Saturday, March 15, 2008

Director Emails

It is the 26th of the month and you are placing your order on the 27th. You have figured up the amount you need in order to restock your inventory and service your customers.


Then you get an email or a phone call from your Director.


"We are so close to our goal! Can't you help the team? Dig deeper! Hold one more class! Order just a little more!"


So what do you do? Now you have a decision.

  • Stick with your original plan and only order what you had intended to?

OR

  • Order more than you really need so you can "help out your team"?

Consultants/ex-consultants:

  • Have any of you faced this decision?

  • Have you ordered more than you really needed because of a Director's request?

Directors:

  • What advice would you give to someone receiving this kind of request from a Director?

  • What is your perspective on this kind of request from a Director of her Unit?

36 comments:

  1. I would love, love, LOVE to hear from a director about this. I don't how many we have posting here but the ones that do sound very educated and in this for the long haul, not a quick buck.

    Since I am not a director, not ever even close, I can only answer as a consultant.

    I do not understand this line of manipulation. I get a call from my director very often to "help the unit". How is my ordering helping the unit? Helping her, I could see. She's getting a commission. But how does the entire unit benefit?

    I never expected friends and family to buy from me. Why would they? I had been using MK for a while and loved it, but am not the type to gush about a skin care product. Us girls would talk about it, of course, as girls do. But it never went farther then "Hey, I use this cleanser. Really, I use this." When I signed up to sell MK I didn't expect them to all of a sudden change their skin care line to "help me out." So I never understood why someone would expect me to monetarily help them out. Purchase something I don't need, from them.

    Can you imagine any other business using this line? I work for a large printing company. I would lose many a customer if I called them up and told them that we were very close to our financial goal this month. Could they place a larger order than ususal? If that is not unprofessional, I don't know what is.

    And I think that's a big problem surrounding MK. They push the fact that they are a business. Treat this like a business. Keep tract of everything you spend to write off as much on your taxes. Be smart in inventory choices. Do your homework. Read InTouch and keep yourself updated. You are running a BUSINESS. But then they turn around and want to be sisters. "Help me out, would ya? We are soooo close to our goal!" It's just not professinal.

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  2. Eversleigh, I am also looking forward to hearing from Directors on this post.

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  3. As a director.... I don't do that with most of my consultants! However, that said, there are consultants/unit members who have told me up front to "nag" them! Those are the ones I check in with if we are close to a goal, or I need someone to do a little more than normal. BUT (and this is in large letters on purpose), if they say No, I do NOT push or beg!

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  4. Okay, here goes, in the scenario mkshay gave, asking for the order to be more is wrong, asking if the consultant will try to do an additional skin care class or facial or even reorder calls and move more product that she would want to replace isn't that bad. If the consultant wants to try and help out, she sells more not just order more.

    I have known on occassion a consultant has told me, I really have to get an order in... a few days later it may not have shown up, and maybe it would come in handy. Is it wrong to call and say, hey Deb, just trying to calculate where we are going to finish with production this month and I know you said you had an order close to going in, I was just wondering were you thinking more this month or next month? She will tell me.... Often she might say - well I really do need to get it in, does it make a difference?? I would say, if you are going to do it anyway, it would be helpful this month, but if you weren't ready yet, we will still need production next month too, so, really it is when you are ready, I am not asking you to put one in.

    I think there may be a once in a "blue moon" time. When asking everyone to pitch in and help (the director) but it should never be every month, or every other month. But I think the rally cry should come at the beginning of the month for let's sell like crazy, or 30 faces in 30 days, etc... get the unit excited about selling, when you are moving product, you have to be ordering inventory.

    I believe any of us will do something to help out on occassion, and feel good about it, but manipulating or pressuring people into regulary places orders that they don't need or orders much larger than they need will just have a bad long term impact.


    and eversleigh you commented..

    I never expected friends and family to buy from me. Why would they?

    My question - is why wouldn't they? It is a great product, and they can trust you not to sell them something you don't think they need. I don't see if they use skin care and color and find out that you have great products, why they would want to spend their money in some retail establishment when that money could benefit someone they care about and they were getting a great product.

    And just letting them try something - isn't making them change, if they liked what they were using more, I wouldn't expect them to change.

    I think at times we all help out others and at times, we would like to feel others would help us out.

    That being said, there is a difference between asking someone to help out and taking advantage of someone.

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  5. I have never had a request like this from my director. In the example given, however, the order had not been placed yet, so if I went ahead as planned and placed the order I was intending to, I would feel like I had responded in a win/win fashion.

    Me
    www.mypinktruth.wordpress.com

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  6. mk4me -

    I think you hit the nail right on the head - at the BEGINNING of the month focus on encouraging people to do more faces, more SCC's and more selling.

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  7. Just a little side note, sometimes I notice I might be even more willing to help out someone else even more so than doing it because I should be doing it anyway. If I knew my National had a huge goal, which even for the area, it is bragging rights and it does make you feel proud/good) I may book a few extra classes/facials, etc...

    It is the team spirit that keeps many of us feeling good and up and when you are up, it is easier to book. It is also easier to book when you are excited about something.

    I want to share a secret, I actually try to never "pull" orders near the end of the month, I work hard early in the month try to get everything done by the 3rd week of the month and what comes in after that great. Because of this system, usually we always have a strong start to the month.

    If you try to find every last dime that is available the last day of the month, who is going to need to order at the beginning of the month. It is like borrowing from the future which means you are always going to be playing catch up and you will feel like you are on the hampster wheel. I love the fact that it is rare I am even aware it is the last day of the month, and personally, I LIKE it that way.

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  8. I agree on all thats been said by you ladies on this. From my experience my director has never called me at the end of the month, but she has sometimes at the end of a quarter if its to my benefit. For example, if I'm $100 from my star she might call to remind me and ask me if thats something I'd like to do. I've never felt pressured though.

    I have seen directors that are qualifying for cars have promotions up, where for every $x order you place you get a number, and if the unit reaches $x in a month a name is randomly drawn. I think this is a more passive way of encouraging orders and prefer it to blatantly pressuring consultants (hey, you'll get something if you win, right?)

    As to what mk4me says about pulling for orders and borrowing from the future...I totally agree. It happened to me in the past (from my own mistakes...no pressure from director), and its so hard to catch up again. It ends up being more discouraging for me than a motivation.

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  9. In response to MK4ME: I cannot buy from every family member I know just to "help" them. I would be broke. So I don't expect them to buy from me. If I need something that they sell, wonderful, but I am not going to change what I like just because they are family and are trying to sell it.

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  10. I am sure that this will resolve itself eventually, but since I am around and have the time to chime in about it I will.

    Eversleigh is expressing that she does not EXPECT her family to order from her BECAUSE they are her family. She is not saying that she has not/will not approach them or that she has "written them off" as customers. Just that she does not feel the sense of entitlement that because she is family - they MUST order her product from her. If they like something else that is their prerogative.

    MK4ME is pointing out that you should not ignore your family as possible customers. Assuming that because they are family they are "off limits" for some reason would be just as dangerous as assuming that they ought to feel an obligation to you.

    I am sure that you would have sorted this out eventually... and I hope I accurately described both of your positions!

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  11. This is a very good topic, and I think it has less to do with the words that are physically said and almost everything to do with the attitude behind the conversation.

    You have two possible motivations behind a phone call from a director. (I am talking from the perspective of the director - and while I am keenly aware that there are myriad possible motivations for a phone call, I am talking about the two primary ones)

    The first is a selfish motivation. Examples could include HER production falling short, HER desire to reach a new level, HER poor planning and realizing that the end of the month is here AGAIN... Notice that ALL of these are about HER.

    In this situation, it doesn't matter HOW she says it, it doesn't matter WHAT she says, the motive is wrong. The selfishness and subsequent lack of concern for YOU (in this case the consultant) will be reflected in the way she communicates the message. It will almost inevitably lead to manipulation. If you don't realize she is manipulating you that is because she is doing a good job!

    On the other hand, if she is calling with the motivation of helping you succeed, what she says and how she says it can not really be faulted.

    Of course the "problem" is that either motivation can FEEL like the other depending on how your personality mixes with her personality.

    All that to say - communication is king. If you feel like you are not being treated right, speak up. (one on one)

    just my .o2

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  12. That's one thing that is hard about internet versus talking, yes David, I was just implying don't ignore your family and friends because you don't want them to feel pressured or obligated. Or because alot of us are self-consciuos and don't want anyone to think we are pushy. But no I would never expect someone to buy from me just because they were family. Nor would I want to be pressured from family to buy something I wasn't interested in.
    Offering and pressuring are two very different things.

    However if I had a family member that was selling something I was interested and she didn't let me know and I went and bought the same thing from a stranger and found out later she was selling it, I would wonder why she hadn't mentioned it to me and probably have hurt feelings that we didn't have a close enough relationship that she wouldn't share what she was doing with me.

    I have watched consultants end up really being sad when a family member ends up joining Mary Kay in another unit under someone else simply because they didn't know the relative was even a consultant when they joined with someone else.

    I even think we had a regular here for awhile (Judy??) that absolutely didn't even want her family to know she was a consultant.

    Anyway eversleigh, hope this sounds reads better than the comment that sounds like you took offense to, none was intended. :)

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  13. LookingforAnswersMarch 15, 2008 at 1:58 PM

    Oh boy...what a topic!

    Yes my Director has done this and still does this to her unit. “We are so close to our goal of Cadillac...we just need everyone to stretch a little more this month – for every one placing an order this month, they will get a great gift from our NSD who just came back from the TRIP”.

    This happens at least twice a year if not more....I’d have to go through my emails to get the exact number.

    The trouble is, our NSD does it too. If her directors do “X” amount of production this month, they’ll get diamonds or something. When I was one of her directors, I would always put out that extra to reach the goal.

    Oh and to make Inner Circle...boy that was huge.

    It was never about booking more SCC’s it was only about ordering and getting a prize for that. That's why so much of us ended up with so much inventory.

    Now that I’m out of directorship, I don’t worry about that stuff anymore.

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  14. looking for answers, I'd like to expand on what you were saying. If it is rare that help is aked for, it will be more likely to be received. If it is used over and often - people will figure out pretty fast, it isn't about one stretch and it will feel like manipulation and then resentment will follow. So it only makes sense not to keep using this form of "motivation" because in the long run, it will just hurt everyone.

    for me, it doesn't always have to be about doing better and better, sometime you need to smell the roses and not get so caught up in the race, appreciate and be grateful for what you have and continue to grow. I see this as a journey not a race.

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  15. Never fear, I was not offended. David had it exactly right. Everyone in my family knows I have MK for sell if they want it.

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  16. I don't think we have touched on this question from the main article yet:

    Directors:
    What advice would you give to someone receiving this kind of request from a Director?

    I do think that sometimes honesty is the best policy. And I know it can be hard to stand up to your director or national because we do want to please them. But hurting ones self is not the answer. I think sometime we need to just suck it up, get a backbone and then politely say. "I really wish there was more I can do right now, but based on what I sold this month, what I have already ordered is sufficient. - I would not want to risk making a poor financial decision because of emotion." or " I was planning on placing a $200 and I am
    sure, even if it isn't quite what you need that it at least will help a little."

    Or, you have all my support but based on my activity this month (actually lack of activity this month) - I can not justify or feel right about placing an order at this time. I plan on getting some bookings next month and maybe I can add to the production then.

    I do think if you have no intention on placing an order to mislead her just so she will leave you alone isn't right either.

    Bottom line, you don't need the product, and it isn't a good business decision for you, don't do it. (of course there maybe be an exception or two) but as a general rule, I think this responses, are respectful but firm.

    And I know if I ever asked anyone to do more, I would respect these kinds of answers.

    hope y'all like some of the lingo?

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  17. Excellent lingo ;) I hear it once in a while from a consultant who has asked me to "nag". As I stated, I do NOT do this every month, or even most months,but when a consultant has given permission, I feel I can. I do feel the same way as mk4me in that I do try to get production done in the first couple of weeks of the month and not worry about it:) Sure makes my life less stressful!

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  18. Pink Bren here...

    My director has called me and asked me to order before and I told her NOPE!!! Not going to don't need nothing. She was like we need such and such and I tell her that I will order when I need something. I don't want to have stuff sitting around.

    I think we have to realize that this is a business and it is not good to order when you don't have the money to pay for it or you don't need anything. So that is my talk on this.

    have a good evening

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  19. Good for you Pink Bren, short and sweet. NOPE - and that is my final answer.

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  20. I got an e-mail recently from NSD, "I know you can be a star this quarter" I am $1,200 out of star status - first 1 I have missed in my first year. I did not feel that this was appropriate. I mean if your a couple hundred, maybe it would be okay but $1,200.

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  21. My director always sends a reminder email at the end of the month. It is not persuasive. It just says, Last day to order over the phone is XX/XX/XXXX; Last day for consultants to order online is XX/XX/XXXX; Last day for consultants to order through me is XX/XX/XXXX.
    In the scenario described above, I order as planned. When I was new, I took the reminders more personally and started feeling pressured if I had just placed an order and got that email. It just didn't dawn on me that my director sends those out in mass. I told her I felt uncomfortable ordering if I didn't need to and she said, "that's OK. Don't do that." :) She explained she felt obligated to send the reminder in case we lost track of time or something. Makes sense. There have since been times when I was meaning to order and forgot until I got the email.
    Once a great while (like when we are making car production) my director will mention how close we are to the Unit Goals and she doesn't ask for huge orders. She will say something like, "every order counts even if it is small. If you have even a small order that you were going to place in the new month, consider placing it on the last day of this month." Sometimes I am able to do that and sometimes I am not.
    Car qualification is a TEAM effort. That is why a director might say help the unit. It does help the unit. It helps the unit's production numbers. The moral of the story is to use good judgment and think about one's own business first. Your singular order is not going to make or break the unit's production, IMO.

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  22. Rural--I am in complete agreement with you. If you are $200 or less away from star, a stretch would not be devastating. Any more than that and I would not recommend stretching for star.

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  23. Shades of pink, I ask this question in all innocence. How does it help the unit? How does my director driving a car help me, as a little consultant peon who does not have any recruit under me? My director has asked me to "help her out" by ordering and I don't do it because I cannot imagine asking someone to give me money. If she would offer her assistance in helping me get bookings so I can have a reason to place an order, that is something I would LOVE. I am a newbie and am not so good yet at getting bookings. I've gotten a few, but after my initial order I still have plenty on my shelves.

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  24. angelet, what kind of things have you tried to get bookings?

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  25. I have asked friends and family (I was not comfortable with that. Our family is not close.) I have tried warm chattering (I am not too good at that, yet, but I am new.) I wanted to do a fish bowl but it doesn't sound like too many have had good results. How do you get that initial booking?

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  26. Angelet, it all depends on how a director makes the request to help. There are bad ways--"I really need YOUR help I am close to earning MY car." And there are better ways: "Every order counts. I know I am the one driving the car, but it is representative of OUR work as a TEAM. If you are plannign to order even a small order can make a difference."
    I view it like when you are working for a corporation and you are meeting goals. Individually, you may not get the huge reward, but company morale goes up and as a result everyone might experience a raise. In my day job, we had an enrollment challenge. The goal was to raise enrollment by 15%. We met it. Everyone in our division got a little plaque for the effort. They gave us an extra day off for Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. Now, we probably would have had them off anyway because they were Mondays and it saves the instution money to have off (they did it in the past when the holidays were on Fridays. They gave us the Thursdays, too). I don't even feel I had anything to do with it. I don't recruit for our institution. I answer a student service liine. But, I digress.
    In Mary Kay it's a little different because the director is rewarded based on wholesale ordering which is designed to reflect retail selling. If we are truly working toward the goal, we all have the potential to improve our own individual businesses while reaching a unit goal. That is how it helps the unit. It keeps everyone focused on their work.
    And again, some directors are really bad at motivating their units. My director does a great job, IMO. My recruiter, not so great.
    It's going to come down to how you feel about your director. I like mine. I like working toward a goal to help her.
    Here's another example: my director's senior has a new NIQ goal. I can help her by becoming one of her 8 required second line offspring. Yea, it helps her, but I would also be moving myself up and helping myself (and helping my own director).
    I hope I'm making sense. I feel the flu setting in so I'm a little foggy today.

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  27. Angelet, I think the wording used is wrong. I think it is OK to call a consultant and ask if she wants to order if she is close to something, like a $100 away from a star order, or if she's close to something that the director is offering. But just to call each consultant is sleezy. If a consultant is booking, then she will order what she needs. If she isn't ordering, maybe it's becasue she needs help with booking. Keep in mind, unless you tell your director that you need help she may not know you do. But if you do ask for help and do not get it, look into finding another director to work with. You are not married to this woman.

    And never order just to "help the unit." This is not a charity. You are not giving money for medical reserch or to help someone who is in need. Unless you are already selling what you have, do not order any more. Sure it would be nice to be part of a successful team, but not if it puts you in debt.

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  28. Let me be clear, my director NEVER calls. She sends one email reminder at the end of each month. One. Just one. If she's near a goal, she will mention the goal. She mentions it at meetings so we are aware of what our unit is doing.
    I agree. Directors calling individuals "begging" for orders is ridiculous. But, I still see nothing wrong with a director making her goals the unit goals and allowing that to be an opportunity for individuals to work their own businesses. We can't move up if the people we bring in aren't moving up, too.

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  29. Angelet, I was sent a wonderful email that has tons of ideas for bookings.

    I think it will help you tremendously.

    If you want me to send it to you, just email me at shaysotheremail@gmail.com and I will forward it to you.

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  30. my director never calls me to ask me to place orders. She does however send emails all throughout the month encouraging everyone to do their best to meet our own goals or unit challenges and to finish strong. This is just general encouragement in my opinion. It happens all the time so its not like she only contacts us when production is short or at the end of the month. I dont mind working harder in an enviornment like that. If we each individually do good for ourselves then the whole unit does well. I think that is how she views it and it works because she is a top director here.

    Angelet, dont be afraid to step our of your comfort zone a little. Friends and Family are good for practice but eventually you are going to have to find more customers. Fish bowls might not be a way to get a slew of customers unless you promise something else other than a facial. You can go that route or just offer the facial. But dont be afraid to do the fish bowls because as I said before they are really not that expensive to do and they can be a good way to advertise. Just pick a nail salon or maybe a daycare, or anywhere that a lot of working women frequent. You can make a box and decorate it or buy a nice cheap fish bowl or other kind of container from any discount store. The trick is to have many going at the same time. It is really trial and error, hit and miss but you can still get names.

    Also what about asking your family and friends for referrals?

    Have you ever recieved a business card from someone who sold real estate or did catering? What were the circumstances that led you to recieve that card? Sometimes just having a conversation with someone is enough incentive to say "hey by the way..I sell Mary Kay and here is my business card.."

    If you dont have any business cards go ahead and get some. Get a nice case so that they will look clean and neat when you give them away. Also always have look books with you. Anytime you give someone a card or a book it can be a good time to get a name and number and eventually a booking. Sometimes just asking then if they have a consultant can get your foot in the door to a conversation about a lead or a booking.

    Hope that helps. Everything just takes practice so dont get discouraged! Also have you specifically asked your director to help you?

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  31. foreverpink--it sounds like your director operates like mine. I feel the same way. I couldn't state it as clearly. My brain's a bit fuzzy today. :P

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  32. Hi All! I rarely get to check in here anymore, but when I saw this topic, I had to reply.

    I am a Sales Director, so I will try to answer the questions asked of us.

    If a consultant is receiving these calls she might consider telling her director that she would like to be kept informed of her ordering opportunities and benefits, but that she does not wish to be called and asked to order. She can simply tell her that she will be ordering when she needs to and when it best suits her personal MK business, and that while she is a team player and wants to be part of a thriving unit, that she must make sound business decisions based on her on personal situation. That should send a loud message and give that director some things to think about!

    I try to keep consultants aware of their opportunities, meaning I let them know when their Earned Discount will be ending, if they are close to or On Target for a goal such as Star Consultant or a quarterly Sales Challenge, or unit promotion, if they have an opportunity to reset their active status by ordering a small amount and gain 3 more months of their discount, and if they are a recruiter who has become inactive or who has commission on the table for the month.

    I DO NOT beg, ask for "a little more", or ask them to order for me or the unit.

    In my efforts to increase production, I do look for reasons that a consultant might NEED to order, and when I point out ordering deadlines, I say "if you NEED to get an order in" do so now or by this date, etc. I also give them LOTS of education about product changes and new product releases so that they make educated decisions about what to order and when.

    Here is the bottom line. The best way to increase ordering, is to increase selling. I teach my consultants to be strong sellers, and when they sell, they have to order. The big difference is that when selling is taking place, it is a win for everyone. The same goes for keeping consultants informed of their ordering opportunities, bonuses, and deadlines, they appreciate that type of communication and it is helpful to THEM. I do not want the pressure of them ordering for me or the unit, I want them ordering because they are selling product and earning profit themselves. That makes me feel good about what I do.


    SPEAKING THE REAL TRUTH (for some reason I can't log in the way that I used to so I'll just disclose my identity this way)

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  33. Angelet, there are a LOT of us in the same situation! My recruiter suggested me doing parties in my home, but that isn't possible in my situation. I try the facial, then have a few friends over to get either $ 75 for $ 35 or ? free.


    Eversleigh - a huge AMEN! I totally agree!

    "This is not a charity. ... Unless you are already selling what you have, do not order any more. Sure it would be nice to be part of a successful team, but not if it puts you in debt."

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  34. LookingforAnswersMarch 18, 2008 at 2:06 PM

    Shades of Pink – you say “Car qualification is a TEAM effort.” But it’s only the Director driving it. I agree with Angelet, why should an IBC put that extra in an order to make that goal happens for the Director. I never did understand this mentality.

    If the Director was doing her job correctly, she wouldn’t have to ask her unit to place whatever size order or to pull in an order from next month to this month. It’s not right.

    All those little stretches add up over time and interest is paid if it’s on a credit card.

    Angelet, have you been taught how to do the Perfect Start? Have you ever seen a document called this? If you’d like I’ll send it to you. Email me at pinkunited@yahoo.ca

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  35. LookingforAnswersMarch 18, 2008 at 2:15 PM

    Another note on the TEAM effort thing - when I was going through DIQ and then when I was a Director, I didn’t ask my unit to stretch. I stretched (and then burnt out). It was my responsibility not theirs. I did help them book and sell the product and taught them how to recruit.

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  36. Looking--I understand what you are saying. I wasn't real clear. A director can't earn a car based solely on her own production. She's limited. She has to motivate her team to work, too. The best way to do it is to help them achieve their own goals. I like my director as a person, so I want her to reach her goals. It motivates me to work harder. I don't stretch with my credit card. ;) I stretch by making some phone calls when I may not want to. But it's worth it because I don't make money unless I call people.

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