Tag Archives: social media

Read This If You Befriend Your Team Members on Facebook

4 Apr

Social networking is a wonderful tool to build your business, but should direct sales leaders befriend their team members?

I recently heard a self- proclaimed direct sales expert encourage managers and directors to be friends with their team members on Facebook. She said that way you can get to know what is going on in the lives of your downline.  Some may wholeheartedly agree with this. Yet perhaps there is another way to look at this.

With regard to being offline – for those who work outside the home, are you good friends with your boss? What about your boss’s boss?  Does your boss regularly share photos of grandpa’s birthday party or of himself at the ballgame while enjoying some adult beverages? Does your boss start your weekly staff meetings by sharing her frustrations, her personal highs and lows?  Perhaps for some of you, this is true.  Though for most others, you do not socialize with the boss on your off time.

Some will be quick to defend that direct sales works differently than a “real job.”  That is a sad statement that partly contributes to the maligned reputation that if you have a direct selling business you don’t have a real job. For those who run their business like a business, then direct sales absolutely is a real job.

Still others reading this are saying that being a direct sales leader is not the same as being a boss.  No arguments there. If you are an independent consultant, you are not an employee; so technically you are correct – there is no boss and employee relationship. Notwithstanding, if you are a manager or director within the company or within your downline, you still should behave like a boss and set a good leadership example.

Back to your personal Facebook page: is it a good idea to befriend downline members on your personal Facebook page?

Some say Yes, it is a good idea. Their reasoning is that you’re all one big happy family and you want to share your life with the ‘sisters’ on your team and you want them to get to know you better.  You believe that you may be their manager but you’re a person first and they should get to see the good, the bad and the ugly about you.  Everyone on your team is a new friend and you’re just like blood relatives. You may also believe that you should know everything that they’re up to or that you want them to see how you market your business. You think befriending your team members is a fabulous idea.

Others say No way, it’s a terrible idea. If you’re truly running your business like a business, and if you are a manager or director, especially if you have a large downline, then you need to be able to have some time to yourself. Otherwise, if you’re on Facebook, and if you opt to befriend your downline, they can hit you up on chat and distract you from what you were doing while you are ‘on your own time.’ Your activity and status updates will also be scrutinized. You may work 12 hours a day on your business, but also post a couple different status updates a day, or share a YouTube or play a game – and suddenly there will be downline members that take those actions and assume you’re sitting on Facebook all day while they’re out working their tail off so you can earn a bag of money off of them.  Or you may be frustrated with an idiot driver or store clerk and want to let off steam. Suddenly, some of your downline will find cause to accuse you of being two-faced; all nicey-nice with them and a totally different person on Facebook.  Do you really want to have your every action scrutinized that closely?

There isn’t a right answer here, other than what is right for you and your situation. It’s just wise to consider both sides of the Facebook debate before you opt to befriend your downline. If you already accepted friends with many of your team and are now having second thoughts, perhaps it’s a good time to start a separate FB page just for your business. Then alert your friends that you’re moving your business type activity to the other page. When you delete them as friends, they’ll still have access to you on the work site.

The choice is yours; so choose wisely. I would love to read your comments on this.

xo

Debbie

Join Home Party Divas today for coaching, support, advertising and support for only $19.97 a month.

Debbie Shulman, Owner of Home Party Divas is a mom of 4 and a happy wife in a happy life. Lives in Florida. She loves direct sales and feels it is the best way to own a business without a large investment.

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Don’t be Anti-Social in a Social Media World

13 Nov

The experts say this all day, every day. Social Media is not going anywhere. It is here to stay. Social Media has helped many of us in Direct Sales. Whether you are using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ or other sites, it is important to interact with your fans/followers.

What do you do when someone likes your page? On my business fan page Debbie Shulman, Independent Consultant, Gold Canyon Candles I send a personal private message to a new fan thanking them for liking my page, briefly explain any Facebook Specials I am offering (if any at that time) and if they have any questions to feel free to contact me. I even have offered to send a free sample with a catalog to new fans and have gotten orders from that.

Why do I do this? To appreciate a new fan and build a relationship with someone I do not know. When you go to a networking event, do you stand there expecting people to come up and just hand you orders? Of course not. Do you not introduce yourself and say hello when you attend a networking group? Of course you do! So what is different from social media. You can see who your fans are and can keep track of who you sent a message too.

Twitter is different. Something I am trying to get used to. Twitter are short blurbs of what you are doing. Many social media gurus recommend that you do not always post things about you. Retweet other articles or promotions you found interesting. Follow people in your area of expertise. They will have interesting tweets you can tweet back about.

YouTube is a great way to share your companies videos. Do you sell jewelry? Then post your companies Fashion Shows? Do you own a food business? Then produce a quick video on how to prepare one of your recipes. You don’t want to be infront of the camera that is fine. Subscribe to your companies YouTube videos and share them on your fan page.

Try not to continually post your business on your personal page. I do occasionally. But when you have a business, Facebook especially is very particular- please create a fan page.

Don’t exclude your fans on posts about just your product and business. Do shout outs to your favorite fan pages. Make a shout out to a supportive customer. Ask questions to get responses. Get personal. By doing so you will create a social atmosphere,
more interaction, more trust and more business. Also, please note. It is still important to get out from the computer and MEET people. The computer can only take you so far.

Debbie Shulman
Founder
Home Party Divas, LLC

Home Party Divas- How to Network Effectively in 2011

3 Jan

Found on this blog

Business networking  is one of the most effective marketing and prospecting tools you can use to grow your business. Of course, done incorrectly it can actually be harmful to your business.

Somewhere down the road salespeople were given the idea that business networking meant pitching and selling. Eek! Nothing could be further from the truth.

Of course, if you don’t plan on being in business for very long, then by all means pitch and sell. If you plan to switch companies often, have at it! If, on the other hand, you plan on building a great business that will stand the test of time, don’t pitch and sell when you are networking.

Business networking is really about building relationships. It’s about finding those people with whom you have things social in common. It’s like dating. Have you ever met a man or woman who was so aggressive and pushy that you ran the other way? You wouldn’t dream of dating them.

Then there are the people who are so unsure and timid that you never get the chance to meet them. And then there are the people who are genuinely interested in meeting people and getting to know them so they can find the person they want to spend the rest of their life with.

Am I describing dating or business networking? Exactly! Both. They are very similar in nature.

Just as in dating, in business networking you have to meet and get to know people to determine whether they are good referral partners or clients. When you go into the process with the narrow focus of gaining a piece of business, you miss all of the steps designed to keep you safe, happy and successful. Your focus is in the wrong place.

When, however, you focus on really getting to know people, you will be open to and aware of all of the signals. You will build quality, productive relationships that will work for you and your business over and over again.

I define business networking as building relationships with people who may or may not need what you have to sell. So you see, it’s not about selling to them. It’s about making the connections and building your contact base.

People have to trust you before they’ll do business with you or refer you. How can you make sure you are presenting yourself as someone who is trustworthy? By following the 59 commandments here.

Now, commandments might be a strong word–but this is a serious topic.

There was a time when we would network through organizations, events and referral groups. These are still relevant and have been joined by social networking. Social networking is relatively new and therefore requires a conversation about guiding principles – or commandments.

Let’s start with networking at events. There are various aspects of this type of business networking, from preparation to follow up, and everything in between.

Preparation – up to and including as you walk in the door

1. Identify where you should go. All venues are not right for all people. You owe it to yourself to do your research and find the venues that make sense for your business.

2. Make a decision about which organizations you should join and which you don’t have to join in order to gain value from their events. For example, does it make sense to join a local chamber of commerce, or just go to the events that sound interesting and will most likely include people you should meet?

3. Register for the event and schedule it like a business meeting. Many people either don’t sign up for events or sign up for them and then forget to go.

4. Determine how often you should be networking in a given week, month or quarter. This will help you narrow down where you should be going.

5. Develop open-ended questions you can use to ignite a conversation. Try to find unique questions; don’t ask the same old “So, what do you do?” if you can help it.

6. Attend events with a plan to learn something new. This will keep you from talking too much about yourself and your business.

7.Prepare yourself physically and mentally for the event.

  • Dress appropriately.
  • Bring business cards.
  • Turn your phone off or set it to vibrate (I’m not kidding!).

Behavior – from the time you enter the room

8. If you go to an event with someone you know, split up once you get there.

9. When you walk into the room, step to the side, take a deep breath and scan the room. This will give you a chance to regroup and focus before you approach anyone.

10. Don’t sit down until the program begins. If there is no program, you can sit once you’ve connected with someone.

11. Sit with strangers, not with people you know.

12. When you see someone sitting alone, go to them and introduce yourself. You’ll be saving their life! They are alone and nervous. You can even take them with you to mix and mingle with others.

13. Don’t give your business card to everyone you meet. Rather, give it to anyone who asks you for it.

14. Do get the business card of everyone you meet.

15. Have a firm but not killer handshake. Your handshake is a key indicator of your level of confidence. If it’s too weak you are telegraphing. If it is too strong you are sending a signal that you are probably more aggressive than assertive or cooperative. Either way, it doesn’t lend itself to building relationships.

16. Be present. When you are talking with someone, look them in the eye and really pay attention to what they are saying.

17. Don’t look around the room or over someone’s shoulder when you are talking with them. It’s rude. You are letting them know that you aren’t really interested in them.

18. Don’t take a phone call. If you are expecting a call or have a situation that may need your attention, let the person you are talking with know there is the possibility you’ll have to excuse yourself.

19. If you have to take a call, leave the room and go to a quiet place. It doesn’t make you seem important if you take a call in the room. It makes you seem impolite, silly, rude, arrogant . . . take your pick!

20. Disengage politely. How do you get away from someone politely? There are a couple of tactics.

  • You can tell them you don’t want to monopolize their time.
  •  You can tell them you see someone you need to speak with.
  •  You can excuse yourself to the restroom.
  •  You can tell them you’d like to continue meeting people.

Follow up (this is critical)!  

If you are going to take the time to network, then please take the time to follow up with the people you meet. You can send them a handwritten note or reach out to them to schedule coffee or a meeting. This depends on how well you connected.

21. Don’t follow up via e-mail unless the person asks you to.

22. Do at least send a note.

23. Don’t pitch too early. Quite frankly, don’t “pitch” at all. When you build relationships it will become apparent to you and the other person when it makes sense to do business with each other. Remember, business networking is about relationships, not selling.

24. Don’t sign people up for your newsletter without their permission.

25. Don’t assume that just because you met someone you now have license to gain a referral from them, use them as a resource, or give them your promotional and sales materials.

26. Do err on the side of good manners and the golden rule.

Referral groups

Now let’s talk about referral groups. When you join a referral group it is not to sell to the people in the room. It is to build relationships with those people so they will trust you and think of you when they are out and about. And you will think of them. Referral groups work best for growing your business when you approach them with the idea of what you can provide to the group and its members. Follow these commandments of business networking in referral/leads groups to set your business up for success.

27. Focus on giving.

28. Show up regularly and on time. When you show up late and/or infrequently, you send a message to your fellow group members:

  • You tell them that you only care about yourself because you don’t take the time to learn about their needs.
  • You show them how you deal with business meetings and associates. Why would they trust you with their clients? How can they be sure you’ll treat them well?

29. Come prepared. Have a specific list of referral needs. The more specific you can be, the more referrals you’ll receive.

30. Always ask for what you need. We are never so busy that we don’t need more prospects in our pipeline. If you don’t ask all the time, you’ll run the risk of getting into a place where you never ask.

31. Be present. Once again, be sure you are really listening to the needs of the group members. Don’t play with your phone or answer e-mails while others are talking. Really listen and think about how you can help them.

32. Meet with the members individually between meetings so you can get to know them better.

33. Do not try to sell your fellow group members when you have your one-on-one meetings.

34. Do not expect to get until you give.

35. Do not expect to get right away. It takes time to build the relationships with group members so you trust them and they trust you.

36. Consider the other group members as resources to you and your contacts. When you know how they do business and trust them, you can use them as resources when people mention needs those group members can solve. This can elevate you in the eyes of your contacts, prospects and clients.

37. Do give quality referrals and leads. I knew a man who would write up a referral and put “Do not use my name“ on the sheet. That is not helpful. I’ve also seen a situation where someone gave a referral but called the referee later and said, “Don’t call that person.” That’s not helpful! Don’t give garbage. It’s better to not give at all.

38. Make sure your clients, contacts and associates are open to you giving their names and contact information to your group members. One of the worst things that can happen is for you to refer a group member to a client, only to have the client get mad.

Your job is to know your clients and contacts well enough that you know who would be open to taking a call and who would rather not. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t connect these people. It just means that, instead of passing on the person’s name and contact information, you may have to make the introduction. Reach out to your contact and set the stage for your group member.

39. Follow up! If someone gives you a referral, treat it like gold. You want to be sure that you follow up on it right away. Imagine how you’ll make the other person feel if they refer you to someone and you don’t follow up in a timely manner. It won’t make them want to refer you again. It takes time to build relationships with the people in your referral group. Don’t destroy that trust by failing to take a referral seriously.

Social networking

Now what about social networking? What is it really all about and how can you navigate it successfully? Social media has given us a great platform for accelerating the relationship building process. It does not replace face-to-face meetings; rather, it enhances the process. Consider this: You connect with someone at an event. Then you ask them to connect with you on LinkedIn, Facebook or both. Now you can interact with them online. You can learn even more about them by taking a look at their profile. What groups are they in? What discussions do they participate in? Who are they connected to?

Just like event networking and referral/leads group networking, there are guidelines you should follow when participating in online social networking. These social networking commandments will help you continue to grow your network and your business.

40. Decide who you want to be. Of course, you should be you! What I mean is that before you say something in your news feed or in a discussion, make sure it maps with how you want others to know you.

I participate on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and some blogs. I always think before I write anything. First, I want to be sure I am being consistent with my message. Second, I know that my clients and prospects come from varying backgrounds and belief systems. I want to be sure that nothing I say will change the way they think of me. This is especially true for social networks like Facebook. The intersection of social and business is very blurry. Interacting with people in these arenas helps you get to know them on a personal level. That can work for or against you. So, think about what kinds of conversations you want to engage in before you write something.

41. Don’t spam. No one likes spam and that includes pitch messages on social networking. Use the platforms as a way to continue to build relationships and expand your network. Irritating people won’t help you accomplish that.

42. Limit the self-promotion. You can let people know what you are up to as long as that’s not your only topic of conversation.

43. Share information. People love to learn things. Use social networking as a way to share relevant information with other people.

44. Tell people why you want to connect with them. Don’t use the standard connection script if you can help it.

45. Participate. You’ll get out of it what you put into it.

46. Don’t assume that being connected to someone gives you permission to pitch. It doesn’t.

47. If you want an introduction through one of your contacts, make sure you explain why you want it.

48. Your online connections are just as valuable as your offline connections. Treat them that way.

49. Take the time to get to know people you meet via social networking. When you engage in a conversation with someone, belong to a group with them, or read something they wrote, ask them to connect directly. Then build the relationship.

50. Pay attention. Social networking is just like in-person networking. You want to approach it as a way to learn things. When you pay attention to the chatter, the events, groups and conversations you’ll learn an awful lot about the people in your network. You’ll also learn about people you should be connected to.

51. Don’t sell. This goes along with spamming and self-promotion. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Of course it does. That’s because social networking has nothing to do with selling. It has everything to do with building relationships so you can grow your business.

52. You don’t have to connect with everyone. You can make decisions about who you connect with on different platforms. Just be consistent. If you decide that you don’t want to be connected to business associates on Facebook, then don’t. If someone you don’t knows requests a connection to you, you are under no obligation to connect with them.

53. Be a giver. Whenever you can connect people or help someone with a question, do it.

54. Be yourself. Don’t hide behind a persona. Remember that people do business with people they trust. You have to be you in order for people to get to know you.

55. Use your picture as a profile photo.

56. Don’t carry on private conversations in public. Use common sense and good judgment and contact people privately when you want to have a one-on-one conversation.

57. Go to events. When an online group you are in has an in-person function, go to it. Meet the people you’ve been interacting with. It helps to build the relationship.

58. Suggest a meeting. When you connect with someone via social networking, follow up and suggest a meeting. The meeting can be via phone, Skype or in person, depending on geography. Don’t let physical distance get in your way. In this day and age it doesn’t have to be a deterrent to growing a business relationship.

59. Be approachable. I’m not going to get the chance to know you and like you if you are aloof. No one is so special that they are untouchable. Besides, who would want to build a relationship with someone distant?

At the end of the day, we network so we can grow our businesses. We meet people and build relationships so we will receive referrals from them over time. What we’re talking about here is how to do it well so those referrals actually happen. Whatever business networking venue(s) you choose, make the most of them.

Although increased sales is the end goal, we don’t participate in business networking to sell. We do it to find and develop relationships with people who we can help and who can help us. When we detach ourselves from the emphasis we tend to put on selling, we actually improve our ability to build relationships. The sales will come naturally from there. Remember these guidelines when you venture out of your office into the world of events, groups, and social networks. Make the most of the time you spend on business networking.

 
About the Author
Diane Helbig
Diane Helbig is a Professional Coach and the president of Seize This Day Coaching. Diane is a Contributing Editor on COSE Mindspring, a resource website for small business owners, as well as a member of the Sales Experts Panel at Top Sales Experts.

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