I have a super exciting new idea to share with you today. I’ve been waiting and waiting to tell you about it, but I wanted to make sure I was passing along an idea that was both tried and true! As I write this, I have just returned from Convention 2012, where Shelli Gardner very briefly mentioned my Convention Club from the main stage. Since I knew it would have piqued the imagination of many, I decided it was time to write the article I have been waiting to share!
Last spring, just before the start of the Stampin’ Up year, I began an experimental program designed to get my downline members to go to convention. I strongly believe that convention is a game-changer in terms of boosting your business confidence, stamping expertise, and energetic professionalism. Every year I come back just bursting with ideas and enthusiasm, full of projects to try and classes I wanted to get on my calendar. I want my girls (and guys!) to go to convention and experience that shot in the arm, too.
But they just didn’t go. It sounded like fun, but they didn’t really envision themselves there. Every year when they’d see the pictures and hear the chatter online, they were jealous that I’d gotten to go—but not to the point that they became motivated enough to start saving money and making plans for themselves. It was frustrating, because I knew that if they’d just go once, they’d see what a valuable (and ridiculously fun) experience convention is, so I started thinking about ways I could motivate them to decide to attend. I felt like the long-term benefit to my business and the group as a whole would benefit exponentially with each demonstrator I could get to go.
On the phone with my Business Development Advisor last spring, she asked me why I thought none of my team went to corporate events. As I told her that I really felt like money, not a lack of desire, was the bottom line, the concept of Convention Club was born. Maybe if they had help with their registration fee, the thought of combined airfare, hotel and food costs would not seem so overwhelming, I thought. They'd still have to commit to saving every month, but a big chunk of the total needed would have already been whittled away. I hoped they'd find it encouraging and inspiring... and get themselves to convention, where the magic of that event would revolutionize their businesses.
I am a firm believer in rewarding your downline with lots—and lots—of goodies. As a new demonstrator, I know what it meant to me to receive even just a pack of brads or a spool of ribbon from my uplines. I’ve also been extremely blessed by Stampin’ Up’s various generous programs that allow you to earn free stamp sets, with more goodies than one person can truly use, so I try to pass that along by sharing the wealth to my team members in the form of lots of prizes and incentives. They in turn can use those little gifts and prizes to boost their own sales and make us both more successful in the long term.
I was really excited to try to think of a way I could motivate my downline to attend convention, but I was concerned that my annual sales would go down if I was no longer ordering prizes and rewards every month. I knew I would still be buying gifts for my prize basket for the majority of the team, but a potentially significant chunk of change would have to be set aside. However, my desire for them to go was stronger than my fear of the unknown. I went out on a limb, hashed out some numbers, and told my team members that they now had the option to exchange what they would normally earn in prizes at our meetings for points towards their convention registration.
After calling Stampin’ Up to confirm that it is allowable to pay for another demonstrator’s registration, I came up with a system of activities that would be rewarded with point values, with each point equaling one dollar. They could earn a total of $280 (the US cost of registration at the time) by doing tangible business-boosting activities such as recruiting, promoting, being in my top three in sales for the month, selling enough to earn Great Rewards, and winning monthly challenges. I also gave points for things they could do to grow personally, like read a business-related motivational book and then share a brief report with the group. They could also earn points by participating in activities that strengthened the entire team, such as presenting a business topic with a handout, or bringing a Make N Take for the meeting.
We kept track of the points with a little booklet and a simple chart that I initialed at every meeting after approving the entries they had written down. They were responsible to bring it to the meetings, so that they were taking the initiative to get themselves to convention. They could watch their total grow, and if they weren’t pleased at how it was moving along, they could look at the chart and choose to work on completing more of the challenges by the next meeting. Because it was an experimental program, I reserved the right to tweak my chart and change the point values if needed, with any announcements made at the monthly meetings. Part Two on this topic will discuss that in more detail.
They were excited. One quarter of my team signed up the first night I presented the program to them (the first demo meeting after convention, after I'd shared all the pictures and excitement with them). Other downline from out of state emailed to ask if they could participate as well, and new recruits joined later in the year. We started our tally on August 1st and they had until June 30th to earn as much as they could. I gave them each $5 in points for signing up, and they were off and running. Instead of buying prizes each month, I made sure I put that money in a separate checking account, and I was able to write each of them a check for the amount after they emailed me their confirmation number on registration day.
Of those downline who participated, three-quarters earned the full $280. The first one earned her registration fee by the end of Sale A Bration, and the last one earned it on June 28th. Interestingly, those who did not earn the full amount ultimately did not end up going with us, although there were certainly other factors involved in their decisions. I had a plan in place for that possibility, because life happens. I will share that and cover other FAQ's in Part Three.
I will not be sharing my exact files for Convention Club for two reasons (in addition to the fact that my readers are in different countries with different prices and different promotion titles.) First, I don't want anyone to just use my numbers without crunching their own and making sure that a Convention Club is a good idea for themselves and their team. It requires careful follow-through, strict integrity, and a committment to setting aside money that may cause an issue for some. I cannot be held responsible for anyone else's use of the Convention Club idea nor any unforeseen results from their version of the program. As with everything shared on this blog, you use this advice at your own risk.
Secondly, if you do decide to implement a convention-earning program, it should be personally tailored to the behaviors that you want to see developed in your team. For instance, I was having a lot of trouble getting downline to participate in our group meetings, and it was killing me having to pull it off virtually alone every month. So I awarded points for doing things that your group may already be doing on their own. Now that those behaviors have been established and are flourishing, I'm tweaking the program to reflect more advanced business-building behaviors--while still keeping a wide variety of activities so that everyone, not just my high acheivers, can find ways to earn points each month.
As I mentioned, I didn’t feel like I could share this idea until I’d been through a full year and decided Convention Club was a viable business tool for uplines to motivate their team to attend an event that would revolutionize their businesses. You can not imagine how fun it was to watch the totals and the excitement build throughout the year. My annual sales turned out just fine despite loosing the amount I would have normally ordered for prizes. And while the final results of what my team did, saw and heard at convention are not necessarily tangible and won't be seen for years to come, I have to say that they are so fired up right now, I truly feel like we are headed into the best year we’ve ever had. They are seriously setting their sights on not only the Getaway Weekend, but the Grand Vacation. They are scouring the Career Plan and asking questions about the performance bonuses. And, we've already booked next year for the 25th anniversary convention!
Dear demo-friend, if you are having trouble getting your team to attend corporate events like convention or leadership conference, or even a regional seminar, I hope my thoughts on implementing a point system will give you some ideas on motivating them to make this business-changing event a priority. Please stay tuned for Parts Two and Three on this topic, which will give you some of the more nitty-gritty details and some do's and don'ts for those who are seriously considering a Convention Club.