Handling Disappointment

In social marketing (I like that term better than direct sales) there are lots of disappointments. In the time I’ve had my business I’ve had hosts decide not to hold their parties. I’ve had people back out of large orders. I’ve had potential recruits sign up with someone else. I’ve had people sign up and then decide that this business wasn’t for them.

One host who comes to mind had to reschedule her party four times. It took almost a full year to get that party to hold. But, since I was understanding and worked with her to come up with something that worked for her, she did finally hold her party. She has held another five through the years, and several of her friends have also hosted.

Just recently I had a past host place two sizeable orders—one for each of the two parties that had booked from hers and were being held close together. It was less than 90 minutes later that she called and apologized. Something had happened that was going to cause a big financial outlay (several hundred dollars) in the next few days. I told her I completely understood and would never want her to place an order for my products that would cause a financial struggle. She told me that she hated to call but knew I’d understand. She also said that that’s why I’m “a fantastic consultant with a great business.”

A couple of weeks ago I was talking about one of our new products on Facebook. A former customer said she just had to have one for herself. She wanted me to order one for her. Now, this customer was a really good former host of mine as well, and a member of her family had been a potential recruit of mine a few years ago. That was, until she went to a party done by another consultant, got excited, and signed up right then with that other consultant. Was I happy? No. I’d stayed in contact. I was sure when she was ready to sign up she’d sign with me. But, I knew this type of thing happened. So, I contacted her and wished her all the best with her new business. I also contacted her family members who were my customers and told them I knew [former potential recruit] had started her own business. I told them I hoped they’d be good, loyal customers for her. I also let them know I’d be available if they had any questions she couldn’t answer for them. I also contacted that good former host and told her I hoped to stay in contact with her because I liked her a lot. She expressed disappointment that her family member hadn’t signed up with me, but I told her that those things happen. No hard feelings. Why was she contacting me now? Life has changed for that family member, and she is no longer a consultant. So, my former customer is once again a good customer.

One of my newest recruits contacted me to say that she’s decided that this business isn’t for her. She works a full-time, high-pressure day job. This was a lot more work than she’d anticipated for something she thought she’d do for fun. So, after assuring her that she was perfectly welcome to step away from the business I asked her a question. Was she sure she wanted to step away, or did she just want to slow down? She’d hit the ground running with her business, which is good. Still, it isn’t the only way to do things. She’s staying on my team and switching into hobbyist mode.

Any of these situations could have ended a relationship. All I had to do was make the person involved feel bad for their decision. Instead, I accepted that such disappointments are a part of the business. And, a disappointment today is just another opportunity to offer really good customer service.

Be careful how you handle disappointments. You don’t want to burn bridges that might benefit you later.


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