The Good the Bad and The Ugly of Leadership

The Good the Bad and The Ugly of Leadership

Steven L. Burke

From 1997 through 2005 I ran Network Marketing News.  And during that period I was fortunate enough to interview 1500 industry leaders and recruiters.  Through the process of doing this I learned a great number of recruiting ideas – what to say and when to say it – and today I teach only the best of them to those who are building a downline (that is when I am not helping my own team). You can reach me at 647-967-7366!

“The Good the Bad and The Ugly of Leadership”

The Good The Bad and the Ugly

When I got in this business my mentor taught me that leadership was not just about leading by example. In other words, being that superb recruiter so others can see it being done and emulate you, is not leadership. Or more correctly, is just a small part of being a leader!

Many unnecessary failures in this industry are down to recruits not being able to follow a proven recruiter to the top of the mountain and due to recruiters never embracing what leadership in our industry is really about. It is that simple.

After all, newbies do get ‘down’ sometimes, or; lost in terms of the HOW TO, or; dissuaded by others who mean well but are interfering with their dream. And, as their Leader, it is up to us know “what to say and when to say it” as team member(s) truly need us to be there for them. During moments like this, Leadership Skills are indeed critical.

In other words, we need the type of skill least known within the Direct Selling industry. If we don’t master just a few simple leadership skills, no matter how good we are at recruiting, our team members will fail at an unacceptable rate. Then we will always need to replace those who we attracted, who could have succeeded. They will not get the results they could have or would have if they did not have skills before we sponsored them AND we are not serious students of Leadership Skills.

Clearly then, recruiting alone is NOT what this business is all about. Yet, special compensation and rewards are given in our industry to those who recruit yet know little or nothing about leadership. These accolades or the spoils, if you like, go to the victors not to the supporters, so is there any wonder why Leadership Skills are the least talked about part of Direct Selling?

When do we need these skills? Let me give you examples of situations that can and do come up with our team members fairly frequently.

  • What do we do when a team member feels they have good reason to complain? Because if we don’t know, this person is out of gear about the business.
  • What do we do when they ask HOW TO questions?
  • What do we do when someone who had burning desire was dissuaded by someone who meant well but didn’t realize the affect of their words?

Well .. for starters, we cannot supplant the needed answers with low quality motivation. I recently had a person I was training share that her sponsor did this more than once, absurdly answering important mentoring questions by saying “just believe and it will happen.” This is BAD .. !

Worse than that is the story of a recruiter who recorded a host of videos and posted them online, ostensibly as training tools. However, the true motive of this recruiter’s actions became known when questions were asked of him by various people who each needed just a little bit of direction and instead of just providing it, the recruiter replied to each of them in a – let’s just call it an undignified manner, like this; “Did you watch the videos?” This is the UGLY  .. !!

I should not need to say this but a recruiter with the expectation that everyone will comprehend 100% of each of several trainings is ignorant (in the truest sense, which means NOT KNOWING) and crude, not to mention downright nasty. And, believe it or not, this happened in the last few months to a person I am coaching!

Such a total lack of dignity and respect shown prove that this so-called leader is nothing but a recruiter and one with bad skills at a minimum and a nasty streak to boot. Run from such people, they can’t and won’t help you, they have no intent other than taking your money, period!

What any bright person knows is their relationships will last decades and are worth building. Some think only short term in terms of the value of a relationship, others think long term but few know all the back ends in terms of value. However, without going into a marketing seminar to make my point, why would any smart person burn even one? It is not worth the investment of a few minutes to make a relationship stronger? The answer yes and anyone who doesn’t do this has no clew what our business is all about. It is also very likely they not only don’t see the value of doing it but don’t know how to build long term relationships either!

Outside of the moral implications there is also a cognitive one. “Did you watch the videos” is the type of response that denies the fact that at times people get a little bit confused by new information, which can only be sorted out by probing (asking directed questions) to uncover the misunderstanding or misinterpretation, followed by an AHAH moment when the leader gets the privilege of straightening out the various types of common misperceptions.

You can be a Recruiter or you can be a Recruiter and a Leader. And Leaders not only sort out minor challenges, they expect them. Of all the people I know who are into leadership none would expect even a single person not to have issues, except those who are already trained. And even they sometimes need a moment or two of help.

To put this into perspective, I still send an occasional email to my mentor. Not often and usually only to confirm an answer I think I already have but I do.

The person who feels they have reason to complain is the easiest of all to deal with. However, you cannot start dealing with this when the complaint arises! Read that again.

You don’t plan to begin dealing with a complainer when the compliant arises. As a leader you are working with your team members to prepare for this moment long before a complaint arises, using an awesome skill that is simple to learn. Ready to find out how it works? Okay .. here is what you do;

1)      Ask all your newbies when they are excited and signing up a series of questions to find out what their WHY is.

2)      Then frame their why in a very short, one sentence, instant reminder of why they got involved in the business in the first place, so you can instantly motivate them at any time. Like this;

You say “What are you going to do with the extra money you earn?” 27

Your newbie answers. You may need to ask a few more questions to clarify their real desires, to make sure it’s crystal clear to you, as their leader. Then rephrase it. Now imagine I was your newbie and I told you “well, I want to buy two International 505 dinghies so I have one to practice with and one to ship to races all over the world. This way I will be able to compete against the best. One day I hope to contend in the world championship!”

Your rephrase if I was your newbie would be; “ok .. you want to contend for a 505 world championship, do you?” To that I would answer most emphatically; “yes!”

The newbie has not yet run into the challenges of making their dream come alive. All they see at the beginning are “Great Expectations” and all they feel is the excitement and anticipation of success. And it is during these moments, when they are stoked, when you prepare for the challenging moments, such as; when their best prospect, a person with awesome potential that was excited with the initial presentation comes back with a ‘NO’ later on, or; when they are not spending the time needed to learn the critical recruiting, leadership or lead generation skills that will bring about their success, or; when someone else in their personal life tries to rain on their parade and ruin their new dream!

Leadership is the same as recruiting in that you need to know “what to say and when to say it”. And these skills must also be learned.

When your team member comes to you later and is down or complaining, all you have to do is modify that rephrased statement like this; “You do want to contend for a 505 world championships, don’t you?” And just like that, they remember WHY.

This is just one Leadership Skill and there are others, plus there are things we say after these simple statements to reinforce the meaning intended. But I trust you see the power of it already.

In terms of Leadership Skills, I am just curious; would you love to hear another? Because if the answer is yes, years ago I found out about a simple communication skill to get someone who was just sponsored by your team or downline member absolutely stuck to the ceiling with the kind of excitement about this business that causes them to have sleepless nights. Would it be okay if I shared it with you?

This story is about how to approach a person on your second, third, tenth or even 42nd generation and I learned it in 1995. That was the year I started one of the most successful groups in Network Marketing history under an old but deceased friend, named Nathan Guest, who had never before experienced success in the industry. I sure gave him a rocket sled ride of an experience!

Nathan was frontline to me or, put another way; on my first generation. I ended up talking to someone in Nathan’s group who had 41 people in the lineage or generations between us. Believe it or not, this phenomenal growth was accomplished using this skill – the one I am about to share with you. And it took just 16 weeks do get this far!

At a time of doing this we did not have social media or the World Wide Web (it was barely there) or Ringless Voicemail or SMS texting or Smart Phones, we were still using fax machines to send information and three way calling to do presentations. So you can imagine what is possible today with current technology. However, they key is, technology will only take you so far, then you need the communication skills that are specific to this industry!

This skill and a small fraction of the skills I have today allowed me to build a team of 1100 people in just 4 months. Today anyone who knows 4 recruiting skills and two leadership skills can do much more than I did then. But, that is speculation, instead let me share this one leadership skill, which I am sure you are excited to hear now.

When I found out about a new recruit I wound ask their upline if it was okay to reach out to them. Then I would get their phone number and, when someone was not there for a tree way or something else I had planned, I would call them. And then, after introducing myself, I would tell them a story.

Now, when you are a known leader people are impressed and quite often they are surprised to hear from you too. This is natural. What you do next goes like this;

“Well, I don’t know what your day was like but let me tell you what happened in mine, is that okay?”

“Yes!”  This is the skill as I did it then (afterwards I’ll show you how I might do it now) “Great. Well, I did a bunch of calls today. By count I had 16 three-way calls scheduled and completed 11 so far, having signed three people up already today, with a bunch that are excited to join too. Tonight, I have 4 more scheduled but the one I had tentatively lined up for right now seems to be tied up or had something come up or whatever and that means for the next 45 minutes I have nothing to do. So, what is it we can do right now to explode your business?”

There was always a pause. If I was in the room I am sure they would look like “deer in the headlights”  if I could see them!

I would not wait for a response. After waiting to the count of three I would say something like; “Can I make a few suggestions?”

The next step was to suggest that “we can do a few minutes of training or, if you prefer, we can call a few of your friends and introduce the business!”

This approach would leave people were impressed by me reaching out to them and with the ‘no pressure’ suggestion. I always left them feeling like they could reach out to me any time and many took me up on that offer. That was exactly how I ended up with a gal who was 42 generations below me with 5 frontline sign ups!

Today, I would present it like this;  “Great. Well, I did a bunch of zoom calls today. I signed some people up and, just as importantly, spent time training skills that will allow others to succeed. Tonight, I’ve scheduled some more one on one training but the person I had tentatively lined up for right now seems to be tied up or had something come up or whatever and that means for the next 45 minutes I have nothing to do. So, what skills can we practice together right now to help you be in the position to explode your business tomorrow?”

This is very well received, especially if there is no pressure. And, some of these people will end up realizing how much effort should be put into learning skills. The best part? You make new friends and it only takes a few minutes a day to do that!

I hope you can see from this training what the difference is between a leader and a recruiter. And if I can ever help you in this business simply make contact with me. I would love to hear from you.

Steven Peter Burke

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