Wednesday, January 14, 2009

What Direct Sales Consultants Can Learn from Deadliest Catch

Have you ever seen the show, Deadliest Catch? (Or at least seen the commercials for it?) We haven't seen every episode ourselves, but we have tuned in a few times to see what the hub-bub was all about. Even if you haven't seen the show - or the commercial for that matter - you'll still get the basic idea of this post. ;) Essentially, viewers follow eight crab-fishing vessels as they go about their "normal" work day. But this is far from your typical rod & reel retreat; virtually every moment at sea is captured as the captains & crew endure struggles and weather conditions that make their jobs one of the deadliest - thus the name of the show. So what can Direct Sales/Party Plan consultants learn from Deadliest Catch?

Let's dive in (pun intended, so sorry) to the concept here. The crew uses gigantic 800-pound cages called crab pots to bait & capture their ideal Alaskan crabs. There's a strategy to placing these crab pots as well as making sure the floating markers don't catch on anything - or anyone - as they're being cast over the edge of the vessel. It's a great deal of work (by the looks of it anyhow, never tried it myself, but I digress) especially considering their ship is being tossed about by waves that literally envelope the deck. It's even more difficult in the midst of a storm, but the job needs to be done (and, quite frankly, the show must go on). So I'm sure by now you're thinking "yes, Ferf, we should be 'casting our nets' out there to find our host & recruit prospects, we already know that". Novel idea, yes, but that's not where I was going with this. ;) As these massive crab pots are cast into the sea, they don't stand around and wait. They move on to yet another area and "bah-loop", into the sea another pot goes. They're not hanging all their hopes on one pot. They also realize the task is far from over. Is it conceivable that one or more of those pots could come up empty, or with very few crabs? Absolutely. Harsh truth for a crew who just plummeted an 800-pound crab hotel into the sea. Do you think the crew pouts when this happens? Well, perhaps a few newbies, but the learned members of the crew know as well as the captain that there's more "business to be had", they just need to move on to another area. Do you think a captain would be a captain for long of he continuously griped "We can't seem to get anywhere with this business"? (Hello, leadership tip! Leaders understand there is great diversity in business and where business can be found! They also understand the term "speed of the leader, speed of the pack" - leaders with the "I can't" or "We can't" mindset will have a team who "can't".) So again, the crew would move on to another area if the pot came up empty. The next place may turn up with the same results. What really intrigued me about the few episodes I saw was this: the experienced captains KNEW the best areas, they could easily spy/seek/find/recognize the ultimate nesting ground, head the vessel in that direction and BOOM - loads of crab! (So glad there wasn't a typo on that... just sayin'.)

I noticed that as the crew hoisted these massive crab pots onto the ship, they wouldn't just hoard every crab for the taking and say "alright, good enough" nor were they satisfied with the great number of crabs they caught. We tend to do that in our direct sales business, don't we? Take every customer, hostess & recruit we can cuz there are prizes to be won, there's money to be made and there are records to break - we're just SO happy to have them no matter who they are or what they can really do for the business. Do you really want just anybody and everybody? Let's go back to the Deadliest Catch analogy; The crew has to sort through and keep only the crabs that regulation allows, or the ones that will - let's face it - return the most profit. They handle each one in a manner 1) not to get pinched and 2) not to damage the crabs - they make sure the crabs are in the environment they're most comfortable/used to - water. What happens later on is a completely different story, what I wanted to drive home is how they handle them NOW while they have the crabs. In your direct sales/party plan business, what are your regulations? I'm not talking about regulations that your company has in place, I mean what regulations to you have in place as a real catch (pun intended again) for customers, hostesses & recruits? Have you compiled a list of what your ideal customer, hostess and recruit is? If they don't meet your "regulation", do you think they'll really bring you the business you need or simply cause headaches, grief and cost you money? If they're not a perfect fit, then you're basically trying to jam a square peg into a circular hole. If you haven't made a list of your ideal prospects, your "pot" has been coming up empty or with very few I'm sure. Like the experienced captain, scope out the area - where do the best ones nest? Where are your ideal prospects going to be? Go there. How will you handle them? Give them great service, be on time, etc so you won't "get pinched". (An angry customer, hostess or recruit can have really nasty pinchers!) For hostesses, are you invading their environment by barging in with your product hoping there are people and sales? Or are you partnering up with your hostess and doing what you can to make HER guests feel as welcome and comfortable as possible? Remember, even though it's your product, and your business, it's HER house and HER friends that she's been gracious enough to introduce you to. Be thankful for that. Her guests are not there for you and your product - they're there because the hostess invited them to see you and your product in her home.

It's time for you to perform, make something happen in your business. Don't just sit around hoping that the bait you cast out on one rod & reel trip is going to generate the exponential business growth you desire/deserve. Yes, cast the net, but cast several different nets to suit the different areas and people you're seeking. The Deadliest Catch crew doesn't use just any bait for their Alaskan crabs, they use what they know will work for exactly what they are seeking. You can too.

(photo courtesy )

© 2008 Jennifer Stoll The Stand Up Coach All Rights Reserved

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