One of my favorite MLM consultants once told me that the key to successful MLM consulting is to learn to listen. To a large degree she was right. But in some respects, she had missed the mark with her advice.
Listening is important, don’t get me wrong. As MLM consultants we are called on to solve hosts of problems laid in front of us. Understanding certainly begins with listening. It also requires observing.
A practice that has stayed with me for decades was first taught to me by Frank VanderSloot, CEO of Melaleuca with headquarters in Idaho Falls, Idaho. When he hired me to work with him in 1988, he explained that my job was to “keep the distributors happy.” He went on to challenge me to help him create an enterprise that placed—truly valued—the distributor as the center of the Melaleuca universe.
We didn’t realize at the time that this was the most important practice in creating the company culture that would stay with it, and to a large degree contribute to its extraordinary growth, for decades. And the key to creating the distributor-centered enterprise was to observe.
Decades later, as MLM consultants, we still follow the basic disciplines developed in the halls of the once-tiny Melaleuca: Observe.
Observation has valuable facets. For instance, by creating a two-step distributor service method (step 1 – handle the immediate call / email / inquiry from the distributor, step 2 – consider what went wrong in the first place and formulate a recommendation that is passed along for action). This requires observation by the employee, her co-workers, her team leaders and supervisor, and stakeholders from other areas in the company.
Good MLM consultants will do the same, as they observe from many angles, for a variety of reasons, in order to discover causes and effects of company operations at all levels.
Terrel Transtrum is Founder and CEO of ServiceQuest, a global consulting and training firm specializing in MLM and direct selling. firstname.lastname@example.org