Presentation for Summit Group Conference 2009 – St. Louis, MO –
Lessons Learned From Disasters, Miscalculations and Misadventures on our Watkins Journey.
Hello, Hello and Hello!
It is exhilarating to stand before a team of PEAK PERFORMERS who are climbing toward the Summit of the Mountain called opportunity.
I am honored for the invitation to share with PEAK PERFORMERS at this remarkable conference. As strange as it may sound I am pleased to share with you some of the Disasters, Miscalculations and Misadventures that Fran and I have experienced on our way to the Summit of the Mountain called opportunity.
These misadventures are a part of our Watkins story. We honor them like trophies on our fireplace mantle. Why would we honor our Miscalculations and Misadventures? Because they were great teachers and we learned much from them. We grew as a result of them. We discovered what does not work. Our misadventures have made us stronger and evermore determined. They cost us unbelievable amounts of time and big dollars but we survived them. We can now laugh about them. We invite you to laugh along with us.
But before we get into our misadventures I would like you to get a bit introspective. I want you to sit quietly and think about a “make believe” situation – it goes something like this. You are building your Watkins Business with all the energy, time and passion you can muster. You are getting a little guidance from your sponsor and you have access to the Business Builder tools that are provided by Watkins.
But, here is the real cruncher. There is no Summit Group in your Watkins world. There is no guidance and support from Steve, Ginny and Jerry Fochtmann. There is no team of Summit Group Executives to share ideas on a weekly conference call. No exemplary training website. No Summit Group Information website to help your sponsoring efforts. No Advertising co-op. No training conference like the one we are attending. No passion, energy and guidance from the #1 Associate Team in all of Watkins. The Summit Group is simply not a part of your Watkins experience. Can you imagine that? Can you fully comprehend what your Watkins Business would be like without the Summit Group?
I can! And I will tell you it IS NOT easy. Fran and I have experienced our Watkins life without the Summit Group. In our early days Fran and I were under the sponsorship of an Associate who was under the Summit Group. He contended that we should only listen to him for guidance because he did not want us to become confused by relating to multiple leaders. He claimed that he had the one true path to success! That statement alone should have made us very suspect.
Although we were in the Bretzke’s organization – to us The Summit Group was some remote and mystical team that we saw winning all of the marbles at the Watkins International Business Conferences year after year but we were denied access to its energy.
Miscalculation #1 – We did not use our entire Upline Leadership Team for guidance and support.
Over a period of time our relationship with our sponsor went from great to so-so to abysmal. We really became bogged down and were not making any progress. Our sponsor became very difficult to work with and we seriously considered leaving the business. We should have been much more aggressive in seeking Upline assistance. We should have picked up the phone and gone to the leaders who would have made a difference.
But eventually our sponsor left Watkins for other pursuits. Finally, we established direct communication with Steve and Ginny and Jerry Fochtmann. When we were able to tap into the power of the Summit Group our Watkins World turned around and our business began to flourish.
We truly believe that we would have avoided much of the pain of our early misadventures if we had access to the coaching and guidance of the Summit Group. Here is the lesson – when you are not getting satisfactory support from your sponsor go to your Upline leadership for assistance. It is your right to do so.
Miscalculation #2. We did NOT follow the Proven Training Program that was available to us. Who Reads Those Things Anyway?
I skimmed through the Watkins materials but they seemed too simple and almost naïve. Therefore, I judged that they would not be too productive. There had to be a better way. Besides, how many men read training programs, guides, “how-to” books and operator manuals? It simply is not the macho thing to do. Men only read guides and operator manuals when all else fails or their wife demands that they do so.
That is proved even today by new Associates who claim they want to earn $100,000 a year and never visit the remarkable Summit Group Training Website before they attempt to roll out their business. So do not do like we did. We recommend that you go home and devour the Summit Group Training website. Encourage all of your Associates to do the same.
Misadventure #3. My Strange Attempts at Re-inventing Watkins.
Watkins is a complete turn-key business opportunity (particularly as supported by the Summit Group). A turn-key business is simply a business system that is already in existence and operational. Proven products, policies and systems are in place to support your success. Vast resources, expertise and capital have been expended to create the contemporary expression of Watkins. All you have to do is elect to participate. Turn the key and you are off and running but I simply could not see it. It seemed too simple. It had to be more complex. I had not yet learned that in network marketing – Complexity = smaller paychecks and Simplicity Duplicated over and over again = Bigger paychecks.
As an Industrial Consultant I spent almost 30 years working in mostly High Tech enterprises with very sophisticated systems, processes and business models. I brought the perspective of the consultant to my new Watkins Business. As a consultant you are paid to fix things so I started analyzing Watkins. I found myself re-writing, re-designing and trying to re-invent Watkins. I re-wrote brochures, business opportunity presentations and did a really great power-point presentation about the history of Watkins, our products and our remarkable business opportunity. I think I used it twice.
In retrospect we became mired in mud because we were not receiving adequate guidance. If we had benefited from the experience and wisdom of The Summit Group our early Watkins efforts would have been far more productive. We would not have wasted so much time and money. We would not have squandered so much opportunity.
So we recommend that you keep it simple. Do not complex it up. You do not have to re-invent a thing. The Watkins/Summit Group is truly a turn-key business. Turn the key and drive away to success.
Misadventure #4. We worked so hard preparing to do business that we failed to do business.
Instead of picking up the phone and making an appointment to share the opportunity I felt compelled to write another brochure. Instead of consistently passing out business cards, demonstrating products and making business opportunity presentations I built a special Watkins office in our basement.
Instead of placing news releases in our local newspaper and spreading the word I came up with elaborate filing and record keeping systems. I was so busy preparing to do business that I did not get around to doing business.
As a result we saw very little income from Watkins. We simply were not doing the right things. We were foundering and almost quite the business. Maybe things would have been a lot better if we had subscribed to the proven methods that were available to us. Our strong recommendation is that you follow the pioneers who have gone before and who are highly successful.
Miscalculation #5. Our Pukey Decision to Avoid Our Warm Market.
I read a book by an author, who was supposed to be a great Network Marketing Guru – at least she said she was. She wrote a book that some claimed was the hippest publication in our industry – cutting edge all the way. The author advised against approaching your “warm market” because family, friends, associates and neighbors are the most likely to PUKE on your new business. If they puke on your business, the author contended, you will become discouraged and quit. The author’s favorite words are PUKE, PUKEY and PUKER. These nice words were used dozens of times in the book. Since I was not looking forward to being PUKED on and becoming a PUKEE I decided not to approach our “warm market.” Not to approach our warm market was really PUKEY guidance. We certainly recommend that you disregard this advice and be sure to approach your warm market
Misadventure #6. The Cold Call Telemarketing Nightmare.
They say that Cold Call Telemarketing builds character. As an experiment I set a goal of 125 cold calls in one week to names randomly selected from the White Pages. I set half a day aside for five straight days – three mornings and two afternoons to make 25 calls each day.
I had read an article by some telemarketing guru suggesting that you should not start at the beginning of the alphabet because everybody does that. He suggested that you start with the “Zs” and work backward. That idea alone should have been a clue that the guru was warped.
Have you ever tried to pronounce the names in the Z section of the White Pages. Anybody here have a name that begins with Z?
After call number ten in the “Zs” I went back to the “As.” I had no success whatsoever until day four when I reached call number 95. I said, “Hello my name is Dave and my company is seeking folks here in Southern New Jersey who may be interested in building a Home Based Business. Would you like to hear more?”
Without hesitation the guy said “Yes, I sure would like to hear more. I have been looking for something and I am glad you called.”
Now can you guess what comes next? I was totally, regrettably and inexcusably NOT READY FOR A YES!
It’s like the old story of a dog that chases a car barking and panting and when the car stops the poor dog has caught his car. But he does not know what to do with it. Should he run circles around the car barking viciously, bite the bumper or pee on the tire. That’s where I was. I could really relate to that old dog.
After a very long pause I eventually mumbled something quite incoherent. The guy was very polite and still interested even after my babbling and he suggested we get together for coffee. (Now the invitation to go for coffee was supposed to be my line). We got together a week later and he enrolled. He was one of our very first Associates.
Although they say that Cold Call Telemarketing builds character – after that week I concluded that I had enough character. (Besides, cold call telemarketing is now taboo.l)
Misadventure #7. Advertising in all the Wrong Places with all the Wrong Approaches.
If you check the guidance offered by the Summit Group you will learn what advertising approaches work and are most productive. We did not have any experience in advertising in this business model so we wasted tons of money and had very little positive results. We used large expensive display ads to recruit. We used ads to try and sell the products. We advertised in all the wrong places with all the wrong approaches and this proved to be one of our most costly misadventures. We strongly suggest that you use the advertising approaches suggested by the Summit Group.
Misadventure #8. The Great Door Knob Hanger Project.
With the blessing of our sponsor, who said it was a great idea, we prepared several hundred door hanger units. We affixed these to door knobs in the more affluent parts of our community. We included in each bag a special letter inviting the recipient to look at our business and try our products, a brochure from Watkins, two samples and a Monthly Sales Catalog.
The cost of purchasing, assembling and delivering was quite heavy. But we did get one response. A guy called and said, “I know where you live and if you ever put any more of your Bleep Bleep junk on my door knob I will stop by and kick your Bleep.”
I checked caller ID and I learned that I knew of the guy. He is about six feet eight and 300 pounds of all muscle and no fat. We have since shelved the door knob hanger project and you may want to also.
Misadventure #9. My Visionary Fundraiser Campaign Fiasco.
When Watkins introduced the Fundraiser Program with Free enrollment for 501C3 Non-Profit Organizations and a FREE Watkins Website, I was ecstatic. As a former School administer I had some experience with Fundraiser Programs. I looked at this program and was immediately sold on its great merit and I knew instantly that it was my ticket to riches in Watkins. I called my Sponsor and he affirmed that I could create my legacy as Watkins greatest fundraiser Champion.
I spent one year approaching 5000 Non-Profit organizations in Southern New Jersey through Direct mail and telephone campaigns. I made personal presentations to more than sixty non-profit boards. I designed a training program for non-profits to use to implement their Watkins fundraiser program. We signed 12 Non-Profits and collectively they produced less that a $1000 in sales. I will not go into all of the reasons why this program simply does not work. In theory it has magnificent potential, but it also has too many barriers and constraints to overcome to be successful.
The great Fundraiser Campaign wasted a year of my Watkins time and cost several thousands of dollars in expenses. It proved to be the most costly of all of our misadventures. It is certainly okay to support a local non-profit with a Watkins Fundraiser, but we strongly recommend that you do not make Fundraising a major element of your Watkins Business Plan.
Misadventure #10. Our First and Only Large Group Business Opportunity Meeting (A Near Death Experience).
I Read another book by a Network Marketing professional who claimed that the only way to build a network quickly and expansively was to hold large group meetings. So I decided to become the fastest growing Associate in Watkins by hosting large recruiting meetings – not thousands of people but 25 or 30 at a time. That certainly seemed manageable.
It took me a month to prepare, invite and get 23 people to the first meeting. We used the training room in my consulting practice offices. It was a very pleasant and comfortable setting. Everybody was seated at tables with coverings a pitcher of ice water and glasses. The walls were lined with Watkins Product displays and samples. An entire table of dips and drinks and a heaping pile of Snickerdoodles was positioned in the back. It took a week just to set up the room.
Another table had a large array of Watkins Publications and presentations that I had produced. As I think back on it the whole event was an exercise in sensory overload. I was determined to totally indoctrinate those 23 guests and pour all of my knowledge of Watkins into their heads in 90 minutes.
We had some basic introductions and then we went into the classic Power Point presentation that I had produced. It was a real dog and pony show meticulously prepared and competently executed. After the Power Point we had a short Question and Answer period. Things were going well. I was on a roll.
Then we introduced the products. We tasted, smelled, rubbed and extolled the virtues of Watkins World-Class Products. We emphasized all of the features and benefits and incentives to buy.
Then we re-emphasized how the products were the foundation for an exemplary business system. Now I was in the zone. I was right up there with some of the best Pitchmen you have ever seen on TV. You know – the guys who sell food choppers for $19.95 with one extra if you call within the next eight minutes.
As my final shot at demonstrating the products I picked up one of my favorites – Citrus Room Freshener. I began spritzing the room freshener and it did not take long for the entire room to deliciously smell like a Florida Orange Grove in peak season. I was spritzing and spritzing all over the room. Remember I am now in the zone – on a roll – unstoppable – spritzing!
And then the unthinkable happened. A poor lady in the front row started wheezing and gasping for air. She grabbed her chest and throat and started turning blue. In an instant I realized that my over abundance of Citrus Freshener had launched a full blown medical emergency. I quickly got the help of another guest and we half led and half carried her outside to the grassy knoll next to the building. I remember other guests standing over her fanning her with Watkins Catalogs to give her more oxygen.
It took the longest 5 minutes in my life for her to start breathing normally. I apologized profusely and offered to drive her home. She turned out to be a very gracious Lady and really got me off the hook by saying it was as much her fault as mine. She knew she had an asthmatic condition and should have warned me after my first spritz.
I was very happy to see her fully recovered and driving out of the driveway into the night. But along with her tail-lights I saw several other pairs of tail-lights disappearing into the night. I lost at least half of my guests. I spritzed them right out of my life.
I encouraged the remaining guests to return to the presentation room and have some refreshments and talk about the business. I realize now that the only thing that drew them back to the room was our big pile of Snickerdoodles. Nobody expressed any desire to learn more about the business. One-by-one they said thanks for the great cookies and disappeared into the night.
I went home to a very sleepless night.
First thing in the morning I called the Lady who had the asthma attack. I apologized again and like the night before she was very gracious and told me not to worry – she was fine. We did not talk about the business.
I called every other guest over the next two days. Three actually took my calls. One simply said, “I am not interested.”
One said, “Maybe sometime down the road but not now.
The third guy, a young IT Professional, was a gem and spent nearly a half hour with me. He said, “I really appreciated what you were trying to do at your meeting but at the risk of offending you – I sense that you do not understand the power and driving dynamics of network marketing. He then took me to school. This is the gist of what he said:
* Presentation too complex – overwhelming – sensory overload
* It was not duplicatable.
* I could not do it – no guest in that room could have made that type of presentation.
* Very few people can afford that type of facility for a meeting.
* You did not involve your guests enough.
* There was a brief Q&A but never once did you really try to understand what we wanted.
* At many points it was more like a college lecture.
* Presentation was too sophisticated.
* Most people would be hard-pressed to get that many people in a room at one time.
* The whole presentation smacked of being too costly and far too much work.
* Obviously there was a big time commitment in putting it all together.
* Nobody in the room could pull off that event
* Had to bake and prepare food – Ugh!
* If that is what is required to be successful in Watkins it is not for me.
Based on that experience the grand group meetings are history. Fran and I now have group presentations around our kitchen table. We periodically invite two or three people to get together and share the business opportunity. We also have periodic meetings with our local Associates who are encouraged to invite prospects to meet with us. These meetings are very casual and more personalized presentations.
Surviving Misadventures and Miscalculations.
As you hear of these Misadventures and Miscalculations you might wonder why and how we are still in business. How can you do so many things so badly and still survive? Well, we also have done a lot of right things but they were not the featured theme of the day. Most importantly, we have been very fortunate to sponsor some real champions. We have also learned over the years that our business model is very forgiving. We can make mistakes and go off on misadventures and still survive.
Seated in this room today are many PEAK PERFORMERS who are a part of our Watkins Team. They are the real reason that we have been able to survive our misadventures and thrive.
Would all of the PEAK PERFORMERS in the room who are a part of the Daisey Group please stand. These PEAK PERFORMERS represent the reason we have been able to survive our misadventures and miscalculations and thrive in our business. Thank you team for your remarkable energy, creativity and leadership. Fran and I Love You and “Thank You” from the bottom of our hearts!
Thank all of you and God Bless!