CORPORATE DIRECTORS III Lance and Michelle Smith have used the internet as a means for growing their contact list since the beginning of their Melaleuca business in 2000. For the Smiths, the idea was never to blast friends with spam emails or post advertisements on the fringes of popular websites. Their goal was always to make a connection and establish a relationship.
With the growth in the popularity of social media in recent years (Facebook claims 1.11 billion users worldwide), Lance and Michelle have turned to sites like Facebook and Pinterest to reconnect with people they already know but haven’t seen in years.
“When people start writing their contact lists, they typically think only of the people in their immediate past,” Lance says. “They forget about all of those sorority sisters and frat brothers, all of the high school sports teammates and classmates—everyone they knew 15 years ago instead of two or three years ago. The nice thing about Facebook is there’s no gettingto-know-you period; they remember you, so they already know you and trust you.”
Lance doesn’t pin copies of his checks on Pinterest or make sales pitches on his Facebook page; as well as violating Melaleuca’s policies, Lance says, things like that “turn people off.” So
instead, he starts the same way he would if he were reconnecting with someone in person.
“After someone accepts my friend request, I’ll go to their profile and see how they’re doing,” he says. “And I’m sincerely interested in how things have turned out for them—I’m not just doing
it to enroll someone. I’ll look at their photos to see if they have a family, and then I’ll spend some time rekindling old relationships. I try to find what they care about so I’ll know what to lead with when I talk about Melaleuca.”
Lance sends a private message or an email saying, essentially, “How are you?” or, “How’s your family?” Eventually, the conversation turns to, “What are you doing for work now?” and Lance invites more curiosity.
“I’ll say, ‘Things turned out great for me—I have four kids and a great wife, and we’re both really blessed to work from home,’” Lance says. “When they see that, they forget all about my great wife and four kids, and all they see is that Michelle and I work from home. When they ask what we do, I’ll say, ‘Enough with this technology stuff—give me your phone number, and I’ll give you an old-fashioned phone call so we can reconnect.’”
From time to time, Lance might post a photo of himself and Michelle at President’s Club or Standing Executive Leadership Council, or he might even post a photo of them receiving an award at the
Convention banquet. But for Lance, posting pictures is just another way to stimulate curiosity.
“People need to watch their privacy settings; you don’t want the whole world to see what you’re doing on Facebook,” Lance says. “And if you’re using Facebook, use it—don’t spend the whole day on
there playing solitaire. Look around and ask yourself, ‘Who can I help?’ and, ‘How can I help them?’
“Earlier this year, we enrolled a friend of mine I hadn’t seen in 25 years—Barbara, who I reconnected with on Facebook. For the first eight or nine months, all we did was rekindle a relationship with her. Now, she has enrolled 35 personal customers and advanced to Pacesetter Director III.