Merry Christmas Everyone!
I am writing this post as the last one one of 2011 - I'm going off the grid for some sun and surf. How many of you have a "bucket list"? Many of you may be much too young to be thinking of such things...(wow, do I sound old or what??) This month I'm going to cross one thing off of my bucket list. After decades of caring and doing for family and volunteering working behind the scenes of 20 seasons of The Nutcracker, I'm taking the year off.
I'm a Pooh - how 'bout you?
When my girls were growing up we absolutely loved reading the Winnie the Pooh books together. In fact, now that they are 16 and 17, we actually still enjoy the original series (not the Disney remake books) and often will just pick them up for fun and read a chapter or two.
There is benefit, however, to reading Pooh as a direct seller too. Hang with me here, I'm very serious. Pooh and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood provide a metaphor for the people in our lives in general and more specifically to our direct sales teams.
So let's have some fun and explore a bit more about Winnie the Pooh and his friends and see if you have someone on your team or a potential recruit that looks like:
Pooh himself: Pooh is pretty much the eternal optimist. He looks at every opportunity of life as a chance to get more honey and won't be shy about asking for honey when he sees it nearby and if his tummy is a little rumbly. He cares about his friends, sings while he's walking and basically is fun to be around. Though not always the brightest bulb in the lamp, what Pooh lacks in street smarts he makes up in caring and optimism.
Direct Sales Poohs - Poohs make great team members because they are pretty teachable. It might take a little bit longer for a Pooh to catch on to the system, but overall they're so fun to work with because of their cheerfulness and their willingness to try, that you enjoy the interaction and long for more. Poohs will usually see problem issues as bumps in the road and rarely make much of a fuss beyond "oh bother!" :-)
Piglet: Nervous little piggy Piglet thinks he's smaller than he really is. He has his moments of being brave, but for the most part, prefers to have Pooh hold his hand and lead the way. Though faithful to the core, anything new makes him nervous and he'll make a point of letting everyone know that he's a "very small animal."
Direct Sales Piglets: You can't miss the Piglets in our business because they're very needy. Even though they know the answer they don't trust themselves enough to go with it so they'll call, email or IM you every time a situation comes up when they're working the business. Some direct sales Piglets will be too tentative to ever really give the business enough of a chance and will quit, but others could turn out to be your shining stars. They'll be the ones whose life will be so amazingly altered because of their involvement in direct sales that they'll be featured in company publications.
Rabbit: Mr. Type A personality through and through, Rabbit is organized and can get things done. Though slightly lacking in the warm and fuzzy department, he's the go to guy when they need to come up with a plan and actually implement it. Rabbit's strong personality sometimes scares the other hundred acre wood animals, but they depend on him nonetheless.
Direct Sales Rabbits: Though teeming with potential, direct sales Rabbits sometimes are so focused on being organized, planning and vision that they don't ever really get their business going, because once they've finished organizing their desk or their schedule, there's not enough time to actually sell the product or the opportunity. Once you can help a Rabbit focus, however, they could well be your powerhouse sellers and recruiters.
Owl: Wise old owl has an answer and a story for everything. He can talk his way out of any situation - either by confusing or boring them to death. Unfortunately many of Owl's stories are a bit exaggerated - or completely made up. Owl thinks it's important to look smarter and act like he knows more than he really does.
Direct Sales Owls: The Owls on your team want to be superstars so much that they'll actually craft stories or embellish what happens in their business appear like the person they hope to be in the future. Owls, too, can turn into superstars if you capture the enthusiasm that drives them to be storytellers and help them to use that skill to share the business with others in an honest and straightforward way.
Eeyore: If Pooh is the eternal optimist, Eeyore is the eternal pessimist. To him, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. And so, unfortunately, Eeyore rarely will even try to do anything at all because there is no hope of it succeeding. If something does happen to go right for him, he'll somehow dwell on the fact that it'll probably go wrong somewhere else down the road.
Direct Sales Eeyores: If you've made it this far in this article you've probably got several names in mind that qualify for Eeyore. Every time this team member calls you it's to complain about something that probably doesn't even affect her because she's not even had a party or placed an order yet and is determined not to until your company makes the situations better. The problem is this person will then have found another problem to complain about. Direct Sales Eeyores are pretty tough to turn around and can often drain your energy. Don't let them. Encourage them in their positive steps, coach them to action and if nothing helps, be strong and walk away.
This was all in fun, but just like other "personality type" tests and assessments, the Winnie the Pooh list can be helpful in realizing your own Direct Sales style as well as the personality types of your team. Once you can identify certain characteristics of team members you'll know how to coach and encourage them to success.
Annette Yen loves direct sales. With 22 years experience under her belt she's met many a Pooh, Eeyore, Rabbit and more.