Be An Idea Sounding Board


There are so many aspects of direct sales that make it a great business. Among the truly great things about direct sales are the fact that as your own boss, you can run the business however you want. You really have the opportunity to go wild with creativity. And often those who are the most creative reap the benefits with increased sales, recruiting, and general excitement around their business.

On this blog, I’ve mentioned several ways you (the husband) can help. As a Direct Sales Husband, you should of course be supportive and help in any specific ways that your wife will help the most. But here’s one that you should definitely consider:

Be A Sounding Board for Her Ideas

At first glance, this may seem an awful lot like the brainstorming we talked about before, but I honestly consider them to be different.

In brainstorming (check my previous post here), you should be thinking about a particular problem (getting sales up, how to book parties, how to get recruits in a particular area). With that in mind, your goal is to try to throw out creative ideas that you can apply to that problem (have a booking blitz, call those contacts you failed to follow-up with previously, give an extra incentive to potential hostesses, etc. etc.). The goal, more or less, is to get as many ideas down on paper as you can. There’s a good chance something in there will be particularly useful and worth trying.

Sounding boards are different. With this application, you have a single idea and are trying to develop it into something that will work even better. This may be as a result of a brainstorming session, or your wife may just have an idea come to her that she wants to explore a little bit.

How to Be A Sounding Board:

1. First and last, be positive! Even if you have some reservations about the idea or it clearly has some problems, focus on the positive aspects of the idea. What are the things about it that make it seem worthwhile? How can you supplement those positive aspects. Also, always make sure you end the discussion on a positive.

2. Make sure to write it down. Keep track of this idea somewhere. Also record the goal of the idea. What is the desired outcome? I know in our house and discussions, we LOSE 7/10 or more of the great ideas that we come up with if they aren’t written down. Also, the great thing about writing it down (and the associated thoughts you both have about how to make it work or make it better) is that even if you don’t come up with something that works now, you can always come back to it later.

3. Think Tweaks. Explore small changes or enhancements to the idea. Not huge ones. If the idea has merit, think of what little tweaks can make it more successful. If you start talking about big changes, you’re really creating new ideas which are more likely to compete with the first. You’re moving sideways, not forward.

4. Focus on tweaks that will turn the idea into reality. Think “What’s the Next Step?” That’s an extremely useful question in most any new endeavor. Check out Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. David Allen has a website with fantastic resources as well.

5. Go with the flow. It’s good to have two-way flow of ideas here. Watch how she responds to what you’ve said to see if she’s digging your tweak or not. Get her feedback and just kind of go with it. This is about making this idea better for her. There’s probably not just one “best way” to accomplish whatever you’re considering.

6. Don’t shoot down the idea. We’ve all done it. It’s easier for some of us than others, so be careful. If you shoot that idea down, your chances of being approached again go down drastically. Even if the idea seems terrible, think of creative ways to make it better. Here’s another thing, guys: sometimes ideas that WE think are terrible end up being incredibly successful amongst the girls. When in doubt, just go with it.

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Remember to write all those ideas down, along with the tweaks you think may help.

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