Ice to an Eskimo?

24ebae2I’ve always been baffled by the people who claim they could “sell ice to an eskimo.” Yeah, I get it. They’re so good at sales that they can sell somebody something whether they want it or not. But is that good? Or is that part of what gives sales a bad name?

Having been in network marketing for so long, I’ve progressed through several “phases of evolution” along the way.

As a young buck, I was taught that posture and confidence were critical (which is true, by the way), but was also so brainwashed into thinking that my “opportunity” was so superior that a person would have to be a complete idiot not to be interested. Subsequently, I proceeded with that posture unwittingly (and unknowingly) turning many people off in the process.

Specifically, this behavior would include putting down traditional employment. We adopt a “jobs suck” mentality, complete with catchy little sayings like J.O.B. stands for “just over broke” or “jumping over backwards.” We proclaim that people in the real world “work 40 hours a week for 40 years and then retire on 40% of what they couldn’t live on in the first place.”

Does any intelligent person really think that putting down somebody’s profession is endearing?

Then there’s the denouncing of college and education as you try to convince a college student that they’re wasting their time (true or not) and that they will look forward to years of debt and student loans, still with no career guarantees.

I can imagine the conversations these students then had with their parents. And we wonder why parents aren’t “supportive!”

The “ice salesmen” this phase will tell you about their “closing ratios.” They can get eight out of ten to join. They believe that they should just “throw enough shit at the wall and see what sticks.” Hence, they move forward thinking of their friends and family members as excrement! Eww.

The professional network marketer advances into a “zen phase.”

Posture and confidence are still present, but in a “being” sort of way. No arrogance. This requires the understanding that your opportunity may not be (and probably isn’t) necessarily the best opportunity known to mankind. It might be the best for you, but that doesn’t mean it works that way across the board.

The season pro understands the law of timing. Even if you have found the best, latest, and greatest business opportunity, you still can’t shove it down somebody’s throat if they’re not open to it. Yet we see this all the time, especially now through social media. Its like trying to convince a person who has just finished eating dinner, to go try out a new restaurant. It doesn’t matter how great you think the restaurant is (and it might be REALLY great!), somebody who isn’t hungry has no interest in eating. Even if you’re so good you can get them into the door, they still won’t order any food!

The solution, of course, is about as simple as it sounds. You hear it at every (good) network marketing training. Make a list of people you know, trust, and respect, and ask them if they “might be looking” for something or if “their timing is right.” If its not, save your breath!

I’ve got a close friend who is so fired up about his new business opportunity. I love and respect him immensely. But he’s stuck in phase one, and can’t understand why I won’t join him. Clearly (well, somewhat clearly) I’m a smart guy. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a professional network marketer. I like him. I respect him. I believe him. So, what’s holding me back?

I’M FULL! I’m just not looking right now. I’m not watching the videos he sends me and i’m not going to the websites. Because of my “zen state” I’m not annoyed with him for his persistence, but I do shake my head. I remember being on the other end of this equation many times. I wonder how many friends I may have turned off (or pissed off) over the years? I wish they would have just told me that they weren’t looking for anything . . . or better yet, I wish that I had possessed the ability to recognize that myself.

Here’s an interesting piece of advice for salespeople and network marketers alike . . .

How about selling hot chocolate to an eskimo?

Sounds a lot easier. And they’ll actually appreciate you for it!

No Excuses. No Regrets.

I ran into an old friend last week and spent three delightful hours, not catching up on the 15 years since we’d last seen each other, but on the 15 previous years in which we had. Lash Ashmore had been the varsity soccer coach at Newtown High School and I was the sportswriter from the town newspaper. It was a lifetime ago since he retired and moved to the mountains of Montana and I retired and started my own business in network marketing.  Screen shot 2014-07-25 at 9.16.37 AM

I had always considered Lash a bit of a “contrarian.” He was clearly different than other coaches. I was by no means a soccer enthusiast, so I was never in a position to question any of his coaching decisions or tactics, but it was easy to see that this man had an “X-factor” about him. His teams were always good and his players always loved him.

* That X-factor statement may be more legitimized by the fact that a high percentage of Lash’s former players are highly-successful businessmen today and frequently vacation in Montana with their old coach at his home.

Anyway, we downed a few beers (just like the old days) and reminisced about some of the memories we shared. One, in particular, struck me in a brand new way this time.

Back in the 90’s, Newtown was coming off a season in which it had fallen just short of a state championship. In preseason practice, the following summer, coach Ashmore sat his boys down and asked them to reflect on the regrets they’d experienced in their lives so far. While there can’t be a whole lot of regret in a young teenager yet, the boys spoke of things like missing out on the championship, not asking out the girl, not studying for the test, and not taking certain parental advice. Interestingly, not many had regrets about the things that they had actually done – but more things they “didn’t do.”

Next, the coach asked them to come up with a list of excuses they may have made regarding playing soccer to their levels of capability. They said things like poor officiating, playing on a bad field, getting a bad break, not feeling well, being selfish on the field, mental lapses, poor conditioning, and being intimidated.

Lash then challenged his team. “How about if we make it a goal to finish this season with no regrets?” he offered the boys. “And all those excuses we’ve all used in the past . . . throw them all away. None of them are useful anymore. They no longer apply. This year is the year of “No Excuses. No Regrets.” That became the team’s motto which the players proudly wore on their practice jerseys that summer, and it was the popular war cry all year as they beat every team they faced and went on to capture the state championship.

As much as I loved the story when I was there, it took on a brand new meaning to the new-and-improved Tommy Wyatt last week. I, of course, applied it to business and to life.

For whatever reason, I’ve been living with a “No Excuses. No Regrets” attitude for many years. Maybe coach Ashmore rubbed off on me along the way. But I’d like to ask you to take a minute and apply it to what’s important in your life right now.

Take a few minutes and jot down some regrets you have in your life so far.

Next (and this takes some real honesty), write down all the excuses you’ve come up with as to why you’re not living your life to the fullest right now.

Together, let’s cast away all the regrets and take a lesson from them.

Now the excuses . . . make sure you get em all! Take them outside and burn them with a match. And promise yourself you’ll never use any of those excuses again. They aren’t useful anymore. They no longer apply.

Maybe you and I can sit down sometime down the road, and you can tell me all about your championship.

The one that you’re about to go out and win.

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