The Three Vision Challenges Direct Selling Leaders Face
Becoming a Leader as a Scentsy Consultant can be intimidating. We’ve even had dozens of Consultants on our team that avoid being a leader! They contrast their perception of what it means to be leader with their own perceived weaknesses and insecurities and get overwhelmed with the gap they see between the two. I’m not going to say it’s easy or that these fears aren’t real but in my experience too many of us shrink in the face of our own, very real potential. In reality, none of us really know what we’re doing. Everybody who is a leader was once not a leader. Every current leaders had a first time being a leader. Our own experience and a willingness to tackle uncertainty goes a long way! A lot of times you just have to fake it ’til you make it! Trust in your own experience, jump in, keep working your business, realize you don’t have to know everything and in most cases, you’ll do awesome.
That said as leaders we want to help our team grow their own Scentsy businesses and striking a balance between working our own business and helping our teams can become a confusing exercise with mixed results. We want to help but aren’t sure what our teams need, what is most helpful, or if they even want our help. We’ve spent hours and hours helping, mentoring, training, and coaching Scentsy Consultants on our team grow their own business with at best, mixed results. This leads to what we’ve determined is the most universal challenge we think all leaders face, ourselves included, is a matter of vision. These three issues with Vision influence how we spend our time as leaders and heavily impact our team growth.
These three Vision problems are:
- We have no positive vision of the new Consultants that join our team.
- We have too much vision for the new Consultant that join our team.
- We have no positive vision of ourselves.
So, the first one - having no positive vision of our new Consultants. This is pretty self-explanatory but more importantly how does someone get to that point? How do we get to a point where we have not positive vision of our new Consultants potential? There may be people that are just naturally pessimistic and don’t see other’s potential BUT in my experience our natural tendency is to see others in a better light than ourselves. And THAT, ironically, is how we get ourselves get to a point where we don’t see any hope for our new Consultants.
You see, imagine you’re a new leader wanting to help your team achieve their goals so you spend hours training, attending launch parties, explaining the comp plan, and even help them overcome their fears and get that first recruit. They promote to Lead. You have hope for their future and your own as you see your new Lead Consultant walking across the stage as a Director! A couple of phone calls go by and your new Lead is having a tough time completing goals, she’s not hitting her numbers, and her new recruit isn’t doing much. You paint the picture you see of her but it falls on deaf ears, nothing changes and other things begin to take precedence for your Lead Consultant. Two months go by and your unanswered phone messages, PM’s, and texts warning her that she is on the termination list do nothing and she’s gone.
Well, gee, thanks for the depressing story right?! But that’s how we get there. We get burned again, and again, and again. We invest time and energy and become emotionally attached to people and the amazing future we know they can achieve. So after watching that potential crumble with dozens of new Consultants after spending so much energy on them, we get deflated. The reality of direct sales is that one-third of our teams are just starting their biz, another one-third is working it, and the last one-third are on their way out.
How do we address this?
So, I’ve typed this sentence a dozen times but there really is no way to say it without sounding harsh but we have to find a way to provide some custom guidance, point them in the right direction and let them go and do it on their own. It's hard, but avoid the well-intentioned tendency to push or pull your new Consultants to success. You will be able to drag some to promotions but when you ask them to step up as leaders they won't know what that means or they'll think they need to do what you did and get frustrated trying to pull their teams to success. Instead of pushing or pulling, we focus on partnering. We increase our availability and mentoring to match their level of achievement. Sounds harsh but the more we push and pull the less they have to tap into their own creativity and feel the drive to do anything to make it work. No amount of mentoring or coaching can match the power of their own motivation.
Now the second one, the opposite of the first, is having too much vision for our new Consultants. Why is this a challenge? Well, because we do what I explained above - we spend inordinate amounts of time, energy, and emotional investment and set ourselves up for frustration as we see Consultants CHOOSE to let their Scentsy business die.
How do we address this?
Well, as odd it may seem the answer here is the same as the answer to the first - find a balanced approach to provide your new Consultants what they need. I’ll be honest though, it’s still a bummer watching people with so much potential not make it work. But, but that’s their choice and I respect that and wish them the best.
Finally, the one Vision issue we don’t think we have but is the greatest threat to our business - having no positive vision of ourselves. This Vision issue is what keeps so many Consultants from even being a Leader! How do we get to where we don’t have a positive vision of ourselves? Well, nobody knows us better than ourselves. We minimize or even forget our successes and exaggerate our failures. We think we can trust ourselves to be objective about our success rate when in reality we are own worst critics. No one is harder on us than ourselves as we spend hours comparing ourselves to others which only magnifies our weaknesses. All the while blind to the fact that they are doing the same as they look at us.
How do we address this?
Winston Churchill is quoted as saying - “Success is going from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm”. Success is not the absence of failure. My favorite BBQ sauce is Heinz 57 - it took 57 attempts to find the perfect recipe to find the awesomest BBQ sauce ever so hey, we can screw up from time to time. Secondly, stop comparing. Accept you screwed up, fix it, don’t do it again, and move on. Give yourself a break. Will Rogers once said that “Good judgment comes from experience and a lot of that comes from bad judgment”. If nothing else, you’ve probably developed phenomenal judgment!