Mary Kay consultant Kristen Culver is my guest this on Relationship Marketing Weekly. Kristen will explain how she takes the time to reach out in kindness and builds a personal relationship with her customers so they don’t feel like just another number in the system… She has an amazing story and you’ll love how showing appreciation has made a significant impact in both her personal and professional life.
Kody Bateman: Hello everybody. This is Kody Bateman coming live to you from Salt Lake City, Utah. Welcome to our Relationship Marketing Weekly show. We have a very exciting show for you today. Many of you are logging in right now and saying hello to us.
We got people calling in or listening in from all over the United States, from Canada. I see people from Australia, from Singapore. So we have people that are logging in from all over the place. I appreciate you. Say hello to us as you come on to this Facebook Live show today.
A very exciting show. We’re out to teach the whole world how to be nice to each other. That’s what we do here, relationship marketing at its very best.
Today I have a very special guest. Her name is Kristen Culver from Boston, Massachusetts. She is a skin care consultant with Mary Kay products. A lot of you are very familiar with Mary Kay and Kristen, it’s a pleasure to have you on our show today.
Kristen Culver: Thank you so much, Kody.
Kody: We’re really excited to learn from you. It’s kind of interesting. A lot of women turn into this show on a weekly basis and most any woman that I know, at least in the United States, probably in Canada too, has participated in Mary Kay products to some extent. I know my wife buys Mary Kay products from an old friend that we had in an old neighborhood that we used to live in and just it’s a household name. I mean Mary Kay is a household name. It’s a great product that’s out there and – but you’re in your own business.
I mean you’re in the direct sales business. You represent Mary Kay but you’re an independent consultant. So you run your own organization. Is that correct?
Kristen: That is correct. It’s in the title and everybody runs their businesses slightly differently, although we get training from our up-line of course. I’m not told, “You must do it this way,” with the exception of some legal guidelines obviously.
Kody: OK. Well, that’s great. And then primarily you have a customer base. So you have a fairly large customer base that buy product from you probably – what? On a monthly basis or –
Kristen: It depends on the product. Some things have a longer shelf life, use rate, so forth. But pretty consistently, at least two or three times a year, they will be reaching out to me. So I try my best to be reaching out to them a few times a year as well and not just specifically for a sale.
Kody: You also have a team of consultants who work with you.
Kody: So you have your own customer base and then you train other consultants how to run their customer base and you’re commissioned to do both. Is that right?
Kristen: Absolutely. The best part for me is utilizing both of those two things simultaneously because you never know when you’re going to be down and out because of an injury or life circumstance and to know that your business will take care of you when you’re out, because you’ve been taking care of your team and your clients when you can.
Kody: So a good residual income that you get from this.
Kristen: Absolutely. Everyone needs soap.
Kody: That’s right, right? Well, I appreciate you sharing that. I always like to highlight your business upfront, so our listeners can get a good feel of what your business is about. Even though people know Mary Kay, they may not necessarily know exactly how the business model works.
So it’s good for you to share that with us. Now you do some unique things. Again, you’re on a relationship marketing show and you do some really cool relationship-oriented things. You use our system to do it. In fact, I want to start out. I’ve got some really cool cards here. These are actual postcards and you actually asked us to print these off. So we printed them off and I have a copy of – these are what you send out to your customers and to some of your team members.
Kody: Right? So I just want to go through these real quick. In fact, you’re going to guide me and just tell me. So this card here, I hope I got them in the right order. This card here, what’s this card?
Kristen: That’s my initial thank-you card for a brand new customer. It’s kind of cute and whimsical, this little girl on the cover, and it just thanks them for choosing to shop with me. They’re never under any obligation to do so and it’s an honor when they do.
Kody: So it’s tangible. It shows up in the mail. You notice the difference by sending something tangible versus an email.
Kristen: Yes, especially because I don’t send it the day of the order. I send it maybe a week or so out. So it has been a little bit and it’s kind of to just check in with them and make sure that they’re happy.
Kody: Yeah, that’s good. That’s really good. OK. So next one, this is a – well, tell us about this one.
Kristen: This is one of my favorites. It basically is the birthday card I send everyone and actually will say – when I send it to guys, it’s kind of funny because they’re not expecting that. It definitely gets a good laugh. But everyone assumes we’re a glamour brand. So why not have the pageant queen with the tiara on the front wishing them the most glamorous, fabulous birthday ever?
Kody: I love it. I love it. This is great. So did you find this? Where did you find this image?
Kristen: These images are pretty much all from the SendOutCards server. I can use personal images like when someone had a new baby, just got married. Something special happened in their life. I might snag a picture off social media. But for a lot of the more standard cards, I will use the images provided right from the server.
Kody: OK. So you went right in the card – we call it the “Card Catalog” and you found this image and that’s what you send out there. It is very, very clever. It fits very nicely with what you do.
Let’s see. We got another one here. This is a welcome card. Tell us what – what do you do with this?
Kristen: Well, new team members, when they first come on board, they’re overwhelmed with lots of information and sometimes I need them to remember that they’re a person to me, not just a number and not just a step on the rungs to success.
I usually send that with some brownies, those amazing brownies that you guys have. They’re like magic. They just fix everything.
Kody: You know, most of the guests that we have on here talk about the magic of the brownies and it’s really true. They’re great. You know what’s funny about the brownies is I have some people who will comment sometimes. Hey, Kody, you need to get gluten-free and sugar-free and because I – you know, I don’t – some of the people I send to are on diets and stuff. I appreciate that and we’re doing some things to do that. But what’s funny is it doesn’t matter who you send brownies to, even if they can’t eat them. They just think it’s the coolest thing in the world.
So I get brownies all the time and I never eat them because of my diet. But I sure appreciate that someone took the time to send them to me. So I have a cool deal. They got one more here. Thank you for the referral. Tell me, how do you get referrals from people and obviously you send a thank you card for a referral.
Kristen: Well, in my business, I’m just expected every time I meet with someone to go, “Who do you know that likes free stuff, wants to be pampered and would be glad to give their opinion if they would just meet with me to try products?” and that’s kind of the line I would give to a customer who doesn’t understand what I’m looking for.
So I kind of guide them with some suggestions. When I’m in a networking group, they’re a little bit better-trained. So I can give them a very specific ask for a particular demographic at a certain time of year. What happens is when that goes off in their brain, they’re like, “Oh. I know. My cousin so and so, they will be perfect,” and you connect with them to meet directly. You can then talk right to that customer and get to know them, schedule a session with them and generally speaking, whether they shop or not, I send out a thank-you card for the effort of making the connection. They thought that this person was right for me. Something in their heart said this is the connection I need to put with Kristen. So the least I can do is say thank you.
Kody: So that’s probably – that’s a big part of your business model they teach you at Mary Kay to kind of ask for other people you might know that need products. But the extra step you do is this. I mean I don’t know how many Mary Kay consultants actually go to this effort to do this.
Kristen: We were trained to send out a note every day to someone we appreciate. But I think we’ve kind of slipped away from that a little and this makes it easy.
Kristen: I can remind myself to send cards.
Kody: Excellent. OK. So those are some of the standard – and here’s what’s interesting. So you send out a thank-you card to customers and new team members. You send out a birthday card to those people. You send out a welcome card when someone joins your team and you send a thank-you for the referral.
These are all kind of standard type of cards that people should be sending. They’re what I consider the standard touches that should go out to a customer and it seems like common sense that everybody should know about this and do this. But I always emphasize on these shows that less than three percent of professional businesspeople do this. Less than three percent.
Kody: Yet the thank-you card itself is by far the most effective touch that you can reach out to a customer with to generate referral business. They’ve done studies on that. So the number one touch you can offer to somebody that will generate referral business is a thank-you card. Less than three percent of people ever do it.
So it’s weird because I know even when people listen on this show and they see us show these things, it’s like, “Well, yeah. That’s kind of common sense.”
- Well, are you doing it? You know? Because people say, “Well, it’s common sense to send that,” but they don’t send it. So we always like to emphasize and you utilize the SendOutCards system, which makes it easy for you to do it.
Now, what I want to do Kris and I want – you have some unusual touches that you do. These are standards. Let’s talk about the non-standard ones, the extra special touch type of cards. You got a couple of really cool card stories. It appears that you see a lot of your customers on social media. So you see them on social media and you got a story here about someone that you saw on social media that broke her wrist.
Kody: Can you share that story with us?
Kristen: OK. Basically I was encouraged to become friends with my customers on social media. This was just a suggestion from my director and what we found was when people realized that we weren’t just a sales rep, that we cared about them, we interacted with them, we shared about our lives and then reacted to things in their lives as well, a stronger connection was built. This was just a situation where she was so – and I just met with her a month ago and I saw this and was like shocked because I know she was in school. She was just trying to finish up and she was frustrated and I could feel that pain. I had friends who broke wrists before. It’s very distracting and hurtful and they just can’t function.
So I sent her the card with the brownies and just kind of wanted to wish her well. I wasn’t asking for anything. I wasn’t trying to pitch anything. I was just a person reaching out to her and she wrote back and thanked me. She said, “Oh my gosh! Thank you. You sent me a card. I really appreciate it. The brownies were yummy.” I told you they’re good.
Months go by and I had reached out to my customer base at that time to let them know I’m looking for people who want to on-board to my team that I’m looking to train and she reaches out to me. The reason she does is, “I know you told me way back when we met,” blah, blah. But she said, “It was because you actually reached out to me when it had nothing to do with Mary Kay.”
Kristen: That mattered to me and that’s the kind of person I want to work with. That’s the kind of person I would like to train with. I think you’re the kind of person that I could learn something useful from and I want to be more like you. Just being a good human being.
Kristen: Doing the right thing inadvertently led to something to help my business.
Kody: Now it’s interesting. A lot of times, especially in direct sales, you’re taught all the things you need to do to generate business and ask for the order and always be selling your products and those kinds of things.
Sometimes we kind of get so caught up in that, we forget that these are human beings. I love what you said. You’ve said, when I sent out the card to her – you know, after she broke her wrist and you sent the card to her, you were not expecting anything. You just were reaching out from one human to another human with concern, making sure she was OK kind of thing.
Then later on, that turned into business and it’s interesting because a lot of people have a hard time disconnecting with the business side of things. You know, relationship marketing is about the first word “relationship”. There’s a reason that “relationship” is the first word. Everything is about relationship. You portrayed that in your story.
You’re first and foremost concerned about other human beings, want to be a part of their lives, want to be a blessing to them and Mary Kay and your business is secondary to that.
It’s really hard for a lot of people to learn that and to detach. You’ve done a great job of that, Kristen. We appreciate your example there.
You got some great stories here. I mean you got another story “The Gratitude Talent” story. Can you share that with us?
Kristen: I wasn’t tracking exactly who it was. I think it was a – they may have been a SendOutCards rep. But they were friends of mine who would encourage me to do this gratitude challenge and I’m thinking, “Gratitude journals. Why not?” Like it’s kind of all the same thing. I use my SendOutCards system to facilitate, which every day we were supposed to think of someone that comes to our heart, comes to our mind, and send them a card.
Not just the standard generic birthday or whatever card, but like a card written by us. Maybe with a personal picture on the front and there was at least one of those that I have sent out to an aunt who – my mom and my aunts are very close, older sister, younger sister.
There had been this really big argument at Christmas time a few years ago and for whatever reason, they just stopped talking to each other. I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to take sides. So I didn’t talk to my aunt either. I kind of felt estranged from her and I feel bad.
So I decided during that challenge to take time to write her and just say, “Auntie, thank you so much. You are a person that is important to me. I know we haven’t talked in a while. I just want to reach out and reconnect.”
Within a day or so, she emailed me back and said, “Yeah. Why don’t we get together and have lunch?” and from there, my mom, seeing this example, made the decision that life is too short. Let’s get the family together for like a really big family dinner. I think she has actually already reached out to my aunt to start the healing process.
But if I hadn’t just done my thing just because that’s what I do, I don’t know how long it would have been before my mom and my aunt reconnected. If ever it happened to either one of them, they would have lived with that on their hearts for the rest of their lives. That would have been horrible.
Kody: Wow. What a story. I love hearing stories like that because that’s really the big picture of what all of this is all about. It’s just making connections with other people and it’s amazing what a tangible touch – you know, a lot of times, we’re willing to write something down, like our deepest feelings or when it’s hard to communicate to somebody that you care about them because you had a falling out or whatever.
For whatever reason, it’s easier most of the time to write something down versus to verbally say it. That’s why I think the power of the greeting card is such a big deal because it gives you the ability to reach out to your auntie and do that. Did you say auntie or did I say auntie? How do you say aunt?
Kristen: Well, it’s funny. I think I say it as “auntie”. For some reason, it gets kind of smooshed.
Kody: Oh, it’s great. But that’s – that right there, that story – you know, people listening are saying, “Well, what does that story have to do with me getting a return on investment in my business?” I’m going to tell you, it has everything to do with that because what I have found over the years, Kristen – you’re an example of it. Until you use this service, this relationship marketing service on a personal level, you don’t fully get what you could do on a business level. Do you find that to be true?
Kristen: Yeah. Whether it’s the cards or taking the time to be a human and like listen for something that you hear online. Even if you’re not sending the card. If you heard or saw something happen to a friend of yours online, then you call them. Not this just little Facebook comment with a frowning face. I feel like somehow that the human touch, as you said, the physical touch, it’s old school. We used to always write notes. We used to always send cards and somewhere along the way, we got so electronic that we’ve taken the human element right out of it and that just feels wrong to me.
Kody: Yeah, yeah, for sure. It’s interesting. People commented a lot of times that one of the master orators of all time was Abraham Lincoln. That if you study the life of Abraham Lincoln, he was a very eloquent letter writer. He used to write letters like crazy.
In fact, back then, you didn’t have TV and social media, nothing. I mean what do you spend your time on? Abraham Lincoln would write love letters to his wife and he would write all kinds of letters to people in every different format and he attributed his ability to communicate because he wrote down his thoughts all the time. He sent them to people. So I like to think that at SendOutCards, we’re bringing back the lost art of letter writing. How does that sound? The lost art of letter writing.
You’re doing it. You’re doing it every day. It just helps you in your communication to other human beings, to reach out to them. Great stuff, Kristen. I really appreciate you being on the show today. We always like to close our show by having you share with us any final words, golden nuggets, from Kristen Culver. Golden nuggets, any final words of counsel from you, go ahead.
Kristen: Well, this actually popped into my head the other day when I was discussing coming on here and they asked me about that card for the future team member, if you will, and I said I didn’t think of it at the time. But it was like an opportunity to reach out and continue to build the relationship. It just happens. I didn’t think of it that way. But when you take a moment and you see these occasions come up, the smart thing to do is to move on it and do something because in the end, as long as you’re continuing to – as a human being, forward and strengthen that relationship, that’s going to be a very strong, very solid relationship and it’s going to last a very long time because you’re really – you’re nurturing it like a farmer.
Kody: Yeah, absolutely. Well, there you have it everybody. Kristen Culver from Boston, Massachusetts, an independent consultant with Mary Kay products. Thank you for being on our show. If you would like to learn how Kristen does this, just get back with the person that shared this show with you. They can show you the system and how it works and I look forward to seeing you next week on another great version of RM Weekly. So thanks everybody. Kristen, thank you again and we will see you all later.