Tools. Listening. Cascading and High Leverage Activities.
IN OUR PREVIOUS JANUARY COLUMN, we launched the concept of thinking strategically about everything in order to get the best results, which is what I do every day in working with top executives. In that article, we talked about gaining strategic clarity on the things that matter the most. As leaders in the direct-selling industry, you obviously have strategic clarity (or should) about the desired outcome of helping your distributors get more distributors. I want to share here about raising your level of thinking in four areas that could help you have a powerful impact on that outcome for your organization: tools, listening, cascading, and High Leverage Activities (HLAs).
Think about the tools you currently have. Are they outdated? Are they the best tools you can create? Are your distributors excited to use them? Are they easy to access (or just the opposite)?
In our experience, many people at the top don’t think at the strategic level about how they could make their tools easier to maximize efficiency and effectiveness. In all the work I’ve done with direct sales company executives, one of the biggest struggles I hear about is that their distributors in the field struggle to understand how to best use their tools and that they are not user friendly.
You may need to strategically think about your tool effectiveness. (How many do you have? What needs to be updated or tossed out? Is there too much clutter or distraction in your tool messaging?
Are you thinking strategically about training your distributors to listen? That’s right. It’s frequently overlooked. We often think about what we’re going to push out—this product benefit, or this success story—and yet a big piece of the puzzle in the world of building relationships is being strategic about listening.
Here’s what that could look like in direct sales—you’re teaching your distributors that when they’re working to attract someone, they’re listening intently and even taking a few notes as they’re talking to the prospect so they can better communicate to the person:
- First that they’ve been heard (people want to feel heard, and the better the notes, the better the impact).
- That your product or services apply to them (people want to know they apply to their world and their vision of success).
- That joining their team will benefit them (people want what they want; they want to know why—the benefits that are related to their values, their goals and their priorities).
So, teach them to listen!
“A big piece of the puzzle in the world of building relationships is being strategic about listening.”
When you as corporate leaders are planning for an event, you usually think strategically about things like budgeting, hiring the right talent, creating a great lineup, using the best AV equipment, and all the other bells and whistles that make an event spectacular (including humor, if you’re smart). Sometimes, however, follow up is more of an afterthought. If the message from the event is to roll out a new campaign, a new direction, or a new offering that’s going to attract more distributors, then you need to be spot on about how to cascade (pass information down to other levels, either corporately or to the field) that information so you can maintain your momentum.
Ideally, you’ve already thought ahead about follow up. I had a group in yesterday, and one of the specific things we talked about was how to prepare now, before the event, what the follow-up items are going to be. That makes it easier to get the emails, the links, and any other followup tools out immediately, within twenty-four to forty-eight hours after the event ends. When you’ve strategically thought through the follow up so it’s not sloppily done at the last minute, you get a much higher level of impact.
High Leverage Activities
Even though we talked in the January issue, about High Leverage Activities, I wanted to hit it again here, because helping your distributors assess the best use of their time is one of the top ways you can help them be their best. No doubt you already know and employ that concept, and yet maybe you haven’t strategically thought about how to communicate to your distributors the whole model of High Leverage Activities (HLAs).
In addition to including your current philosophy in your onboarding kits, maybe you could shift to a little higher level of communication and incorporate training to help your current distributors think about the best use of their time or their HLAs. Let me give you an example of how that can work in attracting people for their business.
I happen to be friends with and personally coach one of the top distributors for one particular company. He is often referred to as “the Attractor.” He’s made attracting people to his team his top HLA, so he creates every day what he calls his “Hot 20 List”—a list of the twenty people he wants to invest time in to attract them to his business. He rewrites his list often and carries it either on his phone or in his pocket, and he looks at it several times a day to make sure he stays on track.
Since no single skill or habit has a more powerful impact on results than the ability to eliminate distractions (Low Leverage Activities) and focus on your High Leverage Activities, passing on that concept to your distributors could have a huge effect on your entire organization.
In future issues, we’re going to continue talking about cool concepts along the “strategy” line—like Strategic Gifting, which is a new book we just launched that will share information about how to strategically show gratitude and love to your people, as well as Strategic Networking, Strategic Health, and Strategic Acceleration. So be looking forward to several powerful communications in our column in the future that can help you be more strategic as an executive.
- Think strategically about the tools you create to ensure they are up to date, easily accessible to your distributors, and of course really easy to use. (Do they pass the Steve Jobs test of being intuitive—so intuitive they need little or no instruction?)
- Teaching your distributors to listen strategically and communicate accordingly is a big piece of the puzzle in building relationships and attracting people to their business.
- Before each big event, think strategically about how to cascade the information immediately afterward so you can take advantage of your momentum.
- Since no single skill or habit has a more powerful impact on results than the ability to eliminate distractions (Low Leverage Activities) and focus on your High Leverage Activities, passing on that concept to your distributors could have a huge effect on your entire organization.
Tony Jeary—The Results Guy™—Is a prolific author and a strategist. His organization, TJI, facilities powerful meetings, keynote events and coaches high performers to accelerate their results.