I am in the direct sales industry (formerly in luxury real estate), but I prefer to call it Social Selling since it’s what I really do. I sell products over social moments. I am a walking cliché sometimes (I just know the PTA want to run when they see me coming, and God forbid one of them has a zit!), and I am perfectly okay with that.
My company is fairly new to the market, but our momentum has been so positive and surprising that our industry is really listening. Sounds great? Of course! I launched my business with the company—I was even a part of their clinical trials. I was going to hit the ground running, achieve every possible rank promotion. And…
Not at all.
I hit the ground all right. Smacked my face right into the damn pavement. I didn’t know enough people. I was lousy at selling (there’s a big difference between luxury homes and luxury skincare, in case you didn’t know). I allowed a busy kid schedule to become my excuse. I allowed my airline pilot husband to be an excuse. (I even used my goats once as an excuse. Not. Even. Shitting. You.) My excuse matrix was really advanced. I’m a perfectionist, and when that doesn’t work out, I find an excuse to make it look pretty. Charms of being an only child—no one to call bullshit on you… ever.
I have amazing business days (y’all nodding your heads know what’s up), and then there are the days when half of your monthly parties cancel (is there some epidemic I should be concerned about? You all have personal issues going on? Are you all on your period at the exact same time? Are we that close?). I have days when my child is sick which means I cannot meet a potential new business partner (you can’t show up with vomit on your shirt, reeking of a college frat party). After a little vacation, I have days where lose momentum (ever have too many Mai Tais and forget to check in with your team right at month’s end and miss your bonus because you didn’t remind them to sell $25 more? Yeah, me either, but it’s possible, wouldn’t you say?). It happens. To the best of us, it happens. And some days I have that dreaded thing… what many of us are afraid to talk about, admit, or even acknowledge… the Confidence issue.
Emotional blockages get in our way often, and, at times, it seems nearly impossible to see a way around it, or out. Those ugly dark feelings of unworthiness, the icky sales-person feeling, the oh-my-God-here-she-comes-quick-look-busy-why-doesn’t-she-get-a-real-job moments, or, my personal favorite (it must be because it’s the one that makes an appearance over here frequently), the I-Suck-at-This disease.
Every home-based business has an annual celebration, whether it’s a seminar or a convention, or something snazzier like a Jubilee or Hoopla. They are designed to reconnect you to the business you so passionately dived into. You learn tech tools, hear inspiring stories, listen to keynote speakers, learn more about your industry, and who the movers and shakers are within it. You recognize the over-achievers top producers, highest earners, and best story-tellers. You most likely will return home with a renewed vigor and resounding compulsion to share your Why from the rooftops, and start networking and building your business. You may even buy every type of swag they can stick your company logo on without hesitation (hey, it happens).
Fast forward to my company’s first celebration ever… I registered right away. Counted the days until it was time to pack. I bought champagne flute pajama bottoms and a new dress, had my nails done, my hairs did, and exfoliated. And exfoliated again. And then one more time.
Yet I awoke the Monday before my Friday departure with this idea that I wasn’t going to attend our event. That I was only a Senior Specialist, that unless I was a Star, I wouldn’t really benefit. Although I had paid, signed up early, and had booked a hotel, I was unsure I had the energy and exuberance to attend. I also awoke with not one, but TWO zits on my chin (remember I sell skincare?). Yay me.
I have a petite team, not even named yet. I don’t perform well each month (I mean, I don’t suck, I contribute, but…), so how could I possibly attend? Before making any decisions, I decided to talk with a couple good friends within my company, my bestie, and my up-line. I had some wine, thanked the Universe, and went to bed wondering, is this just really for winners?
No, it isn’t.
It’s for people like me who put cereal in the fridge by accident, drive their kiddos to school in pajamas, drink a glass of wine and call it lunch, and wonder how in the hell anyone allowed them to have children. For people who live my life according to what’s on a to-do list. For people who leave their goats out overnight—for Pete’s sake!—and wake to them licking the deck window. (#truestory) Life gets hard sometimes, and it feels like we get stuck between a marathon, a sprint, or 30 days in the desert on a merry-go-round. I wake up, and never know which one I’m in for, ya know?
Got up the next day, and knew I had to go. I mean, I am blessed to not pay airfare, and with $200 worth of treats coming my way, I’m paying to be trained, motivated, inspired, hugged, and to expand my sisterhood. For an only child, this is huge. Alas, my two chin-guests and I arrived early Friday morning.
Best. Decision. EVER.
I met news sisters (and a couple of brothers!). I laughed so hard my cheeks hurt. I shook hands, looked folks in the eye, and said thank you. I listened, learned, cried, and laughed again. I was inspired. I walked among giants. I understood. I said YES. I brought home swag, memories, and more names to add to my Christmas list. But really what I learned, was that I can do this business.
I had to learn that social selling requires you to look at the business differently. As a not-a-business, but a Gift, rather. It shouldn’t look like anything else I’ve ever done. If it were the same, comfortable, it wouldn’t work. Growth occurs when things are uncomfortable. It’s not a job on the unicorn farm, it’s a long game. It requires doing the lonely work, being vulnerable, and truly knowing your Why. And I mean that deep place you keep your sincerest thoughts and feelings and fears, and rummaging until you hit the sweet spot, and know exactly why you chose this industry, this company, why right now, and what your value proposition is.
That Sunday, I flew home a changed woman. Color me cliché. But so what!? Whatever works, right?
I have met with four friends after returning (for lunch, for my company), all women I have known for a while. Each of them commented on my persona. They agreed I sound different. That my body language is different, my gesticulations are grand again. My attitude feels more fluid, more balanced, more calm, and more Amy-like.
The punch line?
Whatever the event or occasion is, go to your tribe. Go alone. It’s ok. But go. There’s a new world waiting for you, and a new you waiting for the world. Go on the girls’ weekend; go to a book club; go to your training convention.
Go, and be extraordinary.