By Lee Abraham
Aside from the IRS, few three letter acronyms repulse more swiftly, or with greater impact than network marketing’s street handle, “MLM.”
Another term for “Direct Selling,” and short for “Multi Level Marketing,” MLM has a bad name. Don’t believe me? Why do Direct Selling gurus chant the “Network Marketing” mantra instead of standing proudly under the MLM banner? Answer: less stigma to overcome. Same reason they stay away from the word “selling” in general.
For starters, everybody knows somebody who started an MLM business opportunity, invested their heart and soul, not to mention hard earned cash, only to give up shortly after starting when the friends and relatives threw cold water on their dreams. Not pretty.
Maybe the MLM newbie didn’t get the memo: business is tough. And that’s true for any business, not just MLM, err, I mean, Network Marketing.
In truth, Network Marketing is no different than any business involving sales. And let’s face it, all business requires an element of sales. Bottom line: building a Sales Force is the primary task. Call it leverage. Translation: the more people running around, selling your stuff, and better yet, signing up more people to sell even more stuff, the more money you will make.
And therein lies the rub. There’s a personal element in leveraging your Network Marketing efforts that makes it a particularly tricky deal. In other words, most of the Network Marketing business opportunities train their people to reach out to friends and family as the newbie’s best prospects to build the business.
Unlike a product pitch, which we brush off on a daily basis with little, if any, emotional fallout, asking someone to be your business partner and achieve those hopes and dreams is hot button, a potential raw nerve that forces people to confront their own inadequacies and insecurities. Especially talking to friends and family. Call it a reality check. And in today’s wired up world of communication overload, who needs more reality? Painful as it might be, the answer is: lots of people!
Last count from the Direct Selling Association of over 200 MLM businesses, had over 15 million people involved in one Network Marketing company or another. And that’s just in the USA alone!
Disclosure: I’m surfing the MLM wave myself! In fact, I jumped in with both feet… one in the Health and Wellness industry (USANA Health Sciences), the other in Education and Personal Development (iLearningGlobal). And I’m willing to bet that you, or someone you know, is also an MLM’er!
Obviously, Network Marketing has an allure. Terms like “Residual Income,” “Home Based Business,” and our old buddy “Leverage” are catnip for the inner Tiger of any self respecting entrepreneur. And like anything else, done right, Network Marketing is a great way to make money and have more control over your time.
What does “done right” mean? Lots of things. Prospecting, Presenting and Closing to name a few. Tell you what, let’s get into the finer points of “PPC” some other time.
Right now I want to focus on the “PC” of having some MLM’ers in your Power Team Network. In this case however, “PC” stands for “Pros and Cons.” As in, do you want MLM’ers on your Power Team?
The best Network Marketers are professional inviters, charismatic people with great communication skills who know how to motivate a prospect into action.
Top MLM’ers are referral artists, painting compelling images each and every day of opportunity, teamwork and the rewards of financial freedom. Properly trained to be your Bragging Buddy, these networking whirlwinds will generate a ton of money making referral for your business!
Write this down: the MLM’er has to understand and abide by the concept of Givers Gain®. Coined by Dr. Ivan Misner, the founder of BNI, the world’s largest networking organization, Givers Gain® is the philosophy of helping others first, and in return, benefitting yourself.
The problem: Not all MLM’ers get it. Overcoming the temptation to cannibalize the rest of the group, hammering away at the members until they sign up for the business opportunity, is no easy task. Like everything else, there is a way a Power Team partner can introduce their MLM opportunity to anyone interested, but like a few other nooks and crannies of the MLM and Power Team Networking discussion, that topic will have to wait as well.
For purposes of clarity on a too often blurry concept, let’s stay on task. Make no mistake: Like everyone else, the MLM’ers primary job is to create business for the other members of the Power Team and in return, train the group to bring referrals of prospects for their business.Rather than treat the Power Team as a group of power prospects, a good MLM’er sees the Power Team as their sales force.
Yes, the sales force reciprocates, diligently on the lookout for MLM “biz opp” prospects, folks interested in a Home Based Business, as well as Residual Income and Leverage, not to mention the product itself… oh yeah, remember the product? But the sales force is not on the defensive as a prospect if they are not interested in the biz opp for themselves.
Just like every other person on the power team, the MLM’er has to first learn to be an effective Bragging Buddy for the rest of the team, and then in turn, train the team to create referrals for them.
So let’s take a leap of faith together. Let’s agree that there are MLM people out there who “get it” and will be a tremendous addition to your Power Team. That being said, please join me in a warm and fuzzy group hug before we look from the MLM’ers perspective at how to be a good Power Team partner, next time, when our adventure in networking continues… Follow Me on Twitter!