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How To Keep Your Down line From Driving You Insane

Do you ever get disappointed with your down line? People who say they’re going to do something but then they don’t

Consultants or Reps who suddenly go missing after you’ve invested time and energy in them? People who seem to have a lot of potential but who just aren’t coach-able?

Your Responsibility to Your Down line

As I was sitting here earlier browsing a particular online community for direct sales, I saw a lot of familiar faces from back in 2010 when I first joined some of whom even ended up joining my own down line.

It was almost like flipping through the pages of an old year book. I found myself wondering –what happened to all those people.

They just kind of disappeared.

Going from one profile to the next I noticed that the last time some community members had posted anything on the site was “2 years ago”, “23 weeks ago’.

I then clicked on some of their links… As anticipated I got plenty error message. It was clear that they were not in business anymore.

I was suddenly struck by an overwhelming sense of sadness. Like I said, some of these men and women were at one time in my down line. I talked to them. I coached them. I sat next to them at events some I even won trips with.

I believed in them. I wanted them to succeed.

I probably wanted them to succeed more than they wanted it for themselves.

And I think that’s exactly what the problem was…

Direct sales and The “People Problem”

In Direct sales we often talk about “the people problem”…the very real issue we face as leaders building a team:

Most people are not cut out to be entrepreneurs and have no business being in business. Yet they are and they ended up on our teams, in our down line.

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”.

Well, there’s a lot of truth to this saying – and it most certainly holds true when applied to your down line.

Diamonds And Parasites in Your Down line

I remember when I was new to direct sales and my up line said to me, “Mike, you’re a diamond. Just be careful you don’t expect everyone else to be like you because then you will only be disappointed.”

Well, I WAS disappointed. Because for the life of me I couldn’t understand why my new down line members didn’t do anything, why they didn’t have the same work ethic as me!

Maybe you’ve experienced the same. Maybe you’re experiencing it right now. If so, I want to caution you. Be careful not to become emotionally attached.

Watch out for parasites of your time. Let your down line earn it before you spend one-on-one time with them. Your time should be spent not where it is needed but where it is deserved. Big difference

All You Got to Do Is Throw the Ball

One thing I started doing with my down line members, which was very helpful, was that I gave them tasks. Only if and when the tasks were completed would I give them my time.

It was sort of like throwing a ball back and forth. I’d give them some homework, and they’d report back to me that the task was completed. I’d give them another project and we’d talk again.

Like that, the ball would go back and forth.

But if the ball was in their court and wasn’t thrown back, it would stop right there. No conversation would take place unless and until the task was completed. It was always effort for effort.

And this is also why I lost contact with many of the people in my down line – the people whose profiles I now stumbled upon in the particular online community: They never threw the ball back.

They never did what they were supposed to do. They never took action. I was busy supporting those that did.

Focusing On the Right People on Your Team

You simply can’t go around worrying about the people in your down line, letting their personal dramas keep you awake at night.

I’ll admit that at times it has been hard for me not to as I really care about each and every person I bring in to my team. But one thing I have learned is that you have to keep a distance emotionally, otherwise you’ll become completely exhausted.

Because you’re dealing with so many people all the time…and your team just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And you’re still only ONE person.

Remember, you want your down line to become independent – not dependent on you. That doesn’t help them AT ALL. And you really have to look out for yourself too. If you spread yourself too thin, you will NOT be an effective leader.

You Go…Then Let Them Follow

The good news is that it all becomes easier with experience and as you grow thicker skin. It becomes easier not to be emotionally attached. And it gets easier to determine who is deserving of your time and who isn’t.

Remember, your task as the leader of your team is one thing and one thing only…namely to lead. That’s it.

Lead by showing the way. And rather than leading the horse to the water, try this: You go to the water to drink first, setting the example, and then let whoever wants to follow, follow…

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