In his latest how-to book, Fleming (LaunchSmart, 2018) doles out advice for building a successful direct-selling business.
At the start of this book, the author compares the launch of a new marketing company to an airplane takeoff; in order to reach cruising altitude, he writes, a pilot must go full throttle at the start. The runway represents the first 90 days of a company’s existence, during which speed is imperative for success. Fleming’s own career took off more than 40 years ago, when he made a living selling Kirby vacuum cleaners door to door in and around Lincoln, Nebraska. Now he represents ServiceQuest, a company that provides coaching, consulting, training, and support services for direct-marketing businesses. In this easy-to-read guide for newcomers, Fleming shares some selling techniques that’s he’s learned over the years—for example, how to handle people who may be easily offended. His book is chock-full of practical, hands-on advice, including how to build a contact list, how to deal with tough customer questions, and how to conduct effective follow-up meetings. Fleming’s smooth, conversational prose style is breezy, upbeat, and inspirational. For example, when discussing the difficulty of rejection, he quips, “In the recorded history of Network Marketing (since 1959) no distributor, associate or consultant has ever been physically killed because a person said ‘NO’ to them.” There are, however, a few notions that some readers will dislike, such as the idea of selling to family and close friends; there’s even an eye-rolling example of a sample conversation to have with one’s mother. Additionally, the author’s advice for selling to subordinates at work seems problematic, as they may feel obligated to listen, or even spend money, because of the relationship’s power imbalance. However, there’s a lot of advice here that readers will find more tasteful, such as how to strike up business conversations with casual acquaintances. And, in a gentle tone, Fleming always recommends honesty as the best policy.
A friendly, down-to-earth sales guide, despite a couple of odd moments.