Sponsoring Almost As An Afterthought

Many multi-level marketing distributors make it their mission to sponsor, or recruit.  That is all they do.  They create a marketing plan to appeal to business people, have a one step or two step follow up, and give a wonderful presentation.  There is nothing wrong with this, but as I said before, the product is the opportunity.  The product must be sold along with the opportunity in order to make any money, because as we know, we earn nothing if product is not sold.

Selling the product first, then sponsoring, can be a great way to earn a quick profit and to find people who love the product first.  With a minor pitch the people who love the product can become great sales people in your organization.  The important thing is to know how to appeal to your customers to become distributors.  For instance, most people will be put off if you tell them that they should sell the product.  They are not sales people, how could they possibly sell the product?  We have found that telling the customer that they can save money on their own product purchases by becoming a distributor is usually very effective.

There are usually many questions a customer will have about becoming a distributor when you use this little pitch.  How much does it cost to sign up?  Will I have to pay my own sales taxes?  Will I have to fill out complicated paperwork for income tax?  How much product do I have to buy at once?  Is it complicated to order?  Be ready with the answers to these questions and take note of other questions that customers ask about becoming a distributor.

If you sell the product and that’s all you do, you are missing out on a wonderful opportunity to build your business by recruiting other people.  These people will generate you passive income because you won’t have to service them as customers, which takes much more time than supporting distributors.  Even if they never sell they will continue to order, continually generating commissions for you.  Often, though, customers who become distributors make great spokespeople and sell the product like crazy.

If you are with a company with products that people know and can buy elsewhere, it may be tough to lead with the product, but you may also need to sponsor in a special way to keep building your organization.  I would personally prefer to belong to an organization with a unique product or a unique quality of product that can be sold and have adoring fans.

Sometimes a company can be overflowing with a number of products.  It can be tough to sell 500 products at once so it is usually good to lead with one or two products and let the customer decide to purchase others within the product line.  Focus is definitely a good idea when selling, especially because you will get a lot of questions about what makes a particular product special.  Knowing everything about every product is tough.

Good luck with your sales efforts and make sure to follow up with the discount!

How To Be The Big Fish – A Little Review

I have been talking about a lot of different things on my blog, but today I thought I would like to give a high-level summary of what it means to be the big fish in your multi-level marketing company.  Being the big fish is about image which is made up of several different things:

1. Professionalism

You are building a business so having a business name and business cards are important.  How you present yourself, especially during official business, is also extremely important.  The way you dress, how you groom, and if you have showered recently, are all important elements of creating a professional image.  Having your own web site can contribute to your professionalism and your image to others.

2. Marketing Method

The way you market your company contributes to your image.  If you pester your family and friends over and over to join or buy your product, you are probably creating a negative image.  If you create a marketing plan that identifies your market and seeks to deliver your marketing message to your market, this will create a positive image to those who matter most to you: people who would be your customer or distributor.

3. Marketing Effort

People who go 1000% into executing their marketing plan will create a positive image for their company.  They are fully committed to their product, what their company can do for others, and they don’t hold back (i.e. for fear of rejection).  This is having the faith in yourself to believe you will be successful no matter what others say.

4. Management Execution

You will create a positive image for your company when you can fulfill orders in a timely manner, get people information when they ask for it, answer your telephone professionally, and be there for your distributors.  Creating the right image cannot be all about sales and recruiting, it is about doing all of the right things for the people who depend on you.

5. Selling Yourself and Your Company

You personally and your company are what matter to the prospective customer or distributor, not your upline or your MLM company.  What are the features and benefits of doing business with you?  What can you do for your customer?  What can you do for your distributor?

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes: What do you expect from the people you do business with?  Spend a little time analyzing what you can do better and how you can sell that as a service.

6. Believe That You Are Already Successful, Believe In Yourself

Pump up your ego a bit and believe that you are something special, because you are!  You are the person with the company that is going to help thousands of people become successful and financially independent.  You are only held back by your beliefs, do a little self talk and make your dreams come true.

Now I am NOT telling you to get yourself all worked up and go out and do a bunch of stuff that means nothing to your business.  Get yourself pumped up and work your plan.  Find ways of working your plan that don’t cost you a lot of money, or any money if you can.  This may take a little creativity but it can be done.

Regardless of what you do and how hard you work, building an MLM business is harder and takes longer than you will expect.  Enjoy the little gains and the joy of your customers, and eventually your business will pay your salary and more.

It’s Christmas Eve – Merry Christmas to you!

I am thinking of business only a little today.  We will get together with my wife’s family this afternoon for a pre-Christmas Santa visit.  It is a great time of year to socialize with family and I personally think that it is no time for business or work talk unless I am pushed into talking about it.  It’s Christmas for goodness sake!

I do appreciate all of our visitors and I have to tell you that I was pressured to put up the notice about Watkins Products.  We have had so many people find us through the internet and they want their baking products!  Everybody else in our area has given up but there are so many customers around, we just want to be there for people who need us.

We did pull most of our Amazon.com ads this week because the load time was too slow.  We don’t find that Google slows us down much so we are leaving them for now.  It really has been a fun journey to start up this blog and see the number of visitors jump day to day.  We are starting to use Google Analytics now to give use more detail.  If you are interested in measuring your blog traffic, go to http://www.google.com/analytics to learn more.

Merry Christmas to you all!  I’m sure I’ll be chatting on my blog before New Year’s Day so I’ll wait for the Happy New Year until later.  Can you believe that it’s almost 2010?

Affiliate Programs and Funky Links

How do I feel about a web site that is provided to you, such as affiliate program sites, sites with funky links, and subsites such as bob.aa.com or aa.com/bob? I have to warn you that people do tend to want to visit the main site – i.e. if they encounter a funky link or a subsite, they want to enter the main website name into their browser. This means that the website owner gets the sale or the benefit of your link. Having said that, they can work for you under the right conditions.

For instance, the image on the left is for a link into Amazon.com for the book “The Greatest Networker in the World” by John Milton Fogg.  This is a wonderful book about building relationships and images with others as you build your MLM business.  You can buy the book with this link and I get a small commission.  I wonder, though, will people buy using the link or go search Amazon.com for the book?  It’s just as easy to do either… I mean there is no real reason to buy from me.  I don’t offer a discount or a guarantee so what is the reason to buy?  Having said that, I find the ads and links to be somewhat successful.

I use the Google Adsense advertisements throughout my blog and I also find them to be successful.  However, I personally would not include them if they interfered with the website in any way.  They seem to blend in nice and people do click on them.

I have also seen websites built by MLM companies or MLM uplines that provide a “free website” to a distributor which uses what I will call a “funky link” like affiliate.asp?rc=1234, which tells the website which affiliate is linking so the new distributor or sale can go to them.  Again, this can work but beware that people will visit the main site.  If the main site contains a prompt for the code (i.e. 1234 above) and nothing else, it is probably not a bad thing.  If instead the prospect can sign up under your upline… not so good.

I continue to experiment with advertising here on my blog but I don’t really make money off of any of them at this time, so I am just trying to see what looks nice, is not too distracting, and is effective with visitors to this site.  I really like chitika because they only advertise to people who visit my site from a search engine and not to regular visitors.  You can find out more information at http://chitika.com/publishers.php?refid=shrinkme.

What I absolutely do not advise is to join more than one multi-level marketing company at one time.  In this case, you really need to put all of your eggs in one basket.

Please let me know if you have any questions by commenting on this article.

How To Create More Demand

You have a winning product and you have a great sales presentation, why are orders only trickling in? It could be many different factors, and you will have to consider each one and possibly experiment a bit before you come up with the right answer:

1. Your expectations are out of whack

Perhaps you have good sales and you are just looking to get rich overnight. Let’s say you spend $100 on advertising and get $20 in orders. That’s not bad. Hopefully the orders you’ve received are from customers who will buy from you again.

2. People like the product but they like another vendor

Maybe your sales presentation needs a little bit more about why people should buy from you. Why should they buy from you and not somebody else? Just because you gave the sales presentation doesn’t mean you’ll get the sale.

3. People don’t understand your product

Perhaps either people don’t understand why they should buy the product or why they should buy this product when other comparable products sell for less. A little salesmanship could overcome this problem by going into more detail about the product’s features and benefits, and why the customer will be happier with this product.

4. The price really is too high

Generally as the price of your product goes down, demand should go up. You should not be selling for a loss but maybe a minor adjustment could change things. A little research is in order to figure out what people are willing to pay.

5. You aren’t selling your services

Many services add much value to a product. For instance, if you offer a long guarantee or you engrave the item. Perhaps you deliver the product to the person’s door the same day ordered. Make sure to offer free services that cost you little, or save you money.

6. You haven’t considered customer retention

Often initial orders are great but follow up orders are poor. How is the customer being treated? Are you meeting their expectations? Is the product falling short? Make sure to follow up with customers who order and ask them if there is anything you could do better.

I mentioned services that save you money. We found that many of our efforts to improve our customers’ experiences were worth spending a little more money for and saved us money compared to other distributors who did not do these things. For instance, we offered a six month money-back guarantee where other distributors offered 30 days. We found that more of our customers were successful with the product and we had significantly fewer returns.

We also had a policy of going above and beyond for our customers, and doing our best to eliminate the hassles of doing business with us. We found that people appreciated the effort so much that they would only buy from us, we had very few complaints, and almost nobody took advantage of our good nature. In fact, we only ever had 2 credit card charge backs because we would usually be able to work things out with our customers. I had mentioned that we used to bill customers who would send payment. We had so few customers not pay us that we saved money versus customers who used credit cards. I would also call customers who didn’t pay just to ask them if everything was ok. I ended up writing off 2 of the accounts but we generated a lot of word-of-mouth advertising.

Chris and I used to have meetings to discuss “the right thing to do” when we had an issue with a customer. This led to better customer service policies and more happy customers.

Hopefully you can come up with other ideas to improve customer retention and pump up your sales.

Creating A New Business Entity

In my business life, I have only created two types of business entities: A sole proprietorship and a corporation. In a sole proprietorship, you are not allowed to use the Inc. behind your name. It is also considered a “doing business as” name, i.e. Brian Satterlee doing business as Satterlee Marketing. This means that you personally are responsible for any liability resulting from the operation of your business. You typically register a sole proprietorship with your county agency, run a announcement in the newspaper, then get paperwork from the county so you can open a bank account. A sole proprietorship is reasonably inexpensive to start and you fill out a schedule C on your tax returns for profit and loss.

A corporation, on the other hand, allows you to put the Inc. behind your name, such as Satterlee Marketing, Inc., and is treated like a separate person. You register for an EIN with the IRS and file its taxes separately from yours. Since a corporation is separate from you, it also shelters you from liability provided you follow the rules for a corporation. I used MyCorporation to set up my corporate name and it was around $100. Corporations are usually set up with the state rather than a county. Follow the link below to learn more.

MyCorporation.com

Because I have not dealt as much with LLC’s and other business entities I am not going to try to write about them. Check out this link from the IRS though:

IRS.gov Business Structures

In starting a new business, I would be concerned with liability and professionalism. This is why I chose a corporation as my new business. Corporations look much more professional than sole proprietorships and, because they act as a separate entity, they force more responsible behavior with personal versus corporate assets. There might be other entities that are more fitting for your situation so you might want to chat with an attorney to come up with the right one.

Step By Step Startup Plan

So you have just joined a new multi-level marketing program? What should you do now to help you be successful?

1. Become a business. Being in business has a better image than being an MLM representative. You don’t work for the MLM company do you? You work for your own business so you should have a business name.

2. Get business cards. Exchange them with other people that you meet for their business card so you can stay in touch.

3. Announce your business to your family and friends. Let them know that you are going to sell your products at cost to the people you know and ask if they would like samples. Along with the samples make sure to get them a product brochure or catalog. Note that your family will give you free publicity to their friends, who you also can give samples to, but sell at full cost or at a minor discount.

4. Begin networking your business. Ask people you know for referrals of others who would like the products or might be interested in a business opportunity.

5. Get a web presence and a twitter account. Facebook, twitter, and other social networking sites are nice places to promote your business. You may or may not get orders but you can give it a try. You may also be able to use an affiliate web site set up by your MLM company or an upline distributor to promote your MLM business.

6. Set up a web site, if you can afford it. Having a web site name will improve the image of your business, especially a .com site. Having a web site name can cost you as little as $10 a year, you can either forward it to an affiliate web site for about $10 additional per year, or you can buy web space for about $120 or so per year.

7. Learn by reading books. Marketing, Sales, and Business Management are areas you want to concentrate in. You may also want to read MLM or Network Marketing specific books. Use the library because most books you can buy will also be found there.

8. Remember that you want to market and sell, but don’t forget about the management of your business. You will need to be able to fulfill orders, take telephone calls, and various other support functions for your business. Your business policies will assist in the success or failure of your business.

Make sure to have fun with your business and avoid spending money when you don’t absolutely need to. Good luck to you!

Multi-Level Marketing Shortcuts

Multi-level marketing companies usually provide training and materials needed for the new distributor to begin making sales. Often the material is not well tested but it is usually professionally created so that it does help to create a professional image for the distributor. Materials provided can be used to sell the product and or recruit new distributors, and is compliant with company policies. It would cost quite a bit to produce your own materials and you would still have to make sure the company would approve of them, so using the company’s printed material is preferable.

When you make the move to the internet, you won’t have an option to take web pages directly from the company so you will be designing your own. The nice thing is that you can use the copy from the company’s printed material, you just have to include the trademark and copyright symbols. You probably also have to identify yourself as an independent business person. You can check with the company or your upline for requirements of doing business on the internet. But using the copy, or the words, makes it a little simpler than trying to write your website from scratch.

It is possible that the company has a distributor marketing plan already created that can be put to use in your business. Be careful taking a pre-packaged marketing plan though, because if everyone is doing the same thing it may not be a good way to go. It is always best to market in a way nobody else is doing to get the best response.

This brings up a good point about selling a multi-level marketing product: When you are the only one selling an item there is no worry about competition, but selling amongst a group of other distributors might make it difficult to market the product. Always remember to sell yourself and find benefits of doing business with you. Avoid competing head-to-head with other distributors when possible.

Google Is My Friend

Rather than telling you specifically where to go or what specifically to do, I usually say to use Google to find things or look up information. I do this because that is what I do. Whenever I have a question of any kind that some person may know, I do a search. You can use Google, Ask, Bing, Yahoo, or any number of other search engines, type in your question, and up comes a list of possible answers. Some will be better than others but you look through them and hopefully get the answer you need. Learning to search and research to find the answers you need will be important as you grow and build your business.

Need a tax question answered? Search the question. Need to incorporate? Find somebody who will help you. Want to understand business concepts? Search the concept. Search is not perfect but it can be a great start.

You do need to understand that some information is better than others. Sometimes turning to a professional for help will be in order. But a search may give you basic information to know whether you need more help or not.

When you are building and promoting a web site, search can help you determine what is possible and how you can accomplish it. Do you want a feed on your blog site? There is a way to do it and information abounds for how to. Make sure to look at multiple sources though because some people will want to charge you for what you can get for free elsewhere.

I could do all the research for you and list specifically where to go and what to do, but most of that information does exist on the internet and there will be questions I don’t answer for you. So do what I do and Google it.

Linking To Your New Website

Your website is your sales presentation and much more, but you must advertise to get visitors, warm leads, and or prospects to your website (i.e sales presentation). The way you do this for a website is to have advertisements that link into your website. Advertisements can be long winded or a little blurb that quickly describes what your website is. Sometimes your advertisement is actually built from your website. This is the case when a search engine indexes your web pages.

Nobody will know about your website until you start getting links to your website from other sites. Typically the way this is done is by telling the other website about your site, or submitting your site. You can submit your site to directories and search engines. And there are a ton of them! I would start with Google and Bing, then do a search for search engines and directories from Google for more places to submit your site for free.

Another possibility is to exchange links with other similar websites. You would typically contact the other site by email and ask if they would like to exchange links with you. Then you put a link to them on your site and they put a link to you on theirs. Many web owners will gladly exchange links but others may not reply, but keep trying.

If you have a blog, there are a ton of RSS search engines and other ways to promote your blog. Do a search for “How do I promote my blog” for more ideas. Many websites provide this kind of information to you. Additionally, you may want to post thoughtful comments on other blogs in response to their articles. Most comment forms include your name and website name so people can see what your site looks like. You might also try this with non-blog websites, I’m sure you would get a few visitors.

There are places on the internet where you can submit classified advertisements that include a link to your website. Many are free. I am not sure how effective advertising this way is, but you might get a visitor or two. One last way to advertise your website for free is social networking sites. I have talked about these before but they do often allow you to link directly to your site. Up and coming social networking sites such as twitter.com are often very effective.

There are tons of other ways to advertise links to your site, just do a search for “How do I promote my website”. Many will submit your site for cost, but you really want to try to promote your website for free. Stick to free. I say this because some of the best ways to advertise your website on the internet are free. If you can, I would measure the most effective ways to advertise for free, which website statistics often provide.

Ultimately we are more concerned with sales than visitors, so the more targeted your visitors are the better. In other words, when your advertisement is presented to your demographic and they visit, they are most likely to buy.

The way that I promote my website is to spend a little time each day on promotion activities. Set aside an hour or two, research, and post requests for links. It is not hard work and it will produce results in the long run. I often switch from method to method, for instance today I will post responses to blogs and tomorrow I will submit my site to directories.

For those of us doing multi-level marketing, you can assume that the same concepts are generally true of recruiting.

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