March 2021! This is the one-year anniversary of when COVID 19 moved from being a seemingly far away type of flu to a worldwide pandemic that has changed our lives in many ways.
Leadership expert Simon Sinek refers to COVID-19 as the great revealer as it has exposed strengths in weaknesses in all parts of our businesses, organizations, society, and economy. It must also be noted that the pandemic showed the good we can do.
Mary Kay Cosmetics shifted an entire assembly line from cosmetics to hand sanitizers to support local first responders in May 2020. A retail Jeans company in Chicago shifted from Jeans to making face masks. Ford shifted an assembly line from cars to ventilators.
Many retail stores have suffered and so have many network marketers. Many retail and network marketers have pivoted ( remember when that was a basketball move) used zoom, which was once a verb to a noun describing virtual communication to grow their business. This is a time for network marketers and those in retail sales to consider for all of us what we have in common.
A glance at retail sales as a small store or large brick and mortar chain seems much different from the network marketers’ home space business. Looks are deceiving in this comparison. Network marketers and Retail sales leaders do many of the same things for the same purpose with the same key to sustainability. Retail sales and Network marketers share five common threads. The five common threads may look different, but they are the same for both.
In this uncertain time, leadership may look different due to the context; however, leadership is the constant for any groups’ success or failure.
John Maxwell puts it well everything rises and falls on leadership. Effective retail or network marketing leaders understand and accept that they must lead themselves first before leading others. Whether they are the store manager or department supervisor, this is true in retails sales. It is also true if you are an independent consultant leading yourself or a sales director/team leader in a network marketing organization.
Leaders in both organizations understand they have a responsibility to lead and grow leaders from their respective retail sales departments or network Marketing Team. There is a shared understanding and commitment to leadership in both areas as a learning working together growing process.
As a network marketing leader, a retail sales leader understands that success depends on the relationships built within their respective arenas. The people’s positions and responsibilities will undoubtedly vary. The network marketer does not have to worry about relationships with the janitorial unions. The retail sales leader doesn’t have to be very concerned about the kids invading the sales party. Both the network Marketing Leader and Retail sales leader though build good relationships to engage their team members.
3. Service or Products
The network marketing leader, independent consultant or team leader, and retail sales leaders know they have services and products to offer for sales. Mary Kay Ash often said, “Nothing happens until someone sells something.” Correct for the retail salesperson and network marketer.
Especially at this time, retail sales leaders and network marketers have shared a common thread of flexibility. The retail sales leader has to be concerned with the sanitation process and shutdowns that affect working and the supply chain and maybe online sales or home delivery. A network marketer has to understand the same safety precautions apply to the home sales demonstration area, which may be closed down, and the supply chain of products is very weak.
The retail sales reader and network marketer understand that there is no business if there are no customers. My tax preparer, Sal, says it this way “if you have no sales, you have a hobby” Successful leaders in retail sales leader and network marketing know two things about customers.
First, both know they know they have to focus on three things with customers
1. Customer attention, They must know you.
2. Customer engagement They must like you.
3. Customer loyalty and retention They must trust you.
Second, they should know that they really have two types of customers.
- Internal customers. Those who are on your network marketing team and your office assistants. They could also be those you employ in your retail establishment. They are, in many cases, the direct contact and first impression of your business to purchasing customers
- External customers Those that come to the retail store or online or your network marketing place at home, online or on the phone or zoom call to purchase services or products
The most important customer is really #1. Whether on the sales floor or in your office, Happily engaged workers directly impact sales at your sales meeting.
Your focus as a retail sales leader or direct marketing consultant and or leader is to nurture those who directly connect with the customer. If you are an independent consultant in network marketing, this may mean always learning and growing in product knowledge and people skills and teaching them to your office assistant.
If you are a network marketing team leader, it means making sure your team members feel valued, have current product information, and have excellent people skills. A retail sales leader knows that happy workers=happy customer. They fully understand that committed, engaged workers who feel valued will deliver excellent customer service. This is true in any retail sales setting.
Customers remember how they were treated. The companies like Mary Kay, Nordstrom’s Van Maur, Southwest Airlines, and Starbucks understand this and make it their standard.
One Purpose Sustainability
Network marketing sales leaders and retail sales leaders share a devotion and a commitment to these five common threads. They understand and work hard in their practice of the five common threads because they understand their purpose is sustainability.
This might be surprising if you guessed sales. You can have great sales one quarter or year and not be in business the next. The real purpose is to be around for a long time to be sustainable. This makes sense when one considers that Ford doesn’t sell Model T’s anymore and sells affordable family transportation. Nordstroms doesn’t sell 1960s bell-bottoms. They sell fashionable 2021 apparel. Mary Kay doesn’t sell the basic oatmeal type powder makeup of 1963. They sell skincare to enrich people’s lives. Tupperware doesn’t use the square interchangeable food storage systems you couldn’t put in an oven; They sell convenient storage of food you can use anywhere. All of these companies, whether network marketing or retail sales are committed to being in the respective businesses for the long haul.
One Common Key to Sustainability move from Customer Service to Customer Care
The one standard key for network marketers and retail sales leaders in achieving sustainability is an inside-outside mindset to customer service to customer care. You, as the leader, first develop a culture of caring for those who work in the organization, and that same caring is passed on to customers. This focus on customer care will lead the way for a retail Sales organization and a network marketing leader of any type to create repeat sales customers and maintain sustainability.
Ken Blanchard and Cathy Cuff, and Vicki Halsey In Legendary Service: The Key Is to Care to provide us with a model we can follow in network marketing and retail sales to be sustainable. This model gives you as a leader four areas of questions to reflect upon as you look at the level of care in your retail or network marketing organization.
C=Culture of Service, Does everyone in your organization understand the importance of service to all? Does everyone in your organization feel valued and essential?
A= Attentive, Are you a retail sales or network marketing leader, attentive to employee, consultant, and customer concerns?
R=Responsive, Are those in direct customer contactable to respond quickly to concerns? Does everyone understand the power of “I am sorry, ” We can fix this,” Thanks for your business,” and thanks for being a valued customer since____?
E=Empowered, Do those who work with you understand how to respond to and resolve issues with the customer in mind?
Ken Blanchard writing in a February 18, 2021 article for the Blanchard companies entitled Legendary Customer Service as Important as Ever, provides network marketers and retail sales leaders with excellent guidance on how to be sustainable by providing customer service that focuses on customer C.A.R.E.”
Each connection between a service provider and a customer is unique. It doesn’t matter whether you are doing business as an individual, a small startup, or a large, established organization. When you create a relationship with a client—when you show them you care about them and look after their interests—you create a memorable experience. That customer will refer their friends to you and will want to do business with you again. Why? Because they will remember the way, you made them feel. You have established a culture of service with them.” You have shown you and those you lead either in network marketing or retail sales that you C.A.R.E. and they will care for those customers they interact with to sustain your retails Sales or network marketing business
Blanchard, Ken Legendary Customer Service as Important as Ever February 18, 2021
Blanchard K. Cuff, K.Halsey V.,2014, Legendary Service, The Key is to Care. Pulvera Publishing, Mc Graw – Hill New York, New York
Blanchard Companies Blog 2017 The Power of Customer Loyalty www.kenblanchard.com
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