One of the business heroes of the 20th Century was Mary Kay Ash. No, she was not a CPA; perhaps the farthest from one. Mary Kay’s unique P&L was not Profit and Loss, but People and Love. When she passed in 2001, she was the wealthiest businesswoman in America.
Her business success came from the desperation of being a single mom, which is one reason I despise socialism. People reach the greatest utilization of their God-given abilities via struggle, sacrifice, goal setting and hard work. Desperation forces one to reach down into their very being to create ways and utilize ideas that are never touched when living a cushy, provided for life. It was no accident that Tom Brokaw wrote about the “Greatest Generation;” those who saved the free world from Fascism arose from the fires of The Great Depression.
Socialism, and the government, only get in the way as proven by the fact that almost all major technological advances of the 20th, and 21st Century have come from the most economically free country, the US.
Mary Kay Ash sold books door-to-door, selling an amazing $25,000 in just six months while her husband served in WWII. After his return, they divorced and she went to work for Stanley Home Products. Though one of the top sales directors, she was repeatedly refused promotions and pay raises that the men were getting. With her life savings of $5,000 Mary Kay started her company and bought the recipe of a screen cream that a farmer had created. That became her first product.
Wendy Phillips is someone I know from the Eustis, Florida Chamber of Commerce drives a pink Cadillac. She has served Mary Kay for over 20 years, and is a bright light to everyone she comes in contact. When I first met her, I was wowed by her energy and openness. She made me feel good about myself. Wendy was personally trained by Mary Kay, and is a living example of the company’s philosophy. Let’s read what Wendy has to say about what she has learned and see how we can apply it to our business:
The Value of making a Great First Impression & What I Learned from Mary Kay!
What is even more significant about MK than her business success was that she took GOD as her business partner and always acknowledged and leaned on Him for guidance.
The reason she chose cosmetics was her daddy said that out of the Great Depression, three businesses flourished: alcohol, tobacco and cosmetics. I am finding that even now, in my business, I’m truly able to say, “What recession?”
MK has over a million consultants worldwide in 27 countries. MK broke so many barriers and glass ceilings both for herself, and in developing more millionaires than anyone else. The Wall Street Journal recently printed that there are more women in MK making over $50,000 than any other company in America. My business consists in of our skin care line, but also in developing those women who work as my associates. One of my favorite topics is to teach the value of making a great first impression.
You never have a second chance to make a “good” 1st impression.
People form opinions about you solely based on appearance…good or bad, it’s a fact and learning how to connect with people instantly is key to developing good business relationships.
Mary Kay Ash always taught us to focus more on the other person than ourselves, and I have found in my 20 years with this awesome company, that I am better able to do that when I feel confident about myself and my appearance.
MK’s famous quote is, “Pretend people have a sign around their neck that says, Make ME feel important!”
Before we open our mouths, we are making statements about what it will mean for the other person to do business with us…subliminal messages are being sent constantly.
One study done at Harvard found that people who worked for companies that supported a “dress for success” mentality in the workplace were more confident and productive.
This may be a principle some us want to incorporate more with employees. I suggest those companies serious about boosting profits bring in an image consultant at a seminar as an employee morale boost at your place of business. Learning how to have a business sense of style is something most people can learn. And increasing one’s own self confidence can be a powerful tool in the work environment. This includes makeup, skin products, grooming and wardrobe for women AND men.
Here are some of MK’s rules to make a great 1st impression:
1. Be on time and seemingly organized: a messy purse, briefcase, tattered edge business cards, chewed-on pens, etc. say, “I’m not organized; I can’t ever find anything, and I may generally be late to things because I’m always looking for something.” This is not good especially for people in the accounting profession where people have higher expectations of organization than elsewhere. Disheveled clothing, unpressed or unlaundered dress shirts create the same non-impression. 93% of our communication is non-verbal; beware of what you are saying about yourself – and your firm – without speaking. This applies also to a CPA’s office. What impression does yours make?
2. Offer A+ Customer Service: the more service you give, the more repeat business you’ll gain. MKs quote, ”What you send into the lives of others, comes back into your own tenfold!” How many hours of pro bono work does your firm offer your community or industry niche? How would your clients rate your customer service? Are they cheerleaders? Do they go out of their way to refer you? One of Allan’s clients sent 483 emails during your busy season telling everyone she knew to hire his firm.
3. Return calls within 24 hrs and follow up when you say you will. Here are 4 ingredients to a great phone message:
a. Write your message out prior to recording
b. Your voice reflects upon your strength and capability as owner of the business or as someone who works there
c. Speak slowly and enthusiastically
d. Direct customers to your website if you have information there they might be able to use
4. Mirror your prospect/client: emulate their energy and physiology for better bonding
5. MAIL thank you notes! Don’t just email someone; take the few minutes to personally touch them by handwriting a thank you on your personal stationary.
And a few other Mary Kay-isms that have served me well over the years…
• Praise people to success: Recognition is the most powerful of all motivating techniques
• Sandwich every bit of criticism between 2 heavy layers of praise (when will CPA’s ever learn this one – Editor)
• Enthusiasm moves mountains. Good leaders are enthusiastic; it’s contagious and it helps with the speed of the leader becoming the speed of the gang
• People will support that which they help create (just ask Sam Walton – Editor)
• Live by the Golden Rule way of doing business
• Encouragement leads to loyalty and people surpassing their own self-imposed limitations.
These principles are some of the reasons why I love this company. Our products are second to none and the “TRY before you BUY” approach to doing business with me sets us apart. Visit Wendy’s website at www.unitnet.dom/wphillips or www.marykay.com/wphillips1 or call her at (352) 483-2593. Wendy is available to conduct an image analysis seminar for companies or groups located in the Orlando area.
By Allan Boress, CPA, CVA – author of The “I-Hate-Selling” Book, available at amazon.com