Why Marketing and Sales Are Important in Nework Marketing

Peanut Vendor at Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ. Cubs versus Diamond Backs game

Peanut Vendor at Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ. Cubs versus Diamond Backs game

I have said before that selling will keep you broke. What I really meant to say was that trying to sell huge amounts of product to customers will keep you broke. Instead, you need help. You need other distributors below you to help you reach more customers, rather than doing it all yourself. That way you do not spend all your time looking for the next customer and instead spend more time building your business. A distributor under you selling product means more to you because you do not have to handle product, talk to the customer, ship or deliver, etc. You just help the distributor figure out ways to reach a couple more customers and grow their group.

So why are marketing and sales important then? Building your business with independent distributors is all about marketing and sales. Start with sales. What are you selling to the prospect? You are selling a lifestyle. You are selling freedom from worry because of a residual income. Whose lifestyle are you selling? Your own. And if you look worried, if you are constantly having problems, if you are pushing for that next customer, it is a lifestyle nobody wants. Instead, you have to be the person your prospect wants to be, or at least that seems to have it all. No, it is not about lying to the prospect. It is about being professional, calm, not pushy, consultative, and perhaps most of all, happy. All of these elements can be seen personally and heard over the phone. You also have to act as if you are okay if the prospect joins or does not join.  It is not the end of the world if they do not join. If you seem needy it is not attractive.

Alright, so what about marketing? First of all, marketing and sales are not the same thing. Think about marketing as the software that runs the company based on the needs of the customer. Who is the customer? It could be a retail customer or could be one of your distributors. So sales is like hardware, a technical skill, and marketing is like software, a management-type skill. With marketing, you start by finding a target market for your product, which will likely be a demographic or a subset of the general population. Not everyone will or should be interested in your opportunity. Who is? That is the group we should be directing our advertising and networking towards… our target demographic. We can also change our business practices based on the needs of our target market. Perhaps they expect a money-back guarantee. Perhaps they expect exceptional customer service. Maybe they expect tons of support. Whatever it is, you should consider incorporating these elements into your company.

You can see that marketing directs all parts of the business to support a target market or demographic. Marketing also influences sales. For instance, we may know what a prospect needs to hear based on what demographic they belong to. So we make sure our sales presentation says this. Again, this is not about lying. If we are lying to the prospect we will ultimately lose them as a partner, so we want to build a relationship of trust. So whatever we are saying must be the truth.

I really like selling to customers. But more and more retail selling without help will keep you broke. Better to market and sell to distributor prospects.

What do you think?

The Heartbreak of MLM

Golden Gate Bridge

Chris at the Golden Gate Bridge

There are so many great things about MLM, multi-level marketing, or network marketing, whatever you would like to call it. Network marketing is actually a slightly different term as it implies making money by networking with other people. Multi-level marketing usually refers to a compensation plan. A comp plan is how the MLM company determines what to pay you. Like playing in a casino, the house never loses money. They know how much of the revenue is theirs and how much is the distributor’s. So the comp plan never pays out more than the total margin of a product, margin being the retail price over cost.

Let us go over what is good and bad about multi-level marketing compensation plans. Here is a partial list of what is good about them:

1. They allow you to help people without neglecting your business

2. In time, compensation becomes residual income. In other words, the work you do today is paid out over the coming years.

3. With residual income, you can take vacations or time off without fear that your job will be gone when you return, or that your business cannot run without you. If you are just selling the product, any time away is a problem.

How about some bad things? There has to be something wrong with MLM comp plans right? Here are some that are partially true:

1. You may not make as much initially as you would if you earned the entire commission on the product. On the flip side, you would probably have to be selling significant volume to earn the lion’s share of commissions. If you are selling in volume, you would also make the majority of commissions in an MLM plan.

2. Having too much invested in a single company can be problematic. However, some MLM companies are good long-term partners.

3. Some MLM companies require large monthly purchases. True, but most require no purchase. However, to earn your downline commissions there often is a minor purchase required (as little as $100 retail monthly).

4. Many companies require you to do distasteful selling or attend meetings, sometimes in locations you must travel to. I have heard this, but most MLM companies do not require you to attend meetings or sell in weird ways. Most meetings today can be held by telephone. Training usually exists online and upline leaders are a telephone call away.

5. MLM companies require you to sign-up friends and family. We have found that “warm market” sponsoring works in some cases, but for the most part promoting the business and letting people call if interested works just fine. If somebody buys a lot from you, you can also encourage them to become a distributor for the discount.

Multi-level marketing is a good place to go for long-term moderate income. If you are looking for income in the billions, it is not the right place for you. But if you are looking for a few hundred to a few thousand dollars per month, it is perfect. Not that all distributors are this successful, but some are.

I have to say that I have seen people spend a lot of money doing unproductive things in MLM. I have also seen people give up way too early. I try to encourage people to do the right things but sometimes it does not work out. That is what breaks my heart.

It does make me feel better to see people become wildly successful.

Get Rich By Creating Value

"Goldeagle". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org

“Goldeagle”. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Wow, I just gave you the secret to riches.  Create value.  But what does this mean?

I was thinking about how to provide people with the tools they need to be successful at making money on the internet.  Sure you can build a website, you can sell products for profit, you can create an online tool, but if you are not creating value… you will not find any real success.  And by success, I mean money, riches, or wealth.

So what is value and how do you create it?  Value is something that means more to somebody else then it takes to produce the something.  For instance, if I have a way to save a company $50,000 on their energy bill, I can charge for the information right?  Yes, the value is the way, or information, to save $50,000 on energy.  Probably worth less than $50,000 and more than $1, but there is a value that can be placed on it.  The only problem is that everybody knows these ideas and many people have written about them, so the value of the information is much lower.

That is the typical problem in network marketing.  You want the easy sell or easy sponsor, so you think it is enough just to tell people you do XYZ network marketing company.   Perhaps if you were the only XYZ network marketing distributor this would work, but you are not.  What value do you provide that nobody else does?

There are ways to provide value in network marketing.  Probably the best one today is your unique perspective on finding leads, staying organized, or creating a group to depth.  People are hungry for information on doing the business so if you have something that works for you, you can let other people know.  Can you sell your information product?  Only if it is truly unique, complete, and entertaining.

Could you just give away your starter kit or offer a money-back guarantee to provide value?  Giving away the kit is a bad idea, because it encourages people to join and do nothing.  A money-back guarantee is good, but easy to emulate.  Tools to be successful in your business are going to be your best avenue for value.

Your value to your multi-level marketing company can be producing sales, no doubt.  How do you produce sales?  Many online avenues for selling are strongly discouraged by MLM companies, and many others do not produce results large enough to support a person.

You can produce network marketing results by either creating a new market or competing with your fellow distributors.  Competing tends to be a bad way of doing business.  We always want competitive advantage where we can get it, but creating a new market will produce much better results than snatching market share away from others.  How do you create a new market?  Reach people that are not being reached, and produce value within that market.  People already need and want what you are selling, but nobody has presented it in a way they understand.  Be the person that does.

How do you create value?

What Is Network Marketing?

Network marketing is generally a way to spread information about a product.  For instance, you tell your friends, they tell their friends, and so forth.  Network marketing allows you to get paid for all of these referrals.

Multi-level marketing is an offshoot of network marketing.  Generally, multi-level marketing is a compensation structure where you get paid for product sales you make, and product sales that people you refer make, and product sales people they refer make… and so forth.  The compensation structure of a multi-level marketing program lays out exactly what you get paid for each sale.

Unlike affiliate marketing, network marketing compensation will start out very small but grow to an indefinite size over time.  Affiliate marketing depends on the efforts of only one person: you.  Network marketing depends on the efforts of many people.

We use both affiliate marketing and network marketing as part of SplashPlan.com.  Affiliate marketing allows you to make quick income from services and training sales.  Network marketing allows you to earn long-term residual income.

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.

Introduction To Business Ethics

In business ethics our goal is to do the right thing.  Period.  However, this isn’t always easy because sometimes we are faced with some extremely tough choices.  And we don’t just serve ourselves and our customers, we also serve our shareholders, employees, communities, and country.  Often different choices favor one group over another group.  Choosing the best choice for the situation is often labeled moral relativism because morals are typically absolute do this or do that with no exceptions.  Sometimes we do get stuck between morals and we cannot just walk away, we have to make a decision that we are going to have to live with.

As an example, we had heard that our dietary supplement may have caused serious health consequences and or death long before we stopped selling it.  Who did we hear this from?  Mainly we heard it from the media.  Based on the information we had at the time, we believed the news stories were directed at other dietary supplements that contained similar ingredients, and they were just referencing our product because it was the most popular dietary supplement at the time that contained the ingredients.  We had also questioned the MLM company president about it and we were assured that nobody was reporting health consequences from taking the product.  In addition, only one of our customers had reported health side-effects from taking the product and we sold a ton.  The one customer in question believe that the health problem was related to taking the product, but we knew based on the particular problem that it could not have been the product.  In fact, the product probably saved their life by bringing the problem front and center.

So we were pretty sure that our product was causing virtually zero health problems and it was helping tons of people lose weight.  Several people reported that it was helping them control their diabetes and lower their blood pressure.  One customer asked their doctor if it was ok to take and the doctor told them that it couldn’t hurt.  Overall, the information that we had is that the product was benefiting the public and not harming anybody.  We stayed on the safe side and advised our customers to take the product only as directed.

Many companies face ethical choices, especially in a tough economy.  Should we risk bankruptcy or lay people off?  Should we accept money from the government (or give people bad mortgages) or lose competitive advantage?  Should we sell this product when we know that some people will die from using it?  For the last question, consider automobiles.  Auto manufacturers know that some people will die because of automobile accidents, yet they still manufacture them.  Does it make sense to shut down the company because of automobile accidents?  Perhaps a better choice is to make the car safer and eliminate any safety defects.

It is very important to follow the law even when it is hard.  Still, management at large companies have found themselves in hard situations.  Should I report the correct numbers or save my shareholders from a huge loss?  Remember that some company shareholders are retirees and pension plans, not just rich people trying to get richer.  Still, in this case we are preventing future shareholders from a serious loss because we are disclosing correct numbers.

The goal of ethics in business is to do the right thing.  We must do the legal thing.  We are obligated to do the best thing we can for all of our stakeholders such as owners or shareholders, management, bond holders or lenders, our employees, the community, and our country.  It is not always easy but we gather all of the information we can and make the best decision possible.

Marketing 101 For Small Businesses

Marketing is not simply the act of selling the product to a customer but is the definition and backbone of the total effort of the company.  Marketing defines the attributes of the customer and how the customer will be reached so that time and money are not wasted.  Marketing looks for the value added of the company that can be sold to the customer.  Marketing outlines the business flow of customers through various areas of the business.  Marketing can help determine the vision and direction of the company.

Good marketing is the difference between being miserable and disheartened, and being energized with a lot of activity.  You are selling to the right people who want to hear your message.  People are making their way through the marketing process, hearing the sales presentation, buying product or signing up as distributors.  Poor marketing practice is like cold-calling the phone book.  It’s beating your head against a brick wall and never getting anywhere.  If you are a new multi-level marketer, you have probably felt this way many times.

So how do you market well?  You need to find the right types of people for your product or opportunity.  Are you selling widgets?  Who uses widgets?  Do men or women usually buy widgets?  Are widgets purchased by everyone or just certain income levels?  Are people more likely to buy widgets in a certain part of the country or world?  Are office workers more likely to buy widgets than blue collar workers?  These are the kinds of questions you need to ask about your product in order to build a profile of your customer.

For a business opportunity that sells widgets, you probably want your customer for widgets plus a few other elements.  For instance, are store owners likely to want to sell widgets?  Are widgets best sold by personal sales people?  Does being a distributor for widgets offer a discount for purchases?  These questions can define which of your customers you may want to offer the opportunity to, or the kind of people you want to find for your opportunity.

The attributes of your potential customer or distributor is their demographic profile.  Demographics are subsets of the general population.  A given person usually fits within a group or several groups.  Perhaps your demographic profile describes only 10% of the population so 90% of the population typically would not be interested in what you are offering.  If you make your offer to the correct 10% of the population, not all will buy but they are considerably more likely to be interested.  This makes business fun, to be presenting to people who want to be presented to.

Marketing also defines your advertising methods, sales messages, and what values your business offers to your customers.  Marketing as a whole may be a process of trial and error, but once you find what works for you, you just do it over and over and bigger and bigger.  Larger companies try to get more precise with their marketing activities by doing a ton of research before ever delivering a product to market, but since we don’t have a major amount of resources or time, doing things small in a trial and error fashion works fine.

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.

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.

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