Are You Charlie Or Alan Harper?

If you watch “Two and a half men”, give me an honest answer: Who would you rather be, Charlie or Alan?  Who would you rather be with?  Ok, so Charlie drinks too much and sleeps around a lot, but he has a house on the beach and rarely works.  Alan, on the other hand, mooches off of Charlie and works like crazy to support his ex-wives.  Personally, I’d rather have Charlie’s lifestyle and or much rather have him as a friend.  And if he could tell me how to be successful by barely working, cool, I’d love it.  I have to admit, I wouldn’t want to sleep around and drink so much, but everything else is great.

So are you Charlie or Alan to your prospects?  Are you the fun person people want to be friends with or the complainer with endless problems?  Do you seem to do well while hardly working or do you do poorly even when you work all the time?  I am not asking you to be dishonest about who you are, I am asking you to believe more in yourself, your mojo, and or your magic.  You are truly magical if you believe it!  Having that positive attitude that people love will make a big difference in your life and in your recruiting efforts, assuming you belong to a MLM company.

If you are banking on a particular person joining your group, you are probably giving off the wrong vibe to them.  Without actually saying this, you must believe that your group is growing and that you don’t need a particular person to join.  They need to join you.  You are the special one, the one that makes magic happen, and they can only benefit by joining you.  But, if they don’t join, it’s ok with you.  You are doing very well, thank you very much.  This is really about an attitude, a confidence that you are a success no matter what happens.

Playing to the person’s strengths is a really good idea.  Seek out people you believe would be really good in the business, don’t just seek out anybody.  Why should Bob join?  Because Bob is the kind of person that people will want to follow.  He is very personable, makes friends quickly, can sell well, is ethical… So if somebody asks why they should join your group, you tell them: “Because I think you could add a lot to our team.” not “Because it will make you a lot of money.”  What’s the difference?  Because people will think you’re a great person when you compliment them.

Make sure to listen.  Listening is very important, much more important than selling, when it comes to recruiting.  Don’t offer a response each time your prospect says something.  Instead, repeat back to them what you think they said to make sure you got it right.  Try to understand where they are coming from.  Is your opportunity right for them?  No?  Tell them that they don’t seem like a match for your opportunity.  Be a friend to people first and foremost.  Find matches, don’t just sell everyone on the opportunity.

Believe in yourself and your opportunity.  Remember that you are magic and that your opportunity will work for you in the long run, with very little effort.  Make sure to talk with people, make friends, be a friend… your business is part of who you are and it’s ok to talk about it, just not ok to recruit anyone and everyone.  Be ready when people ask for more information and get it to them promptly.  Remember that you are in business and you need to execute your business processes well.

One more thing that may help: Recruit some well outside of your warm market.  I like to advertise to get new prospects.  I probably sponsor more by advertising than any other way, but I recruit my best people personally.  Advertising gives me a way to say “This is how I do business”, in spite of the fact that I also do a lot of personal recruiting.

Good luck to you… Remember to be the person your prospects want to be or be with.  Keep a positive attitude!  And, btw, expect nothing from your recruiting efforts and you will surprise yourself.

What Is A Business Opportunity?

To a seeker, a business opportunity is a way to make money.  To a company offering an opportunity, it is a chance to leverage somebody else’s time, talent, or money to grow the business.  Often opportunities are “sold” as having a specific income or potential income, but the risk and reward belong to the seeker as an independent business person.  In other words, the success or failure of a business opportunity is ultimately up to the seeker, regardless of how much help the offering company gives.

A business opportunity typically isn’t employment because employment does not have a major risk or the potential reward of operating a business.  You can hire an employee to run a business subsidiary but you monitor it to make sure it’s operating properly and will have to decide to close it if it cannot turn a profit.  A business opportunity, on the other hand, is at the sole discretion of the independent business person.

A company offering a business opportunity has very little risk if the independent business person is not successful but gets a major reward if they are.  As a seeker, a company is not just going to hand you money with nothing expected in return.  You will have to perform.  You may have very little direction, you will just be expected to create sales however you do it.  In return you may get a brand to use or some other benefit from the company, but they aren’t just going to dole out a bunch of money.

A get rich quick scheme is a way for a seeker to make money quickly.  Actually, it’s a scheme because there’s no such thing as “get rich quick”.  It’s usually a guise to get you to part with your money for very little in return.  A valid business would be an investment of time and or money for a return.  That return may be 30% or more, but it will still take a while to become profitable.  Often businesses can be profitable right away if you don’t count the time you invest.  It might also be possible to earn a profit right away if the independent business person has an uncommon talent or skill.  But generally you’re not going to be profitable right away and it will take hard work.

Most people who join a multi-level marketing company sell business opportunities.  Often this is all they sell, except for the product they sell themselves.  Selling a business opportunity is technically recruiting, which requires a somewhat different skill set.  Still, it is so similar to selling that I personally would not tell people that there is “no selling involved”.  I mean, when you are in business you sell something to someone, that’s what a business is.  If you recruit, product must still be moved in order to make a profit, and the better you can sell yourself, your customer, and your downline on the product, the more money you’ll make.

Often the pitch “no selling involved” is used to refer to distasteful selling, such as door-to-door sales or cold telephone calling.  Using these methods are typically not effective, so I would not do or encourage distasteful selling techniques.  Advertising can be very effective to build a business if done properly and is usually a much more fun way to reach people.  Those you talk to are already interested before they call so you typically don’t encounter harsh rejection.

If you do get involved with a business opportunity, make sure you know what will be required of you and what you will get from the company you’re going into business with.  Make sure you get it spelled out in writing.

It’s All About The Product

When you go into business, it’s all about the product.  Because no matter which marketing method you use, ultimately the customer will either buy the product or not.  That’s why, if you are considering multi-level marketing, you must seriously consider the desirability of the product.  Would you buy the company’s product at retail?  If not, it may be too hard to sell your customer or sell yourself, and somebody has to buy the product in order for you to make money.

When you look at opportunities, you really need to do the math.  You are looking for a 20%+ rate of return for your time, materials, and cash investment.  For instance, if you spend $100 a month and at the end of the year have a $20 per month commission check, you are right on a 20% return.  So how do you do the math?  Try the following on for size:

cr / ci = ri

cr is what you expect for commission or profit for an individual customer in a year

ci is what you spend in dollars to get a customer.  You should include time, materials, advertising, and other expenses.

ri is your return on investment.  .20 would be a 20% return.

For your customer, you may sell to end consumers or other distributors.  You might want to figure out your return in both ways to see which gives you the most immediate return.  Traditionally this is going to be your customers.  Distributors get a break on the product so you get less of a profit on the volume.

The thing we are not figuring on is when your direct distributor gets another distributor.  You do get a cut on the sales to your second-level distributor, but it’s not usually as much as your first-level distributor.  What I would do about the multi-level aspect of your business is to ignore, for financial purposes, that you will ever get beyond your first level.  You might want to allow for a smaller initial return on investment to compensate for the multi-level effect, that’s up to you.

Again, product sales is the most important thing so you should always be selling the product, even when you’re recruiting.  In fact, sponsoring sales people, people who will sell the product to consumers, is usually the best way to go.  Some of you may say that selling the dream works best.  However, the dream gets people sponsored into the business, not selling product.  It also produces unrealistic expectations and unhappy distributors.  You may also get a look from the FTC.  So we sponsor sales people to get product volume, and we can generally bank on the fact that we’re only going to get first level distributors unless we train our great sales people to be good recruiters.

The downside to multi-level marketing is what the MLM company can do to you.  You are pretty much at their whim.  You advertise their way, you sell their way, and at a moment’s notice they could decide not to use distributors any more.  So be careful out there.

We are starting to be really active with a multi-level marketing company again.  We joined the company in 1992 and they have been very consistent. I believe they produce a very good return on investment for recruiting and have an exceptional product line that customers love.  Check them out.

Generating Activity

If you are new to business, the first thing you need to know is that you can’t sell anything.  You can’t.  Approach your mom with a new product to sell her and she’s going to be skeptical.  So how do you sell if you can’t sell?  I mean because, come on, you can’t start a business and sell nothing right?  Actually, you can start a business and sell nothing as long as eventually you will sell and have a profit.  Take facebook and twitter for example.  No initial product, no advertising platform, but they were definitely “for profit” businesses that made zero sales and zero profits.  Their initial goal was to create traffic for their websites by providing value to their users.  Users are not customers because they don’t buy anything, they just use their services for free.  From the traffic, or eye balls, eventually facebook and twitter started using paid advertisements to generate income.  Don’t think either one is profitable yet though.

Similarly to facebook and twitter, your initial goal when you start a business is to generate activity.  What this may mean is that you give yourself (time), your materials, your samples, or your products away for free or at cost (no profit) until you generate some interest.  Our big break this week came from a free stuff site that we got listed on, where we offered to give away free samples with a catalog request.  This generated tons of interest and, truth be told, we are selling almost no product.  But we will get our materials in front of people who will hopefully end up buying.  Not all of them, but some of them will.

I know what you’re saying… “I can’t afford to give away so much without selling!”  I tell you what, you really won’t sell until you give away something.  People are just too skeptical of sales offers, they need something to dream with or to try.  And they need a pressure-free environment in which to make a decision.  If you keep bugging people they will never buy, because they will feel too much pressure.  So the best thing to do is to give them sales literature and samples, and let them get back to you with an order.  Eventually you’ll probably want to follow up, and you may want to ask for the order, but you want to try to do all of this without pressure.

Your best customers will ultimately buy from you because you give freely of yourself to them.  You are not there to sell to them as much as you are to help them through the process.  If you are the guy or girl they can go to and are satisfied with your service, price will not be an issue.  So make sure to always serve your customer to the best of your ability.

So you want to generate activity by giving of yourself and your materials, but of course you need to budget for this.  Realizing that your budget is too small for what you need to do is important, but not always because you need to fit your expenses within your budget.  More often, you need to expand your budget by coming up with money from investors or from the bank.  This is when you really need to sell, and you need to get your facts straight.  Most of the time, investors want to know what kind of return they will get.  How do you know what the return will be if you aren’t selling?  Guess like crazy.  Use your imagination to figure out what your business ultimately looks like and communicate that to potential investors.

A good problem to have is too much activity, and probably not enough sales.  Be ready for it!

5 Things Not To Do When You’re In Business

Here are the top 5 things not to do when you’re running a business:

1. Let your ego run away with you

They say that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  If you’re making $10,000 a month and your business is growing, you feel quite a bit of power.  That can lead to an inflated ego.  If your ego gets too big, you can make some bad business decisions.

So, if you are presented with a problem and you need to come up with a solution, best to put away your ego and evaluate the problem in the full light of day, unclouded by emotions.  If you let your ego or emotions rule your decisions, that can lead to some very bad places.

2. Piss off your only vendor

Ah, sometimes you just want to tell it like it is. Your vendor sucks. They deliver the product when they want to. Sometimes they lose your order. They can demand that you sell their product in certain ways. They can be impossible when you want advertising approval. Ok, they suck and you just want to tell them to go to hell. Then what?  If this is your only vendor and they are the only vendor of a best-selling product, well you have to play the game their way because you have no other choice.  Go out and find a new vendor of the product, or find another great product, but in the mean time the best policy is to be as nice as possible to this one.

3. Piss off your biggest customer

Nothing can put you out of business faster than by losing a customer that makes up more than 50% of your business. The best policy, in fact, is to not piss off any customer because customers are expensive to acquire. I have to admit, sometimes there are situations that you can do nothing about, but if you can do something you should do it.

4. Piss off the people you depend on

Are you busy, I mean really busy?  You need the people that work for you and you should do everything you can for them.  Otherwise, you are going to take on a boatload of new work that you hired them to help you with.  If they are doing a really good job, reward them in some way.  If they are lazy, cut them loose.  But don’t make their life a living hell.  This is not fair for them or you.  You either need them or you don’t, choose.

5. Do other stupid things that lead to expensive mistakes

Mistakes are expensive so decisions are best made methodically rather than hastily.  Sometimes you need to make quick decisions but most of the time you can take a few hours or days to evaluate the situation.  Best to do this than to make a quick decision that costs tons.  Oh, and by the way, cheap goods and services sometimes have high costs, so evaluate well.  Better to pay a few dollars more for quality.

So what would you add to this list?

7 Rules For Creating Winning Advertisements

Are there really seven and only seven rules for creating good advertising? Well, I don’t know, let’s see how it goes. As I have said previously on my blog, good advertising does one or both of two things: 1) Tells the potential prospect what to think of your company or product and 2) Gathers warm leads or prospects that are likely to buy from you, or perhaps it sends the prospect somewhere to buy the product.  I have heard this called a call to action.

Here are my rules for what makes good advertising:

1. Somehow communicates product benefits

This is a pretty easy rule really.  You want to find customers who are interested in your product’s benefits, so you must somehow communicate what those benefits are.  “Do you want to lose weight?”, “Have the shiniest car on the block”, “Make large money in a business of your own” all communicate benefits to the potential prospect.

2. Contains a call to action

Your advertising must contain some sort of a call to action.  “Visit your local Honda dealer”, “Purchase Dixon Golf Balls at Dick’s Sporting Goods”, “Call for free information” are good calls to action.  This tells the potential prospect what to do next.

3. Call to action must be enticing

You can’t get somebody to act when it’s not in their best interest.  For instance: “Visit our timeshare for a 3 hour presentation followed by a harassing sales pitch” would probably not work very well.  But “Enter today for a chance to win a 2010 Corvette” might be.

4. There must be some urgency to act

People tend to want to do things, but if they can do them anytime, they will put them off forever.  Words and phrases like “Now”, “Quickly”, “Act Soon”, “Offer Ends” will hopefully light a fire under the prospect.

5. Create an image for your company

You may be the one and only person at your company, but saying something like “Contact Bob Jones for more information” will not create much of an image in the imagination of your potential prospect.  Much better would be “Write to Jones, Inc. – Information Department for more information”.

6. Tell the potential prospect what to think of your product

An additional factor in image is telling the potential prospect what to think.  It might be a bit of a stretch to say “You love Coca Cola, You hate Pepsi” but I have seen something like that done.  Better would be something like this: “It’s unanimous, everyone loves Hubba-Bubba” or “Try this product and you will love it, or it’s on us”.  There are many variations on this theme but the main thing is that media has an impact on how a person thinks about things.  Tell the prospect what to think.

7. Never, ever, ever refer to a competitor

For you MLM’ers, this includes your upline, sponsor, or company.  They are your competitors as well as Joe, the other guy’s distributor.  Diet Coke should never refer to Diet Pepsi or visa versa.  Never.  Honda does this right by selling their product without referring to any other car maker.  The reason you never want to do this is because… you are giving them free publicity.  Rarely do you ever tarnish the image of the other guy (although Verizon did this to AT&T) and you might just push your prospect into their arms if you mess up the comparison.  It’s just too risky.

So what do you think of my list, did I miss anything?

Where My Blog Traffic Comes From

I am going to tell you some secrets in this article.  Perhaps they are known by those of us who have had blogs for a while but may be new to new bloggers.

I have been writing articles for my blog for about 4 months now and have gotten about 1350 visitors in the past month based upon Google Analytics.  When I analyzed the sources of traffic, here is what I found:

Referred: 46.35%
Direct: 23.69%
Search: 12.8%
Other: 7.16%

Referred Traffic

Referred traffic is non-search traffic coming from other web sites.  Of the referred traffic, probably half is paid clicks from StumbleUpon or Google.  I pay about a nickel a click from both sites so I don’t spend a whole lot of money.  In fact, I now have Google Adwords set to 25 cents per day.  I think StumbleUpon is about the same.

The other half of this traffic comes from posting comments in other blogs, click throughs from feedburner (my rss feed), and links people give me from their websites out of the goodness of their own heart.  I probably get about 15 to 20 clicks per day from my twitter account also; I am not sure where these are accounted for, they may be in Other.

Direct Traffic

Direct traffic is when people enter your website name in their browser.  However, I cheat a bit.  I own about 100 web site names and get about 10 to 15 clicks on average per day from them.  That only accounts for half of the direct traffic though.  The other half is returning visitors and referrals from past visitors I believe.

Search Traffic

My search traffic is actually a bit misleading because the vast majority of searches that found my site in the past month are looking for my name, a specific article title, the web site name, or something else that looks specifically like the visitor is trying to find the site.  I do get a few new visitors a day from organic searches of non-specific search terms and hopefully they also become regular readers.

Other Traffic

It’s hard to tell what other traffic is in Google Analytics because it doesn’t really break it out for you to show you where other traffic comes from.  I was thinking it might be my twitter traffic from when I post an article or other referrals that it can’t classify.

Summary

Unlike what you might believe, generic, organic searches are only a very small part of my overall traffic; but the volume is growing quickly.  More important than getting on the search engines is giving your visitors something worthwhile to find.  Good content brings people back along with their friends.

I did buy some of my traffic but really I spend very little, maybe $100 per month total.  This is just my impatience because ultimately it will mean nothing.  The relationship I build with you, my reader, will mean the most.  Where do you get most of your traffic?

Using Sex To Sell – Do Nerds Really Love Hot Blondes?

I am a computer guy, so I’ll start there. I am not the nerd I used to be, but I still love a good technical solution. And I do love GoDaddy. They have been an excellent company to do business with, much better than the domain/hosting company we had in the past. Still, I have to wonder about their commercials… If you are selling domain names, hosting, and other online services, does using sex to sell them really leap out as a marketing ploy? Well… yes. I gotta admit, their commercials are goofy but entertaining.

Sex has been used to sell all kinds of products over the years from shaving cream to lingerie to Harley Davidson Motorcycles. Men often want to believe that using a certain product will make them the envy of cute girls, if even only subconsciously. So domains by GoDaddy are the envy of really cute girls, NOT. But hey, a guy can dream.

That’s what these commercials do, they put us in the middle of a really bad porno and make us expect that the rest of life is going to be similar. Even the mundane web site, domain name, hosting, etc. products are more exciting with sex. Does it really take much creativity to think these things up? Probably not, but putting them together, sex and technology, is really a stretch… that works. The commercials and controversy worked guys. So should we do the same?

I liked GoDaddy because of their business. But I noticed GoDaddy because of their commercials. You really do need a good business model or the marketing dollars really will not pay off. Sex or no sex. And could you get the attention without the sex? Probably not, but if you put some creativity into it, who knows?

Check out the following resources:

The Skill Of Selling – Part 7

Asking for the sale, or closing the sale, is simply about asking the customer to make a purchase in some way.  This relates to product sales more than recruiting, because in recruiting we want people who are self motivated, not somebody who must be asked to make the next move.  That may mean that we don’t sponsor as many people as the next guy, but people we do sponsor are motivated, hard-working distributors.  You would only care about recruiting if you are a headhunter (job recruiter) or multi-level marketing distributor.

Now back to selling a product and closing the sale… Usually in selling a product the customer needs just a little nudge at the end for a go or no go decision.  If it is no go, we are back to answering customer objections or perhaps we will just have to wait until the customer decides he or she is ready.  Otherwise, we have an order and we make the sale.  Not asking for the sale is a mistake and can lead to all kinds of bad consequences.  Perhaps the customer will shop around and find somebody who will ask for the sale… so it is important to do this at the end.

Asking for the sale can take on different forms: “Can I wrap this up for you?”, “I can offer a 10% discount if you will purchase today”, “Would you like to place an order?”.  You can use your imagination and come up with several other ways of asking that do not place too much pressure on the customer.

Here are some resources to review about asking for the sale:

The Skill Of Selling – Part 6

Answering objections is about working with the customer to solve the problems they truly have.  If they say they cannot afford the product, are concerned with it’s safety, don’t know if it has the features they want, or they like your product but have additional problems to solve, you are there to listen and help them through the process.  Often marketing will script sales objections with answers but you must listen to the customer so that you truly understand the nature of their problem in order to offer the best solution.

Many of the objections people would have about buying the product or buying from us, we had answers.  We also had the flexibility to tell the customer that they don’t need our product or to truly customize a solution for them.  I think that having prepared responses is great but there are often gaps that need to be filled, and a salesperson should have the flexibility to truly offer real help for any customer situation.

Please review the following resources about answering customer objections:

1 2 3 4 5 6