Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Some Good Advice from the Sales Training Experts

In the corporate world, Miller-Heiman is among a very few companies that represent the gold standard of sales training. They bill themselves as "the sales performance company", but they aren't about closing tricks, manipulation or plaid jackets. The Miller-Heiman approach to selling is all about building solid, long-term relationships based on mutual win-win transactions. And while their system targets larger companies who face complex sales and long selling cycles, their advice holds much of direct benefit to us in the network marketing world. Their classic book on the dynamics of effective sales meetings, "The New Conceptual Selling", belongs on every network marketer's bookshelf.

Sooner or later, everyone in network marketing joins the NFL (No Friends Left) Society. That's when we realize that, just like the big boys, prospecting is a critical (perhaps the critical) component of our long term success. Unless we can identify and locate people who will benefit from our product or service and, equally important, who may be interested in it, all our enthusiasm and great information and amazing products will never produce a sale. So if you intend to become a student of effective prospecting (and you better), here is an interesting perspective from the folks at Miller Heiman. Something they call "Working Backwards". While you are there, go ahead and subscribe to their eNewsletter. It rarely arrives without at least one good, actionable idea.

Monday, May 3, 2010

What's in YOUR Supplement?

In a textbook example of why you need to pay attention to where you get your supplements, who makes them and how, health guru Gary Null has filed a lawsuit claiming that he nearly died from taking his own product. Who, you may well ask, is Gary suing? It turns out that, as is the case with the vast majority of nutritional supplements, Gary Null's Ultimate Power Meal is manufactured not by his own company but by a third party (in this case Triarco Industries). According to Null's suit, Triarco put 1,000 times the intended dose of Vitamin D in his product, which he then simply re-branded and sold - apparently without bothering to check what he'd bought. Along with half a dozen health-conscious customers, Null reported experiencing "severe kidney damage" and "excruciating fatigue along with bodily pain" as well as bleeding "within his feet".

While the irony of nearly dying from taking your own nutritional supplement product is palpable, the real surprise is that things like this do not happen more often. There are no FDA requirements that supplement products be tested for safety or efficacy on an ongoing basis, and it is an open secret in the industry that the contents of any given container may vary widely from what is indicated on the labeling.

So what is really in your supplements? Do you really know what you are taking? How sure are you that the bottle you buy this month contains either what the label says it does or what last month's bottle did? Maybe its time you found out.

As a contrasting example, Reliv International - for whom I am an independent distributor - owns its own manufacturing plant where it produces all of its own products; requires its vendors to provide independent, third party certification of the quality and purity of all ingredients that they supply; and subjects its own formulated products to a different third party analysis before shipment. Their facility has been praised by the FDA a a "model" manufacturing operation and they have earned pharmaceutical grade manufacturing certification in several countries where this is required for nutritional supplements. Is all this more costly than buying the cheapest products you can find and slapping your label on them? Yes. Is it worth it? I imagine Gary Null now thinks so.