Sunday, July 18, 2010

Advice to Network Marketers

Recently I have been approached by a couple of Network Marketing companies. There are a lot of those companies that I have looked into over the past 5 years. I have always found the culture with this industry very interesting and unique. Most people have had an encounter with a friend or family member that belonged to this industry. I don't have anything against network marketing. It is a legitimate way to do business. It's not a pyramid scheme and most of them are not "get rich quick" schemes. However I have found some common phrases and ideas that may cause a clash of cultures. If I were a business/communication consultant this is the advice I would give.

1) "The product/service sales itself" - No it doesn't. It may be a great product/service but it needs demonstration, explanation, and pretty packaging. If not it will get lost in the clutter. Network Marketing is categorized in the Direct Sales Industry. That means each product and service must have good salesmen behind it for the company to be successful. What I think what the Independent Distributor means to say is "This is an amazing product and I am 100% sold on it". However, what is interpreted is, "This product is easy to sell and you just have to put it in front of people and they will buy." Here is my suggestion: Explain why your product is amazing and if you think it is easy to sell, then back it up with numbers. How many people have you presented it to and how many have bought? If you are new to the business then simply explain why you think you have a great product.

2) "We are having a meeting at my house at night." This phrase is usually stated at the beginning of the approach.  Some state that it is a "business meeting" others state that it is a presentation, and others simply just say it is a meeting. Business meetings usually happen in an office or over lunch. Using the words "presentation" and "meeting" are ok however this usually lacks one crucial thing - A FIND OUT QUESTION. I don't know of any other meeting that happen at someone's house at night other than network marketing. Here is my suggestion: Explain what you do, i.e. the company and product and opportunity, and also mention that it is network marketing. Yes say it upfront. If they have a concern or objection about that phrase - "network marketing" - then it is better to address it now than later. Don't waste time if the person cannot get over the negative stigma of the phrase.

3) "You will not find any other job or opportunity like this" - Actually chances are that you will. The market place is full of great opportunities, both in being an employee and business ownership opportunities. The opportunity is the residual income. Residual income or passive income is money earned regardless of personal effort. Network Marketing is not the only place where one can find residual income. Your savings account earns residual income, income stocks, corporate and treasury bonds, rental properties (usually) and many other businesses. Each require a certain amount of effort to get to a passive income status. That effort is varied. This is the part where the independent distributor pitches the idea that you sign up "x" number of people and get them to sign up "x" number of people and so on. Two problems that I see with this is that the emphasis on the product is lost and second is the phrase "you don't have to work" creeps in. If product is not sold, then no one makes any money. Thanks to Amway several years ago, it is illegal for a person to make a commission off of the membership fee. People were signing up paying $100 and turning around and signing others up for $100 and no product was being passed. Now most companies require a purchase of the product as the sign up fee or to start out. Great! You have people signing up and they buy product for themselves and to sell as well. But remember that if people stop with the service or ordering more product, there goes your commission . The idea of never having to work again may not sit well with some people. I am one of them. Nothing is risk free. A number of things can happen to you, your business partners and/or the company. It takes a lot of work to get to a significant passive income status and if you are promoting and encouraging the "easy life, never have to work again" mentality, you may be recruiting a lot of people who don't want to work. My suggestion: Know what you want when you are talking to people and let them know. If you are only looking for business partners then qualify them, to see if they want to partner with you, they might not. Most companies have just a consumer package deal, where you don't have to be a distributor but just buy the product. Find out what option people would rather do when you talk to them. You will save yourself time.

4) "This is for everyone", or "You have the whole world to sell to." It is obvious that not everyone you talk to will buy, so if that is true, that not everyone will buy, then it is not for everyone. If it is not for everyone, then why aim at the whole world to sell to? My suggestion: Define you target market. I'm sure that each product has a variety of buyers. There may be male and female, young and old that buy the product, but find out where your product sells best. Crunching numbers and figuring out your average close rate, meaning how many people you talk to compare with how many people buy. It may be a ratio of 1 to 10. That's pretty good. It may be 1 in every 100 that buys. Remember that is how many you talk to. The way to increase that rate is to target those people who are more likely to buy. If you believe that your market is everyone, then I guarantee you are wasting time. Lower income people may not buy an expensive product. Higher income people may not see the need to gain a little more residual income. The more targeted, meaning the more specified type of people who are likely to buy, the more you sell.

These suggestions are not directed to any one person or company. I have sat through many presentations and these are common things said across the board. Some have done exactly what I think are good sales techniques, i.e. being upfront, and asking find out questions, and others have not. Like I said in the beginning, I think that most of these companies are legit and an honest way of doing business.

Some last suggestions for those who are in Direct Sales: Don't quit. You will gain more by the experience alone if you persevere. Also don't stop learning. Be knowledgeable about your product and your company. If you are going to throw out stats about the companies growth or stock, compare it to stats with your companies' biggest competitor so that it means something.

There are many good things that come about from the network marketing companies (for those who think that they are good for nothing). Most people who are network marketers are passionate about what they do. That is great! It does not matter how much or how little they make. It is a great social environment for people to interact and make connections.

Please feel free to comment and give feedback. I do not mean to offend anyone, but simply try to understand people and cultures.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I used to be a runner

Today was a nice day on campus. I love the spring because it reminds me of track season. I ran track and field throughout high school and one year in college. I wanted to run around the quad and after some encouragement from friends I went for it.


I ran way too hard. It is fun to run fast except when it hurts for 20 minutes after I stop. Also it is not smart to run fast when you are not in shape. I haven't run in 6 months, but that spring air made me do it. The sad part about how out of shape that I am in is that I only ran for one minute and 47 seconds, about 550 meters.

I was dead afterward. For about 20 minutes I was doing all I could not to throw up. Then the next hour I was still feeling the burn in my lungs. Then there is a period of about 4 hours where there is little if any pain and you feel great. You can reflect on the speed of the run and the strength you exerted. You can acknowledge that there was pain, but totally forget how it felt. Finally there is late in the evening and next morning where you ask yourself again...


Friday, April 9, 2010

This is my first blog post. So basically this is a test to see how it looks.

P.S. I love my wife....a lot!