You can definitely earn a few hundred or even a couple of thousand dollars a month in network marketing or multi-level marketing (MLM) simply by retailing products or services. But if you want to achieve higher income levels, get recognized on stage for your promotions, or create true residual earnings, you will need to learn how to grow and support a team of like-minded reps.
A unique aspect of network marketing, un- like similar sales structures, is that you don’t recruit people, train them, and risk them becoming your competitor. In this industry, you recruit, train, and then enter a long-term partnership with mutual benefits.
In this article, we will look at the best tips for building a massive team in network marketing.
1. Creating a Prospect List
A prospect list is a record of the names of people you would like to approach about either joining your team or using your products. This is a very important step, and it should be one of the very first things you begin working on once you start your business.
Just start writing down the names of everyone you know, and never assume to know whether your prospect is interested or not. Thoughts like “John is a doctor, so he won’t be interested,” or “I know Linda is wealthy; this won’t be for her” are the kinds of decisions that can cost you tens of thousands of dollars down the road. So don’t prejudge; just get down the names.
On your list will likely be several people who have the potential to be strong leaders in your organization, a few who are looking to supplement their income with a few hundred dollars a month, and many who are not looking to start a business but want to benefit from using your services. You don’t know who slots into each category.
Don’t make the mistake of having five or six people “in your head” who you think will be ready to join your team. This is one of the most common mistakes new reps make. They fail to have a big enough list, and they neglect to put that list on paper. If you think the first handful of people you approach are going to be interested enough to join, you’re going to be disappointed. Make sure you get down at least 100–200 names, contact them, and then allow them to determine whether they want to find out more or not.
Start with those people who are already on your phone’s contacts list, then add in those you know through social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Many of these people could have a real need for either your business or product. If you have friends, relatives, or business associates based either in other states or overseas, be sure you also place them on your list. Check your company’s website and look to see in what states and countries your company is doing business.
Whether you contact them on the phone or online, make sure you don’t miss out on this often neglected opportunity to expand your business outside the area you live. Remember that your mission is to share your business (not sell the business!) to people looking for the same things you are: a better lifestyle, greater income, and the benefits of superior products and services.
Your job is not to convince people, argue with them, or twist their arms in order to join you. Don’t be emotionally tied to their decision. Most people say they want success but aren’t willing to do the work it requires. So don’t worry about how many say “No,” “Maybe,” or “I’ll get back to you later.” You’re looking for serious people that want to do something with their lives today.
Plan to get at least 100 names on your first prospect list of family and friends. Be sure to include all your relatives that may be living in other states or overseas in countries where your company is open in. Your prospect list is an ever-changing document, with prospects being re- moved as they either join your business or say no and new prospects added on a regular basis.
These prospects can come about through focused efforts to add to the list, or you may be someone who easily strikes up conversations with people and is able to obtain their details.
Don’t feel the need to prospect, everyone, you meet, or feel obligated to add them to your list. Some people, due to personality clashes or negative attitudes, may never be right for your business—or may be right for the business but wrong for your team culture. It’s a feature of network marketing that you get to choose whom you want to work with, rather than being lumped with a group of people you struggle to tolerate.
Instill a level of urgency when it comes to developing and contacting people on your prospect list. Stories abound of people who held off on contacting a prospect and then found their prospect had joined someone else in the same company who contacted the prospect just days or even hours earlier. Developing a large list of people doesn’t mean you are obligated to sponsor all of them. Your only role is to simply give them the opportunity to look at what you are working on; then leave it to them to determine if it is right for them or not.
2. Contacting and Inviting
If you seriously want to succeed in network marketing, you have to be able to get out there and meet people. Nothing happens in this business until someone buys something from another individual, and that won’t happen if you are not proactive in sharing your opportunity and products.
If you truly like working by yourself—analyzing numbers, inputting data, or trading in the stock market—you may not find the social aspect of network marketing to your liking. This is a people business. If you find people annoying and difficult to work with, contacting them and inviting them to look at your business is probably not something you are going to do well with. This doesn’t mean you will need to be the stereotypical happy-go-lucky, life-of-the-party type.
Many, many introverts have succeeded in network marketing. You will, however, need to be a little outgoing, able to hold a decent conversation with new people and develop a generally positive outlook on life. Not many people want to join someone who has a pessimistic attitude. Once you have developed your list, it’s time to use your social skills to your advantage, contacting every individual one by one in order to make an invitation.
This is where a simple script, usually developed by your company, will be a major asset. You should never begin an invitation call by ad-libbing, with no prior preparation. Being aware of what you are going to say before you need to say it will help you appear confident in what you are promoting. “The less you say, the more you make.”
Also be sure, whenever possible, to do your invitations over the phone. You can do this while at home, relaxing in a pool, or taking your morning walk. The most important part is that they are done over the phone.
That way you can stick to time limits for how long you stay in conversation with the prospect. You can do the call while in a convenient location that suits you. And you can cut the call short if the prospect decides to get into irrelevant details regarding what you are doing and why. These tips will also help improve your success with your invitation.
- Clear the time: Ask the prospect if she has two minutes free right now. If she says no, respect that and ask when it would be a better time to call. If she is okay to talk, then respect the fact that you only asked for two minutes of her time.
- Have a scripted invitation: You need to know what you’re going to say, and practice, practice, practice that invitation until you are reading it clearly and with authority. If you stumble over the words or say them mechanically, you’re going to have your prospect focusing more on how you are speaking rather than the information you are sharing.
- Stick to the purpose of your call: You’re calling your prospect to see if he is open to looking at an opportunity to make more money or try your product. Don’t get the both of you distracted with discussions about the weather, the Super Bowl, or what Sarah wrote on Facebook. There are times for social chats; this is not one of them.
- It’s an invitation call, not a sign-up call: Don’t make the mistake of trying to sponsor people on your first call. They will never know enough about the business from one call and may make assumptions about how it works that lead them to say no. It’s an invitation to take a look, not an invitation to get started.
- Be prepared for the next step: This is a common mistake, usually caused by being unprepared. A representative will call, excited to invite the prospect to look at the business, but when the prospect says yes, the rep doesn’t proceed to the next step in the process and offer something to look at. Talk to your sponsor and ask, “When my prospect says yes, what do I show her?”
It’s important that you get a large number of people looking at your business to ensure you get enough of a team developing from the beginning so you can get momentum right away. After your first couple of months of exposing your business to as many prospects as you can, you can then settle into exposing a few people a week on a consistent basis.
This will keep your network growing solidly and help keep you qualified for commissions in a compensation plan that may require you to personally sponsor every month to achieve leadership bonuses. Try to always use tools (websites, videos, CDs) to then share your opportunity, so you can save time and create leverage. Remember, this is a business that is most often built part-time, so it’s important that you let the tools do the work of sharing information with your prospect.
Think about how you were invited to the business and what information you were asked to look at. In all likelihood, that same information you viewed will appeal to your prospects too. Get hold of whatever it was and begin to use that tool as part of your own prospecting. Don’t pressure people to view your presentation.
Ask them to take a look; don’t ask them to join on the spot. They will most likely put up a defense and offer you reasons why they would not be interested or even suitable for the business. Your best strategy is to invite them to take a look at a presentation and then allow them to decide if it’s for them or not.
3. Making Your Presentation
If your invitation has been made correctly and your prospect is open to check- ing out your business, it’s now time to provide her with a presentation. This could be related to your business or just the products or services. It’s usually a better idea to show a full presentation combining both at first and allow her to decide which part of the presentation appeals to her the most. The most essential factor in your presentation is that you use third-party tools.
By using professionally produced material, you can showcase your opportunity without actually making the whole presentation. It means you don’t have to spend time memorizing dozens of facts and figures, and more importantly, you become the messenger, not the message. That is where you will get the most duplication long-term. By ignoring this strategy, you will not only stifle duplication, but you will create reasons for your prospect to not feel competent enough to join your business.
Remember that your prospect will be closely watching what you do to present the business, in part to see if it is something she is comfortable doing. If you meet in a coffee shop for your presentation, then spend an hour verbally relaying every aspect of your compensation plan, unique products, and history of your CEO, she may end up being impressed, but more with your memory than the opportunity. She may think that in order to make the business work, she’ll need to remember what coding bonuses are paid on your third generation, why iron is added to your Mega-Mix pack but not the Fortified Friday Mix, and how your CEO was actually born in the same hospital as Donald Trump.
If you have spent sixty minutes reciting your monologue, she will subconsciously assume that this is what she needs to do to also present the business. No matter how excited she is by your opportunity, she will start to wonder whether she can remember everything you shared. Rather than risking the embarrassment of trying to remember all the key points you mentioned, she will opt to continue in another direction.
Leaders in the industry who are great at public speaking have also been caught in this trap. Many have invited their prospect to a hotel meeting where they are the speaker giving the presentation and end up with a prospect who believes he will also need to become a great public speaker in order to make the business work for him.
To succeed in prospecting, you must be aware of the fact that how you present your opportunity is what your prospect believes she will be doing. If at the end of each presentation you hear, “You’re going to do really well with this, but it’s not for me,” you can be sure that the fault lies in your method of presenting.
Tools—such as company DVDs, CDs, a website, or online video—work well because people are more confident in sharing a presentation rather than performing one themselves. This book, for example, could be used as a tool for prospects who want more information on how the business works before they join your team.
The company’s website can be used by anyone who wants to find out more about the company’s corporate team. A product brochure can be handed out that can educate your prospect on why your heat patches work so effectively. Anything you can use to do the explaining for you, rather than you having to remember the details and making the presentation verbally, is a much more effective way to grow your business.
4. Successful Follow-Up
Most people, no matter how impressed they are with your product, want time to look over what you have presented and will only make a decision once they have read all the facts and figures.
It’s important that you take the initiative with your prospects and follow up to see what decision they have made. No matter how positive they are to get started, it is not necessarily the norm to have your prospects call you back first, hurriedly asking you to sign up. If you sit back, present your business, then hope a prospect is going to call you and ask to join, then you are in for a long wait and a slow-growing business. Remember that the “fortune is in the follow-up.”
Following up is not just a skill; it is an intentional act combined with discipline. There is no room for procrastination, as every day you put off contacting the prospect to either get an answer or clarify his questions is twenty-four hours closer to him losing interest in your opportunity.
You know that life gets in the way for most people. The things they were enthusiastic about last week are today forgotten. Your prospects are no different. Once they have seen your presentation, make sure they understand that you will be in touch soon to get their response and answer any questions or objections. Then they not only understand that part of the process, but they expect it. If you are not following up in a consistent manner, you can be sure your prospects will assume that you are not as serious about the business as you appeared.
Following up is not just about hassling the prospect until he says yes. It is done with respect, at mutually agreed times, with the purpose of discovering whether a partnership together in your company will work out for the best. It’s also an opportunity to provide the prospect with more resources that will allow him to further his research and gather more information in his own space and time.
Remember, you are not there to hassle a prospect into joining you; you simply respectfully ask if she wants to be part of your team or wants to use the products or service as a customer. Your job is not to convince a prospect of what is right or wrong; your job is to invite him to look, then follow up and collect a decision.
Don’t be shy about asking for referrals from those who are not interested in the business or your products. Every person you know can provide you with at least five to ten new contacts. If they like your products and see you as a professional, they will gladly provide those names.
Just make sure you don’t abuse their trust. They are providing you with a list of their friends and acquaintances. They gave you the names because they felt they could trust you. Don’t abuse that trust by trying to “hard-sell” these contacts.
5. Closing the Deal
While people often use the phrase “closing the deal” when it comes to sales, that phrase, when it comes to network marketing, requires a different under- standing. In this industry, you are not “closing” people, but rather “opening” them to new beginnings.
In traditional sales, you would close the sale once you have reached the end of the process and the prospect has agreed to make a purchase of goods or services from you or your company. In network marketing, this is where the process actually truly begins.
The invitation, the presentation, the follow-up, and the submitted application are all a prelude to a greater objective: to create and maintain a long-term business partnership with the mutual goal of growing a successful organization and satisfied product customers.
To reach this point in the process, your prospect would have reviewed your material, analyzed the business, tried the products, and had his questions answered. He will then make a decision as to whether it meets his lifestyle and income needs by being part of your opportunity.
“Duplication” is commonly defined as making an exact copy of something. In network marketing, the concept of duplication refers to the copying and applying an effective method of operation, and it plays an important role in building a huge organization.
The fastest-growing, most solid organizations in this industry have emerged when team members are using the same system to grow their business. It is a concept borrowed from the franchising business model, tweaked to fit a business model that is occasionally referred to as the “people’s franchise.” A system will usually be created and put in place by the leaders in your organization, often in conjunction with company sales executives.
A good system will outline how to prospect for new team members, how to develop a group of customers, what to use when presenting your opportunity, and how and when to follow up with prospects. Most systems are flexible enough to adjust to different situations, but in general, they help you cover what you need to do on a daily, weekly, monthly, and sometimes even yearly basis. If a system works very well, it will help create success for those that choose to follow it.
In a strong, duplication-focused organization, it will become quite easy to see who is following the system and who isn’t. In building their business, some reps unknowingly leave out the very things they need the most. The man who most needs to work on his personal development will not take part in the team leadership program, or the woman who complains about a lack of communication never takes part in the weekly company webinar.
These people often refuse to participate in the activities they need the most in order to prosper. They will also be the first to highlight that nobody in their team is working on their business, which is a problem that stems from the leader not following and teaching a system that duplicates.
Once you have understood and learned to implement your team’s system, the easier it will be for you to identify who is not following it and help them get on track. It’s been said that the golden rule to success in this business is to get a large group of people to do a few simple things over a sustained period of time. This is the essence of what a good system will allow you to do.
Be consistent and persistent over time to get results. The building blocks of a system must be based on simplicity, with actions that can be followed by every person that is a part of your organization. If you introduce activities that are difficult to apply or achieve positive results with, the system will fail and will need to be rapidly adjusted.
If your system is too rigid and detailed, it will be difficult to duplicate, resulting in most people not following it. If your system is too flexible and open to constant change, confidence in the system will wane and team members will begin to feel free to tailor it to suit their own interests. Here’s an example of a very simple system that was implemented by one organization several years ago:
- Use the products or services daily, or weekly; be a product of the products.
- Complete at least thirty minutes of personal development daily.
- Stay connected. Be on the weekly conference call and view the monthly corporate video.
- Attend all local events and major regional events. You might not think you can afford to, but the reality is, that you can’t afford not to.
- Introduce your business, product, or service to at least two people a day.
Too simple? Not detailed enough? Perhaps. But keep in mind, that you don’t need a highly sophisticated plan in order to create solid duplication. The more complex your plan, the less chance it has of being duplicated by your team.
Finally, as with much of what you do in network marketing, sit down with your sponsor to get a good grounding in what your system is and how you should apply it. Most organizations will have their system documented in either a small booklet or a PDF that can be downloaded.
If you see others succeed with a system, don’t be overconfident and think you can create your own or modify the one being used. Learn the one your upline is using, utilize it, and teach it to your team. Don’t reinvent the wheel. A good, strong system is the basis of duplication, and solid duplication is the key to a lifetime of ongoing income in network marketing.
7. Training Your Recruits
Signing an application and taking a spot in your compensation plan is just the beginning. It is now absolutely important that your new recruit is given the right training in launching a successful network marketing business. A starter kit or welcome pack will usually follow once the recruit is signed up, allowing her to begin the preliminary training process just days after beginning.
Many companies will even have in place online training that can be accessed the moment she joins your business. Be sure you make her aware of any resources she can go through in those first forty-eight hours, as this is usually the period where new team members can be unsure of whether the business will work for them and if they are doing the right thing.
If your new team member won’t take the time to do the initial training, she is probably going to struggle in this business. Reps who make the effort in learning what they have to do and why to develop greater belief in their decision to get involved in network marketing. Your company and upline can also provide you with educational materials on everything from the compensation plan to why and how your products were created.
This is a crucial period in her networking career, and it is now up to you to transfer the belief you have about your business into her heart and mind. This needs to be done with passion, enthusiasm, and a lot of patience. Be sure to take advantage of any events that are coming up where you can take her to see the bigger picture.
There is nothing that will instill belief in her decision faster than being in a room of like-minded people who are excited about their new opportunity. Giving your new team members the proper environment in order for them to learn the skills and attitudes required will help lay the foundations of a flourishing organization.
Good business, just like a good relationship, hinges on great communication. While we know effective communication is important in large corporate settings, many people forget that it can be even more important in other types of business—network marketing being no exception. You will need to communicate well with your downline, your upline, your customers, and even your corporate team.
Good communication begins with being aware of what is happening in your business. Don’t get stuck on the treadmill of “I didn’t know” and “You didn’t tell me.” Your downline will begin to question your commitment and may think that you don’t care about the business or them.
You may be doing a lot behind the scenes in terms of support and laying strong foundations, but if you don’t communicate what you are working on and why you will rapidly see a slowdown in your progress and a lack of confidence in your leadership.
To understand what your team desires regarding good communication, ask yourself what would help you stay on top of what you need to know. Is it a weekly e-mail update? A short video posted on the team’s site? A private Face- book group Page? A weekly conference call?
In all likelihood, those things that you feel would be helpful to you are also of interest to your team members. Whichever forms of communication you and the company choose to use, be sure you are consistently providing everyone an opportunity to stay up to date.
9. Rewards and Recognition
Many people stay in the business for recognition and a sense of belonging. Network marketing organizations do an incredible job of providing an environment where people feel welcomed and accepted. And they go out of their way to have even the smallest step forward by a team member acknowledged and duly rewarded.
Most people are motivated by praise and awards. When it comes to recognition, it’s been said that babies cry for it and grown men die for it. Smart organizations recognize this and have set up multiple ways in which achievers in their business are praised for their accomplishments.
From a gold pin that can be placed on a jacket lapel to an extra cash bonus awarded at the company convention, companies are constantly looking at ways to uniquely recognize those who get out of their comfort zone and hit a special goal or overcome a personal obstacle.
Your personal team will also look to you to provide this recognition and praise. This is one area where you cannot afford to be stingy. The more you genuinely compliment and cheer on your team, the more eager they will be to reach that next level—to talk to that next person—to see more potential customers.
Don’t simply assume that because your company pays them a commission and is recognizing your team with pins and certificates they won’t appreciate more from you. You will in fact be surprised to find that many of them will do more to earn this type of recognition than they will to earn their bonuses.
Many companies publish a monthly recognition list of those who have achieved certain targets in the compensation plan. If you could ask many of these achievers, you will probably find that they were more excited about having been seen on the list than about what their commission was that month. This only underscores how much you will need to focus on a process that allows you to spot who is doing well in your organization and what rewards should be given for their achievement.
When Art Williams first launched insurance giant A.L. Williams & Associates in the late 1970s (today known as Primerica), he was so acutely aware of the recognition factor that he would hand out T-shirts with motivational slogans printed on them to many of his representatives. It was not long before many new reps would make it their sole goal to earn the T-shirt and have it handed over by Art himself at the next company event. Coffee company and network marketing giant Organo Gold famously implemented its own version of a “knighting,” where leaders who had proven their determination, hard work, and vision were invited to take part in a public ceremony highlighting their new status and welcoming them into an exclusive inner circle of successful representatives.
How you choose to recognize your team is only limited by your imagination. It’s best to work with your sponsor to map out how you intend to make it happen, and then make sure you provide the rewards and accolades that are deserved when they are due.