Starbucks: How to recruit for the love and meaning of it.

In the previous post, What’s love got to do with it? I reported that most of today’s aspiring entrepreneurs say they do NOT put money first when they think of launching something of their own.

Instead, they want something they love, something that matters to them, where they can be their own boss, and then, yes, also earn some money with it.

I suggested that if we are to take them at their word, we’d better think of ways and language to attract these kinds of people to us. They’re waiting for us.

So, instead of leading with the money, or how grand the opportunity is, or how the company is positioned to be the preeminent provider of XYZ product, we offer these people something completely different – something that matches more what they say they seek.

Here’s how Starbucks attracts such people.

Big sign in Starbucks on the Plaza in KC:

HIRING EVENT: At Starbucks you can make a difference in someone’s day–and in your career…Date and place…”

That’s it. No talk of the money, such as it is, or the bennies, which ARE nice, no talk of how wonderful the company is, or how proud they should be to be able to work at (truly) one of the top companies in the world, blah blah blah.

Nope. Just…Here, you can make a difference in someone’s day–

Think of the kind of person who responds to that. I’m sure that explains why they have the most friendly people working at those stores around the world. It is NOT the money, that’s for sure. It’s tiny compared to the lofty money promises network recruiters hold out.

I just want a chance to “make a difference in someone’s day…” Indeed.

If there’s any doubt in your mind about how little ‘big’ money means to some of the most committed people in the world, think missionaries or volunteers. Or, think of the people lined up by the hundreds and thousands to work at Google, or Nordstroms.

It’s not the money that draws them, because the pay is not special. It’s the people there they want to be around, the feeling the community gives, the chance to max out your brain, your efforts, helping people get what they want, whatever it is…somehow, to make a difference and be part of a community that values and celebrates that.

In Rushkoff’s uplifting and provocative book, Get Back in the Box, he notes that “Apple is still widely considered one of the best places in the computer business to work. Apple workers still feel they are saving the world.” And look at the cool stuff they come out with! iPod, anyone? No, it’s not the money there, either.

In our business more than any other I have been connected with, I hear the same desire: people who’ve had a special product (or business) experience, who now want to save those who still have the problem.

Only network marketers have never learned the words to use, so they come across like sales types. But this can be remedied. The attitude, however, needs no remedy. It needs a chance to be seen and heard, to be put front and center by anyone in the business who shares that perspective. Does that sound like you?

If so, isn’t it time we do like Starbucks?

What if we could build up and promote that kind of community within our business? You know, for those of us where meaning matters more than money…

Use Comments below to add your thoughts so we can get started.

P.S. Just in from a 20-year veteran in Shaklee: “My greatest joy is to
experience people turning their health around.” -Margo C.

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • More ‘postcard from the edge’ views…

    >…isn’t it time we do like Starbucks?

    Yes. Of course. Even though ‘the vision of one lends not its wings to another’… meaning that with the prevailing NM attitude, there’s all sorts of ways the thing’ll get totally screwed.

    Whilst of course fair game for objective criticism (the practice often falls short of the principle), the Starbucks premise is at-least interesting:

    *Provide a great work environment and treat each other with respect and dignity.

    Hhhmmm… how does that compare with the p&p of many NM companies?

    >Apple workers still feel they are saving the world.

    Perhaps a little overstated. They certainly know they’re ‘doing cool stuff’.

    There are strong parallels with Apple and some NM companies… both serve overpriced product to a legion of diehard fans – and attract strong ‘get out of here’ criticism from those who don’t get along. And that’s where the similarities end – Apple (and similar non-NM companies) have a basic credibility that many NM companies don’t. Why?

    Is it because they genuinely have ‘something different’ products?
    And that they operate with style and grace?
    That they don’t deploy distributors who send me spam or phone me at dinner?
    Maybe I can believe what they say? That they deliver on their promise?
    Is it that they refrain from ‘elevator pitches which describe themselves stupidly’?
    Perhaps that they don’t take themselves too seriously?

    Apple have many flaws – having been buying their stuff for 15 years, I’ve seen build quality and customer service levels fall dramatically. And they do many things wrong. I still buy. Why? For the above reasons – the opposite of which provide strong clues as to why many aren’t lured by NM’s promise.

    Google score well with their ‘don’t be evil’ mantra. It’s a thoroughly unpretentious enterprise that recognises its place and doesn’t try to be someting it’s not. Hence, I’m concerned by Starbucks’ line of ‘you can make a difference in someone’s day’. How? You’re serving frickin’ coffee – is it really that big a deal?

    People rightly/wrongly laugh at… ‘bombastic boasts’. And god knows, there’s already too much of that in this business. I touched on this in a previous comment:

    …gushing about ‘how wonderful it all is’ with those ridiculous overblown statements – like ‘I help people start their own independent enterprise’ and ‘where else will you find more people committed to improving their lives and the lives of millions of others’ – the net effect of which (to more sensible people) is to send the laughometer way off the scale.

    Why can’t a distributor for xxxx rightly regard themselves more fairly: ‘I sell nutsups. Good product, a tad overpriced perhaps. Not for everyone but helps those who want it’… rather than the almost de-rigeur ‘gush’ normally used? [Of which, to me, that Shaklee remark is a damning example]

    >for those of us where meaning matters more than money…

    That’s a valid/vital point. My question is: ‘Can (with its current attitude) NM pull it off?’.

  • Hi Kim,

    I find all of Starbuck’s strategies fasinating.

    Starbucks has really taps into the emotional reasons we buy. You can smell, taste, touch and envision a Starbucks each morning.

    – Jen

  • Hi Kim,

    Making a difference is left out of many approaches I agree… However it may be the reason Starbucks employees work there, but I’m sure making MONEY is the main reason someone buys a Starbucks franchise. And as network marketers aren’t we more business owners and not employees? Anyway it wouldn’t hurt having some balance.

  • Hello to anonymous:

    FYI, Starbucks has no franchisees. The first attempt is their recent purchase of a group of “Seattle’s Best Coffee” stores – that’s their first experience with franchising.

    So as to your comment, “I’m sure making MONEY is the main reason someone buys a Starbucks franchise.” I assume you feel that about anyone buying a franchise, that the money is the main reason. Well, for some it is. Sounds like it would be yours, yes?

    You write:

    “And as network marketers aren’t we more business owners and not employees? Anyway it wouldn’t hurt having some balance.”

    Yes, network marketers are business owners. The point of the piece was that MANY people do NOT do NM or any business, or take a low paying job, for the money first. Although some do. You may be one. No problem.

    The promise of money is clearly NOT what keeps people in the NM business, given 95%+ drop out. Yet many still in it, earning almost nothing, say they just love helping people get their health back, for example.

    3% of the American aspiring entrepreneurs in the Yahoo study said they wanted a business because of the money of it. So you are perhaps part of that group. Go for it.

    Just know there are others, many others, who want a business for other reasons than the money. Like Steve Jobs, of Apple, or Richard Branson, of Virgin Air. They write about why they commit to things, why they do them, and it never was about the money. Doing something that turned them on was first, whatever that was.

    The point is to remember that your reason for you, is not someone else’s reason for them. Money is not the motivator it once was for many people. All things being equal, many want to do something they think is meaningful first, and yes, money second.

    And then there are folks like you, too, who really want that financial thing.

    There is room for all, think?


Leave a Comment