[The following story is true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.*]
I often do wedding showers as part of my direct sales business. I love them. Recently I did a shower for someone who met me because of the logo sign (complete with name, phone number, and website) on my van. From the conversations we’d had leading up to the shower I knew that she’d talked with another consultant about doing the shower but couldn’t work things out. As we were closing out the shower “Holly Host” asked me if she’d told me the whole story. She hadn’t.
She had met “Connie Consultant” at a friend’s party. She loved the products, so she scheduled a party of her own. At her party Connie Consultant kept making comments about how great a consultant Holly Host would make. Holly host felt pressured, but knew she liked the products. She signed on the dotted line. She had some parties lined up with friends and family, including the shower she eventually had me do. Connie Consultant started listing all of the things she expected Holly Host to do—online training (Holly Host doesn’t have internet access at home), meetings (not mandatory, but strongly recommended), etc. Holly Host started to get overwhelmed. She was just planning to do direct sales as a hobby. This was too much. That’s when Holly Host backed out of becoming a consultant.
Holly Host asked Connie Consultant to do the wedding shower. They couldn’t work out a date. I told Holly Host that, since she had an established relationship with Connie Consultant she could certainly do future parties with her. She told me that she would rather stick with me.
I’m flattered, of course, but I can’t help but feel sorry for Connie Consultant. I don’t know her. I do wonder if she ever really listened to Holly Host. Did she know that Holly Host didn’t have internet access? Did she know that Holly Host was overwhelmed with the list? Like I said, I don’t know Connie Consultant, but I do wonder if she actually had a completely packed couple of months or if she was simply licking her wounds after losing a potential recruit.
Listening, really listening, is essential to leading someone. It’s important to coaching a host or providing customer care, but it’s especially vital when leading someone on your team. Are you listening? Are you really listening? Ask questions. Make sure you know your team member. I often say that this business is about relationships. That’s never truer than when you’re building a team.
*Yes, I’m old enough to remember Dragnet when it first ran.