"The difference between ass-kickers and quitters"

“…is that they face their fears and do it anyway.”

So writes reader Michele here (see Comments).

That’s one difference, yes.

Here’s another: smart ass-kickers know not to start things with the wrong people. They “pick” their battles so they can focus and have a better chance of success.

You can’t win them all, so why start them all?

Should someone tell the thousands of company owners and tens of thousands of ‘leaders’ in NM this? My New Year’s plea to them:

Will you please stop telling new and impressionable recruits that your great products and your amazing business opportunities are for everyone? That everyone wants them, and that everyone they know is just sitting by the phone, waiting to hear about your opportunity?

Will you please stop blaming them when people say NO? Most people do not want to sell, and no product’s for everyone, including yours.

Last, please don’t call them quitters when they’ve gone to everyone they know and done everything you said – and were then totally overcome with rejection from people they should never have approached in the first place – much less in the ways you said.

Will you tell the new recruits the truth of marketing? That they have to find matches – like shopping for shoes – those people for whom the business (or product) is the right thing?

Let’s get kick-ass good at finding matches? Think?

To learn how to ask the world for customer matches for you, check out the book, “If My Product’s So Great, How Come I Can’t Sell it?” or the Customer-gathering 3-Scripts CD program here.

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • It’s called “Target Marketing” and easier said and done.

    One rule of thumb I use that seems to work relatively well….

    I ask myself “Does my target buy all their skin care or nutritional products at Wal-Mart?” If yes….

    As I am talking to them, I try to determine if this is because price is their only concern, they feel the products are just as good or are they willing to spend more on products they feel they are getting a good value from?

    Are they exclusively discount shoppers or do they shop at department stores, on-line, or botiques as well?

    If my conclusion is that price is their only real concern, I leave them alone and let them shop at Wal-Mart.

    Their happy and I am happier in the long run too!

    If I think they look for more than just price, we may talk a little more and see if what I have is a fit for them.
    Brenda Bunney

  • Hi Brenda: “target marketing” is one way, yes. But many people do not want to be seen or treated as “targets” by us (=marketers). Makes them feel like sales objects, you know? So I use a referral approach, and wrote it up in the Friends, Lies piece. Other approaches, anyone?

  • Once I discover that I am only someone’s “target”, my first inclination is to fire or attack back — and then to leave.

    Predator-prey dynamics seem to govern many businesses these days, but perhaps such methods aren’t so useful for retaining long-term customers.

    What sustains a business better over time: a fired-upon target, or a satisfied customer?

    Just a thought,

  • There are plenty of ways to attract the people you are looking for. It would take all day to explain them all, however, a few are doing things like I do here. Comment on someone’s blog that you can relate to, join forums and post frequently (informative posts) with a link to your personal (not hypy company) site, social networking sites, etc…

    People who like what you have to say will look for you.

    I contacted someone the other day about her MLM product because she had a link in her sig line. However, she lost me when I talked to her and she told me that I had to join the company as a distributor to “get the good prices”. I don’t believe in that one tiny little bit. It’s not HER fault, that’s how she’s been taught by her company. She reads this blog and knows that isn’t the way to do the business, but her company basically forces her to do it that way. Make everyone sign up as distributors just to get the products at reasonable prices.

    Even people trying to do business the “New School Way” are finding it hard and reverting back to their old ways.

    If you are in a company that allows you to sell your products, count your blessings and let customers be customers. The reason a lot of people fail in this industry/profession is because their company is not structured to allow them to be successful. This person lost a good customer because the company doesn’t allow her to simply sell her products unless it’s at an exhorbitantly high price.


  • Hello Bloggers,

    Ready, aim, fire! I happen to like the phrase target market. It’s not like you paint a bull’s-eye on a stranger, stand back, and hurl on them.

    Our beloved Kim is a wordsmith Summa Cum Laude. I am sure she fully understands this popular biz jargon. In network marketing we can have two types of customers; obviously the consumer of our products and also the potential business partner. New School advocates leading with the product, therefore you don’t want to approach the Eskimo with a bag of ice. On the other hand, an outside sales person might be an excellent target for a GPS navigation system.

    I really like Roxanne’s whole approach of attracting potential customers. Birds of a feather flock together and like the same kind of things, right?

    Many believe that the product first approach is the slow road to success. I strongly disagree and here is why. If a potential business partner jumps on board because of a sizzle product and a sexy comp plan, there is no loyalty. What happens though when a satisfied, loyal customer decides to become a distributor? As their sponsor, you have the opportunity to have a long term team member if you train them properly.

    To cut down on the ugly rejection thing, it is just good sense to look for those that are inclined toward your product. We are direct sales people so we have to go about it differently that a brick and mortar merchant.

    Sometimes you think you are on target, but find you are way out on the fringe. Here is a tip that has really helped me in one of my more conventional businesses. Think of the most perfect customer you can imagine. Picture them in great detail. Next ask yourself where else is this person likely to spend their money? Now go meet that merchant, vendor, service provider, etc. and build a business referral relationship. Like it or not the ‘you scratch mine and I’ll scratch yours’ is still very real.

    Here’s an example for clarity. Say you represent a skin care line. Your best client may also have a favorite hair salon, manicurist, and massage therapist. You go to a business networking event and meet a sharp looking massage therapist. Bingo! Now it is up to you to develop the referral relationship so that it is win-win with this masseuse.

    According to Dr. Ivan Misner, the founder of BNI, this is the best know marketing secret on the planet. It is called word of mouth and it doesn’t have to happen by accident. In fact, you could even expedite matters by asking those you know for an introduction to a masseuse they may use.

    Tom Doiron

  • There are a lot of “soft shoe shufflers” out there who prey upon poor souls in urgent situations -who may be broke or unprepared for retirement, or those with a lottery mentality who are looking for a big score and easy money.

    And those who call and tell you they are working with so-snd-so, the ‘guru’ who makes $(big number) per month with this (greatest) company (there ever was).

    You -the lucky recipient of the phone call, are supposed to be completely enamoured for the opportunity to work on the same team as Mr. Guru. (As if some of his genes were going to rub off on you.)

    I got the call last night. I am familiar with the so-called guru and I was (among other emotions) amused that this jerk is still recruiting like he did in 1997, three companies later. I would imagine there is wild swings and some gaps in his income as more and more people become innoculated against the “old school” style of recruiting, as I am.

    People who engage in the bullet-point tactics above and similar practices are weak, unscrupulous, and to a degree -guilty of crimes against humanity.

    Dave C

    Boom -About me

  • Tom – I understand what you are saying about the business referrals but I wonder how you network like this without coming across as a Salesperson.

    The way you write this it seems like the networker doesn’t normally use this type of service so I would wonder how much they really know about that service. It would make them sound just another salesperson. Think about it. If someone called me marketing a pet product and I found out they don’t have a pet, don’t use the product for a pet and don’t have the passion for pets I have, they will be just another salesperson and I get plenty of calls like this everyday.

    Maybe I make things even slower for me but I think I can seek others like me. I can be a good example of the kind of person to use my product.
    Example: When I first started marketing an Energy Whole Food Multi I wanted to contact all the Chiropractors in my area. I’ve never gone to a Chiropractor and soon realized they see me as a salesperson. They get lots of sales calls for products and since I have no knowledge of their service there’s really nothing compelling enough to make them listen to me.
    I started thinking of how to reach the kind of person that I had a connection to, like other Mothers. It turned out to be easy to come up with lots of names and different ways to contact Mothers who have kids in my son’s school. They will listen to me more so than a business will that I know nothing about.

    I can contact a Pet Professional and have their attention right away because I’m a pet lover, work with them daily, share my home and life with them. I can relate to them and the work they do.

    Marketing the Energy Multi I’m looking for individuals, whereas my pet products I seek both professionals and individual pet lovers.

    If it works for you to contact a business you don’t personally use that’s great. When one of your customers gives a referral to a business where your product could fit do you contact the business and say “Lulu gave me your name and said you might like to know about this product?”

    I love and agree with word of mouth marketing. If we can find ways to encourage others to talk about our products without them selling it, word of mouth marketing really is a win-win situation.

    Happy New Year

  • Hi Robin,

    I don’t approach as a salesperson I approach as a business owner. B2B as it is commonly known. I am not there to sell them anything. I am there to suggest we share our respective client bases for mutual benefit. The exchange is in referrals not money. We both service the same customer but for different dollars. Interior designers don’t paint and I don’t do interior design. I have established profitable relationships with several, that suggest our services to their clients. The client pays for the painting not the designer. In turn, when a customer of mine mentions redecorating their kithcen, I promote Gretchen and leave the homeowner her biz card. Reciprocity is the word.

    Suppose you had a elderly housebound client that you boarded her dog while she got medical treatments. Say you had a business associate that had a mobil pet grooming service. (Pretend you don’t offer mobil grooming for now.) If you refer your associate to housebound seniors, the groomer could recommend you as a source of “mail order” quailty pet food.
    This is win-win-win.

    Initial, I insist that my introduction be done by my referral partner. Melissa is a referral partner. Laura is a long time friend of hers. Melissa learns while visiting with Laura that her house needs painting. Melissa promotes me to Laura and tells Laura, “I’ll have Tom call you.” Tom calls Laura and mentions that Melissa asked me to call. Laura says great when can we get together for an estimate. 80% closing ratio.

    Robin you talk as if a salesperson is the grim-reaper. I would never approach a chiropractor like you did. They get bombed with every lotion, potion, and pill that comes down the pike because of their alternative medical practice. Here is a senario. One of your satified natural multis customer is a patient at the local Chiropractors. You ask her to hand deliver a marketing piece to him for you and do a thirty second spot on what your products have done for her. Your contact info is on the materials so you are accessible if the Doc. wants to know more. Another approach might be for you to invite the Doc. to lunch with you and your friend. She introduces you as the source of her wonderful product and you can have a non threatening, causual conversation over lunch. Golf has been used in this fashion forever.

    Robin, quailty referrals put an end to cold calls and the associated rejection.

    Hope this helps,
    Tom Doiron

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