I’m a network marketer. The cornerstone of my business is making contact with people. The quickest way to get to anyone is to pick up the phone and speak to them. I know this. I discuss this with my network marketing teams on a regular basis. But I find myself paralysed at times, unable to pick up the phone.
I have thought long and hard about this. It boils down to one small word … FEAR … Let me explain further:-
- Today, one of my friends wrote on her Facebook page that she was making a resolution to NOT complete any more telephone surveys because they upset her. Many of her friends agreed with her – each giving their own reason why they dislike telephone surveys.
- Then there are PPI calls – how on earth they get my number every day I’ll never know and if I could have had 10% of the PPI money I was expected to be able to claim I’d be a rich girl indeed!
- More recently are the automated calls checking that I’ve had an accident and that I can claim…….
- And our all time favourite, much debated, the call from supposedly Microsoft Windows Security Department telling me I’ve got a virus on my computer and they can sort it.
- I’ve moved home recently and taken a landline service with a new provider. I appear to have a recycled number because I’m getting a lot of calls for a Ms. F who appears to have skipped owing a fair bit of money. Those calls are very quickly sorted with a confirmation of address and an apology from the caller. But they still interrupt my day.
These calls are unwelcome to me, and others. And I then start to judge myself by those standards….Why would Fred want to talk to me today? Would I be disturbing him? What if he was in the middle of doing something, then I’d feel bad?
Do you recognise these prompts? Can you talk yourself into paralysis every hour of every day with statements just like these?
Fortunately, I’m part of a group that coach and mentor each other. We are all ages, different backgrounds, different businesses; a wonderful mix of people. We have had a discussion only this week about follow up with people and why picking up the phone is so important. They gave me strength and courage to pick up the phone…… Their overriding message – Loud and Clear – is that people don’t want calls that sell them stuff. They want calls that strengthen and bring value to the relationship.
In the last month, I’ve had a call out of the blue from a gentleman that I met on the forum. We gelled through our connection to Marlow in Buckinghamshire. Since then we have chatted and while we both acknowledge that there are differences between us, we do share substantial values and we will be meeting for a coffee when I’m next in the area. Another businessman on the group read a message I put up about getting cards and promptly sent me a postcard, which brightened my day. A simple gesture on his part but it has made me remember him and when he is back from his travels, I will be having a business chat with him. Both of these guys reached out and showed an interest in me, which in turn, strengthened our relationship and made me want to learn more about them.
So back to my phone calls. I’m a network marketer so of course I am ever vigilant for customers or distributors to join me, however, what I have learned is that to meet someone for the first time and lead with this is a road to disaster. Quickest way to get people to stop listening. So instead, I need to get to know them. Their likes and dislikes. Their needs and wants. I’m all about connecting people so I might know someone that can help them move forward.
Today I put my fear in a little box and tucked it away on a shelf in my mind. I then picked up the phone to a person that I met through networking. I know that she’s having a rough time right now. So I called for a chat. The call went to answerphone and I left a message enquiring after her health and asking her to call me when she felt ready. If I don’t hear, I’ll pick this up in a couple of months. With her, I really just want to know she’s ok.
Then a made a second phone call. This time to the leader of a Networking group local to me who I’ve met a couple of times. We have some good history but I doubt I’ve spoken to her in over a year. She sounded genuinely delighted to hear from me. Today was not a good day for her and she explained why so we agreed that she would give me a call back in a few weeks and we’ll go for coffee. We have a foundation already laid. She’s got a growing business, she’s a network leader, we love animals, we love a cup of tea. We will go and have a chat and a laugh and from that no doubt we will talk about networking and we’ll talk about the future. Neither of us will expect to get business from the other one – but we will have strengthened that foundation and will be closer to the memory of each other when talking to friends. And that is what it is all about – being naturally recommended.
So what’s happened to my fear? Well it’s disappeared right now – I’ve overcome the images in my mind that stop me from calling – and now I’ve written this blog, I can get on and call more people, safe in the knowledge that I’m not selling anything – I’m building a relationship.