We've all received the same warnings about mixing business and emotions.
“This is business. Don’t cry over a business transaction.”
On the surface, it makes sense.
Business is business, nothing worth crying over.
Except…direct sales isn’t business as usual.
Direct sales is emotional because it's personal.
When someone buys from a different consultant after we've spent time with them, it hurts.
When someone joins a different consultant's team after we've talked to them about the opportunity, it hurts.
The big difference between direct sales and other businesses is that we are not just conducting business transactions with nameless, faceless strangers. This industry is driven by personal relationships.
We literally develop bonds, often deep bonds, with our customers and our teams. Our personal lives become intertwined with our business lives. Our friends become our customers and our team members — and vice versa.
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In direct sales, business and emotions are all wrapped up together.
So, it’s easy to forget that we are business owners.
That besides being friends and family, we are doing business with customers.
And when our direct sales company announces new policies or changes product lines or makes other changes, for many consultants, we get emotional.
We worry about how this will impact our teams and our customers. We head to the myriad brand-specific pages and talk about what it all means, allowing our emotional sides to get all riled up instead of taking a step back and evaluating it from a business standpoint.
We go to our team groups and we complain, and balk, and we yell. We denounce the changes as hurting us. And for some, we even contemplate leaving the company altogether.
But one thing we often forget to do is try to look at it from the policy-makers point of view.
It's easy to think that they're making these changes because they don't know. They aren't out here dealing with the customers directly. They don't have to explain why suddenly products will cost more to ship, or why certain monthly clubs are being cancelled, or why consultants can't give the same hostess rewards packages as before.
It's easy for them – because for them it's just business.
We spit that phrase out as if it's a degradation – but it's actually an important piece of the puzzle.
It's easy for them because they aren't working directly with the customers. It's harder for us because we are working for the customers and need to take a step back.
Business and Emotions: Take a step back!
Remove the emotional response and evaluate the changes from a business perspective by asking yourself these questions:
- How does this impact my ability to sell my product?
- How does this impact my ability to grow my team?
- What does this require of me as a leader?
- Is this good for the long-term stability of the company?
- Is the company still aligned with my “why”?
There are some changes that may come up that force you out of alignment with your company. This is especially true if a policy that drew you to them in the first place ends up being changed.
But more often than not, the changes they announce every year don't impact your ability to sell, and don't interfere with your why.
More often than not, once you learn about the changes and the reasons behind them, you can adjust your strategy to accommodate them without much effort.
And a lot of times it turns out – those company policy-makers were even right.
Direct sales can change your life if you let it. But it is not for the faint-hearted. By recognizing that you are in a business relationship with your company and by training yourself to keep your emotional responses out of equation, you can evaluate the changes with a clear head and save the tears for a Nicholas Sparks binge session.