One way to keep your friends

When your sister-in-law or neighbor pitches you a product or service that you know she sells, does your brain go:

Of course she’s singing its praises – she’s selling it, isn’t she?

It’s the old self-interest conflict, isn’t it? That pesky reaction doesn’t come up usually, when the person has no financial ulterior motive – like recommending a movie or restaurant. (Of course if she hides that she’s selling [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][whatever] until after her pitch, suddenly everything wonderful she said about it becomes suspect.)

But in sales this “yeah right” reaction pops up all the time, because so many people have had too many unpleasant experiences. Most people are so skeptical they figure that the seller, including acquaintances, will say whatever they have to, to make the sale. (Think Do Not Call List with over 110 million people on it who are sick of the pitches by phone. You on it?)

Countless women networkers have told me on calls that they do NOT want to perceived as a “sales-type” to their social group. Sales types being those kinds of folks whose values are not the same as their own.

How about we just anticipate this unavoidable question and deal with it right up front? Show your own values?

One way: Lead with a little dose of honesty and authenticity. It might take the scary right out of it.

“Lulu – I’m calling you because want to talk to you about something that has really helped me [lose weight], [get rid of some lines around my eyes], [whatever]. Anyway, I liked it so much I decided to sell it/go into business for myself to see if there might be other people like me who’d like to know about it too. That’s why I was calling you: Do you know anyone who might like to know about something like that?”

You have been up front. No hiding you are in business. You have told an authentic story about what the product did for you, and why you are now selling it, and you are asking for a referral, instead of aiming straight at your friend’s heart and pocket book.

Of course you won’t get a sale most of the time. Whatever she says, be agreeable. It’s like asking if your friend plays tennis. Perhaps one in 10 or 20 do, the rest don’t. Say no first and save her the stress. They might give you a referral. And once in a while, she’ll say “yes, that sounds like me. What have you got?”

The BIG BENEFIT: By being transparent, you will likely not lose the friend or scare her away from you. You have preserved the relationship and not been a “sales type” who can’t stop talking about their thing and nagging everyone they know. Or someone who makes promises they can’t keep about what might happen to her if she uses it.

And yet you have told your story, so in case she comes across someone who has the problem you had…

For many of us, preserving the social network matters more than making money. We can always find something else we like to earn income.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • RE keeping friends, changing the perception of MLM: I helped at a table at a small health fair at a local organic market yesterday, not on behalf of my MLM business, but another business I love madly. I realized how much I don’t enjoy doing shows anymore, especially being within ear-shot of the other marketers. Not once did I hear “this is a product for people who” (except at our table, of course). Plenty of descriptions of what was in the product, all the different diseases or problems it was “good” for, how many doctors are recommending it, etc – and comparisons/put downs of competitor products.

    Then, there were some of the worst sellers, ones that didn’t pay to have their own table, but they came armed with their business cards and prodeeded from table to table to sell their stuff to exhibitors. We have a lot of work to do.

    The good news is that on the whole, I think people are starting to wake up, and do as you advise Kim – get in touch with their own values, their own passions first and foremost – define their purpose before deciding to start a business. Maybe if we do that, and help others do that, our conversations will naturally flow better because our intention will in fact be one of service and finding someone for whom we might have the right thing versus convincing or scoring.

    The much-needed change in the general perception of our industry will come when each of us, individually, really commits to focused change – and I don’t think that happens over night. As seemed to be the case on your call last Friday, most of us agreed that we had burned through lots of friends and family, and can still unconsciously fall in to the seller mode – habits are hard to break.

    Here’s what I feel could work:
    1. Stop beating yourself up and comparing yourself to the new stars making quick money, or the old ones. Get happy with who you are by being honest and taking responsibility for everything in your life – and appreciating the gifts you do have. Let’s face it, the longer you are in MLM without making it to the “top” or reaching financial goals, the harder it is to come from a place of abundance – and the more uncomfrtable you become with talking about all the money to be made. Makes the calls a lot more of a struggle to make. Only you get to define your passion, which may or may not be the latest and greatest offering.
    2. Find support – people who think like you do – who will give you a gentle rap on the head if you need it, too. If that’s not your upline, try sideline – start your own little group to support each other.
    3. Get good training on whatever you want to improve – and don’t think you can read a book or listen to a call once and master it. That seller talk and techno babble is so ingrained in most of us that it takes time to totally “detox”. That’s where working with partners can be of great help. And that means hours of practicing with a new baby, like Kim talks about the Starbuck’s training (25 hours worth before they go to work to make $6.25/hr), before THEY go out with their newly-found excitement and make the same mistakes you did.
    4. No negative talk, no whining. Let the recruiters do what they do – it’s not our job to do therapy on anyone, just to master whatever it is that helps us achieve our own bliss. One’s lack of success (as they define it) isn’t the uplines’ fault – I like to believe that most people do the best they can based on what they know. We know better now, so let’s focus on the difference we can make starting now.
    5. Have product and business first date scripts, like we work on with Kim. Old adages that it’s time to question/bury: Lead with the business first, that way, if they say no, you can still close them on the product. and Duh #2 – you can’t say the wrong thing to the right person. I’ll bet many can make a huge list of right people they totally drove away.
    6. Remember there are at least 28 days in every month – the infamous month-end close push is a matter of urgency for who?
    7. Do unto others as they would have you do unto them – you are not manager of the universe, only co-creator of your own.
    8. Be impeccable with your word (Don Miguel Ruiz). Be a spreader of only positive energy. Stop forwarding e-mails of excitement when there’s some bad press about the competition.
    9. Truly take care of and honor your customers, so they welcome your calls.
    10. Evaluate every conversation you have – shoot for a “10”, given only for zero seller talk, listening more than you talked and focusing on every word spoken, not what you were going to say next.
    11. Educate yourself every day. There are so many insigtful books recommended on this site! Include selections to help with your consciousness and true understanding of the law of attraction.

    Of course, there’s more, but little that isn’t already covered on this board, or in “The Book”.

  • Judy – Thanks for putting this as your first point.

    “Stop beating yourself up and comparing yourself to the new stars making quick money, or the old ones.”

    You are so right – comparison is such a demotivator.

    So as leaders we can really help by making a big fuss of early achievements -the first customer, the first referred customer etc.

    And also by knowing, and passing on, the impact small amounts of money wisely used can have. eg overpaying a mortgage by just a couple of hundred dollars each month can drastically reduce the term of that mortgage.

    “I used to be someone who dreaded still having to be paying back my mrotgage when I retired. Then I found this business, and now I know I’ll go into retirement owning my own home. Do you know anyone who would like to know about a business like that?”

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