Jenna Marzullo - Don’t Forget: People & Relationship Building are at the Heart of Direct Selling

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If you’ve been checking out my blog lately, then you know that I love to discuss people and relationship building and how these two things steer us along our personal and professional journeys. So when I had the opportunity to recently attend a workshop presented by John Maxwell-certified trainer Joel Rissinger in Bristol, CT I couldn’t wait to attend.

For those who may not know, Maxwell-certified coaches, trainers and speakers are part of The John Maxwell Program run by author, speaker and leadership expert John Maxwell. Through this program these individuals are taught Maxwell’s principles and philosophy on leadership and communication. If you’re interested, you can learn more about this program by clicking here.

The workshop was unbelievable. Joel so eloquently reminded us of best practices and traits that are inherent to us as network marketers, but which we may have needed a reminder about.

For me the key take away from the workshop was that, unlike other businesses, network marketing is at its core a people business. If you can’t build lasting relationships with your customers or teammates, you will have difficulty finding success. Furthermore, to build lasting relationships, you need to communicate using your heart verses your head. This will enable you to establish trust, loyalty and a lasting connection.

After establishing this connection, you’ll find your customers will stay with you even if rates go up. You’ll find your teammates will walk through fire with you, even if business drops. This communication approach (heart over head) also applies to your personal life, enabling you to strengthen the relationships you have with family, friends or your spouse.

So, the question then becomes: How can we master this ability to establish genuine, heartfelt connections with those around us? In his workshop Joel shared three questions that he believes every person has at one point or another asked themselves about us. The key to connecting with a person involves our ability to answer these questions with truth and conviction—that is, not telling the person what they want to hear or simply saying what we want to say.

Here are the three questions people likely ask themselves when they first meet you—and continue to ask as your relationship progresses:

Do You Care About Me?

This question really boils down to, “Do you care about me as a person?” When forming a relationship of any kind we want to know that we are cared for as a person—rather than, say, an amount of money or just another number. To answer this question, start by doing some research. Use the Internet and leverage social media to gain insight into that person’s hobbies, interests and preferences prior to meeting with them. For example, one person may be newly married, have children or love teaching yoga. In answering this question, you have to take a step back from the business, the money and the success and instead nurture people based on their unique personality types.

To understand peoples’ varying personalities, I suggest reading “The People Code: It’s All About your Innate Motive,” by Dr. Taylor Hartman. The reason I like this book is because it not only enables you to fairly quickly identify the personality types of others, but also your own. This way, you can understand your own approach to communicating as well as adapt to the approaches of others.

For example, in the book there is a personality type called “Red.” These individuals are motivated by power; they are to the point, aggressive and consider their time to be very valuable. So if you’re sitting down with a “red” prospect and you’re talking to her for hours about the benefits of green energy, you’ll likely lose her.

Can I Trust You?

Trust is obviously hard to develop in the very early stages of a relationship, but you can begin to establish trust by implementing some best practices. In the workshop, Joel mentioned one such practice of avoiding projecting an image of perfection. Some people are naturally drawn to the positive (i.e. the benefits of Viridian, how it will transform their life) but to others (based on their personality type) this may come off as self-righteous or even fake.

To gain trust, be transparent. For example, be honest in telling your customer about your personal Viridian journey and how it may have taken you longer than anticipated to reach your desired level of success. Perhaps you had your own trepidations about the business model before joining—lay your cards out on the table in order to develop trust early on. Don’t be afraid to be human and to show your flaws. Try to relay the core message that, whether you’re speaking with a prospective customer or Associate, you’re in this journey together and that you can relate to them on some level.

Can You Help Me?

When it comes to network marketing this question usually doesn’t mean, “Can you help me save money?” Rather, this question is a person’s way of asking, “Can you as a person add value to me in my life?” In other words, is this working or personal relationship worth it for me? Are you someone I want to spend time with? The key to answering this question is understanding what motivates people, which “The People Code” discusses.

If you don’t know what motivates the person you’re speaking with, it will be difficult to add value to their life. For example, some people are motivated by relationships—that is, they are driven by the need to be affiliated with something larger than themselves or by a sense of community/people. So if you’re talking about the money a person can make by becoming a Viridian Associate and the individual is motivated by relationships, he or she will care less.

Imagine if in answering these three questions you could begin to communicate with your heart verses your head and, in doing so, establish true, genuine connections with the majority of your customers and teammates. Imagine for a moment what that would do for your business!