Chances are, you joined your direct sales business because you love the product, and saw an opportunity to share what you love with others. Then you started talking to everyone you know, assuming they would love it as much as you do. How could people not just flock to your new team, as excited about the product and opportunity as you were?
Developing the art and skill of sponsoring takes practice, organization, and just a little bravery. I started my first direct sales sponsoring experience, and in less than a year, was the #1 sponsor in the company, introducing over 140 new consultants to the business opportunity. Becoming “good” at sponsoring requires good communication, demonstrating leadership and expertise, and showing your enthusiasm. People want to join with someone they view as successful. My favorite adage to tell new consultants, is to be the Golden Duck. A duck is calm, cool, and collected on the surface, but paddling like crazy underneath. And if that means faking it just a bit, that’s ok.
Here are my key tips for successful sponsoring.
STOP RECRUITING, START SPONSORING
First things first, change your language. To me, recruiting does not convey anything around coaching, mentoring, training, communication, or any of the other and all the important things that are required AFTER you bring on a new team member. That’s what a sponsor does. A coach, a mentor, a friend. Someone who cares about your success as much as their own, and realizes that they will not be successful without helping their team be successful.
BE SELECTIVELY ENTHUSIASTIC
Your mindset and attitude make all the difference. If you don’t show your excitement and passion for your business and the opportunity, you really can’t expect anyone else to be excited about it either. Why would someone choose a mentor/sponsor who is only lukewarm on the company or opportunity? However, being enthusiastic doesn’t mean sharing everything about your business in one long run-on sentence. Be selective in what you share, based on reading the verbal and non-verbal cues of the person with whom you’re talking.
ACT LIKE A LEADER
Think big, grow big. When I had a team of 3, I developed training materials, held team calls, and generally acted like I had a much larger team, by putting the processes in place early, that allowed my team to scale for growth. Whether training one or one hundred, that requires demonstrating the behavior you want your team to model. And when you speak strongly about your “team” (even if your team is only a few people), you convey the ability to lead with confidence.
Set a goal of how many people you will talk to, provide your information packet, or follow-up with each day/week/month. Hold yourself accountable to those goals.
PREPARE AN OPPORTUNITY PACK
A professional packet that includes information on your company’s business, catalog, career and commission plan, and any company or team benefits will show you are serious about your business. Update them regularly, to stay current with new product releases.
Keep those Opportunity Packs with you! This means having them in your car, purse, home, and office. You never know when an opportunity will present itself to talk about your business.
KNOW YOUR CATALOG AND PRICING
Nothing will kill your leadership credibility faster than not knowing your own catalog. Spend time familiarizing yourself with your products, pricing, and anticipating questions that may be asked, such as what are your products made of, where are they made, or how fast/how much is shipping.
KNOW YOUR COMMISSION AND CAREER PLAN
Someone exploring your business opportunity likely wants to know a few key things. How much can I make? What is required to move into leadership? Speak confidently on these points, and you’ll answer a prospect’s questions before they are even asked.
LISTEN FOR CUES
Whether at a party, an event, or a one on one interaction, verbal cues will often give you a lead-in to introduce your business opportunity. For example, anyone who says “Oh my gosh, I want everything in the catalog!” That is someone who is a prospective future team member.
INVITE YOUR HOSTESSES TO JOIN
Hostesses make the best consultants. If you’ve been doing your hostess coaching, then you are already training your hostess on how to be a consultant, how to understand the hostess rewards, prepare for her party, and maximize her rewards. She likely already loves the product as well. If you don’t offer the opportunity to every hostess, you are leaving potential at the door.
DEVELOP A REFERRAL PROCESS
Not every person you talk to will jump at the opportunity to join your team. And that’s OK! Develop language that automatically follows-up with “OK, thank you. But I sure would appreciate if you’d refer me to a friend who you think might be interested. I offer a referral gift to anyone who refers someone who joins my team!”
PRACTICE SPONSORING CONVERSATIONS
Develop and practice some scripts, that you can use in various scenarios. If you meet a stranger who asks what you do – have a prepared answer. If you run into an old friend who asks how your business is going – have a prepared answer. You will soon have scripts you can quickly pull up for the right situation. Each one should be short, succicnt, and focus on how much YOU enjoy your business.
USE “I” STATEMENTS
No one likes pushy, high-pressure people. Use phrases that draw people in and invite questions, such as “I love what I’m doing…” “I love the flexiblity…” “Our commission plan is so awesome…” “My team and upline are so incredibly supportive…” Conversely, avoid phrases that push people away, such as “YOU could earn…” “YOU should join…” “YOU would make…” Your own enthusiasm will draw people in, rather than appearing pushy and offputting.
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
No doubt, we are our own worst critics. And no’s can be very hard to hear – especially many in a row. This is when you have to be brave, believe in yourself, and KNOW that the right person will come along. There WILL be someone who loves your business as much as you do, and you will share your opportunity.
GET OUTSIDE OF YOUR OWN NETWORK
Find vendor opportunities, networking events, and any other method to meet new people. This might be joining a church, getting involved in your kids’ school activities, or joining other local or regional groups. Your goal is to Meet.New.People!
Build your social media strategy, and focus on growing your online presence. Depending on your product, this might best be served with Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, blogging, or something else.
WEAR YOUR PRODUCT, OR HAVE SAMPLES
If you have a wearable product, you sure better be wearing it! If you don’t have a visibly wearable product (such as health or beauty), or a product that can be easily carried, always have samples or catalogs available for quick handout.
PLANT SEEDS, AND DEVELOP A FOLLOW-UP SYSTEM
Top sellers are always planting, farming, and harvesting their leads. Someone you talk to today, might not be interested. But if you add them to your mailing list, and do a semi-regular “service call”, the time might be right later. You are demonstrating your skill at being a good mentor/sponsor, by being a good consultant first.
PERSONALIZE YOUR MESSAGES
When you foll0w-up with your contacts, personalize each message. Do NOT copy and paste a mass message to your contacts, that’s spammy. Direct sales and network marketing are all about personal relationships. Make it personal.
PROMOTE YOUR UPLINE SUPPORT AND TEAM RESOURCES
While you are selling yourself as a mentor/sponsor, a strong motivator is the upline and team resources also available to your prospect. Would they benefit from any training programs? Private team groups? Special incentives or challenges not available elsewhere? Share those, so your prospect knows there is a full team of people behind him or her, to help reach their goals.