Wednesday, July 9, 2008

How Long to Directorship??

This is a question that does not have an exact answer and will leave a lot of room for discussion. I am going to base my explanations on my personal experience. I will start with this part and then as the discussion takes place, I will add more because I could actually write a book if I wanted to include everything that I would want to share.

In this business, there is a lot to learn. A new consultant has to learn about the products, how to present them in a knowledgeable manner, proper color application, learn good people skills, and sales techniques, how to book, how to present themselves in a professional manner, how to separate business and personal emotions. This will take time, depending on how many classes/presentations a consultant does, the more they do, the faster they master their techniques and skills – the more confident a consultant becomes, the better the results.. I personally like my unit members to master a skin care class before they begin team building because as you decide to build your team, you now have to master how to present the Company opportunity and how to support a team member. How are you going to do a good job at this if you yourself haven’t mastered the basic presentation yourself? My view has been: you learn to walk before you learn how to run and the same principle applies to developing your business.

With a consultant working fulltime and with a family, I find it takes about a year, to get confident in your ability just doing your presentations. (Please note –this is just my opinion and it is not every case – I am speaking in general). Then once the class is mastered, building your team will also take time to figure out how to do it well. Earning the car and learning how to work with a team and continue to do a good job with your bookings and personal sales is a great way to find the balance before you jump into the responsibility of directorship.

Can it be done faster?? Of course it can. Can it take a lot longer, of course it can. But from all I have witnessed and experienced – investing 2 -3 years before becoming a director is going to benefit the person becoming the director. There is a heck of a lot more to being a director than “wearing the suit”. It adds a whole new dimension to your business. You don’t only deal with your ups and downs but also your units and that can take a lot of energy at times.

The numbers are spelled out. I had always heard to be a unit, it takes 30 and only 1 of the 30 will be a super star and that will be you – the director. That probably explains why we are required to have 30 to become a director, working with less than that is going to cause one to struggle. So if you become a director on “fake” consultants, you are hurting yourself because you don’t have the numbers that you need to produce the volume you need. – This is just the way it is. The Company tells us that a unit of approx. 75 will produce a Saturn unit. Why?? To maintain the production – doing it with fewer people will cause you to struggle. Doing anything with enough consultants working, can be achieved and maintained without headaches. For Cadillac you are looking at a unit of at least 125. Can it be done with fewer people, yup; does it also leave you in a position if “life” happens to a few of your top producers you are going to be wondering what to do?
Yup.


Doing things too fast seems to be the downfall of many units. Once we become a director, we want to be a Senior director, but if you remember the numbers, if only 1 in 30 is going to be a superstar and you have a unit member become a director and take 30 out of your unit and leaves you with 30, you are back to really only having one superstar and will go from enjoying your business to struggling. I know many say fast is easy, slow is hard – but there must be a balance between doing it too fast and taking too long.
Often doing it too fast leads to weak units and instead of production coming from selling consultants having to order product to service their clients, the work ethic changes to find a newbie and bring them in with a big inventory and the unit managed to make production for the month. So what happens the next month? The same thing, so as long as you can find someone you can talk into starting with a large inventory – your unit will make production, what happens the month you don’t find someone?? You miss production because now even your selling consultants have too much product so they don’t need to order and you end up on the hamster wheel that some directors complain about. Imho, this is setting yourself and your unit up for failure. It will cause burn out – it is probably why many end up charging product they don’t need because they don’t want to give up what they have worked for. Pride gets in the way, because who wants to go from a Cadillac unit, to a Saturn unit? - You know what, I would have way more respect for a director that realized her unit wasn’t supporting the Cadillac and she dropped down to a Saturn unit. This is a smart business move. There is no disgrace. Hey, it is an “earned” car. I have been a senior director, guess what, I had two directors stop down – no they didn’t have too, life changes caused them to go a different direction and they are both still consultants. Was their a little ouch for me going from an almost “future executive senior director” to a director, yup… but it wasn’t because of anything I did or didn’t do. I am still just mk4me and those that respect me still do, and well, those that didn’t, didn’t any way so who really gives a hoot what they think anyway.

Now my theory… build selling consultants, allow them to build their inventory while they build their customer base. If your unit is selling, they will need to order. Production comes in naturally. Promote selling not ordering. Reward activity not ordering. Understand what you need and do the work that is required to get it. Don’t try to shortcut the system, it isn’t going to work. Set yourself up for success, not failure.

May I share a little personal note…. I have shared that do to medical issues with a child this year, I had several months that I couldn’t be the director or consultant I like to be, we fell short of finishing up the $300,000 unit club and we didn’t miss it by much. Could I have begged every unit member to put in an unneeded order and finished, I honestly think the answer is “yes”. Did I? – No. The reason is simple. I am still very proud of where we finished this year. With everything that happened in my unit, I think the figure is awesome. Now did I encourage my unit to work until the end? Yes, as long as they were selling and needed to order, I was happy to see them put in their order.

But if I had gone the other way, where exactly would I be this month? Historically, July is never a great month. Not only because of the after June fallout, but many people are on vacation, it is hot, it is harder to get groups together, so I would imagine trying to have a decent July if you pulled everything into June, leaves your July looking pretty dim. (I also didn't give up, we all worked until the last minute). Generally because we work for the month we are in, our July is almost as good as every other month of the year. Call me to0 analytical or practical but if one uses good business sense, many of the obstacles and problems that we hear about could be avoided. My conclusion: Conduct your business as a business and you will produce good results, you and your unit members will be happy!

25 comments:

  1. WOW!!!! Great post MK4ME.... I really love the way you encourage the strength of learning to sell before building a team~~I know it definitely helps in training others on selling ;) Your perspective is refreshing and I wish I had heard it more before "taking the plunge" and becoming a director. I am changing things from what my senior has done and it is definitely "going against the tide" in some ways. Thanks for your post!

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  2. skincaremom, thank you and it will be hard to change the way things have been done and may cause some "lean" months but it can be done and this is one time I can truely say that the "short term sacrifice for the long term gain" will be well worth it. Once your unit is headed in the right direction, then the momentum will build and you will have a strong, exciting unit. No hampster wheel for us!!

    I really respect that you see you need to do things differently from your senior so that you will be the awsomest director you can be!

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  3. Thank you MK4ME!! I have already learned to "live" through the lean months and know that historically for my unit July is the leanest; however we are in car qualification again and I am working to bring in sellers ;) I know that I don't encourage large initial orders (and according to my senior~~ that is bad), so getting new consultants working/selling is the key. After 2 1/2 years as a director, I know what I need to do and what I need to work on and that is teaching my consultants to sell like I do!

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  4. I totally LOVE this post! All too often I feel the pressure of ordering, ordering, ordering, earn a car in a month or two, recruit, recruit, recruit, etc. And you know what? ALL I want to do is to have fun working my business. I don't want to focus on all the other stuff, I want to have fun holding classes. I don't want new team members to get scared and run away because my director tells them that she'll give them personal training if they place an $1800 inventory order. If they do less, they're on their own, or flying solo with my less helpful instruction. I want new team members to know that they can start a business with a Starter Kit! And to be excited about it!!! Okay, ranting aside, AMEN to this post. I am committing to working my business the right way and telling my director "no" when she tells me that I could earn a car in a month. I'd fall on my face trying to get production each month after earning the car. So...again, AMEN!

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  5. Thank you Thank you Thank you
    This really helps me to set a time line for how I want my business to go.

    So, I know that my director is all about recruiting and coming in as a star. Her main question is usually who do you think your first team member is going to be. (I haven't even held my first class, due to shock after my star inventory arrived!)

    Is it bad if I just do not recuit at all until I am comfortable training the new recruit? (Or the fact that I wouldn't technically be doing full circle classes)

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  6. {{Smiley4 said...
    for how I want my business to go.
    Is it bad if I just do not recuit at all until I am comfortable training the new recruit? (Or the fact that I wouldn't technically be doing full circle classes)}}

    Smiley, imho, it isn't wrong or bad, and until you know what you are doing, as in mastering your presentation and then learning how to interview and sign up your new team member, you wouldn't be able to "really work full circle" -

    Now I do feel one should still mention the opportunity and your I story as part of your skin care classes and "market" our Company a little and if someone approaches you, it is only fair to answer their questions and if you get a team member you get a team member but to not go out and actually recruit - pretty hard in my opinion again to tell someone how great something is that you haven't experienced yet.

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  7. {{Alison said...
    ALL I want to do is to have fun working my business.}}

    Allison, it is your business, don't let anyone pressure you into doing something you are not comfortable doing, if you are happy holding classes, focus on holding your classes, enjoy yourslef and make some money.
    Remember you are a big girl and you have the right to say "NO - it is not for me right now- thank you for believing in me but...(fill in the blank)" Stand firm!

    {{Allison said "I don't want new team members to get scared and run away because my director tells them that she'll give them personal training if they place an $1800 inventory order. If they do less, they're on their own, or flying solo with my less helpful instruction.}}

    If I tick any other directors off, I will apologize now but I strongly disagree with helping either with the debut or first class only if the consultant comes in with a Star order. It honestly ticks me off when I hear his. As directors our job is to train and support our unit members. There is no special clause that if the consultant doesn't do a star order we don't have to help them.

    Now, if I ever have a month that is too busy because of too many new consultants and not enough time to spend an evening doing each of their parties or debuts, I will schedule a night where they can bring their guests and we do like a big debut for several consultants at once. And I work on selling product and booking classes for the new consultant, I do talk about the Company and Opportunity briefly but I don't go into a recruiting spiel and don't offer any incentives for one to join or anything like that.

    And I am proud to say, my unit members are not afraid to bring their guests to a unit meeting or guest event for fear that I am going put the press on their guest to join. We keep things fun and relaxed.

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  8. I need to add, on occassion I will have a newer consultant that would like to start building her team faster and she will have my support if that is her choice. I just never want to have someone feel pressured.

    I have seen all too often a new consultant already feels overwhelmed just doing a class/party, then having the responsibility of a team member it seems to compound that insecurity. It is very hard to feel like a leader or mentor if you don't even feel you like you know what you need to do for yourself. Once a consultant does have a team member, it does seem to help her take her business up a notch and sort of encourages the recruiter to stay a step above the recruit. Even though it is the primarry responsibility fo the director to do the training the recruiter does some responsibility to her new team member, I don't want a consultant overwhelmed, it just makes it harder to feel you are doing a good job.

    And... 50% of a $200 sales is alot better than 4% of an order - so if a consultant is looking to earn money, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where she will be making more money.

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  9. Disclaimer: I do want to clarify that I live in an area that is pretty rural, so there may be a bit of difference if you are living in a big metropolitan area.

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  10. Good morning!! Well, I can say that I would rather start slow with recruiting. The reason that I say this is that I want women that really want to make a difference in their lives and want to work their business. I would much rather make 50% than 4% to me this just makes sense.

    I have team members and I don't pressure them to order large orders. They know what they can and can not handle.

    What I don't understand are directors that want people to come in with large orders. If the consultant is not selling guess what they are going to get discourage and then they will stop working all together.

    We need to be booking and selling and sharing the business if someone wants to sign up that his great if the don't that is great too. I don't want to put any undo hardship on my team, that deafeats the purpose.

    I to am trying to master the booking and selling. I think that once this is done the rest falls into place because you are truthfully able to share with others what you are doing. You are not having to make things up so that will be impressed you can just show them. Showing them makes a bigger impact I believe that just telling. (I think that David will agree hehheheheh).

    Well I hope that everyone has a GREAT MK DAY OR JUST A GREAT DAY.

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  11. MK4ME...I forgot to tell you that this is a GREAT post and all directors should work this way. Thank you for your passion about this business and thank you for your truthfulness. It is refreshing to see someone that is concerned for everyone on her team and not just the ones that place large orders. Again I say thank you because you are giving Mary Kay the good name that it deserves, this is a good business opportunity and should be treat as a business.

    Have a GREAT DAY

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  12. mk4me you sound so much like me director that I sometimes wonder if you and she are the same!

    One never knows in blogland!

    Thanks so much for letting others know that directors like you exist. Of course we have been singing this from the roof top for many months now. We have not experienced the directors that are described on PT which is why our experience may sound so foreign to those that gather there.
    Your style of dictorship is the norm where I live
    thanks again

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  13. I admire consultants who will stand up to their director and tell the director what will work for them! Too often, a new consultant will be intimidated and fall into the trap of doing exactly what she is told to do even if it is not the best thing for her! I have had consultants who tell me they are NOT placing a large order no matter what... and I know to back off and let them do what will be best for their situation!
    **side note... I was a consultant (plain and simple) for 9 years before I decided to become a director~~~ so doing it slow does work also ;)

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  14. I finally had time to sit and read this through and, mk4me, bravo! :D I agree 100%. My intent was never to recruit, but if people ask me (and they do) I won't discourage them from hearing more or signing up.

    My focus has always been on selling the product. When you talk to someone about signing up and they don't see your results, why would they sign? It is different when a newbie holds her first class and someone at the class says, I want to do this, too! This is someone ready to work. She might pass up the recruiter, but she is more likely to have a happy experience because signing up was HER idea. ;)

    Personally, I'm not making any recruiting goals. My goals are faces and retail sales. I want to ahcieve a Power Start. I have not yet done so. I've come close a few times, but have always fallen short by a couple of faces. Until I figure this out, I really wouldn't feel comfortable building a team and encouraging them to do something I have not yet done.

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  15. OH! And SCM, to see that you were in 9 years before taking the step to directorship is very encouraging. We can work at our own pace in this business and that is one of my favorite things about it.

    One night I was on a conference call with my NSD and there was a woman being recognized on the call for earning her first career car. She had been in MK for 12 years and until then, didn't have any desire to earn a car. She decided it was time. I love that!

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  16. sorry , I meant to type
    "Your style of directorship.."
    sorry for the typo

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  17. speaking the real truthJuly 10, 2008 at 7:30 AM

    Hello all. I am finally getting around to some commenting, it's been a little crazy here.

    I agree with mk4me, and just have a few things to add.

    I personally feel that it takes about 2 years of consistency full circle activity to become a solid sales director. I am not impressed by the "1 month wonders", because that could mean that she simply knew a lot of people that had credit and she was able to convince them to join her. Are they actually wanting to build a Mary Kay business? The chances of finding 30 of those in one month is not likely.

    During a 2 year time period, you will have the chance to become sharp in your skills of booking, selling, AND team building and training others. It will take all 4 of these components, plus others, to make it as a successful sales director. Those who debut with no customer base, of who have recruited every single customer that they have by offering them the "wholesale buying club" approach will fall on their face.

    I do believe that we should teach consultants HOW to work full circle from the beginning, but this business of recruiting their 2 best friends and their mother before they even hold their first skin care class is like cutting their legs out from underneath them. Now she has no one to book, and she and the recruits are all sitting there not knowing how to hold a class.

    Once you are loving the business and making money, you have something to recruit with, your own joy and passion. Others will see that in you and will naturally be curious about the opportunity.

    I firmly believe that those who aspire to become sales directors should:

    1. Be a star consultant each quarter, based on their sales.
    2. Earn the car first.
    3. Have a solid customer base.
    4. Should have held MANY classes and appointments.
    5. Should spend time with her director in the director's office to know what she does during the day and what the job really entails.

    When you are ready to submit your DIQ card, then I recommend:
    1. Have your book filled with at least 10 appointments.
    2. Do not plan to vacation during the DIQ period. It is a crunch time.
    3. Make sure that hubby and family are on board with your plan.
    4. Make sure that you do not have any other huge commitments during that time period.
    5. Be prepared to do the work yourself, this is your goal, not your team's.

    Just my opinion!

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  18. Another great post, MK4ME!

    :D

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  19. STRT... Great comments and suggestions! I know I sure wish I had been able to spend time observing my senior director for a day (or 2 or 3) before submitting for DIQ~~ it sure would have given me ideas of what I needed to work on and implement so I wouldn't be doing so much trial and error!

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  20. speaking the real truthJuly 10, 2008 at 10:28 AM

    Another step in the process that I have found helpful with my DIQs, is to hold a DIQ orientation. At this time I go over what they should expect, what to expect from me, how to succeed during this period. I have found that it helps to clearly spell out what their role will be and what my role will be. Sometimes the DIQ will take on more responsibility than she needs to, ie; holding team meetings, giving out extra prizes, etc. Setting down some guidelines in the beginning cuts down on confusion and hurt feelings down the road.

    The recruits of the DIQ are in my unit until she debuts, and I will treat them as such. I will train them, reward them, etc. just like the others in my unit. The director needs to make sure that she builds rapport with these new recruits, as they could remain in her unit if the DIQ fails to complete the process.

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  21. So true! I know I plan to get with my DIQ (when she makes that decision), even though she lives 2000 miles away from me, on a regular basis. My senior saw me 3 times during my DIQ (and she lives an hour and a half away) and I did most of it by myself with a little help from my adopted director!

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  22. **Lightbulb moment** We often hear about getting help... housecleaner, office assistant, etc... please note... these aren't bad ideas if you up your selling and unit building to compensate the expense of getting the help.

    I have on occassion watched a new director get the help but isn't holding classes or building her unit, well, logic tells if you aren't making $$ and your paying others to do work... you are going to end up loosing money.

    The getting help idea, only works if you go out and earn more than enough to pay the help you get!

    Personally, I don't have a house cleaner because DH - just doesn't want anyone in the house - likes privacy, but I can tell you, I would have NO problem convincing me to go book a party and pay someone else to clean the toilet!! And if I wasn't cleaning the house, I would be making even more with MK!

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  23. Foreverpinksaid -- "mk4me you sound so much like my director that I sometimes wonder if you and she are the same!

    One never knows in blogland!"

    I was just going to say the same thing. I love my MK business and believe it is because of directors just like you mk4me. Thanks!

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  24. mk4me said "In this business, there is a lot to learn. A new consultant has to learn about the products, how to present them in a knowledgeable manner, proper color application, ... My view has been: you learn to walk before you learn how to run and the same principle applies to developing your business...Often doing it too fast leads to weak units and instead of production coming from selling consultants having to order product to service their clients, the work ethic changes to find a newbie and bring them in with a big inventory and the unit manages to make production for the month. So what happens the next month? The same thing, ... your selling consultants have too much product so they don’t need to order ... "
    "

    It's too bad I'm not in Mary Kay anymore. Or my recruit. I could forward her this post. When I asked her to "train" me she said, "What's to learn? You put it on your face everyday. If you want to learn anything, read what [they] sent you." You can tell where her mind was. Totally on her and how she would benefit monetarily, of course. My ex-director is still churning newbies through this way. She promises to get people in cars in four months. All they have to do is bring her the prospect. She's also of the mantra, "Do it fast." Ick.

    "Call me too analytical or practical but if one uses good business sense, many of the obstacles and problems that we hear about could be avoided. "

    Good sage advice, mk4me. Corporate should have a "best practices show case" segment in each Applause magazine with articles like this one, submitted by directors. It would make a world of difference and actually, it would squash a lot of the "worst practices" being taught by bad business women.

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  25. Oh! I love that idea, flybye! That would be a great feature in Applause.

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