Who Do I Talk To? How To Find Customers

Boy oh boy, this is the holy grail in network marketing.  How to find customers is THE number-one concern for new business people.

There are lots of variations of this concern.  “But I don’t know anybody.”  “I never meet new people.”  “I’m shy, I don’t like talking to large groups.”

In my opinion, people who have this concern are looking at the problem backwards.  Going up to perfect strangers in the grocery store and prospecting them for your business is the LAST thing you want to do!

The very FIRST thing to do is to take a thorough stock of the types of problems your product or service solves.  A nutrition company helps people with obesity, fatigue, and a host of other health problems.  A cookware company helps those who love to cook but don’t have the proper tools.  A skincare company helps people who are concerned about their appearance OR want more natural products to pamper their bodies.

Once you thoroughly understand all the products in your line and the types of problems they address, you can begin to define YOUR ideal customer.  There are WAY too many people out there for you to serve them all.  This is actually backwards to what most network marketing companies push.  To them everyone with a pulse who walks on two legs is a prospective customer.  Ha!  That’s a recipe for confusion and frustration.

As an example, MY network marketing company has four lines of products:  nutritional supplements, weight loss products, nontoxic cleaning products, and a natural skin care line.  I have LOTS of opportunity and LOTS of marketing possibilities.  However, I find myself drawn to two types of customers:  those who want to lose weight, and those with health problems that benefit from nutritional supplementation (like fatigue, migraines and stress).

My ideal customer is an obese person who wants to lose weight, or a person who wants to use supplements to address a health concern rather than (or in addition to) medications.

Once you know who your ideal customer is, you have to figure out where they are, then go to them.  I’m very blessed that usually my network marketing customers walk through the door of my main business!  (I’m a family doctor, if you didn’t already know that.)  However, the concept is the same.

For instance, for a cookware company you might host a series of cooking classes (“brought to you by XYZ company”) and market them inexpensively on Facebook or Twitter, in your church bulletin or by word-of-mouth.  After the class you give away a small door prize in return for the attendees’ contact information.  This gives you more people to market to, to ask for referrals, and build your network.

In addition to standard marketing activity, when you become comfortable with your product line you will find yourself hearing friends, family and sometimes strangers commenting on problems that your products solve.  Then it’s very natural to say something like “I just heard you say that you’re having trouble losing weight.  I know of something that can help with that.  Would you be open to hearing more?”

You CAN have a thriving network marketing business without alienating everyone you know.  It takes training, patience and stick-to-it-iveness!  However, if entrepreneurship and home business ownership were easy, everyone would do it.

If you haven’t read my previous network marketing posts, you can find them and do some catch-up reading here 🙂

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4 Options For Instant Stress Relief

Last week we talked about how stress can make you gain weight.  Stress does lots of other bad things to you and your body.

What do you do when you’re stressed?  Here are 4 (reasonably) simple things you can do to create instant stress relief.

1.  Exercise

Exercise is a GREAT stress reliever.  It releases endorphins which are feel-good hormones active in the brain.  Exercise also improves sleep quality, increases your energy levels and boosts your metabolism.  If stress is causing sleep trouble, fatigue or weight gain, the FIRST thing to do is to make sure you get sweaty and out-of-breath several times a week!

2.  Breathe

One of the major benefits of meditation is stress relief.  In addition, it can lower blood pressure and improve concentration.  How do you meditate if no one has ever taught you how?

Meditation is nothing more than breathing and quieting your mind.  Some people like to use an outside object to help them focus.  Examples include a piece of jewelry or a stone that has meaning to you, or maybe a candle flame.  You simply focus your eyes on the object and concentrate on your breathing.

I personally sit quietly in a comfortable chair and close my eyes, concentrating on my slow deep breaths while allowing my mind to relax.  If I’m having trouble relaxing my mind I actually visualize my mind as a tightly closed fist.  I’ll clench one of my fists in my lap and then SLOOOOOWLY relax it until it’s lying loose, palm-up, on my lap.  While I’m relaxing my hand muscle by muscle, it seems to help my mind loosen up too.  Usually by the time my hand is fully open, my mind is quiet and open too.

Meditation doesn’t need to take up a long time.  Even five or ten minutes is helpful.  And just like any other activity the more you practice, the easier and more enjoyable it becomes.

3.  DO something!

Stress is very closely linked to fear.  Usually when you are under stress it’s because you’re afraid of something.  Maybe you’re afraid you won’t get all your work done on time, you won’t have any money left after the bills are paid, or your spouse isn’t happy in your marriage.  Lots of things are stressful, and they’re usually driven by fear.

The antidote to fear is ACTION.  What stresses you, what scares you?  What can you DO about it?  If you’re stressed about your workload, take a time management course or speak to your boss about delegating some of your tasks to others.  Or just pick the number-one task, turn off all distractions and work on it until it’s done. (Then check it off the list!)  Sit down with your budget and pick one expense that you can reduce or eliminate.  Talk to your spouse about setting up some special “us” time to work on your relationship.

Don’t just sit there and stress about it!  Pick one little (or big) thing and DO it!

4.  Supplements

Some supplements for stress take time to work.  B Complex and St. John’s wort are good examples.  (They don’t take long, but at least a few days to a few weeks.)  Others take almost no time at all.  L-theanine and ashwagandha act very quickly to decrease the symptoms of stress.  Many of my patients have gotten good results with Shaklee’s Stress Relief Complex.  You can see detailed information about it in this PDF.  If you’d like to try it yourself, the link to order is here.

You can check my page on stress for more information about the physiology of stress and about the supplements mentioned above.

Many people feel helpless when it comes to stress.  You aren’t helpless.  You can take control of it and manage it using some fairly simple strategies.

QUESTION:  Are you using any of the stress relief techniques discussed above?

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Stress And Weight Gain

Raise your hand if you’re stressed.  No, seriously!  Can’t you see my hand waving in the air too?

OK, now put your hand down if you DON’T have trouble managing your weight.  Yep, almost all those hands are still up there.

There is definitely an association between stress and weight gain.  I see it over and over in the office.  The question is why?  Well I wanted to know too, so I went to the database to see if there’s any recent research to shed light on this subject.

(By the way, if you ever want to look up the latest research on any given topic, the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed database is free and open to the public.)

First of all, I know (and just about everyone else knows) that we tend to eat more and eat the wrong foods when we’re under too much stress.  Why is that?  There was an article published in Biological Psychiatry last year that suggested overeating and eating super-tasty (called “hyperpalatable”) foods triggered dopamine release in the brain.  This is the “pleasure hormone” and is also released during sex and with drug abuse.

It’s well-known that stress decreases dopamine levels.  Certain behaviors like eating, sex and taking drugs raise dopamine levels and “soothe” stress.  This may be why medications like Wellbutrin, which is an antidepressant that raises dopamine levels, often leads to weight loss.  I use Wellbutrin with my weight loss patients who struggle with stress, and it helps a lot.

A group in Italy published a paper last year suggesting that stress can trigger an almost addictive behavior relating to food.  Chronic stress may be able to change pathways in the brain, triggering compulsive eating behaviors similar to behaviors seen in addicts.  Yikes!

So where does your stress come from?  Probably the most significant source of stress for most of us is our job.  Is there any evidence of a relationship between job stress and weight gain?

Yep.

There’s growing evidence that the more stressful your job is, the more you will struggle with weight gain.  The Journal of Nursing Administration reported that nurses who worked longer hours and moved around less while doing their job were more likely to be obese.  The Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health also found an association between working long hours, working overtime, and weight gain/obesity.

So what can we do?  Obviously not many of us are able to quit our jobs or find totally stress-free jobs.  Managing and reducing our stress with healthy behaviors is critically important in maintaining our weight.

A detailed discussion of stress reduction methods is outside the scope of this post.  Besides, I’ve discussed this topic before.  The important thing is for you to be AWARE of your stress level before it drives you to seek foods that aren’t good for you.

Many people turn to supplements for stress reduction.  For more information about supplements that can help with stress, please check this page.

QUESTION:  What do you think of the comparison between stress-related eating behaviors and addiction?  Have there been times when your eating was uncontrollable because of stress?

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Dr. Jen’s Teddy Bear Hospital

Once upon a time, there was a teddy bear.

His name is Dr. Theodore Brown (AKA Dr. Ted) and he is a very well respected and distinguished doctor in the teddy bear community.

Unfortunately he had several patients who needed even more expertise.  So he came to his friend who is a people doctor in the human world.

I told Dr. Ted that because I’m a people doctor I wasn’t sure how to help his bear patients, but that I knew where we could find some exceptional teddy bear doctors.

Dr. Ted and I brought our patients to the Broadview Heights Home Days and immediately went in search of doctors to treat our patients!

In about five hours we had about 30 doctors attempt to treat our patients.  That was awesome!  Here are pictures of some of our young doctors:

Even my own young doctor-in-training couldn’t resist the lure of sick and injured teddy bears!

Several moms posted pictures of their little healers on my Facebook page!

If you’re in the southern Cuyahoga County area, please feel free to stop by Broadview Heights Home Days and bring your little ones.

Home Days hours are 3-11 Saturday and Sunday, but I have a scheduling conflict so I will only be there after 7 PM Saturday.  However, I’ll be there all day Sunday!

You can find the teddy bear hospital next to the Legion of Terror (Bloodview Haunted House’s Lions Club volunteers) and two booths down from the DJ.  We have great music, but sometimes it’s a little loud 🙂

While the little ones are healing the teddies, UH Parma‘s community health nurses are checking grownups’ blood pressure.  The nurses are great at giving our young doctors an assist too!

Dr. Ted reports that his teddy bear patients are resting comfortably at home, much improved after the expert care they received at our hospital.  He wanted me to thank everyone for the good wishes and the excellent medical care!

He tells me that there are several other bears that aren’t quite feeling well, and he wants to bring them out this weekend.  Do you know any children with the healing touch?  We could sure use their help!  Hope to see you soon!

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Religious Freedom And Birth Control

This week the Supreme Court decided that privately held companies have the same right to religious freedom as individuals.  This means that family businesses like Hobby Lobby and organizations like Little Sisters Of The Poor and the Roman Catholic Church can’t be forced to provide health insurance that covers services that violate their religious beliefs.

This debate has been very difficult for the country.  On the one hand, access to effective contraception and family-planning services is very important for public health.  Preventing unwanted pregnancy is a valuable goal.

On the other hand, the issue is really about who has to pay for these family-planning services.  The Roman Catholic Church has taught for centuries that artificial means of preventing pregnancy (like condoms, birth control pills, IUDs, permanent sterilization and abortion) are morally wrong.  Whether or not YOU believe this isn’t really the point.  The point is that the US Constitution protects that belief and the right to practice it.

First-Amendment-scroll-300x218The Obama Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services have decided that all health insurance policies in the USA must cover oral contraceptive pills, the morning-after pill, IUDs, permanent sterilization, and all other FDA-approved contraceptive measures without cost to the patient.  It’s important to point out that this is NOT a law, it’s a regulation by HHS.  The Catholic Church and a large number of privately held companies run according to the owners’ Catholic faith objected to this.  Hobby Lobby’s suit was the first to reach the Supreme Court.

The press is running amok with this judgment, in my opinion.  They are making it out to be a “War On Women” which is complete nonsense.  Nowhere in any law, judgment or ruling does it state that women (or men) can’t get any family planning service or product that they and their doctor decide is appropriate.  Women are still free to get birth control pills, the morning-after pill, IUDs, vasectomies and tubal ligations.

If a patient’s health insurance doesn’t cover birth control or an IUD and they want them, they will have to pay for them.

I have a hard time seeing this as a tragedy.  Birth control pills are $4 per month for generics at your corner drugstore, out-of-pocket, without insurance.  At Planned Parenthood you can get generic birth control pills for $10 for a year’s supply (or at least you could when I was in college).  An IUD is more expensive up-front but averaged over the device’s five-year lifespan it can actually be LESS expensive than birth control pills.

Truly indigent women will qualify for Medicaid, which covers contraception at no out-of-pocket cost.  At issue, I think, are women who CAN afford to pay $4 per month for birth control pills but think it’s someone else’s job to provide it.

This is the old argument between entitlement and personal responsibility.  I have always come down on the side of personal responsibility.  If you want it, or need it, and your insurance company doesn’t pay for it, I guess you’re writing a check.

PS – I wonder how much money the Obama Administration has spent fighting Hobby Lobby’s and the over 90 other lawsuits over the contraceptive mandate?  If providing free contraception for everybody was the goal, I wonder how many packs of birth control pills that money would have purchased.  Just sayin’…

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