The first action step to building your business is developing your written names list. Our business is PRIMARILY driven by word of mouth – Not traditional advertising, not commercials, not banner ads, not spam, not flyers… our business grows when one person makes a meaningful connection to another person. That usually happens over the phone, in-person, and occasionally through e-mail or other technologies.
What’s unique about our industry is that if you want to reach a million people, you don’t have to go out and personally talk to 15,000 people each year for 66 years. Rather, you can develop a team of people who share in the task, benefiting from the results proportionately. A hundred people who each add 10 people, who show the business idea 15 times per month, would reach a million people in 5 ½ years. Get the idea?
So why do we have to write people’s names down on paper? As long as they’re accessible, why bother? For one, it’s always best to keep information out of your brain and on paper so you have room to think. It’s also a good way to keep track of who you’ve called, shown the plan to, left materials with, etc. Remember, we’re not planning a social; we’re building a business.
Every new Team Member who joins your team also needs to be walked through the process of writing out a names list. Why? Because the next potential leader in your group, or someone who may eventually lead you to one, is most likely going to come from their written names list. Why would any Team Member in their right mind leave something so significant to chance?
Left to chance, most people never write out a names list. Left to chance, the people who do write out a names list write down less than ten names. Left to chance, those ten names are the least successful people they know. And left to chance, those people won’t be teachable or motivated, they won’t build the business, and your team will not grow. So set your team up for success by learning, doing, and teaching a written names list.
Helping people make a written names list is a simple task that pays big dividends. Your objective is to have people write down the names of everyone they know. You’re looking for “PHDs” – not the doctor kind – but people who are Poorer than they want, Hungry, and Determined to change their situation.
Don’t prejudge anyone. Sometimes people avoid writing down the names of people who they think already “have it all.” Remember that just because someone has everything you want doesn’t mean that they have everything they want. And just because someone doesn’t have much doesn’t mean that they aren’t ambitious. Until a person comes face to face with this business opportunity, there’s no telling what they’ll actually do.
Anyone who has been on the planet for over 18 years ought to know the names of at least a couple hundred people they could write down on a list. But asking the question, “Who do you know?” usually draws a blank because it’s too broad of a realm. Our minds tend to compartmentalize information so it’s easier for us to think of people in categories like: friends, family, work, school, gym/ workout, associations, clubs, sports (kids teams), music, networking group, online community, neighbors, church/temple, cultural (ex. Latino). Start by thinking of at least three categories of people and write those categories across the top of a piece of paper.
Here are some additional categories/occupations that may help jog your memory:
Starting with the first category, write down all the names of the people who come to mind. When you draw a blank, move on tothe next category, and then the next until there are names filled in for each category. For example, if you wrote down your work or career as a category, people who would fall into this list would include people you work with in your office or establishment of business. You would also include people you come in contact with at work, like employees from other departments, vendors, sales people, account reps, etc.
Let’s say you work as a food server in a restaurant. People in your “work” category might include:
Other food servers
People in delivery
Host staff and Matre’D
Food and Service vendors
Kitchen staff and “bus boys”
Restaurant or hotel managers
Most of us have some way of compiling contact information for the people we know. The most common is our cell phone. Consider these sources as well: address book, Franklin planner, an e-mail program, iPhones/smart phones, iPads/Tablet PCs. We may also havea pre-made list of names from a recent graduation, birthday party, wedding, or family gathering. Access these resources to help put together an initial list.
Write down at least ten names in each category. If you can think of more, keep going, don’t stop at just three categories with ten names. When you are finished writing down all the names of the people you know, go back to the first category and look at the names you wrote down. Ask yourself, who is the most influential person in that group? Who has the most credibility with others? Who do people listen to and turn to for advice? Who organizes the get-togethers? Bring that name to the top of the list.
Continue to finesse the rest of the names in that category in order of influence. When you are done with that category, do the same with the rest of the categories on your list. You may also want to prioritize people by location. When first starting your business it is most efficient to start with people who are within an hour’s drive.
Your names list will either be an asset or a liability in your business. With little to no names on it, your list is a liability costing you belief, attitude, and posture. With an abundance of names on it, your list is an asset. It adds to your excitement, your belief, and your confidence. It can also be used to motivate new Team Members in your team. When someone knows that she is going to benefit from everything that happens with the other people in her category on your list, it adds to her belief and willingness to become an encouraging team player.
The goal is not simply to have a list, but to get names off the list. Names lists should be dynamic, constantly moving, and changing. Revisit your list often and rewrite it monthly to get rid of any names you’ve crossed off. The last thing you want when you go to call someone new on your list is to see the names of people who may have already said “No.” Don’t let your list become an eyesore. Keep it fresh and focused on the future potential of your business.
In the first week after starting his business, Sean called every name in his cell phone and invited them to see the business plan. Every name that is, except the three most successful people he knew. He wanted to establish some results before talking to them about the business because he felt he lacked credibility. That year, Sean worked his tail off trying to make something happen with the people he registered from his initial blast of calls. But very little happened in the way of results and Sean grew frustrated. After hearing a speaker at a weekend conference, he decided to call the three successful people he had hesitated to call before. All three chose to get registered in the business and within 18 months, two of them hit the Marketing Director. Sean’s other legs watched the new growth and excitement and caught fire too. Sean was a qualified National Marketing Director with several legs exploding the following year.