The Key to Your Success as a Network Marketer, Will Not Your Sales Pitch, It Will be Your A.S.K. Mindset, That Builds Relationship and Customers
In network marketing, all organizations, and frankly in life, our success is primarily determined by our ability to build and sustain relationships. Relationships are built on our ability to learn about each other, our wants and needs, our life plans, and our needs that you can fill as a salesperson.
This process requires those who want to build strong networks to be curious learners who care about the person they are talking to.
We need to learn to use communication to learn, engage and connect. There are, however, three challenges to this for most people.
One challenge is our training in school, and many jobs. In my high school and college, education speech was a required subject for me. As I look back on it, I was taught to give organized amounts of information in a polished manner, while speech helped me learn to organize my thoughts and convincingly present them. It didn’t prepare me to be a successful communicator in my adult life. Speech class was about presenting information or telling information. It doesn’t engage and connect others in learning.
“People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.”
President Theodore Roosevelt
Secondly, there is an emphasis on a quick elevator speech or a sales pitch in many sales jobs. Once again, the focus is on the presenter and telling.
I have often heard that you would be successful if you practice the elevator lines or sales pitches long enough. The fact is self-focused telling doesn’t build relationships in any field. President Theodore Roosevelt said it well over 100 years ago “People don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care.”
Telling and being” I “centered is not caring.
The third obstacle is a physical and psychological one. Physically, according to Jennifer Romig in her 2015 blog Listen Like a Lawyer Speed of Speech < Speed of Thought, “People speak at about 140-180 words per minute, but on average, a listener can comprehend about 400 words per minute… the listener thinks faster than the speaker thinks.That “thought-speech differential” or “listening gap” means the brain has extra capacity and WILL process information using that extra capacity.
For example, the listener can process lots of non-verbal cues. Great listeners will observe such cues and use them to guide the conversation to fit their communication goals. But the difference in how fast people talk and how fast they listen also creates the opportunity for the brain’s cognitive biases to operate and shape how the listener’s perception.
Compounding this obstacle is the data that shows words make up a small part of total communication. Albert Mehrabian, a UCLA Professor, studied communication and developed the 7-35-68 rule of communication
The significant points for Network Marketer and anyone interested in building relationships in their lives are that people process words faster than we talk, and words are only 7% of our communication.
What this means is our words are critical and scarce in communicating. A speaker must use words that demonstrate curiosity and show interest and caring. Our words in talking to a potential client, life partner, or boss must create learning engagement and connection and demonstrate caring.
If that is the case, what we say is very important and space limited. We have little space to get it right and must be deliberate in our use of words. We have about 30 seconds to get it right, according to a Forbes article by Ashira Prossack in 2018, How to Make a Great First Impression.
Successful relationship builders meet these obstacles challenges and grow a customer base on the relationship of “raving fans” is to change their mindset about the words they use.
They drop telling and develop an A.S.K. mindset. The A.S.K. mindset stands for Always Seek Knowledge.
This is a mindset based on asking questions to learn, engage and connect with people. The network marketer who can learn to adopt this curiosity-based mindset can learn to, as Michael Bungay Stainer says in The Coaching Habit, ask more and talk less and change the way you lead forever.
I would say this is true your leadership of yourself as a network marketer first, then your sales team. The process of shifting from a telling mindset to an A.S.K. mindset requires a seven-step discipline that must be practiced every day.
> Practice and prepare to be a learner, be curious. Ask yourself and others questions and become curious about things and people around you.
> Practice being 100% present as a listener. Be a Present Listener. Practice LISTEN =SILENT to be attentive and focus on the speaker, not you and your following answer.
> Practice using curious questions to learn, engage and connect. Open-ended questions beginning with what, how, where, and when engage the speaker and listener’s thinking and encourage learning. Reflective questions such I hear what you are saying …” build engagement and mutual learning and connection. Summarizing or Claryfying questions “So you are doing a project on … do I have that correct” encourage mutual understanding. These questions can lead to next-level questions to spur advanced information gathering. A favorite of mine is from Michael Bungay Stanier and is the A.W.E. question And What Else can you tell me about your project
> Practice avoiding questions that inhibit discussion and appear judgemental. Closed questions net a single short answer and can inhibit learning, engagement, and connection. Questions that start with why did you or could you, would you, are esspecialy harmful and can interfere and stop discussion as they appear judgemental. Former F.B.I. #1 international hostage negotiator Chris Voss in Never Split The Difference notes that these questions destroy communication across cultures, age groups, and nationalities.
> Practice to avoid and never, never use questions to disparage a competitor and their products. Your product may be far superior; however, disparaging a competitor sows distrust for your product. Be curious and ask questions
> Practice pacing your questions and always be aware of the other 97% of communication nonverbals in any communication
> Practice Reflection to review your use of A.S.K. and create learnings for yourself to learn and grow. Leadership expert John Maxwell often says, “reflection on today’s activities makes their insights for future action tomorrow.” I would add activities and learnings that are not reflected as fading memories and lessons to be reexperienced.
The A.S.K. mindset can have many benefits. Questions enhance learning, engagement, and connection.
The practice of deliberately using questions demonstrates your curiosity about others and care for them. These people will become your “fans” and form a solid customer base to sustain and scale your network marketing/direct sales business. Your asking will determine your success in building relationships, not your telling to impress people. The other unintended consequence of practicing an A.S.K. mindset is your words will become your nonverbals as well. You will be communicating 100% with those you care about in all areas of your life.
Learning, engaging, and connecting will be a gift to you and those around you. Enjoy it!
Maxwell J.,(2020) Many Communicates Few Connect, Thomas Nelson, New York NY
Prossack A.. (2018) How to Make a Great First Impression Forbes Magazine
Romig, J. (2015) blog Speed of Speech < Speed of Thought, Listen Like a lawyer
Stainer M. Bungay ( 2016) The Coaching Habit Say, Less, Ask More and Change the Way You Lead Forever Box of Crayons Press, Toronto On., Canada
Voss C. and Raz, T. (2016) in Never Split The Difference, Harper Business Press, New York, New York