Most of us think we treat our customers very well. We thank them when they place an order, some of us (I admit, I don’t ) send handwritten thank you notes to every customer or make follow up phone calls to each one. Those are excellent touches (I am a HUGE fan of the handwritten thank you note in this electronic era).
However, some people smother their customers. And when you do so, you repel them, because you make it totally clear that they are a dollar sign to you.
I have always been very low-key about my business, and more interested in making friends. My friends know what I sell–if they want what I sell, they’ll let me know. I have made thousands of friends through my direct sales businesses, and learned the past year that many of them are very loyal to ME, not the product I sell. I literally had a hostess tell everyone at her party a couple weeks ago that she’d still have a party with me no matter what I sell. In fact, the actual quote (which I recorded, since it made me laugh) was, “I don’t care what crap she’s selling, I just want Joyce to come to my house to sell it.” The same hostess was gracious enough to see I was exhausted and had a two hour drive home and volunteered her spare bedroom for me to use. That’s not just a hostess…that’s a great friend as well, who I met through a party several years ago.
You build loyalty by NOT treating people like a dollar sign, but instead by actually caring about them and building friendships. You will naturally gravitate to some people, and they will gravitate to you. Build friendships. Friendships are so much more important than a one-time sale, and I guarantee you, your friends will spread the word about your business. Friends are a “team” of two with you. Even if they are not having parties with you right now, or buying from you right now, when they hear someone asking if anyone knows someone who sells what you sell, your name will be the one they pass on. Don’t be so quick to go for the immediate dollar and smother people with constant reminders about what you sell–show people that you care about them for THEM, not for their wallet.
I see examples of this on Facebook all the time. In fact, one exchange inspired this post. A former hostess/customer of mine posted a beautiful picture of herself out at a festival. I posted that she looked great, that I had sent her a message, and had some hilarious gossip for her the next time we talked. The next post was from another direct seller, who right away had to make reference to the necklace she was wearing, naming the brand (she sells that brand). Ironically, I sold the gal the necklace. I have to admit, I grimaced when I read her post, and just shook my head. Why not compliment her on her great hair color, beautiful smile, or how much fun she looked like she was having? You look like a total business vulture when the only thing you post to her is about the product that you sell. It just looks desperate and makes her like like a dollar sign to you.
It would be the same if a mom posted a picture of her kid crossing the plate scoring the winning run at his baseball game, and the 31 Gifts lady only commenting on one of her companies bags in the bleachers in the background. Tacky, right? Or if someone posted a Pinterest-perfect picture of a cake they just baked/decorated and the Tupperware lady only commenting on how great the storage container she has the cake in is. Everyone else reading it would be instantly turned off by both those reps, and possible their products as a result.
I always tell the gals on my team to not be like the obnoxious uncle in the family who sells insurance and bugs everyone at family holiday gatherings to buy insurance from him. Everyone KNOWS, what he does. If they want his insurance, they’ll come to him. By him constantly shoving it in their faces, they avoid him.
It’s the same with direct sellers and our customers. Remind them every so often what you do, but don’t make your relationship with them ALL about you and your business, or you will have NO relationship. I have people who had parties with me seven years ago who have not bought from me in years, but we are still friends. They know what I do. And the LAST thing I am going to do is go up to them, smell them and say, “Oh, you need some custom-scented body butter.” Can you IMAGINE? UGH. When they want some, they’ll let me know. In the meantime, I will keep showing them indirectly how fun my business is, and they are welcome to join in the fun any time they want to.
I guarantee you, if you treat people well, care about THEM, and not their wallets, you will have a lot more friends, and eventually be in a situation where most of the time, when you go to “work”, you are just spending several hours with good friends. Not many people can say that, so count your blessings when you can, and lay the foundation by treating everyone like a friend, not a dollar sign.
By Joyce Moravec Foy on May 27, 2014
Erik Boh and Lynn Pistacchio are the contributors to our