inspiring unless you're inspired. —Mary Christensen
Direct selling is a personal growth business. Most of us are drawn to it because we want to improve our lives. Some of us dream of the financial freedom to do anything we want for the rest of our life, without counting the cost. Others dream of traveling the world, owning a ski lodge in the mountains, or sending our children to the best schools. The only limit to our dreams is our imagination.
Whether your dreams are financial, social, educational, or emotional, keep them alive with images on your screensaver or dream board. But focus your attention on the present.
The drawback to dreams is they have no time limit. When there's no deadline it's tempting to postpone taking action today. That's why we set goals.
Goals are the stepping-stones to our dreams. Each goal we achieve takes us one step closer to the lifestyle we dream about. However, each goal is also a destination in itself, one we can reach in a fairly short time. Whether it's paying a bill, buying a boat, taking a vacation, or eliminating debt, the maximum time frame for a goal should be twelve months.
Goals have an urgency that powers us forward, despite any doubts, disappointments, or distractions we encounter along the way. They stop us becoming discouraged or defeated when things don't go according to plan. They give us the strength to get back on our feet and back in the game after a knockdown.
As a leader you'll inspire many people to reach for their goals, but it starts with you. A goal you feel passionate about is the first step toward becoming an elite leader. You can always learn skills. The fire that will take you to the top comes from within.
WHEN THE FIRE GOES OUT
A few years ago, the owner of a direct selling company contacted me with a problem. His business had leveled off, and he invited me to his annual Leadership Retreat to remotivate his leaders.
Because the retreat was at an exotic destination I was excited to go, and I was even more excited when I arrived. One of the benefits of a direct selling business is visiting stunning locations, and the retreat was held in a luxury resort.
When we got down to business I asked all the leaders to share their goals for the year ahead. Most of the goals seemed uninspiring, and many of the leaders struggled to come up with any real goal. Over and over they repeated the same goal: "My goal is to help my team grow."
Helping others grow is not a goal. It's a strategy. Helping others achieve their goals is how we achieve our goals. We get what we want by helping others get what they want.
Everyone listened politely as each leader took her turn to speak. There was little of the energy and excitement that's the norm in a room of direct sellers.
I invited the most senior leader to share her goal, hoping she would step up and set an example. But her only response was to wave toward the others and say, "My only goal is to help all of you. That's what I'm here to learn."
Problem identified. This top leader's fire was extinguished, and her lack of inspiration was influencing the entire leadership group. No wonder the company was flatlining.
I knew what she was earning. The luxury car parked in front of the hotel had her name on its plates, and she was traveling the world on company-paid vacations. This leader was enjoying all the rewards that go with being the highest-paid leader in the company. But she had lost her fire.
When I asked for a personal goal she repeated the same message: "I honestly have everything I want. My goal is helping my leaders grow."
Somehow I had to dismantle the blockade of indifference that was choking the life out of the company. I tried coaxing her to share something a little more personal. After some thought, the best she could come up with was, "I need to do something about our backyard."
It didn't sound inspiring, but it was all I had to work with so I seized on it. "What will you do?"
"Well, we have a ranch-style house that's surrounded by woods."
One of her leaders chipped in, "It's amazing," and everyone agreed.
This leader had all the tangible rewards that money can buy. But we were still going nowhere fast.
"Tell me about your yard," I invited.
"We need to do some landscaping."
"Have you thought about what you'll do?"
She shrugged. "I guess I would like to make the patio area bigger. Maybe extend it the entire length of the house."
We were starting to make progress.
"Sounds great," I encouraged.
That's when I saw the first flicker of light in her eyes. "What I'd really like to do is replace all the windows with French doors so we could walk out onto the patio from any room in the house."
I was starting to picture the patio. "That would be fabulous," I said. Who wouldn't want to step outdoors onto a sunny patio from any room in the house?
The flicker in her eyes sparked as her goal took shape.
"And I want an outdoor kitchen-the full works. A barbecue, and a fire pit so we could entertain all year ..."
The spark was becoming a flame. "And a huge countertop so we could prepare everything outdoors."
The atmosphere in the room was heating up. Now there was no stopping her.
"And a pizza oven. If we had a pizza oven we could hold pizza parties."
I could feel it. Everyone could feel it. Smoldering embers, the aroma of baking pizza, good times ...
"We could hold our team meetings outside."
The room was on fire. Everyone was transported to the patio and everyone was inspired.
We were establishing the first rule of direct selling leadership: To be an inspiring leader, you must be inspired.
We should always be grateful for what we have, but leaders can never become complacent. When you're excited by your goals, your excitement fuels the fire in others. Leaders are inspiring because they're inspired!
Once we unlocked the gate, the goals started to flow. Every leader wanted another chance to share her goal. Some made us sad. We learned about a family in debt, a husband desperate to quit his job. Some made us laugh. A guilt-free shopping spree!
It was emotional and exciting, and it set the scene for the training that followed. My goal that weekend was to restart the company's growth, and my reward was receiving feedback that the company was back on the move.
One of your greatest joys will be helping others set and achieve their goals, but you can never lose your passion for setting and achieving your own.
SEVEN STEPS TO FINDING THE RIGHT GOAL
These steps will help you find a goal worthy of the time and energy you'll put into achieving it.
Choose a goal that makes your heart leap. Small goals will not inspire either you or the people looking to you for inspiration. If you don't feel an immediate, emotional reaction to the goal you've chosen, dig deeper until you find one that does light your fire.
If your goal doesn't immediately come to mind, these questions will help you find it:
* If I could make one personal wish come true, what would it be?
* How different would my life be if I had no credit card debt?
* Am I driving the car I deserve or the car I can afford?
* If I had $10,000 in the bank today, what would I buy with it?
* If I won a vacation anywhere in the world, where would I go?
* How would it feel to stop renting and own my own home?
* If I could transform one room in my house, which room would it be?
* Am I happy in my job, or is it time I quit working to make other people rich?
* If I could make one family dream come true, what would it be?
* What difference would an extra $1,000 a week income make to my life?
Don't confuse goals with strategies. Promoting to a higher level in the compensation plan is a strategy that will help you achieve your goal. Think a step further to how the income and rewards you gain from your new status will impact your life. What will you do with the extra income?
* Start saving for a down payment on your new home?
* Give your child the gift of a debt-free college education?
* Remodel your home?
* Buy a rental property?
* Bolster your retirement funds?
When everyone in your organization has a goal they are passionate about, your business will fire on all cylinders. The most effective way to encourage them to share their goals with you is to share yours with them. Imagine sitting across the table from a prospect or a team member and sharing your goal to become a sales leader or director ... status levels and titles are meaningless to someone who has yet to learn how the compensation plan works. But everyone can relate to taking a family vacation, paying for a child's music lessons, quitting a day job, or saving to start a family.
Adopt this rule: one goal, one year, one step at a time. No matter how many goals you can think of, choose only one to pursue. A goal is your compass. It points you in the right direction and keeps you from straying off course. If you head for two destinations, your energies will be scattered and you'll be lucky to reach either of them.
If you're struggling to choose one goal over another, maybe neither of them is important enough to take center stage in your plans. Find the one that will give you the greatest sense of accomplishment by running them through these tests:
The thrill test: Which one will give you the most satisfaction when you achieve it? Which one makes your heart beat faster? Which one makes your eyes shine brighter?
The logic test: Which goal makes more sense? If one of your goals is to reduce debt but you're tempted to splurge on a new spring wardrobe, it should be clear which one to aim for first. By reducing your debt you'll have more cash for a shopping spree next spring. But if you can't stop thinking about those clothes, go for it. If your heart is not in your goal, it's the wrong goal.
The urgency test: Is there an opportunity you can't afford to pass up? If your company announces an incentive trip to a destination you've always wanted to visit, seize the moment.
Be true to yourself. I spend much of my time speaking at conventions and I love it when people share their goals with me. When one successful leader approached me and said, "I don't have a goal," I suspected she was simply reluctant to share it.
She was on a rapid rise up her company's plan so I challenged her: "With the growth you're accomplishing, I know you must have a goal."
She answered, "I guess I'm embarrassed about my goal."
When I coaxed her into sharing her goal it did not surprise me.
"I want to be number one in my company. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that."
Goals are deeply personal. If stepping on stage to the applause of your peers as you take the winner's trophy drives you, make it your goal. A desire for recognition drives many superachievers. I'm sure that leader will achieve the recognition she dreams about.
Picture yourself achieving your goal. How will you feel when it becomes a reality? Sharing your goal with the people you care about will keep your adrenaline pumping.
Every part of my life has been, and continues to be, achieved one goal at a time. My goal for my first year in business was to earn enough to pay the bills. Once that was accomplished I set my sights on a new car. Moving to a better neighborhood. Family vacations.
Sending my children to schools where they would have the best chance of success. Although the goalposts keep shifting, I cannot imagine living my life without goals. They have taken me through bad times and good, failures and successes, disappointments and triumphs.
When we know what we want, we make things happen. When we don't know what we want, we run the risk of a lifetime spent waiting for something to happen.
Before you commit to your goal, make sure you pass it through these reality checks:
Is this goal realistic in light of my present circumstances?
Reaching beyond our comfort zone is what personal growth is all about, but a goal will be counterproductive if it's too far out of your reach.
Am I prepared to put the time and effort into achieving my goal? It's not enough to want it. You have to be willing to work for it.
As your business grows so will your goals. You'll be exposed to new people and experiences. As your horizons expand you'll almost certainly find yourself setting goals that were off your radar when you started out. Your circumstances may change in ways you could never predict. It's the unpredictability of life that makes it exciting.
But there will never be a time when you can run your business on autopilot. By knowing what you want, and pursuing it with relentless enthusiasm, you'll inspire others to do the same. When you achieve your goal you'll become a living example that success in direct selling is believable and achievable.
Commit to Success
Don't make hope your business plan.
There's no halfway when it comes to succeeding in business. You either want it or you don't. Elite leaders don't embrace half measures and they don't make hope their business plan. They succeed on purpose.
As an independent contractor, you own your business, and that gives you ownership of the choices you make. Start by choosing the corporation you partner with. The closer the fit between you and the corporation, the higher your income potential will be, so make sure you're excited about its plan, products, and people.
Partner with a corporation that offers a tiered (multilevel) compensation plan. Multilevel plans reward you for introducing others to the business and giving them training and support to grow their businesses. Most companies call it duplication, but I call it paying it forward. You'll generate your income by learning how to grow your business and teaching others to do the same.
Compensation plans may differ in the details, but all reward results in these five areas:
1. The number of people you introduce into your organization
2. The total volume of sales those people produce
3. How long they stay active in your organization
4. How many of them climb the compensation plan ladder
5. How high they climb up the compensation plan ladder
Make the compensation plan your blueprint for success. It clearly maps out the rewards you'll enjoy at each level and what you must do to get there.
You can create fire by focusing the rays of the sun onto paper through a lens. It's the intense focus of heat that creates the fire, and the technique requires a steady hand. If you lose concentration and your hand wavers, you won't make fire. It's the same in business. If you focus your time, energy, and resources on the key actions, you'll be rewarded by results. If your attention wavers, your efforts will go to waste. The sharper your focus, the higher your income will be.
Your status, income, and rewards will be determined by the total sales your business generates, so choose a corporation that has products you believe in.
Being your own best customer will give you credibility when you share your products with others. Building a business around a product that works for you, whether it's skincare, clothes, cookware, or nutritional supplements, is a smart move, as is turning a passion for fashion, jewelry, entertaining, baking, decorating, card making, scrapbooking, or preserving the environment into a profitable business.
You're in the people business. Being in business with people you like, trust, and respect makes sense on both a personal and professional level.
When you love what you do, and the people you work with, your business becomes less like work and more of a lifestyle choice.
Finding the right people for your business is not as simple as asking everybody you know if they want to participate, although you probably already know many people who will be excellent partners. You need people who will commit fully to the business, who will become just as excited as you about the plan and the products.
NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF YOUR GOAL
Apart from choosing your corporate partner, the most powerful choice you'll make is committing to your business. A commitment is a promise that you'll achieve your goal without these self-defeating conditions attached:
I will give it my best shot.
I will do it if I can find the right people.
I will do it if the economy picks up.
I will do it when the company changes its policies.
Our power comes from within. You can refuse to let forces outside your control determine your destiny. You can refuse to be swayed by stories of doom and gloom, and you can refuse to give up on your dreams, no matter what's happening with the economy, or what challenges you're facing personally.
Excerpted from BE A DIRECT SELLING SUPERSTAR by Mary Christensen. Copyright © 2013 by Mary Christensen. Excerpted by permission of AMACOM.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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