Caravan Sonnet: Sales Pitches of Products to the Chronically/Seriously Ill

2/26/15

Sales Pitches of Products to the Chronically/Seriously Ill

picture found on internet, altered by Caravan Sonnet
So when I wrote my post from last week (entitled the essential oil debate) I admit that I knew that I would probably have some people disagree with me. I felt that (as with all of my posts) I wrote from my heart and from my humble opinion and my own experience. For the most part I received many lovely comments, but behind the scenes in email form I received a lot of "hate" email regarding my stance on essential oils. One of the thing that I heard from over half of these emails was that my story,  that I shared at the beginning of the post, "would never happen". I have already addressed these emails individually but shared that unfortunately it happens ALL OF THE TIME and not just with essential oils. Several people suggested that I write a post on tips for sales pitches of products to those who are chronically and seriously ill when they have a product that they believe will "help or cure" someone. I thought this was a great idea and today I am excited to share with y'all some thoughts!

First, I want to share with y'all an opposite story from last week of two ladies, who within this last year approached me with a product that they believed would really be of benefit to me. Both of these ladies have had a huge impact on my life through their kind and compassionate hearts, their prayers, and their love for Christ. I should say that neither of them knew I would be sharing this but they are just to wonderful not to share about!


Ruth, who is such an inspiration to me, mentioned this summer that she knew of a product that she thought could help me.  She did so in a very compassionate and kind way. She mentioned that she had heard and read and knew a ton about the product and its ingredients. She said that she had thought of me because she had heard and known others that had Lyme that it had helped with and wondered if it might help me. Ruth offered to chat with me more in depth about it at any time it was convenient for me. We set a time (I know that she rearranged her busy schedule for this!) and talked. It was only after we hung up that I realized that I didn't even know if she was a "seller" of this product or not! Her focus on the entire conversation was on the product and what she had learned. She gave me detailed information that I could discuss with my doctor. I smile as I write this because I actually had to contact Ruth to find out if she was a seller if I purchased the product! 


Clarita, who is an absolute gem, contacted me about a product that she sells via Facebook several months ago. Like Ruth, she had been helped by this product and had come across lots of Lymies who had also been helped about the product. One of my favorite parts about her email to me was when she said: "I've thought of you so much when I read them, but hesitated to contact you because I know you must get a lot of people saying, "You need to try this!" or "This product is exactly what you need!!" and I don't want to be just another one. There is no need to response to this if you're not interested - just know you are cared and thought about!" If I could have I would have reached through the internet and hugged her right then and there!! Clarita went a step further even and attached AN ENTIRE ingredient list for the products that she had mentioned so that (as she said) I could run it by my health provider!!! My mouth dropped open because in the past three years Clarita is the ONLY person who has ever offered a complete ingredient list.


I am not being over dramatic when I say that in dealing with both of these ladies I walked away with tears. Tears that both of these sweet ladies were being so kind and understanding and compassionate. BOTH of these ladies have listened to my concerns about trying new products (while dealing with Mast Cell Disease), respected my boundary lines of having everything run by my medical team, and at the end of the day have covered me in prayer.


AFTER these precious experiences and the emails I received I wanted to share just a few tips and ideas on how to approach a chronically or seriously ill patient with a product. (These are in no particular order!)

(1) Understand that timing is key. For someone who is ill there can be different times of the day that are best to chat and talk through things that are important. One friend told me that a friend of hers kept calling at 10pm to discuss with her a product that she "knew she needed to get well". Unfortunately my friend headed to bed at 7pm so this woke her up! As the saying goes, timing really is everything! I was so appreciative of the time that Ruth took to rearrange her busy schedule to chat with me on the phone. This meant SO much to me!


(2) Offer an ingredient List. Clarita's gift of offering a down loadable ingredient list was a beautiful gift. I can't tell you how many times I have been offered products without any ingredient listing and I have to spend hours and hours researching the ingredients. No offense, but I simply do not have the time or energy to do that! When Clarita sent me the list of ingredients I was able to quickly read through them and then print a copy to take with me to my doctors appointment. THIS WAS PRICELESS!!


(3) Be patient with the skepticism. At some point in a chronic illness journey everyone gets tired of hearing "if you just did __________ you would get better". Two years ago I wrote a post, 26 Ways to Help a Friend With a Chronic Illness, where I shared that the someone once said, "Assume that we have heard all the tips on living healthier and leave it at that." Look, I don't know anyone who is really ill that wouldn't love to be healthy. I also don't know anyone who hasn't researched the life out of "Dr. Google". SO there is a good chance that we have either (a) heard of the product  or (b) tried the product. Both Ruth and Clarita listened to my skepticism with grace and love. When you approach someone with your product understand that they may be very skeptical of what you are offering. It is not personal, it probably has just been a very long journey with lots and lots of products offered to them.


(4) Don't take a rejection of your product personally. What I loved about my interactions with both of these ladies was that it was very obvious that they were not going to be judging or holding it over me if I decided to not try what they were offering. It was obvious in their interactions with me that they genuinely were concerned about me. 


(5) Research. Research. Research.  Both of these ladies had researched and had experience with knowing people who had Lyme Disease. Because of this they were able to approach me on a completely different level, understanding the intricacies of this journey. I received a lot of criticism in my essential oils debate post because I said that many "oil sellers" do not have a medical degree. I honestly stand by that comment but I do believe, like both of these ladies did, that there is an opportunity to share what you know and your experience. If you don't know the answer research your heart out, ask experts, and try to find an answer. Don't be quick to say that because it worked for "a friend of a friend's cousin neighbors niece" that it will work for someone who is seriously ill.


(6) Listen to the Fear.  I expressed to both of these ladies my concerns and my story of dealing with new products and the traumatic difficulty of anaphylactic reactions. As they listened I felt "heard" which is not something that happens a lot when a product is being suggested. Take time to listen to the reasons that your friend might be skeptical of trying a new product. There are probably valid and important reasons that you need to consider.


I hope that these tips help y'all!! Please let me know if you have any questions! (AND if you are interested in learning more about "Plexus" products - which both of these ladies are distributors of- I would highly suggest talking with them. You can sign up for Ruth's newsletter HERE and you can find Clarita on her gorgeous blog HERE.)

3 comments:

  1. I am glad that you wrote this! I still think that the set up of the sales is predatory (from the top down--if they were sold on the supplements aisle next to the SAM-E, things would be totally different--and I'm sure the companies know that) and nothing will probably ever change my mind. However, there are kind-hearted and well meaning people who believe in the products.
    What has disgusted me in the past is when I've read that people sell the oils to get the discounts for themselves. I don't know when essential oils turned from a want into a need. There has to be some type of alternative. It isn't necessary to give your 5 year old a regimen of essential oils every day.And, like you said, they do approach the chronically ill on a regular basis. Most people, unlike the people you have described, are incredibly rude when you turn them down because your medical bills are already out of control, plus you're considering a consultation with doctors who don't take insurance that would run several thousand dollars, etc. I think they just don't get how expensive being sick (and still searching for a full diagnosis) can be. I have sent your post on the cost of being sick to several other sick friends, too. I thought it had great tips!
    I'm sorry to hear that you got hate mail about your last post. If I can't leave something as a public comment, I don't send it as an email--it just seems wrong. If someone feels strongly for oils, leave the comment in the open. It should stand up to public dialogue and scrutiny. I loved your post. I thought it was fair and balanced and brave. I have friends on both sides of the aisle, so to speak, and I sent it to them because we don't openly discuss it because it's so controversial. Again, I have to wonder if the companies who make the oils count on people not speaking out because they will be shouted down by people who have a monetary interest in selling the oils.
    Is it sad that talking about the pros and cons of essential oils makes you brave? They're just another tool in the toolkit of medical care.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah! Thank you so much for your thoughtful and detailed reply on this post!! I do agree with you that it can be difficult to balance out those who are trying to sell things simply because they receive a profit and others (like the two ladies I mentioned in this post) who are TRULY trying to spread the word about a product that they believe may help someone. I didn't go in depth into this in this post but I agree with you that one of the main reasons that those who are chronically ill "turn down" these products is simply due to cost. There is simply not the money because (as you said) being sick is so expensive. Thank you so much for your sweet comment about the post about the financial resource tips!! WHAT A LEARNING experience this journey has been.

      It was sad to receive such hateful letters and comments from several people behind the scenes. I was a little surprised, but at the same time not as I felt that I was "being brave" attacking such a controversial and "emotional" issue. And I think it is sad that talking about the pros and cons of something like oils does make you brave. *smiles*

      What amazing lessons we have learned in our journey's right? CRAZY.

      Hope you are having a wonderful Friday sweet friend!
      Blessings,
      Rebecca :)

      Delete
  2. I am glad that you wrote this! I still think that the set up of the sales is predatory (from the top down--if they were sold on the supplements aisle next to the SAM-E, things would be totally different--and I'm sure the companies know that) and nothing will probably ever change my mind. However, there are kind-hearted and well meaning people who believe in the products.
    What has disgusted me in the past is when I've read that people sell the oils to get the discounts for themselves. I don't know when essential oils turned from a want into a need. There has to be some type of alternative. It isn't necessary to give your 5 year old a regimen of essential oils every day.And, like you said, they do approach the chronically ill on a regular basis. Most people, unlike the people you have described, are incredibly rude when you turn them down because your medical bills are already out of control, plus you're considering a consultation with doctors who don't take insurance that would run several thousand dollars, etc. I think they just don't get how expensive being sick (and still searching for a full diagnosis) can be. I have sent your post on the cost of being sick to several other sick friends, too. I thought it had great tips!
    I'm sorry to hear that you got hate mail about your last post. If I can't leave something as a public comment, I don't send it as an email--it just seems wrong. If someone feels strongly for oils, leave the comment in the open. It should stand up to public dialogue and scrutiny. I loved your post. I thought it was fair and balanced and brave. I have friends on both sides of the aisle, so to speak, and I sent it to them because we don't openly discuss it because it's so controversial. Again, I have to wonder if the companies who make the oils count on people not speaking out because they will be shouted down by people who have a monetary interest in selling the oils.
    Is it sad that talking about the pros and cons of essential oils makes you brave? They're just another tool in the toolkit of medical care.

    ReplyDelete