It’s often said that a business is nothing without it’s people.

In the referral marketing space, that statement rings true daily.

Whether making a strategic internal staff hire or recruiting a new sales executive, referral marketing and direct sales business are in the end people businesses and that grow on the basis of the people involved.

When you look at the top field leadership of a direct selling company, there are many different seasons of life that these men and women have been through with your organization. These team members started like every new recruit in your sales organization but grabbed hold of the vision, invested countless hours bringing their best to your organization, and earned amazing rewards.

Maintaining a thriving relationship with these ‘super fan’ leaders is KEY to your companies long-term stability and growth.

To dig into the topic, Ben Dixon, CEO at Naxum, invited three incredible executives from the referral marketing space. The panel included:

Kevin Crandall, VP of Sales @Shaklee

David Fleming, CSO @Norwex

Michael Hutchinson, Founder @inCruises

The questions for the broadcast on Facebook included:

1) What are two qualities you look for in a top field leader?

One, is optimism, because, we’ve been … well, we’re still going through an incredibly weird time, unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before. And what I found is that the leaders who are optimistic about life, about their business, about all of the things going on, understanding that things are going to work out. It may not work out the way we expected it to, it may not quite fit the plan that we have in our mind, but it’s so important to their success.

And then the second one, which is just as important, in my mind, if not maybe more important, is something I call grit. Things pop up, challenges happen, and you can see in the successful leaders that they are unflappable when it comes to getting through those challenges. And to me, it’s grit, it’s the ability to look down the barrel of a problem and not be afraid of it, and say, “We’re going to get through it. And it might be tough, and it might be a big challenge in my life, but I’m going to get through it.”
– Dave Fleming, CSO Norwex

2) When motivating and growing your companies, what are your favorite ways to communicate and interact with top field leaders?

Things get missed, people misunderstand it the first time, and so it’s important to have that consistency of communication, and have those channels that people feel confident in, they can plug in, there’s a trust there that the dialogue is going to be shared professionally. Some people aren’t going to receive all the communications in a good way. But I think just that consistency, knowing where they can go get the information, and being transparent and open, so that they feel like they’re bought in, that they understand.

And for me, it always starts with the why. If you go into what we’re doing, and how we’re doing it, before you ever show why you’re doing it, I think that causes people to have that … they put up barriers, they put up those shields to say, “Wait a minute, I need to know how this impacts me before I can share it with others.” The why, to me, is crucial. So the why, being consistent, and then giving them a platform to plug in and feel that there’s trust and that they can have that ongoing dialogue.
-Kevin Crandall, Head Of Sales Shaklee

3) What do you define as your secret sauce for motivating people(who already have their financial needs met) to continue to dig deep to grow the company?

Yeah. I’d say two answers. Number one, just to be that role model, to be that example, to be that role model of possibility. I tell my team all the time, “I have nothing to prove in this world except to improve and to get better.” And so it starts with me, by not what I say, but what I do.

I never ever will tell my team to do something that I either haven’t done or do myself. I keep a gratitude journal. I’m taking notes today in this daily gratitude journal. I’m grateful to be in the energy of you, Ben, and the brilliance of Dave and Kevin, guys that have years of experience beyond what I ever have. And so I think being in that place of gratitude, and being a role model.

And at the same time, because I focus on being that role model, I also have that ability to challenge my team. That’s the second secret sauce, is I challenge my leaders. I just say, “Hey, listen, bro, come on. Really? You’ve given back to your community as much as you think you can? Seriously?” So I will lovingly get in their face and challenge them to grow, be better than they were today than they were yesterday.

But that ultimately starts with me being that example of growth. And again, I have nothing to prove except to improve and to get better. And as long as I am humble enough to admit that I’m not where I want to be, but thank goodness I’m not where I used to be, then that creates positive momentum with my team.
– Mike Hutchinson, Founder inCruises

4) What is your favorite way to celebrate victories?

We did a fun thing, we celebrated our fifth year anniversary. We’re still a baby, we’re still in diapers. For our fifth year anniversary, I used a website called Cameo,, and so you can hire celebrities to do shout outs. I have a top Spanish leader on my team, who’s actually an avid golfer, and so I hired Sergio Garcia, Masters Champion, to reach out to him, and just give him a shout out, and just say, “Hey, you’re doing great things, and this is your year, stay strong.”

I hired Nadia Comaneci, the first female Olympian to achieve a 10, and she did a shout out to one of our Romanian leaders. I had Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, reach out to a Mexican leader. So anything that you can do out of the box, out of the ordinary, is something I’d recommend.
– Mike Hutchinson, Founder inCruises

About The Author:
Ben Dixon LOVES referral marketing. His family found direct sales back in 2006 and had success using technology to create home-based businesses. Since 2010, Ben has focused on serving referral marketing, party plan, mlm, and direct sales companies across the globe with the technology they require to empower their passionate fans to virally grow their businesses.

To see other episodes from the direct selling executives forum, visit the youtube channel.

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